Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon shortstop breaks out from the pack

BRANDON — Perhaps Spencer Haynes' reaction to an interview request summed it up best.

On a Brandon baseball team that sees James Ramsay and Roderick Shoulders getting the majority of the media coverage, Haynes is often overlooked. When a reporter asked to speak with him, the senior seemed a bit shocked.

"Spencer looked at me and said 'Are you sure they said Haynes and not James (Ramsay),' " coach Matt Stallbaumer said with a laugh. "I thought that was classic."

Although Ramsay and Shoulders get most of the ink, Haynes has proven every bit as valuable to the Eagles over the past three seasons. The senior shortstop co-captain (along with Shoulders and Ramsay) is rock solid on defense, is an above-average hitter, has some pop and steals bases at the top of the Eagles' lineup. On top of that, Stallbaumer said Haynes is an extension of the coaching staff.

"He's like having an extra coach on the field," Stallbaumer said. "He knows where everyone needs to be and has been a huge part of the reason this program has been successful over the past few years."

Haynes also has emerged as the leader in the clubhouse, providing the liaison between coaching staff and players.

"He knows how to motivate the guys, and when I need a fire lit under them, I always go to Spencer," Stallbaumer said. "He's the guy because all of the players like and — more importantly — respect him."

Haynes said the leadership role he has taken on the team has developed over the years.

"I don't think you just start off as a leader. It's something that I've worked into," he said. "As the shortstop and batting leadoff, I feel it's my job. Anything coach needs, he knows he can come to me and I will do."

Haynes had a solid year as a sophomore, hitting .283 with three HRs and 19 RBIs on Brandon's improbable run to the state finals. But with classmates Shoulders and Ramsay both hitting over .400 that year, their names became synonymous with Brandon baseball.

"In any sport, you need more than one or two guys to make things successful," Stallbaumer said. "Spencer may not be as well known as the other guys but I'll tell you what, he would be the man on nearly every other team in this county."

Haynes broke out last season in a year when Ramsay and Shoulders missed nearly the entire schedule with injuries. Haynes hit .356 with two homers and 26 RBIs. Still, most media outlets focused on the return of Ramsay and Shoulders for this season rather than Haynes' emergence. Haynes, who grew up alongside Shoulders, said not being in the spotlight is nothing new to him.

"I'm kind of used to it by now," Haynes said. "I never show people that it bothers me; I just use it as motivation to do better."

And that's exactly what Haynes has done this season, hitting .364 with five doubles, one home run and 14 RBIs (as of press time) so far. Haynes and Shoulders will continue playing together for at least two more years as well. Both have signed with the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota for next season.

As for this year, with the Saladino Tournament a week away, Haynes said the 13-2 Eagles are poised to make another run at the state title.

"We have a fire in our eyes," he said. "We don't want to look back (at 2008) because this is different. We're seniors, this is our last chance, and we're hungry."

Brandon Wright can be reached at hillsnews@sptimes.com.

Brandon shortstop breaks out from the pack 04/01/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 4:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Gator Caleb Brantley paying a steep price for nothing

    Bucs

    It turns out Caleb Brantley isn't quite the dirtbag that millions of people presumed. It's too bad the damage to his reputation and bank account is already done.

    Caleb Brantley, who dropped to the sixth round of the draft, works out during Browns rookie minicamp. [Associated Press]
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Daniel Robertson walks off the field after being left stranded at first base to end the game.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  4. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has

    Sports

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.