There were times this season that his name stood among the state's hitting leaders. Louis Colaiacomo is the first to admit his inflated batting average inflated his ego. Learning to poke a hole in his numbers could prove to be a huge lesson, one that benefits him in baseball and life. "I wasn't humble about what I was doing," the Hernando junior said. "I was bragging, but now I leave it alone. It's not a big deal."
Maybe not, but Colaiacomo's bat has helped Hernando remain one of the North Suncoast's playoff contenders.
When his numbers began to slip and his name began to dip, Colaiacomo realized success can come and go as quickly as a fastball. A couple of bad games brought out the skeptics, and in the harsh hallways of high school, nothing can bring a teenager down quicker.
"People said I was slumping the last couple of games," Colaiacomo said. "You're going to have a bad game; you know how baseball is."
Ultimately, Colaiacomo has learned baseball is not simply about him. The Central transfer came to Hernando County six years ago when his family moved from Long Island, N.Y. His father sold his restoration business, only to start another in Florida. Since then, his parents have divorced. Colaiacomo lives with his mother; his father lives in Naples.
"My dad comes and sees me every weekend," Colaiacomo said. "Without my dad there, it's rough. He's a big deal."
But the son has treated mom and dad to impressive performances with his bat.
Colaiacomo leads the North Suncoast in hitting — .547 with 35 hits, 23 RBIs, 13 doubles, two home runs and 25 runs. In his first 11 games, Colaiacomo batted .500 or better in each game with 23 hits in 42 plate appearances.
"He started out hot, hotter than Dee Brown or Chris Cole," said Leopards coach Tim Sims, comparing Colaiacomo to a pair of former stars. "Louis has had an outstanding season. He continues to show up every day."
Perhaps the only thing standing in Colaiacomo's way to a glorious ascent in baseball is his size (5-foot-7, 185 pounds). Colaiacomo, who filled in at catcher to start the season before moving to the outfield, has attended showcases where scouts drop their radar guns when he steps to the plate.
"I don't get seen over all these big kids," Colaiacomo said. "They say, 'This kid's little.' I guess people have to talk. All these good kids get looked at. When they see a little kid come up they don't want to watch him hit."
Sims, a veteran coach, sees it a little differently. He said Colaiacomo can switch hit and will gain strength before graduation.
"He's a baseball player," Sims said. "When you can hit they'll find a place for you to play. …It does not matter what type pitcher is on the mound, he's a tough out, as tough an out as I've seen in some time."
Izzy Gould can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 421-3886.