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)

LOL pitcher Garcia slams door on Wiregrass

WESLEY CHAPEL — Eight guns keyed in on Jason Garcia.

Those invisible beams have been tracking most of his pitches since the early summer, their aim on fastball after fastball.

And again Tuesday it was clear why these Major League Baseball scouts sit in a tight cluster behind home plate, angling their radar guns at the Land O'Lakes senior.

As his fastball approached 90 miles per hour, Garcia took command in a 3-0 victory at Wiregrass Ranch. The Bulls mustered just two hits off Garcia, who finished with 11 strikeouts, five walks, one hit batter and the complete-game shutout.

"Over the summer it made me nervous," Garcia said of the scouts. "Now I just focus on the glove and throw strikes."

Garcia's command was vital Tuesday on another night when the Gators' bats were ice cold. They finished with just three hits, two singles from designated hitter Gino Pepenella.

Land O'Lakes (6-2) scored in the top of the third inning thanks to a sacrifice fly to leftfield by David Perez. Then with runners at the corners, a wild pitch by Wiregrass Ranch's John Michael Gant scored Trae Urban from third. A throwing error by Bulls catcher Spencer Bowles over third base allowed the Gators' Nick Pardo to race home for a 3-0 lead.

"Offensively, I'm befuddled," Land O'Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said. "We're a work in progress. We're better than this. I know I've got guys that can hit, but right now it's contagious and we've all got it. … If we ever start swinging the bat like we can, we'll be dangerous."

Baisley said he's superstitious and has yet to defer to some old rituals to revive his sluggers. In the past Baisley said he has pulled lineups out of a hat and canceled batting practice to help alleviate the mental pressures of the slump.

Wiregrass (8-2) had its own struggles offensively. Three baserunners would reach second, but first-year coach Jeff Swymer was more concerned about the lack of leadoff runners reaching base. In all, only Josh Johnson managed to advance to first on a walk in the fourth before becoming the second out of the inning.

Gant also went the distance with seven strikeouts, three hits and just two walks.

In terms of the district race, the Bulls still hold a commanding lead for the top seed with plenty of baseball to be played. Next up, Pasco on Thursday.

"We still control our own destiny," Swymer said. "We have to make sure this loss doesn't snowball. … We're on top of the district. We have to make sure we stay there."

Izzy Gould can be reached at or (813) 421-3886.

LOL pitcher Garcia slams door on Wiregrass 03/09/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …