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. Rays morning after: Zim's legacy felt on bunt play

    Blogs

     

  2. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  3. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.