Learning in his big household to help others, the senior is having an impact on Leopards as an outfielder and a pitcher.
By FRANK PASTOR
Published March 19, 2004
BROOKSVILLE - If Andrew Boyer sometimes resembles a dog happily scampering around an open field when he chases down a fly ball, it's little wonder.
He's not accustomed to so much space.
The Hernando senior comes from a family of 10, in which he is the third-oldest child and second to play for the Leopards, following his older brother, Adam.
"I think it's given me more respect for a family," Boyer said.
"When somebody's got a weakness and someone in our family has a strength, we can help that person," he said. "We help each other out, (show) a lot of teamwork and a lot of compassion."
Boyer brings those same traits to the field, where he anchors a staff that lost six pitchers to graduation, moves, injuries or academic ineligibility after last season.
Through four starts, he had a county-best 2-0 record with 12 strikeouts and a 1.81 earned-run average in a team-high 191/3 innings.
A bad-ball hitter, Boyer is tied for second on the team in hits (10), total bases (17) and home runs (2), ranks third in batting average (.357) and fourth in on-base percentage (.500).
"He is a very mature and responsible senior in high school, and nothing seems to bother or perplex him - if it's pitching mechanics or real life," coach Tim Sims said. "He's got all his ducks in a row."
Among his many catches was a snag at the wall to rob Springstead's Joe DePace of an extra-base hit with two runners on in a 6-1 Hernando win. Boyer also had two hits in three at bats, plus a stolen base.
"He runs real well, and he played outstanding defense," Springstead coach Frank Vitale said. "He ran a couple fly balls down I thought would have been gappers against some other players."
But it's on the mound where Boyer has had his biggest impact. With roughly a dozen starts, he entered the season as Hernando's most experienced pitcher.
"I have somewhat of an advantage being the eldest and more experienced, but everybody's the same," Boyer said. "We pick up each other when we need to, and it's just a group effort all the time."
Boyer developed his team-first attitude at home, where he was introduced to his faith and cultivated an appreciation for music.
When he is not at school or playing baseball, he's part of the youth mission team, youth rally, praise band, choir and bible study groups at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church. He plays guitar and drums, crediting his father, a violin player, for passing down his love of music to his children.
"We have piano players, drums, guitars; it's just like a whole band in our family," Boyer said.
Boyer and his brother, Adam, a 1998 Hernando graduate, march to the beat of different drummers.
"Andrew, you'll notice his eyes and his smile," Sims said. "He has never met a person he doesn't like. But Adam was very, very competitive and outwardly emotional. His brother is more reserved but still competitive. He keeps it to himself. He's not as outward with his emotions."
Boyer's cool is one of the reasons Sims pitches him against patient teams that work the count. Boyer is disciplined and almost always around the plate.
"Andrew, definitely, fielding bunts and throwing strikes and changing speeds is as good a pitcher as there is around," Sims said.
Boyer plans to work toward a Master's degree in history, then attend seminary for youth pastoring.
But first, he'd like to play more baseball. He has sent out invitations asking schools to attend his games. He received a response from Clearwater Christian College but said "nothing's set right now."
"I'm just trying to get out there and make a name for myself," Boyer said.
- Frank Pastor can be reached at 800 333-7505, ext. 1430. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org