Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay baseball teams (with video)



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Fri. June 12, 2015 | Rodney Page and Kelly Parsons

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay baseball teams (with video)

Pinellas Pitcher of the Year: Tim Luth, Sr., Dunedin

Season stats: 9-1, 0.87 ERA, 51 strikeouts in 56 innings

Season highlight: Luth said there was no particular game that stood out. Instead, he said the highlight was being able to play with friends he has known since elementary school. “We’ve played with each other for years,” Luth said. “It’s a nice, tight group. Me and (Trevor) Jensen and (Justin) Glover all played Little League together. We got to play high school together and it was a lot of fun.”

Did you know? Luth threw all of three innings last year. He admits that his control was not very good, and he ended up spending most of his time in centerfield. He was motivated in 2015 to erase the memory of last season. “I worked a lot over the summer,” Luth said. “That and the fact that I was being pushed by a junior, Colton Widdows, who is a very good pitcher. Being a senior and having a kid behind you with such good numbers, you have to do better than him. It really pushed me.’’

What’s next? Luth will play at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne. He will attend with Dunedin teammate Ian Lisle. Luth attended a pre-draft workout with the Detroit Tigers, but said he plans on pursuing a college degree. When his baseball career ends, Luth said he would like to get into law enforcement. 

Quotable: “It seems like just yesterday conditioning was starting and we were wondering how good we were going to be. Then in a blink it’s over. This season just flew by.”

Pinellas Player of the Year: Dan Oberst, Sr., Indian Rocks Christian 

Season stats: .424 batting average, 30 RBIs, six doubles, three home runs 

Season highlight: Oberst said it was the 11-5 win over Calvary Christian in the Class 3A region semifinals. It was the sixth time the schools played each other, and it was IRC’s third straight win over the Warriors. It also allowed the Golden Eagles to advance to their first region final. “People underestimated us but we played together as a team and won,” Oberst said. “We kept getting better and better as a team.”

Did you know? Oberst improved his batting average by nearly 200 points from last season. As a junior he hit .225 with nine RBIs. He caught every game except one this season, when he played rightfield. 

What’s next? Oberst will play at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce. He plans to study sports medicine and pursue that field once his playing days are over.

Quotable: “I had big goals coming into the year. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. It was my last year so I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team win.”

North Suncoast Pitcher of the Year: Nate Pearson, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin

Season stats: 9-1, 1.17 ERA, 109 strikeouts in 72 innings

Season highlight: The goal since preseason practice was to get to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, site of the state baseball tournament. Pearson said the highlight of the season was accomplishing that goal. But it wasn’t easy. The Hurricanes built a 7-0 lead over Orangewood Christian in the region final before finally winning 10-9 on a two-run homer by Pearson. “That game was pretty rough,” said Pearson, a right-hander. “Our goal the whole season was to get to JetBlue. Once we got there, obviously, we wanted to win the whole thing but it didn’t happen.” Bishop McLaughlin lost 3-1 to Tallahassee North Florida Christian.

Did you know? Pearson ate two ham and cheddar Lunchables before every game. He would devour them right after batting practice, which is about 30 minutes before game time. He started that before the third game of the season against East Lake. “I’m pretty superstitious when it comes to game day,” Pearson said. “I don’t know if I’ll do that in college. New place, new superstition.”

What’s next? Pearson has a full baseball scholarship to attend Florida International University. He plans to major in physical therapy, but said he will pursue baseball as long as he can. 

Quotable: “I couldn’t wait to get this season started. I missed the whole year last year (with an arm injury), so I was just glad to help my team get to states. It was hard watching them last year fall short, so I’m glad we were able to get there.”

North Suncoast Player of the Year: Corey Mumaw, Sr., Wesley Chapel

Season stats: Hit .457 with 21 RBIs and 11 doubles

Season highlight: Mumaw said it was advancing to the region tournament for the first time since his sophomore year. The Wildcats won the Class 5A region quarterfinal 4-3 over River Ridge before losing to Dunedin in the semifinals. They finished the season 22-6. “This year it was nice to get to regionals and advance further than we ever have in my high school career,” Mumaw said. “This was one of the best teams I’ve ever been on.”

Did you know? Mumaw, a shortstop, played most of the season with an injured left wrist. He needed a cortisone shot prior to the season to allow him to play his senior year. Mumaw had surgery last week and will rehab for six weeks before returning to baseball activities. 

What’s next? Mumaw will play baseball at Pasco Hernando State College. He said he would like to play at PHSC for two years, then continue playing college baseball on the Division I level. 

Quotable: “I’m just happy that I was able to play all year and contribute both offensively and defensively.”

Hillsborough Pitcher of the Year: Antonio Velez, Jr., Brandon

Stats: 1.30 ERA, 9-3 record, 122 strikeouts in 75 ⅔ innings pitched, .257 batting average, 11 RBIs, five runs scored

Season highlight: Perhaps Velez’s best outing was in a 3-0 victory against Freedom on March 17, when he struck out 13 in six innings while giving up just two hits. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior also threw two complete-game shutouts, one of which was a 3-0 win against Strawberry Crest in the district semifinals to earn Brandon’s fourth straight region playoff berth. 

Did you know? According to MaxPreps, Velez’s 122 strikeouts was second most in the state, only three behind Navarre’s Matthew Cronin. 

What’s next? Velez has one more season left before he graduates, but after that he plans to attend and play baseball at USF, joining several other Tampa Bay players who have committed to the Bulls.

Quotable: “I loved their campus, I loved their baseball players, and the coaches were really nice people. (Representing Tampa) was one of the main reasons I chose USF, so I could stay home and my parents could still see me play when I get in college ball.”

Hillsborough Player of the Year: Kyle Tucker, Sr., Plant

Stats: .484 batting average, 27 RBIs, 10 home runs, .581 on-base percentage

Season highlight: In the Panthers’ regular-season finale against Jefferson, Tucker had his best day at the plate, finishing 4-for-4 with five runs scored, three RBIs and two home runs as Plant won 13-2. The 6-foot-5 slugger’s favorite games, however, were any time the Panthers played district foe Alonso. “The intensity kind of gets up there,” he said of the rivalry games. 

Did you know? In 2009, Tucker was on the Forest Hills Cal Ripken team that won the World Series, beating Mexico 7-6 in the championship game in Aberdeen, Md. Leading up to the championship game, Tucker led the team at the plate in the tournament with a .667 average. 

What’s next? Tucker, an outfielder, was drafted fifth overall by the Houston Astros in the Major League Baseball first-year player’s draft Monday and will soon decide whether to sign with the club or attend the University of Florida, where older brother Preston also played.

Quotable: “Going up to the plate, I just kind of took each pitch at a time. If they wanted to walk me, I let them. I didn’t try and go outside my zone. I tried to keep it within my game, and if they walked me they walked me.” (Tucker was walked 25 times this season.)

Coach of the Year 

Kevin McCray, Robinson: McCray led the Knights to their first state final four appearance since 1977, overcoming the loss of a starting pitcher to injury and a streak of four losses in five games in the middle of the season. Despite having only two players hit at least .300, the Knights cruised through the region playoffs and even gave Class 5A state semifinal opponent Archbishop McCarthy — which, before that game, had won four of the last five state championships — a run for its money, taking a five-run lead before eventually falling 8-7. 

First team 

P CJ Van Eyk, So., Steinbrenner: Finished the season with a 0.16 ERA and 7-0 record in 44 ⅓ innings pitched, helping the Warriors win 14 of their last 16 games.

P Branden McLeod, Sr., Wesley Chapel: Hillsborough Community College commit was 13-1 with a 1.38 ERA in 81 innings pitched. 

P Carson Ragsdale, Jr., Bishop McLaughlin: USF commit was 6-2 with a 1.02 ERA and 70 strikeouts as the Hurricanes’ No. 2 pitcher. He also hit .418.

P Jake Woodford, Sr., Plant: Florida commit and St. Louis Cardinals draftee posted a 0.67 ERA and 7-0 recording, striking out 57 in 52 innings pitched. 

C Justin Glover, Sr., Dunedin: Pinellas County senior all-star hit .389 with 16 doubles and 30 RBIs. 

INF Tyler Hawks, Sr., River Ridge: Hit .358 with 20 RBIs. He was also valuable on the mound, with a 6-2 record with a 1.83 ERA. 

INF Tim Elko, So., Hillsborough: First baseman helped lead Hillsborough to its first playoff run in eight years by hitting a team-high .412 with 23 RBIs and posting a perfect fielding percentage. 

INF Trevor Jensen, Sr., Dunedin: St. Petersburg College commit and smooth fielder who hit .479 with 25 RBIs and seven doubles. 

INF Donovan Pink, Sr., Lakewood: USF commit hit a whopping .506 with 31 RBIs, 12 doubles and six home runs. He also pitched and played shortstop, though he is a natural first baseman. 

OF Jason Heinrich, Sr., River Ridge: A big-time power threat, Heinrich hit .437 with 22 RBIs, seven doubles, four triples and three home runs. He was taken in the fifth round of the MLB draft by the Orioles and plans to sign and report to the Gulf Coast League. 

OF Sawyer Wirth, Sr., East Lake: Hit the ball all over the place this season for the Eagles; had a .450 batting average with nine doubles and four triples.

OF Jacob Silverstein, Sr., Seminole: Bethune-Cookman commit hit .478 with 16 RBIs and 10 doubles as the Warhawks’ top hitter; he also stole 33 bases. 

DH Nelson Maldonado, Sr., Jefferson: Florida commit hit a team high .458 with 20 RBIs and three home runs while posting a .567 on-base percentage and stealing 10 bases. 

UTIL Felix Dieguez, Sr., Leto: Helped lead Leto to a district championship, finishing with a 0.62 ERA and 5-1 record while striking out 97 in 56 ⅔ innings pitched. He also hit .327 with 11 RBIs.

Second team

P Franklin German, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin

P Colton Widdows, Jr., Dunedin

P Logan Crouse, Sr., Bloomingdale

P Reeves Martin, Sr., Tampa Catholic 

C Luis Medina, Jr., Tampa Prep

INF Jose Ciccarello, So., Alonso 

INF Dylan Leonard, Sr., Land O’Lakes

INF Drayden Williams, Sr., Brandon

INF Chris Berry, Sr., Seminole

OF Jonah Scolaro, So., Durant

OF Adam Jurco, Jr., Palm Harbor University

OF Kennie Taylor, Sr., Jesuit 

DH Justin Young, Sr., Hernando

UTIL Jordan Butler, So., Alonso

Third team

P Oakley Albinson, So., Indian Rocks Christian

P Matt Adams, So., Countryside

P Jakob Barker, Sr., Wesley Chapel

P Nick Kennedy, Sr., Alonso

C Kyle Frick, Jr., Mitchell

INF Zachary Roberts, Sr., Pinellas Park

INF Evan Holland, Sr., Bayshore Christian

INF Jacob Rodriguez, Jr., Bishop McLaughlin

INF Alex Goebel, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch

OF Drew Burkhart, Jr., Steinbrenner

OF Jake Rothwell, Sr., Calvary Christian 

OF Austin Drury, Sr., Wiregrass Ranch

DH Tyler Short, Sr., Largo

UTIL Hunter Perez, Sr., Bishop McLaughlin

Honorable mention

Berkeley Prep: Julian Bosnic; Bishop McLaughlin: Dillon Morton, Blake Carroll, Paul Coumoulos; Boca Ciega: Tully Allen; Calvary Christian: Johnnie Schneider, Matheu Nelson; Dunedin: Ian Lisle; Dixie Hollins: Alex Brown; Durant: Jake Sullivan; East Lake: Ryan Wall; Hernando: Elijah Ramirez; Indian Rocks Christian: Daniel Llerena, George Koulianos; Jesuit: Cole Gibbs, Drew Martin; King: Jamarcus Lyons; Lakewood: Jamaal Chaney; Land O’Lakes: Kirby Osborn, Alex Reynolds; Leto: Alberto Guerra, Gian Carlos Lopez; Mitchell: Jordan Garcia, Jakob Mattos; Northeast: David Sockol, Colton Tison; Osceola: Austin Keene; Palm Harbor University: Riley Degnan, AJ Hrica; Pasco: Tyree Austin, Corey Mills; Robinson: Matthew Steckel; River Ridge: Rocco Iervasi, Josh Clymer; Seminole: Tyler Koser; Springstead: Eric Correa; Spoto: Chris Chatfield; Strawberry Crest: Marc Moclair; Steinbrenner: Brandon Johnson; Sunlake: Wade Daniels; Tampa Prep: Chase Sanguinetti; Zephyrhills: Morgan Goodwin


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