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Baseball column

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by LemMan, May 29, 2007.

  1. LemMan

    LemMan Member

    Hey all...

    The state baseball tournament was played in our backyard, and though we had no local teams qualify, I wrote a column from each day, picking any topic that interested me. Here's one, and I'd love to hear some feedback.


    It's about a kid with an average hovering near .100, down to his last strike, poking a knuckling grounder toward third, sparking a season-saving surge and getting bombarded by his teammates.

    It's about a heart of a lineup, quiet for most of the evening, stringing together three extra-base hits.

    It's about a group of players who were born without a quit gene, banding together one more time.

    The final score in Port St. Lucie's win over Lithia Newsome in Wednesday's Class 5A state baseball semifinal at Ed Smith Stadium wasn't deceiving. In this case, 7-2 was an outright lie.

    The Jaguars had four outs left in the season, down 2-0 with the bases loaded. There were two outs in the bottom of the sixth when they put their faith in pinch hitter Max Scarogni, a left-handed-swinging senior. He hadn't had an at-bat in Port St. Lucie's five previous postseason games and was hitting .111.

    Such is the Port St. Lucie way. Five of the Jaguars' wins this season have come when they were tied or trailing in the seventh inning. Four of their five postseason wins were decided by one run, including a nine-inning victory over West Boca Raton that earned Port St. Lucie its first trip to the state final four.

    So it came as no surprise when Scarogni - seriously, could a kid with a name as cool as that not be the big hero? - fisted a pitch toward Newsome third baseman Kyle Copack. Scarogni beat the throw, which skipped past the first baseman and allowed both runs to score.

    "He's a good left-handed hitter," Port St. Lucie coach Tony Malizia said. "(But) we've been on this run, (and) we've stayed with the same nine, it seems. You hate to move things around."

    But Malizia noticed Newsome pitcher Matt Greer, so good over the first five innings, was struggling against lefties. He didn't like the way his No. 9 hitter, Tony Degirolamo, looked during his last at-bat.

    So he did move things around. And his Jags poured things on, scoring five more runs on another Newsome fielding error, followed by a triple sandwiched between two doubles, burying a scrappy Newsome team that, after losing its district final, won three regional games on the road to get to Sarasota for the first time in its short history.

    "You look in their eyes, and they look like, 'OK, we'll go right now,' " Malizia said. "It's not good on me, but they seem to have all the confidence in the world.

    "It's the same way every game. I think I've lost 10 or 15 pounds during this run."

    What Malizia hasn't lost is a shred of faith, and neither have his players, including Scarogni, who hadn't taken a meaningful swing since the regular season.

    "I had confidence in myself," Scarogni said. "I had confidence in Tony, as well, but Coach chose me because (Greer) was struggling with lefties."

    Then again, who could lose faith in a team that's staged more comebacks than Cher? The Jaguars are off to tonight's 7 p.m. championship game, appearing in a state final for the first time in program history.

    Plan on going. And whatever you do, don't leave early.

    John Lembo can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2097.
  2. HeinekenMan

    HeinekenMan Active Member

    Not a bad column. I think you might go overboard in a few spots on trying to sell the drama of this. The drama is inherent in what happened. You don't need to sell it so much. But I loved the lede.

    Also, I would have loved to hear more about Scarogni. In fact, since this is a column, you might have focused on the guy a little more, asking him about his years in the game and his season and whether he thought about giving up, etc, etc. And maybe you could have talked to other players.

    But it's fairly well done and unique. I enjoyed it.
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