Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

Baseball: King routs Leto

TAMPA — The main objective of a leadoff hitter is to get on base. But in eight games, King centerfielder Sey Juan Lawrence hadn't done much of that.

He had just two hits and three walks among 32 plate appearances. Lawrence, who had been hitting in the cages daily, was frustrated. But Lions coach James Macaluso wasn't worried.

"We've said, 'You're going to stay right there,' " Macaluso said about the leadoff spot. " 'Just keep working.' "

It didn't take long into Thursday's matchup with Leto for the coach's confidence to pay dividends. In his first at-bat, Lawrence tripled, setting the pace in a 6-1 win. The Lions (9-0) are the only undefeated team in Hillsborough County.

Lawrence, who reached base three times, said he felt a sense of relief the moment the ball hit his bat on the triple. But he wasn't finished.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore hit his triple to left-centerfield. So when he stepped to the plate in the second inning, Leto (5-3) shifted its outfielders toward left-centerfield.

So he went right.

Lawrence sent a 3-and-2 pitch to right-centerfield, deep enough for a double that drove in Kobe Barnum.

"I noticed (the shift)," he said. "I had to use the whole field."

King left-hander Tyeler Checkley struck out seven and gave up six hits in six innings. The Falcons' only run — scored by Rodney Jackson on a Jonaton Alverez single to right — was unearned.

The Lions returned a lot of talent from last year's team, which reached its second state semifinal in four years. That included Lawrence, who hit .293. And when there's a deep fly ball, Macaluso said he never doubts he will be under it.

"We tell our pitchers … throw strikes and let them swing the bats," he said. "We're going to catch the ball for you."

Thursday, Macaluso had even more to smile about when it came to his quick centerfielder. Because once again, he was not just a threat in one phase of the game, but two.

"A lot of times, guys let (slumps) affect their defense, and then you're not helping at all. But he hasn't done that," Macaluso said. "And he swung the bat tonight, so that's all good."

Comments
For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

For starters: Sergio Romo on mound tonight as Rays open series against Orioles

By JOEY JOHNSTONTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For openers, the Rays will use RHP Sergio Romo, the 35-year-old career reliever, as tonight's starter against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.Romo is making his third career "sta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Did the NFL really need a national anthem policy?

Before we even get going, let me be clear about something.This is not a column making an argument about whether or not NFL players should be able to kneel in protest during the national anthem.That topic has been debated repeatedly, loudly and passio...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy welcomes Vita Vea to his rookie school

TAMPA — Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has always been generous with his time, staying after practice to work with younger players. That should be a real added benefit for first-round pick Vita Vea.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"That's my M.O.'' Mc...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Bucs’ influence inside the Vegas Golden Knights’ runaway success

The Stanley Cup final begins Monday in the unlikeliest of places, in a city brand-new to major pro sports and suddenly the center of the hockey world: Las Vegas, whose Golden Knights could become the first expansion team to win a championship.And whi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

The Bucs’ Mike Evans is among the NFL’s best receivers, except when it came to this

TAMPA — Only three players in NFL history have posted 1,000-yard receiving seasons in each of his first four years seasons: Randy Moss, A.J. Green and the Bucs' Mike Evans.RELATED: More Bucs coverageBut by Evans' standards, 2017 was "proba...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Now let it sink in: 60 straight baseball wins quite the feat

Now let it sink in: 60 straight baseball wins quite the feat

FORT MYERS — It had been more than two years since Greg Olsen had to give one of those talks; the kind in which silver linings abound, while across the field, a different team celebrates winning gold.Olsen's Calvary Christian baseball team gath...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

Why interceptions are up at One Buc Place

TAMPA — If the first few days of OTAs are any indication, the Bucs secondary could be much improved.Completions may be down, interceptions should be up.RELATED: More Bucs coverage"A lot of interceptions,'' coach Dirk Koetter said Thursday' afte...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Baseball: Pinellas-Hillsborough all-star game this weekend

Baseball: Pinellas-Hillsborough all-star game this weekend

The Pinellas vs. Hillsborough senior all-star game will be played on Sunday at 7 at Tropicana Field. Here are the rosters for each team:PinellasNathan Campbell (Boca Ciega); Derek Gray (Dunedin), Lucas Smith (Northeast), Michael Regan (CCC), Tanner B...
Updated: 4 hours ago
FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

FSU football fans: How do you remember Jimbo Fisher?

Former Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher should be back in the state next week for the SEC's spring meetings in Destin. It is, to my knowledge, his first big trip back to Florida since leaving for Texas A&M in December.With that in mind, my questi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

Alex Cobb excited about return “home” to Trop even in Orioles orange

RHP Alex Cobb has already pitched twice against his former Rays mates in Baltimore and said it didn't feel that weird, especially since there were so many new faces in the lineup.But coming back to the Trop, where he made his big-league debut and spe...
Updated: 7 hours ago