tampabay.com

Warrior's swing fails to sting

The hits don't come vs. Tarpon Springs for Joe Civello, Osceola's usually proficient sophomore.

By C.J. RISAK
Published March 23, 2005


SEMINOLE - This was not the time for Osceola's top hit producer to come up empty.

Before Tuesday's game against Tarpon Springs in the Steve Georgiadis Holiday Tournament, Joe Civello had been nearly unstoppable. The sophomore first baseman was batting over .500, leading the county, and doing just about everything a coach could ask for.

He was anything but spectacular against the Spongers, going hitless in a game for the first time this season. But there was some salvation for the family, and it was in the lineup right behind Joe.

Older brother Gene, a senior catcher who according to Osceola coach Steve Smith "has started for four years," got three hits against Tarpon Springs and drove in a run. It couldn't save the Warriors, as the Spongers got a come-from-behind 12-11 win.

Still, Joe Civello has a bright future. In fact, Smith believes he is just getting started. A knee injury suffered last fall during football season resulted in arthroscopic surgery, leaving him at less than full strength.

"He's a big, strong kid," Smith said. "Once that knee heals up, I think he'll hit it even harder."

On a team that is hitting over .300 for the season, but has a young pitching staff (just one returning starter), it may take a bundle of runs to get some wins. Joe Civello figures to be a key part in that production.

Of course it helps to have his big brother right behind him to counsel him, something he did often in the on-deck circle on Tuesday.

Combined with third baseman Scott Beckwith, one of the other five seniors on the team who bats just ahead of Joe, the team shouldn't have any trouble generating offense.