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)

Brandon's Ramsay, Shoulders not quite finished making memories

Roderick Shoulders, left, and James Ramsay couldn’t build off 2008’s success as both were sidelined by injuries last season.


Roderick Shoulders, left, and James Ramsay couldn’t build off 2008’s success as both were sidelined by injuries last season.

BRANDON — Spring 2008 was undoubtedly a memorable season for Brandon's James Ramsay and Roderick Shoulders.

As sophomores, Ramsay and Shoulders were top players on an Eagles team that rode an 18-game win streak to the state semifinals for the first time in 13 years.

Injuries robbed them of their junior years. Now both are back at 100 percent, focused on bringing Brandon back in their senior season.

"If you ask anybody about Brandon, they'll tell you about that '08 season," Shoulders said. "We want everyone to remember us for our 2010 season and not our 2008 season. We're trying to forget about it and let it go."

In 2008, Ramsay, a centerfielder who hit .467, was the Times' Hillsborough County Player of the Year. Shoulders led the county in RBIs with 34. Just three games into the 2009 season both were shelved with serious injuries — Ramsay a torn ACL that required surgery and ended his season, and Shoulders with a torn labrum that kept him out two months.

"Some days you were like, 'Dang, I just wish I could get up there and get a hit right now.' You wanted to help your teammates, but you knew you can't do anything but try to keep them pumped up," Shoulders said.

Now Ramsay and Shoulders are major reasons the Eagles have rebounded. Brandon (12-2, 5-1) heads into today's nondistrict game against Riverview leading Class 6A-8 — arguably the state's most competitive district — by two games. One more district win and the Eagles clinch the No. 1 seed.

Ramsay and Shoulders, team captains, are just two pieces to Brandon's success. Four other seniors — co-captain shortstop Spencer Haynes as well as third baseman Spencer Dewey, second baseman Derek Dungan and pitcher Austin Browder — started two years ago, a fact coach Matt Stallbaumer said has made their return easier.

"Some kids might have come out and tried to do too much, but I think having a lot of seniors on this team allows them to just continue to play," Stallbaumer said. "There's been a comfort level they've had ever since they've been here, and that's having a good supporting cast. We've come out and pitched and played defense."

Ramsay, floating within the top three spots in the batting order, is hitting .386 and has reached safely in all 14 games (a .518 on-base percentage). Shoulders is hitting .395 with three homers and 17 RBIs, all team highs.

"Both those two, had they not been injured, would have set every seasonal mark we've had since Brandon started," Stallbaumer said. "I think with those two guys being out and us not quite achieving what we thought we were going to achieve last year, it just makes them hungry.

"But ever since I met those kids as freshmen, every day it's about playing the game at a high level."

Other than being their last high school season — Ramsay has signed with USF and Shoulders with State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota — this year is different.

In centerfield, Ramsay has new outfielders around him. Shoulders, who shared catching duties with Mike Smith the past two seasons, is primarily behind the plate.

But to Ramsay and Shoulders, the most important thing is being back on the field.

"There was a lot of frustration and disappointment that we couldn't help our teammates," Ramsay said. "You look back at all the times you sat down, and it makes you feel grateful you have the opportunity to play high school baseball. That's the best part about playing this year."

Brandon's Ramsay, Shoulders not quite finished making memories 03/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 25, 2010 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays Tales: 10 smart decisions that helped the Rays get where they are

    The Heater

    The Rays this week will reach the midpoint of their season and, all things considered, it hasn't been half bad. To have logged 40 wins in 77 games without a pitch being thrown by two guys expected to play key bullpen roles in Brad Boxberger and Shawn Tolleson, without an at-bat by starting SS Matt …

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Today: vs. Orioles

    1:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Pitcher Jake Odorizzi #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at Charlotte Sports Park during photo day on February 26, 2014 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  3. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals


    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  4. Bullpen melts down as Rays lose to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jacob Faria allowed his first two big-league home runs and was touched for a career-high three runs Saturday by the Orioles. Other than that, the rookie making his fourth major-league start did okay against the Baltimore bats.

    The bullpen, not so much.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Baltimore Orioles scored four runs during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 24, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) SPD118
  5. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101