By Eric Schmidt

Bishop Verot continued where they left off last year with a 9-2 drubbing of The Port Charlotte Pirates at Bishop Verot. New head Coach David Nelson, who took over for last years State Champion coach Tom LoSauro, used a variety of pitchers to stifle Port Charlotte’s offense.

Starting pitcher, Jeffrey Passantino, kept the  Pirates on their heels through the first 3 innings. Passantino, who is only a sophomore, used his 87 m.p.h. fastball to acquire 7 strikeouts. A member of the FTB (Florida Travel Ball) Pride team, Passantino pitched his team to a 2nd place finish in the World Wood Bat World Series in Jupiter Florida. With a current 3.1 g.p.a, Jeffrey Passantino is already being recruited by many colleges across the nation,such as, East Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Liberty.

So how is Coach Nelson going to fill the void left by Minnesota Twins draftee Hudson Boyd and Chicago Cubs draftee Dan Vogelbach?

Although they lost the most prolific power hitter ever to come out of Florida in Dan Vogelbach, Coach Nelson still has a team that can hit. Nicholas Rivera, an FGCU commit, provides the power that Dan Vogelbach brought to the team last year. Rivera, who is a senior, is a strong kid that can go deep at any given time. He is a solid infielder as well. Rivera can play both third base and second base. Another strong hitter is Chase Vogelbach. Yes, another Vogelbach to play for the Vikings of Verot. Chase is Dan Vogelbach’s cousin. Although he may not provide the power of Dan, Chase can still hit the long ball, as well as spread it all over the field. Chase, who will be attending Marshall University on a baseball scholarship, also provides speed. He can run a 6.7 60 yd. dash. Chase is also a player on the FTB team Pride.

Another key for Coach Nelson and his team, is a solid defense. All three outfielders are seniors. Chase Vogelbach, Brock Graber, and  Joshua Garcia. All three have incredibly strong arms and Graber and Garcia can also platoon as pitchers when needed. Although their infield may not be made up of all seniors they still will provide to the teams strength on defense. On the corners are two seniors. Rivera at third and Paul Bretton at first. Bretton is a preferred walk on at Florida Southern. Turning the double play this year for the Vikings are two sophomores. Evan Doughtery will be playing short while Bobby Brennan will complete the tandem at second base. Doughtery is another member of FTB Pride and Brennan will be showcasing his skills June 12 and 13th for The Perfect Game Jr’s. located in the Metrodome.

In district 4A-11 Bishop Verot should be champs again. Their opponents are Dunbar, Gateway Charter, LaBelle, and Clewiston. With their solid defense, good hitting, speed, and a pitching staff that has Frankie Romano, a senior, at catcher, the Vikings of Bishop Verot are poised to make another run to repeat as state champions. Catch their next game February 10th at 7:00 p.m. against Charlotte at Bishop Verot.

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