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Mark Persails out as Plant City baseball coach

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Tue. October 18, 2011 | Eduardo A. Encina

After two successful seasons as Plant City's baseball coach, Mark Persails said about three weeks ago he was told abruptly by the school's administration that he was being replaced.

“I was shocked,” Persails said. “They wouldn’t give me a reason. I have no clue.”

Persails, a former professional pitcher in the Tigers and Astros organizations, was 36-15 in two seasons coaching the Raiders, including a first-place regular-season Class 5A-8 district finish last spring. Persails said 11 of his players went on to college in his two-year tenure with the Raiders.

"Maybe I wasn't playing the right parents' kids or the mayor's kids or something like that," Persails said. "I don't know. If you have a reason, I'd love to know it."

Plant City athletic director Traci Durrance wouldn’t give specifics on why the school parted ways with Persails.

“Mark was very successful here and he did a good job with the players, but as a school we chose to go in a different direction,” Durrance said. “Unfortunately things do happen and we have to look at the bigger picture here and we decided to go in a different direction.”
 
Persails also runs a baseball instructional facility called Florida Baseball Heaven based out of Lakeland that includes camps, clinics, private lessons and club baseball programs for kids ages 8 to 18.

Durrance said she hopes to name a new baseball coach by the beginning of next week.

Reach Times staff writer Eduardo A. Encina with comments or story ideas at eencina@sptimes.com and follow him on Twitter at @EddieHometeam. 

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