If the Brandon baseball team is going to duplicate the success of last year, which included a trip to the Class 5A state semifinals, the Eagles might have to do it without two of their top run producers.
Centerfielder James Ramsay has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and first baseman Roderick Shoulders a torn labrum in his left (nonthrowing) shoulder. Both players were scheduled to have MRI exams, but it appeared both would need surgery.
Coach Matt Stallbaumer said he is prepared to be without both players for the remainder of the high school season. Depending on the results of the MRI exams, the juniors will have to make a difficult decision whether to have immediate surgery to be back in time for an important summer of showcases and summer ball.
"I think we just got our (bulletin-board) headline to motivate us all season," Stallbaumer said. "Every other team is going to be foaming at the mouth to get us, and maybe more so now. Right now, we have to prepare to move on without them. But those are two guys who have such a passion for the game. A coach loves to have guys like those two, and they don't come along all that often."
Ramsay, last year's Times Hillsborough County Player of the Year, led the Eagles with a .467 average, 35 runs and nine doubles. He added three homers and 30 RBIs. He has already committed to USF. Stallbaumer said Ramsay's knee got stuck in the turf chasing a ball in centerfield in the preseason, but he kept playing until Stallbaumer suggested he get the knee checked out further.
Shoulders, a Times all-Hillsborough County first-team selection, led the county with 39 RBIs while hitting .414 with six homers and eight doubles. He injured his shoulder diving for a ball in Tuesday's game. He couldn't lift his hands above his head after the play, Stallbaumer said.
Brandon (3-0) faces district rival Newsome at home today.