After adding four recruits Monday, University of South Florida baseball coach Eddie Cardieri is as happy as he can be _ considering that the amateur draft is in full swing and "we could lose five or six of the guys." Cardieri may get more than solace from the latest signees:
Scott Dedmon, a former star first baseman at Gaither High, played two years at South Florida Junior College. He batted .375 as a freshman and .330 as a sophomore but did not play last year. He should challenge senior Wade Norris for the starting spot, assuming that Norris regains his academic eligibility.
Jay Hatfield, a catcher, made first-team all-state last year at North Florida Junior College, where he hit .330.
Dave Blank is a left-handed pitcher from Andover (Mass.) High whom Cardieri compared to former Armwood High star Sterling Hitchcock. Two years ago, Hitchcock signed with USF but was drafted by the Yankees and turned pro.
Darren Stumberger, who was picked in the 38th round by the Chicago Cubs last year, coming out of Spanish River High, was second in the state in runs batted in (47) as a freshman at Miami-Dade Community College.
Garcia staying, for now: He won't be teaching at Gaither next year, but Earl Garcia will remain the Cowboys football coach for at least one more year, principal Ron Allen said Monday.
"He'll be off campus, but we wanted to maintain consistency," Allen said. "We talked with the seniors, and they were united in wanting their coach back, and that was a big factor. It could be a very difficult situation. We won't know where Mr. Garcia will be reappointed, but we're going to try it."
Garcia, who was Gaither's only work-experience teacher, was placed in the Hillsborough County teachers' pool last month when an insufficient number of students signed up for the course.