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Baseball district preview: Springstead hot entering the postseason

Infielder Patrick Dwyer, left, and the Springstead defense have tightened up in the last 14 games, putting the Eagles in the top spot as the district playoffs begin Monday.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Infielder Patrick Dwyer, left, and the Springstead defense have tightened up in the last 14 games, putting the Eagles in the top spot as the district playoffs begin Monday.

Virtually everything in baseball can be numerically measured. Power can be gauged by slugging percentage, precision by a pitcher's strikeout-to-walks ratio, and on and on. But how does one quantify confidence? In the case of Springstead, with a smorgasbord of stats — starting with the victory total. No local team has transformed itself like the Eagles (15-9), who have won 12 of their past 15 en route to earning the top seed in this week's Class 4A, District 8 tournament. The key, according to coach Frank Vitale, has been far more self-assurance and far fewer errors. When the season dawned, Vitale said, the Eagles saw the graduation of key players such as Bryan Nicolini, Tommy Dwyer and James Adams as insurmountable obstacles. "They looked around and didn't see any home runs on our team," Vitale said. Today, they still don't; Springstead has only three homers all season. But the Eagles have compensated by tightening their defense and putting the ball in play — if not in orbit. What are some other differences? See for yourself. The following are some of Springstead's numbers in their first nine games compared to the next 14 (statistics from Thursday's game against River Ridge are not included):

Errors

First nine games: 24 (2.67 per game)

Next 14: 16 (1.1 per game)

Games with 3 or more errors

First nine games: Five

Next 14: One

Fielding percentage

First nine games: .907

Next 14: .962

Batting average

First nine games: .306

Next 14: .317

Runs

First nine games: 45 (5.0 per game)

Next 14: 108 (7.7 per game)

RBIs

First nine games: 39 (4.3 per game)

Next 14: 91 (6.5 per game)

Doubles

First nine games: 13 (1.4 per game)

Next 14: 30 (2.1 per game)

FAST FACTS

Class 6A, District 7

at Countryside

Monday: Gaither (3) vs. St. Petersburg (6), 4 p.m.; Countryside (4) vs. Sickles (5), 7; Tuesday: Mitchell (2) vs. Gaither/St. Petersburg winner, 4; Alonso (1) vs. Countryside/Sickles winner, 7; Thursday: Championship, 7.

Class 5A, District 7

at Ridgewood

Monday: Wesley Chapel (4) vs. Ridgewood (5), 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Central (2) vs. River Ridge (3), 7:30; Wednesday: Land O'Lakes (1) vs. Wesley Chapel/Ridgewood winner, 7:30; Thursday: Championship, 7:30.

Class 4A, District 8

at Zephyrhills

Monday: Hernando (8) vs. Gulf (9), 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday: Pasco (2) vs. Hudson (7), 4; Springstead (1) vs. Hernando/Gulf winner, 7; Wednesday: Sunlake (3) vs. Wiregrass Ranch (6), 4; Zephyrhills (4) vs. Nature Coast (5), 7; Thursday: Pasco/Hudson winner vs. Sunlake/Wiregrass Ranch winner, 4; Springstead/Hernando/Gulf winner vs. Zephyrhills/Nature Coast winner, 7; Friday: Championship, 7.

Class 2A, District 9

at Bishop McLaughlin

Tuesday: Bishop McLaughlin (2) vs. Indian Rocks Christian (3), 4 p.m.; Tampa Prep (1) vs. Calvary Christian (4), 7; Thursday: Championship, 7.

Class 1A, District 6

at Ocala Meadowbrook

(complete bracket unavailable)

Tuesday: Hernando Christian (1) vs. Ocala Meadowbrook/Ocala Shores winner, 4:30 p.m.; Thursday: Championship, 4:30.

Baseball district preview: Springstead hot entering the postseason 04/25/09 [Last modified: Saturday, April 25, 2009 11:09pm]
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