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Eagles look to senior Pomeranke

By BRANT JAMES

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001


SPRING HILL -- Springstead coach Tracy Clark doesn't like to talk about who isn't on his team, partly because one who isn't -- senior pitcher J.T. Fobell -- left quite a wake when he transferred to Hernando High School this summer.

Fobell, who would have been the de facto staff ace, will be missed, but so will catcher Chris Caraynoff (.475 batting average, .663 on-base average), third baseman Bryan Melko (.422 BA) and John DiBenedetto (5-5, 3.10 earned-run average).

That leaves Clark with a young lineup led by Andy Pomeranke, a defensively gifted shortstop the coach thinks will have a breakout senior season.

"Andy brings it," Clark said. "He's incredible at shortstop. We've dubbed him "The Gun.' Scouts better be looking at him this year."

Jose Flores should provide a boost in many areas once wrestling season concludes. The senior, who hit .339 last year, will pitch and could see time at several positions.

J.C. Liberatore is an unknown commodity locally after moving from Washington. He will replace Melko at third base.

"He's a lot like Melko at the plate," Clark said.

Replacing Springstead's top two starters will be Clark's greatest challenge. He's auditioning sophomores Tom Gedulig and Mike Diaz, junior Liberatore, Flores and Pomeranke.

"I'm not going to name anybody as the top two yet," Clark said. "We want to see what this group can do."

A solid defense should ease the new staff's transition.

"I like our defense the best," Clark said. "We're very strong, especially in the infield, and we think we have the people to replace DiBenedetto in the infield, too.

"Now we have to prove ourselves in other areas, too," the coach said.

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