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'Great experience' is coming to end for Slavik


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 1, 2001

Playing college baseball was Corey Slavik's top goal when he graduated from Boca Ciega four years ago.

The senior at Wake Forest University has enjoyed three stellar seasons with the three-time defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions. This year should be no different.

"I knew I wanted to play college baseball," said Slavik, a first-team All-South and All-County selection his senior season in high school. "I didn't have many places to go, and I would've done anything to get a chance."

Slavik learned the Deacons were looking for a catcher, so he began practicing for that position, along with continuing to hone his third-base skills. Coaches saw his strengths and moved him to third. In his first collegiate at bat, Slavik homered.

"It's been a great experience playing at Wake Forest and in the ACC," said the 21-year-old. "You have good competition every time you go out and play. Our area at home has a lot of good talent, but here you see it every single day."

In a game against No. 10 Clemson last month, Slavik ripped a double to contribute to a 12-3 victory. Against Old Dominion last week, he hit another double in a 13-8 win for the Deacons (19-7). Slavik's defensive skills and a .327 batting average provide optimism for a future in the pros.

"I hope to be get drafted," said Slavik, a communications major. "I want to play professionally and haven't really thought about what else I would do."

BASEBALL: Ben Elbe (Largo), a sophomore left-hander for Wake Forest, has pitched in three games and allowed no runs.

Patrick Boyd (CCC), a second-team preseason All-American at Clemson, has been sidelined with a back injury. In his only appearance this season, the senior outfielder connected for a double to score two runs. Boyd hopes to return to action in mid-April against South Carolina.

Florida State freshman Marc LaMacchia (East Lake) earned his fourth victory in a 12-3 rout of North Carolina State. The right-hander pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits.

Saint Leo first baseman Trevor Hall (Countryside) is batting .390 for the 23-12 Lions. He leads the team in home runs with 8 and in RBI with 39.

Left-hander Steve Palinkas (Countryside) has pitched in 10 games and started one for the University of North Florida. He has a 1-2 record, 3.98 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 31 innings. SOFTBALL: Dawn Wallace (Dunedin), a second-team all-Sunshine State Conference catcher at the University of Tampa, is this season's team captain.

Wallace is batting .327 and leads the Spartans in hits (27) and runs scored (14).

Senior Kelli Lightner (Clearwater/Lake City Community College) was named to the Georgia Tech Buzz Classic all-tournament team.

The pitcher earned a 2-1 record with a 2.62 ERA. She hit .364 with two home runs. For the season, Lightner is 12-8 with a 1.81 ERA and 119 strikeouts.

A contingent of freshmen players from Pinellas have contributed to a 24-8 record and No. 7 national ranking for Central Florida Community College.

Kristen Keyes (Clearwater) is leading the state in strikeouts with 238 and has a .391 batting average. Third baseman April Coggins (Tarpon Springs) is second in the state in hitting (.500).

Shortstop Diane Korcak (Countryside) is batting .450. Catcher Lindsay Ijjar (CCC) is tops in the state and tied for second in the nation in homers (5). Second baseman Brooke Massey (Clearwater) is hitting .388.

BASKETBALL: Center Marshall Sanders (Dixie Hollins/Brevard CC) contributed 13 points and was named to the all-tournament team after helping lead Kentucky Wesleyan to its eighth NCAA Division II championship.

Lee Burton (Clearwater) was the top scorer for Santa Fe in the Mid-Florida Conference Tournament. He recorded 23 points in a 73-61 victory over Central Florida in the final.

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