Marauder: Just put me in, Coach

By Brandon Wright
Published May 9, 2007

CLEARWATER - Joe McLemore sat in the Clearwater Central Catholic dugout Tuesday, tapping the head of his bat against the concrete. McLemore fidgeted, playing with the Velcro on his batting gloves while waiting to hit.

It was the top of the first inning. While the rest of the Marauders stood at their position, McLemore adjusted to his new one: designated hitter.

"I want to play in the field or pitch so bad, " McLemore said. "But I'm lucky to just be able to hit."

The senior strained a muscle in his elbow while pitching during the first game of the Dunedin Spring Classic. Doctors told McLemore he wouldn't pitch or play the field again this season, and it was up in the air whether he would be allowed to hit.

"Coming to those games and just sitting, " McLemore said, "was incredibly tough."

But McLemore returned to the lineup for the first game of districts. After smashing a three-run homer to end CCC's run-rule semifinal win against Melbourne Central Catholic on Friday, McLemore went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs against Fort Pierce John Carroll on Tuesday.

Bottom line: sitting in the dugout while CCC is in the field beats just sitting in the dugout wearing street clothes.