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Preps

Eagles hope their hitters start pitching in

By FRANK PASTOR
Published March 19, 2004

For every strong outing Springstead gets from its pitchers, opponents seem to match it with one of their own. As much as the Eagles have struggled at the plate, so have their foes.

Is it any wonder, then, Springstead nears the halfway point of the season with a 5-5 record?

"If you look at the stats, you can really see why we're .500," coach Frank Vitale said.

Springstead's pitching has been outstanding, posting an earned-run average of 2.44 and holding opponents to a .214 batting average.

Stephen Legner pitched a five-inning no-hitter, striking out 12, in a 10-run victory over Nature Coast Tech. Eric Nickolaison threw three complete games and held Leesburg to three hits in a one-run loss. Chris Poulos struck out 19 in 13 innings while holding opponents to a .190 average.

But most of the Eagles' gains on the mound have been offset at the plate, where they have a .221 average.

"If we were batting around .250, .270 we might be 8-2 or 7-3," Vitale said.

Springstead put together one of its more complete games Tuesday at Groveland South Lake. Jay Olmstead, Nickolaison and Donnie Messineo each had two hits, and Nickolaison went the distance, striking out seven, in a 5-4 victory.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Brothers Zach and Jake Bowe of Hernando Christian Academy pulled off an unusual feat in Tuesday's 10-7 victory over Seven Rivers Christian.

Zach, a sophomore, hit the Lions' first home run of the season over the rightfield fence. A few innings later, Jake, a junior, nearly had an inside-the-park homer. He tripled to right centerfield and scored when the throw back into the infield got away from the third baseman.

After leading 10-1, Hernando Christian weathered Seven Rivers' six-run seventh to even its record at 3-3 in its first season of district play.

"You look at the games we're playing, and it doesn't appear that we're making any improvements," coach Mike Ellison said. "But, gradually I can see an improvement. They're starting to accept things and starting to realize this is a different brand of baseball than what they're used to playing."

SOLO ACT: Kevin Brennan's hitting has been a salve for struggling Central (2-6), which has lost four straight. The senior catcher is batting .409, about 200 points higher than most of his teammates.

To get the most out of Brennan's bat, coach Jim Jensen planned to juggle the lineup to give Brennan, the Bears' No.3 hitter, and Jimmy Goodworth more RBI opportunities.

"We're leaving them on base too much," Jensen said. "They're knocking people in when there are people on. That's basically how we're getting our one or two runs a game. We're going to have to separate them, probably."

TIME CHANGE: Today's Lecanto at Springstead game was moved from 4:30 p.m. to 3 to accommodate Springstead's prom.

[Last modified March 19, 2004, 01:20:38]


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