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TARPON SPRINGS — The last time she hit against Tarpon Springs, Alyssa Weaver struck out three times.
Turns out, the Spongers coach had inside information, knew that the East Lake leadoff hitter had been struggling hitting the changeup, and had his pitcher feed her a steady diet of them.
“No mercy, right?” said Alyssa’s mom, Carol, laughing.
Tuesday night, Weaver got even, reaching base every time she batted, doubling in two runs, scoring two runs and stealing a base in a 12-0 district semifinal win.
Take that, Dad!
As Alyssa and twin Amanda celebrated another Eagles win Tuesday, off in leftfield their dad, Tarpon Springs coach Dion Weaver, wrapped up the season with his players.
Did the twins feel bad, sending Pops into the offseason on the wrong end of a mercy-rule victory?
“Hmmm,” said Amanda, smiling widely. “No, not really.”
The Weaver sisters — Alyssa is four minutes older than Amanda — are a big part of East Lake’s success this season.
Alyssa, the prototypical lead-off hitter, is able to slap her way on base with her speed or stroke solid hits through the infield. The more serious of the two.
Amanda, an outfielder who bunted her way on in the second inning before scoring the first of her two runs, the goofier of the two.
“She should have her own show on Disney,” said East Lake coach Mike Estes.
But not until the wonder twins finish the task at hand. Dion takes great pride in their contributions this season as the undefeated Eagles chase perfection and the state — and possibly national — championship that will come with it.
He has coached the girls since they started playing tee ball at age 5, and in travel ball at 10.
It wasn’t until he took the Tarpon Springs job last year that he had to actually coach against his daughters.
“It’s tough,” Dion said. “As a father you want your kids to succeed. But the team you’re coaching you want to be successful, so you’re torn a little bit.”
A little bit.
Hence all the changeups.
“He’s the kind of coach that, even though he’s their dad, can look past that,” said Carol. “But we have fun with it.”
Fun, like Tuesday afternoon when Dion and Alyssa exchanged text messages.
Dad said to expect another night of changeups.
Alyssa, the Eagles’ second baseman, said bring it on.
How many changeups did she see? None.
Dad was being cagey, as usual.
“I know he wants us to do well, Alyssa said. “He wants us to do well. He’s Tarpon Springs’ coach, but at the end of the day he’s our dad.”
That was obvious even the night a few weeks back when the Spongers coach, looking to pull off the upset win, had his pitcher work to Alyssa’s weaknesses, striking her out three times.
As she grabbed her glove and ran out to take her spot at second, the frustration evident to the coach, she heard a voice shout out:
It was Dad.
John C. Cotey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org