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Pasco's swing shift creates potent lineup

Pasco catcher Jorge Jaramillo, a senior, never misses his chocolate doughnut from Olga’s on game days.

LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN | Times

Pasco catcher Jorge Jaramillo, a senior, never misses his chocolate doughnut from Olga’s on game days.

DADE CITY — Wearing a neck brace, shorts and sunglasses, Pasco senior Henry Johnson spent Tuesday afternoon feeding balls into a pitching machine that spit them to a succession of batters. Projected as the ace of this year's staff, Johnson (8-0, 1.00 ERA in 2008) broke his neck in a freak accident at a preseason practice, relegating him to batting practice for now. Throw in the graduation of fellow right-handers Aaron Brandt and Dustin Brown, and the Pirates entered 2009 minus three pitchers who combined for 22 wins and 174 innings last spring. So how have they compensated? By letting offense carry the team, though carry hardly seems an adequate verb. Pasco's bats have clean-and-jerked the Pirates to a 7-1 record. "You hit the baseball, things happen, and that's our strength," coach Ricky Giles said. "We've got to be able to hit for us to be really tough." The following is a look at some Pasco power stats, and power hitters.

By the numbers

.369 Pasco's team batting average, second among North Suncoast public schools to Mitchell (.382)

11 Home runs, most among area public schools

78 RBIs, most among area public schools

.591 Team slugging percentage, tops among area public schools

Pitchers, pick your poison

The first five hitters in Pasco's batting order

Leadoff

Josh Johnson, Sr., CF

Average: .421

Key stats: Leads team in runs (17) and doubles (four)

Walk-up music: Ain't I by Yung LA

Superstition: Spits into both batting gloves before each at-bat

No. 2

Cole Stancil, So., LF

Average: .393

Key stats: Nine RBIs, nine runs

Walk-up music: Can't Be Touched by Roy Jones Jr.

Superstition: Before each pitch, touches inside and outside corner of plate with bat, then twirls it three times

No. 3

Jake Schrader, Sr., SS

Average: .632

Key stats: Leads team in homers (four) and RBIs (18)

Walk-up music: Down and Out by Tantric

Superstition: Wears a black left wristband with a white "E" on it in memory of close friend Jamie Endress, a Pirates softball player who died in 2005

Cleanup

Jorge Jaramillo, Sr., C

Average: .524

Key stats: Three homers, three doubles, 13 RBIs

Walk-up music: Down With the Sickness by Disturbed

Superstition: Has a chocolate doughnut at Olga's, a downtown bakery, each game day

No. 5

Brennan Allen, Jr., 3B/P

Average: .542

Key stats: Second on team in homers (three) and RBIs (14)

Walk-up music: Crawling in the Dark by Hoobastank

Superstition: He has no real superstitions, but Allen prays before each game

No 'K' in this Jake

Of all the gaudy numbers being posted by Schrader, who visited Central Florida Community College on Wednesday, perhaps the most astounding is his strikeout total — or lack thereof. In 145 at-bats dating to the start of last season, Schrader has fanned only seven times. A baseball junkie who played roughly 85 games with assorted travel and all-star teams in the offseason, Schrader's 2009 numbers grow more impressive when considering he's getting little to swing at. "Ninety-five percent curveballs or off-speed," he said. "Every now and then I'll see a fastball, and if I do it's usually up and out or away." To prepare, Schrader hit dozens upon dozens of balls off a tee situated on the outside part of the plate. "I've had my share of walks (seven), I know that," said Schrader, who hit .472 with 46 RBIs in '08. "I've been walked or hit every game. It's getting a little bit annoying, but it's part of the game."

Pasco's swing shift creates potent lineup 03/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 11:03pm]
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