Even mini slumps can't stump Pirates

When standouts go cold at the plate, Pasco finds new life in the bats of other players.

Published April 27, 2007

DADE CITY - Shamalene Broner categorizes Pasco in three zones.

If the Pirates are in the "green zone" they are playing with complete confidence. Everything is going right.

The "yellow zone" means they're playing with a bit of caution and they are vulnerable for a let down. The "red zone" means big trouble.

Then there's one zone created by a couple of players called "the black hole."

That's where Lucy Schneider, Brianne Farmer and Kalee Burchfield - the Pirates' three, four and five batters - found themselves after Pasco took a two-week break from play.

They were in a big-time slump. They knew it, and so did Broner.

"You notice things like that," Broner said. "I try not to pay attention to the stats. You get a feel for all of that. Tuesday was good. They needed that to carry them through."

The Pirates advanced to tonight's Class 4A region semifinal after a 9-4 win over Harmony.

Schneider, Farmer and Burchfield broke free from their slumps, going a combined 8-for-12 on Tuesday including four doubles and a triple.

After putting up career numbers, Burchfield began April with two hits in five games. Farmer went hitless in three of her first four games after the break. And Schneider was hitless in three of those first six games.

Farmer tried various adjustments to remedy her hitting woes no matter how drastic.

"I don't want to say I gave up on hitting," Farmer said. "I just tried to relax and not try so hard."

The trio watched their on-base percentage dip.

The rest of the lineup stepped up.

Girls such as Shabanese Brown and Colesa Lazar - Pasco's first and second batters - got key hits. Schneider, Farmer and Burchfield weren't hitting, but they still managed to knock in RBIs at opportune times.

Girls like Liz Garcia, Lacey Cook and Abbie Boyd also produced.

Pasco scored enough runs to win six of the past seven games, including the Class 4A, District 8 tournament title.

"Everyone else except the middle of the lineup was doing good," Schneider said.

"...Once we started getting hits our confidence boosted up. We came alive."

Pasco learned it could rely on others beyond the Big Three for offensive production, a lesson greatly needed heading deeper into the postseason.

That's important with a number of girls coping with late-season injuries.

Farmer has dealt all season with an injured shoulder. Colena Lazar has had some sort of stomach bug all week and a broken thumb. Schneider has a sore quadriceps muscle.

The list goes on and on, but they appear to have overcome the problems.

"They see what they can do when they're playing as a team," Broner said. "That's what it's all about, peaking at the right time."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@tampabay.com or (727) 580-5315.

Fast Facts:


Class 4A Region Semifinal

Who: Bellview (20-7) at Pasco (24-4), 7 p.m.

Cost: $6

Up next: Winner advances to region final to face the Palatka/Groveland South Lake winner.

Class 4A Region Semifinal

Bellview (20-7) at Pasco (24-4), 7 p.m.

Cost: $6

Winner advances to region final to face the Palatka/Groveland South Lake winner.