Albright's love for baseball stays strong

Published July 15, 2007

It was natural that California-born Kyle Albright Seminole/Pasco-Hernando Community College developed a passion for baseball at an early age.

His dad, Keith, hooked him on the sport as a youth, and Kyle's enthusiasm never wavered.

The Albright family moved to Seminole in time for Kyle to begin his freshman year with the Warhawks. A special memory for young Albright is the team's defeat of Venice to advance to the semifinal his senior year.

"After high school, I was looking for a place to go to school and get my way paid," said Albright, 21. "I chose Pasco-Hernando, and it turned out pretty good for me."

In his second season at PHCC, Albright averaged .349 at the plate and earned a .979 fielding percentage at third base. Albright's stellar play was recognized by his selection as team MVP and All-Suncoast Conference first-team.

"I had a good season at Pasco-Hernando, especially my second," said Albright. "All season, I was hovering around a .400 average until the last couple of weeks. I had a hitting coach that told me to focus on the inside middle of the baseball, especially for line drives. I don't try to hit home runs, but when you hit it right, it goes."

When the offer of a full scholarship to Embry-Riddle appeared, Albright eagerly accepted. For the first time since he was about 9, though, Albright played rightfield.

"Certainly, adjusting to fly balls was tough, although easier in some ways than playing the infield," Albright said. "Good outfield work is all about reading the ball and getting a jump on it. Playing third is all about reaction and being ready for anything. This year, I'm hoping to play third, but whatever the coach needs me to do, I'll do it."

Albright led the team and the Florida Suncoast Conference in RBIs with 53 this past season and led the team in home runs with six while averaging .348.

A new head coach for the Eagles was named this month, so Albright and his teammates have yet to have an opportunity to interact with the new staff. As a senior, Albright hopes to help the team be as successful as last year's, earn an opportunity to compete in the national championship and to win the top title.

"Individually, I hope to be able to lead the conference in RBIs and home runs again, be an All-American and become more of a power hitter," he said.

This is Albright's second summer to play with the St. Pete Roughriders in the Stan Musial Summer Collegiate Wood Bat League. Albright hopes to get continued good workouts and swing practice to be ready.

MORE BASEBALL: Outfielder Danny Martin (Dunedin/Indian River CC) averaged .388 his senior season at Embry-Riddle.

- Nick Stanley (Seminole/South Florida CC) was selected to play in the summer Valley Baseball League All-Stars game this month. Earlier this month, the infielder was named the league's player of the week after averaging .474 and scoring six runs with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs for the New Market Rebels. Stanley plans to play for N.C. State this fall.

- Tampa's Nolan Brannon (St. Petersburg/Hillsborough) was also chosen for the Valley Baseball League All-Stars game. Last month, the first baseman was named the league's player of the week with a .500 average in five games, including nine hits, seven RBIs and two runs.

- Dale Brannon (St. Petersburg), who is also playing for the Rebels, had the fourth-highest average at .278 at Connecticut.

- Outfielder Steve Lynch (Palm Harbor University) averaged .319 for Iowa Western CC with 17 RBIs. The 42-18 Reiver squad made its ninth appearance in the JUCO World Series.

- In four years at North Florida, catcher Brandon Diaz (Clearwater Central Catholic) averaged .291 on 60 hits, scored 37 runs with 47 RBIs.

- Alex Fryer (Clearwater) and his Hope College teammates competed in the wooden-bat Prague Baseball Tournament among teams from Russia, Sweden, Solvakia, Australia and three squads from the Czech Republic. The Flying Dutchmen won five of six games to place third overall. Fryer averaged .250.

SOFTBALL: In her first season at Nova Southeastern, second baseman Dana Bergner (Palm Harbor University) teamed with Valen Eberhard from Indiana to turn the 18th-most double plays in NCAA Division II. Bergner achieved a .953 fielding percentage for the Sharks. Bergner's first collegiate home run was a game-winner against Rollins College.

TRACK AND FIELD: Ashlee Kidd (St. Petersburg) was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference academic women's track and field team. To be eligible, student-athletes must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative average. The Georgia Tech senior claimed six All-American selections, 11 ACC championships and was a two-time ACC Indoor MVP.

CROSS COUNTRY: In his first season at Tampa, Tony Nicolosi (Seminole) set a school record in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 9:04.42.

SWIMMING: Austin Hampton (Admiral Farragut) was named to the ACC all-academic team for the second straight year. The bio-medical engineering major holds N.C. State's record on the 3-meter board and has qualified for the NCAA Diving Zone Championships both seasons at N.C. State.

SOCCER: FSU starting defender Libby Gianeskis (Tarpon Springs) earned the Seminole's highest shot percentage (.333). She collected one goal in 24 games.

News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119; e-mailed to namorgan@tampabay.rr.com or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Please include phone number.