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Wiregrass Ranch works out first-year kinks

By Steve Lee
Published February 14, 2007


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WESLEY CHAPEL - Wiregrass Ranch is in the building-block stage and the baseball team has as much stacked against it as the other first-year programs.

There is no home field, or practice facility, with the Bulls having to work out at the New Tampa Little League ballfields in northern Hillsborough County.

There are no juniors or seniors either, leaving 14 underclassmen six freshmen and eight sophomores to pave the way for the team's future.

"Basically, we're looking to be competitive," Wiregrass Ranch coach Kris Parrish said. "We're trying to field a team that will compete and go out and work their butts off."

Not surprisingly, Wiregrass Ranch is off to an 0-2 start and has been outscored 28-11. The Bulls take on their closest rival Thursday night at 7 at neighboring Wesley Chapel.

"That's the school all of my kids came from," Parrish said. "It's going to be a huge game for us."

Pitching and defense are areas Parrish said need a lot of work. Right-handers Abel Cubero and Mike Hamilton, and to a lesser extent left-hander Tyler Grimes and righty Kurt Wahl, should see most of the time on the mound.

Cubero and Hamilton have been teammates before, playing together on Land O'Lakes Little League all-star teams.

Offensively, the Bulls are a little better off, the coach said. Cubero bats cleanup in between Wahl, who hits third, and Hamilton.

"If we can hold teams under five runs I think we'll have some success this year," Parrish said.

Setting the table for the middle hitters is leadoff batter Steven Esoff, a shortstop/rightfielder who has two stolen bases in two games.

"He just runs all day," Parrish said of Esoff, who also plays soccer. "He runs like a deer."

Steve Lee can be reached at lee@sptimes.com or (352) 521-6517.

[Last modified February 14, 2007, 07:51:54]


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