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Baseball notebook

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published March 9, 2007


Pirate power

One night after watching Jesuit's highly-touted right-hander Kevin Quackenbush strike out 12 of his batters, Land O'Lakes coach Cal Baisley came to this conclusion:

Pasco's Dustin Brown is better.

"He's the best we've seen. Hands down. No question," Baisley said, after Brown held his Gators to one hit in five innings.

Brown used a deceptively sneaky fastball and excellent slider to win his third game of the year. Baisley was not surprised by the performance of Brown, who plays the outfield when he doesn't pitch.

"I watched him last year during infield and outfield practice, and I remember then thinking, 'Man, that kid has an arm.' "

Chances are, Baisley would prefer to deal with that arm from rightfield instead of on the mound.

Ping!

Pasco's pitching - Brown, Aaron Brandt and Wesley Chapel lefty transfer Alex Morphew - is the best in the county so far, but the hitting also is proving tough for opposing teams to deal with.

After Wednesday's 10-0 win, the Pirates have four regulars hitting over .500 and are batting .399 as a team. Six have at least nine hits and have scored eight runs or more.

It's enough to make one wonder if Pasco really decided to protect pitchers' arms by ordering more clickers to keep track of pitches? Or did coach Ricky Giles merely inform his team to start ending games in the fifth inning?

Since Brandt threw 147 pitches last week, no Pasco pitcher has sniffed 100 thanks to three straight 10-0 five-inning routs.

Wrap it up

River Ridge coach Jack Homko has dubbed the oft-injured Steve Sunquist, the county's leading hitter, Bubblewrap.

"I tell him, you need to wrap yourself in bubblewrap," Homko said.

Sunquist, the starting shortstop, is working his way back from elbow surgery and has been nursing a bad back. Both injuries have caused him to miss games this year, and an "attendance issue" kept him out of the Royal Knights' win over Gulf last week.

"He might be my best player," Homko said. "If he could be in there all the time, it would be scary."

Sunquist is 7-for-12 this season .583 average, and has reached base seven of his past 10 trips to the plate. Homko has been playing him at second until his arm gets stronger and hopes to pitch him this season.

Jay's on the Way

Another player working his way back from an arm injury is Jay Mattos, the Ridgewood sophomore who pulled the ulnar nerve in his right arm in the preseason City Classic. Mattos has been pitching a few innings here and there. He started one game against Central and after two innings of less-than-fast pitching was taken out. And he came on in relief Friday against Land O'Lakes.

He was expected to get a few more innings in Thursday against Zephyrhills before making another start next week.

Ridgewood coach Larry Beets said Mattos, who will be the Rams' No. 2 when ready, has to get to the point where he let's loose with his pitches, which he has been hesitant to do.

"He's 100 percent to throw, but physically he's not 100 percent yet," Beets said. "He'll get there when the strength comes back."

Times' Fab 5

1. Pasco (8-0): Wins over Zephyrhills, Ridgewood and Land O'Lakes leaves no doubt.

2. Land O'Lakes (5-2): Two-game slide aside, the Gators' pitching punch of Matt Squared (Fuglesang and Smith) is carrying them.

3. Ridgewood (7-2): Will only get better as year goes on, so could crack top two any day.

4. Zephyrhills (5-3): Bats are too good to remain silent much longer.

5. River Ridge (4-3): Still looking for that quality win that proves it belongs among the elite.

Lurking: Bishop McLaughlin is unbeaten, knocking on the door.

John C. Cotey can be reached at johncotey@gmail.com or (727) 869-6261.

Baseball statistics BATTING

Player, team H AB AVE.

Sunquist, RR 7 12 .583

Schrader, Pas 16 28 .571

Maggard, Pas 14 25 .560

Jones, Pas 13 24 .542

Balk, Rw 17 33 .515

Parker, Zh 11 22 .500

Johnson, Pas 9 18 .500

Koenigsfeld, Rw 14 30 .467

Giella, Zh 12 27 .444

Davis, Zh 7 16 .438

Hobbs, Pas 9 22 .409

Burlett, Rw 12 30 .400

Phillips, G 9 23 .391

Ritz, Mit 5 13 .385

Smith, LOL 6 16 .375

Kaeler, G 12 32 .375

Brown, Pas 7 19 .368

Pullin, Pas 9 25 .360

Guy, Zh 9 25 .360

S. Williams, Mit 5 14 .357

Harris, LOL 6 17 .353

Johnson, Pas 6 17 .353

Vavasis, Rw 9 26 .346

Navarro, G 10 29 .345

Santa, LOL 6 18 .333

Mattos, Rw 8 24 .333

Maynard, RR 8 25 .320

Rutledge, RR 5 16 .313

DOUBLES

Balk, Rw 6

Maggard, Pas 5

Schrader, Pas 4

Mattos, Rw 3

HOME RUNS

Koenigsfeld, Rw 3

Smith, LOL 2

Maggard, Pas 2

Parker, Zh 2

RBI

Koenigsfeld, Rw 16

Maggard, Pas 15

Parker, Zh 10

Phillips, G 9

Guy, Zh 9

Smith, LOL 8

Santa, LOL 7

Mattos, Rw 7

Burlett, Rw 7

Navarro, G 6

Balk, Rw 6

Harris, LOL 5

Sunquist, RR 5

RUNS

Balk, Rw 18

Schrader, Pas 13

Parker, Zh 11

Harris, LOL 10

Maggard, Pas 10

Pullin, Pas 10

Kaeler, G 9

Burlett, Rw 8

Koenigsfeld, Rw 8

Johnson, Pas 8

Hobbs, Pas 8

Jones, Pas 8

Mattos, Rw 8

Navarro, G 7

Santa, LOL 7

Giella, Zh 7

Paterson, Rw 7

SBS

Brady, RR 6

Paterson, Rw 5

Balk, Rw 5

Newton, RR 4

Mohr, Rw 4

Mattos, Rw 4

Navarro, G 3

Kaeler, G 3

PITCHING

Player, team W-L IP ER ERA

Koenigsfeld, Rw 4-0 36 1 0.19

Adams, Zh 1-1 12 1 0.58

Smith, LOL 1-0 10.1 2 1.36

Kier, RR 1-0 10 2 1.40

Trouton, G 2-1 19 4 1.44

Maynard, RR 0-1 9 2 1.56

Parker, Zh 3-1 25 6 1.68

Fuglesang, LOL 2-1 14.1 4 1.95

Revak, G 2-1 12 4 2.33

Schuster, Mit 0-2 9.2 4 2.89

Lyons, RR 4-1 20.2 10 3.38

Kenna, Rw 2-0 14.1 7 3.42

STRIKEOUTS

Lyons, RR 46

Koenigsfeld, Rw 46

Parker, Zh 36

Trouton, G 19

Fuglesang, LOL 18

Smith, LOL 18

Trouton, G 15

Adams, Zh 14

SAVES

Parker, ZH 1

Kier, RR 1