Can a baseball pitcher with a 9-1 high school record and a minuscule 0.20 earned-run average improve at the college level?
That's hard to gauge precisely, but East Lake graduate Ryan Snare is mowing down University of North Carolina opponents with regularity this spring.
Snare, a 6-foot, 190-pound left-hander, beat Duke 9-5 last weekend for his fifth win of the year against three losses. On the season for the 28-16 Tar Heels, he has a 5.32 ERA in 59 innings with 61 strikeouts and 46 walks. The ERA is deceiving because North Carolina coach Mike Roberts left Snare in against Florida State to take a hammering in the form of 12 earned runs in 2 innings.
Snare's best game of the year was shutting out then second-ranked Miami for seven innings in a 1-0, 10-inning loss to the Hurricanes. He struck out 12, including seven in a row.
Because it was the first time since 1973 that Miami had been shut out over nine innings, Hurricanes coach Jim Morris said at the time it was the most dominating appearance against them all year.
Coach Roberts has been equally impressed with Snare, recognizing that he has been pitching with stiffness in his arm.
"Ryan is an outstanding athlete," Roberts said in a phone interview from Chapel Hill. "He's made a big impact at UNC this year and is one of the top left-handers in the nation when his arm's been healthy. He handles himself well in the ninth inning as well as the first; with the bases loaded as well as with no one on. He has an extremely great future."
Snare, who pitched a perfect game against Seminole High last year, was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the ninth round in June and was later invited to the USA team tryouts in Houston in November.
He is scheduled to start today at home against N.C. State in the opener of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series.
MORE BASEBALL: At North Florida, left-handed pitcher Brett McKee (Seminole High/Edison Community College) has a 5-2 record for the 32-16 Ospreys, ranked 11th in the latest Division II poll. McKee, a senior, picked up his fifth win Sunday, going five innings in a 10-8 victory over Georgia College.
Catcher Erik Brown, who batted .403 at Seminole High last year, is being redshirted at North Florida.
At Penn State, first baseman Scott Boruta (Dunedin) has raised his batting average to .366 and on-base percentage to .474 while batting second. He's 9-for-9 in stolen bases and is second on the team in homers with six.
SOFTBALL: Janeen Sobush (Countryside) is delivering key hits for sixth-ranked South Florida (53-10), which has wrapped up its third consecutive bid to the NCAA tournament. Sobush, who also letters in soccer, has been playing the outfield and catching. She has a .246 batting average with 13 RBI and four doubles, and is 5-for-7 in stolen bases.
Sobush may return to Clearwater for an NCAA regional since USF has a bid in to host the tournament at Bomber Stadium May 14-16. The winner advances to the College World Series at Oklahoma City May 21-25.
Amy Sobieraj (Dunedin), who plays leftfield for South Carolina-Aiken, is batting .292 for the 25-33 Pacers of the Peach Belt Conference. She leads the team with two homers, and also has six doubles and three triples.
SWIMMING: At West Point, Joe Novak was the only cadet to qualify for the U.S. Swimming Nationals at Minneapolis earlier this month. Swimming in meters, he placed 10th in the 50 freestyle in a personal-record 23.40 seconds, 11th in the 100 free (51.67) and 14th in the 100 butterfly (55.93). Earlier this season, Novak broke the pool record at West Point in the 100-yard free with a 44.13.
Coach Ray Bosse at Army said efforts are being made to enable Novak to train for the national championships in August after he completes his obligatory military training. That meet could earn Novak a place on U.S. teams at international meets.
Novak, a junior, is majoring in environmental engineering and has been elected team captain for next season.
"Joe wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school," Bosse said, "but his hard work and attention to details have paid off. He's the epitome of everything West Point looks for."
Auburn team captain Adam Jerger (Boca Ciega) earned All-America honors in three events as the Tigers hosted the NCAA Championships. He finished second in the 100 breaststroke to Olympian Jeremy Linn of Tennessee in a school-record 53.31, sixth in the 200 breast, and first as a member of the 200 medley relay team, which broke the NCAA and U.S. open record in 1:25.24.
BASKETBALL: Jessica Webb, who played for East Lake High under her maiden name of Brazzell, started at small forward at South Alabama this past season. She averaged 9.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.8 steals and assists.
TRACK: The Schmidt twins from Dixie Hollins High, Chris and Marjorie, are finishing up their college careers at South Alabama after four years of success at cross country.
Chris has become a steeplechase athlete, winning the 3,000-meter event at the Green Wave Invitational at Tulane two weeks ago in a Sun Belt Conference-leading time of 9:27. In a field of 10 teams, he also ran the 800 in 1:55.07 for 11th place.
Marjorie, who has battled injuries this spring, ran a 18:47 for 5K at the March 27 Raleigh Relays at N.C. State, taking 48th place in a large field.
TENNIS: As the No. 1-ranked women's college player, Georgia's Marissa Catlin (Anchor Academy) is the No. 1 college athlete from the Tampa Bay area in all sports. On Tuesday, the Rolex Collegiate rankings named the sophomore with a 37-4 record No. 1 for the first time. Significantly, her record is 23-2 versus ranked opponents.
Catlin was ranked No. 1 in doubles earlier in the season with teammate Vanessa Castellano, who is now injured.
On Sunday, Catlin won both her singles and doubles matches in a 5-2 team loss to Florida in the SEC tournament at Lexington, Ky.
GOLF: Matt Saglio (Admiral Farragut) helped Florida Southern win the Sunshine State Conference title for the ninth time in 10 years last weekend. Individually, he finished fourth with rounds of 72-77-77_226.