Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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."

Baseball: King routs Leto 03/06/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2014 11:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals


    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'


    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.