TAMPA — When the Jesuit bats start producing runs, there aren't a lot of teams in the nation — let alone the county — that can stop the Tigers.
Jesuit, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation earlier in the season by Baseball America, has a pitching staff that goes seven deep and a batting order that is solid from top to bottom.
The problem is, the bats went cold toward the end of the season and into the playoffs. The Tigers rolled to an 11-1 win over Dunedin to advance to the regional finals, which is almost an annual ritual for the Tigers, but the hitting had coach Richie Warren concerned enough that he made changes in his lineup to get some more runs at the top of the order.
“It's a long season,” Warren said. “Sometimes you just have to make adjustments. It's a matter of confidence.”
It's not that the Tigers have struggled at the plate. The team entered regionals with a phenomenal .398 team batting average. Eight players were hitting at an-over .400 clip, led by Spencer Trayner (.478) and Leland Saile (.458). On the basepaths, Andris Repins has been successful in 15-of-16 stolen base attempts.
Pitching, though, is the strength of the Tigers. Trayner is 7-1 with a 1.25 ERA and Jordan Parnell is 5-0 with an ERA of 0.53. Ronnie Ramirez hasn't allowed an earned run all season in 14 appearances.
Warren isn't concerned about the pitching and never hit the panic button after the Tigers lost two straight n mid-April, scoring only one run in the two losses.
“I just told them to relax and just build their confidence,” Warren said. “We all know how to do it. When we get an outburst like this (the 11 runs against Dunedin) it shows the guys that they know how to play the game. Confidence means everything.”