Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Sports

James Ramsey enjoys rewards of returning to Florida State Seminoles baseball team

When Florida State senior centerfielder James Ramsey decided not to join the Minnesota Twins after being drafted last season, he didn't bypass an MLB career, he just relied on his strong faith and followed his heart. He had things he still needed to accomplish, and he just couldn't walk away.

"I think instead of looking at it as forgoing the MLB draft, it was more so returning for my senior year at Florida State," Ramsey said. "I had some unfinished business that I wanted to take care of, on and off the field, and so it was more just about me forging a legacy here that hopefully will leave a mark for years to come."

Ramsey's legacy is firmly cemented. The 22-year-old from the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta graduated magna cum laude with a degree in finance, has garnered numerous athletic honors, including first-team All-ACC, and on Monday was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 23rd overall pick in the draft. This weekend the Seminoles' captain is hoping to help lead FSU to a series victory over Stanford in the NCAA Super Region and into the College World Series for the second time in his career.

In last weekend's Tallahassee Region, Ramsey was named most outstanding player for the second straight season after hitting a team-best .444 (4-for-9) with three runs, a double, a home run, six RBIs and four walks.

"He's the captain of this team, everybody knows it, and everybody loves it," said third baseman Sherman Johnson, an Alonso High graduate. "He's a great teammate, he's a spark plug, and he really gets everything going."

In Stanford, the Seminoles face a lineup that includes three touted pitchers — Mark Appel (No. 8 overall selection in the draft, 10-1, .227 ERA), Stephen Piscotty (No. 36 overall selection) and Brett Mooneyham (third-round selection). Appel is scheduled to start tonight, and Mooneyham is slotted for Saturday's start.

"All three are great, it's pretty crazy to tell you the truth," Johnson said. "But we've been playing loose all year, and we're not going to change anything now."

FSU's staff includes Armwood graduate Robert Benincasa, who has emerged this season as one of the nation's top closers: He has a 4-1 record with 15 saves and a 1.29 ERA in 29 appearances. The junior has allowed just seven runs, five earned, in 35 innings of work. He credits this season's success to a newfound consistency and says the postseason has taken his game to a new level.

"Throughout the course of the season, with our success and the way that I've been pitching, it's getting more and more exciting," Benincasa said. "My last outing when I got the save in the regional championship, that was probably the most exciting moment of my career. It was the first time I was pitching on the mound and actually felt my heart beat. It wasn't nerves, I think it was just pure adrenaline.

"That's definitely the first time I've ever felt that feeling, and any game from here on out, I'm ready for it."

Six FSU starters were on the roster when the Seminoles went to the CWS in 2010 — experience they believe is invaluable.

"It's huge because it just lights a little bit of a fire in you," Ramsey said. "You know exactly what it's like to play under the lights in the College World Series, and you know what kind of excitement that brings to you, to your family, to the fans.

"The chances are few and far between and when you get a chance, like we have at home, you really want to take advantage of it."

Benincasa said the team is focused on not wasting this opportunity. "We are basically two wins away, and if I have anything to do with it, if I'm in the game late, I'm going to give my all trying to get outs," he said. "If I'm the one sending us to Omaha, I'm not going to let it slip out of my hands."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Treshaun Ward, Ahmarean Brown decommit from Maryland

Treshaun Ward, Ahmarean Brown decommit from Maryland

Two of the area's top recruits in the 2019 class, Tampa Bay Tech running back Treshaun Ward and Jefferson receiver Ahmarean Brown, both reneged on their commitment to Maryland on Tuesday.Their decisions, each made via Twitter, come nearly two weeks a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Who has been more disappointing: Florida State or Miami?

Who has been more disappointing: Florida State or Miami?

Times columnist Martin Fennelly and writer Matt Baker discuss which former powerhouse has had a worse 2018.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

Time running out for officials to reach stadium deal with Rays

With elections in the rearview mirror, focus shifts to efforts to move the Tampa Bay Rays to Ybor City.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bounces work against Lightning in loss to Sabres

Bounces work against Lightning in loss to Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It looked like a beautiful chance. Steven Stamkos got the puck in the final minute, faked a shot and slid it over to Nikita Kucherov. Kucherov fired off the shot they wanted for him … and the puck hit the post."I made the ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning enjoys chance to share Marty St. Louis’ Hall of Fame induction

Lightning enjoys chance to share Marty St. Louis’ Hall of Fame induction

Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman spearhead large Lightning contingent's trip to Hockey Hall of Fame induction
Updated: 8 hours ago
Why Blake Snell should win the AL Cy Young award

Why Blake Snell should win the AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell deserves to win the American League Cy Young award.Really, it's as simple as that.Look at what Snell did this season for the Rays, leading the AL with a 1.89 ERA, 21 wins (vs. five losses), .178 opponents average an...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays’ Kevin Cash third in AL Manager of the Year voting

Rays’ Kevin Cash third in AL Manager of the Year voting

ST. PETERSBURG – Rays manager Kevin Cash is always all about winning, rarely taking solace in a good showing or a narrow loss.But finishing third in the American League Manager of the Year voting Tuesday, behind winner Bob Melvin of the A's and...
Updated: 11 hours ago
There’s another KK in town – Karter James Kiermaier

There’s another KK in town – Karter James Kiermaier

There's another KK in town.Or a "lil outlaw.'Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier and wife Marisa announced on Twitter Tuesday the birth of their son – Karter James Kiermaier.The 9-pound, 13-ounce boy was born Monday, measuring 21 inches.Ladies n gentelmen ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
The Florida Gators really do have a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl

The Florida Gators really do have a shot at a New Year’s Six bowl

UF moved up two spots to No. 13 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings ... which means they're in the hunt for a major bowl
Updated: 12 hours ago

Sports on TV, Radio for Wednesday, Nov. 14

Sports on TV/radio. TODAYCollege basketballMichigan at Villanova6:30 p.m.FS1E. Michigan at Duke7 p.m.Fox SunLaSalle at Florida7 p.m.1250-AMSeton Hall at Nebraska7:30 p.m.Big TenMarquette at Indiana8:30 p.m.FS1North Dakota at Kentucky9 p.m.SECSt. Mary...
Updated: 12 hours ago