Meet the Cadillac of Hernando County baseball: Springstead’s Jasiak

Jack Jasiak                                                                                                                                                              Photo by  JOE DiCRISTOFALO

BASEBALL

Three-time All-County

selection edges teammate

Lantigua for POY laurels

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

 

Jiovel Lantigua

F.W. Springstead’s recent graduate Jiovel Lantigua pieced together one of the most spectacular prep seasons ever witnessed in 2019.

The 6-foot, 235-pound Dominican Republic dandy with the soft hands, but a big left-handed bat barreled through the Eagles’ 22-5 campaign.

The Tampa=born Lantigua led the county in hitting at .412, hits (35), runs scored (32), extra-base hits (20), homers (13), runs batted in (44), on-base percentage (.528) and slugging percentage (.953).

He ranked third in at-bats (85).

Rick Graves

He tied the F.W. Springstead school record for most round-trippers in a single season set 35 years ago by two-time All-Gulf Coast Athletic Conference pick Rick Graves.

Tied a Hernando County record with three homers in one game against Dunnellon.

Drove in five RBI versus 2018 district champion Dunnellon twice this season.

Was no slouch in classroom either. Off the field, he maintained a 3.8 unweighted and 4.05 weighted grade point average.

Signed D-I with UMass Lowell River Hawks.

He’s currently living in a hotel in West Palm Beach while he spends his last two weeks – until July 20 – in the Boca Raton South Florida Collegiate Baseball League.

Despite earning the rare Hernando County Triple Crown – posting the finest batting average, socking the most homers and driving in the most amount of runs – Lantigua lost the Player of the Year balloting to another Springstead product: Jack Aaron Jasiak, 3-2.

Jasiak: The Cadillac

In the end, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Jasiak turned in a stellar effort both at the plate and on the bump.

Jack Jasiak

At the plate, the Illinois right-handed hitting native finished as the county’s No. 2 hitter – behind Lantigua – .412-378.

In Year 3 at the varsity level, the brown-tressed and brown-eyed Jasiak led the local circuit in at-bats (90) and singles (26).

He ranked runner-up in hits (34). He rated third overall in runs batted in (22).

He finished his prep career as a .359 hitter with 90 hits across 80 games.

Toeing the rubber. Jasiak paced the county in starts (12), complete games (5), strikeouts (113) and shutouts (3).

He ranked runner-up in victories (7) and innings pitched (62.0) and earned run average (1.01).

He issued a county-low five batters all season.

His strikeout to walks ratio was a ridiculous: 22:1.

Jack Jasiak pitches against Dunnellon.                                                                                                           Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

He consistently threw 92 mph.

Across three varsity seasons, he finished 21-5 with a 1.17 ERA. He fanned 250 batters in 167.2 frames.

To his credit, he issued a total of 24 walks in his prep career.

In the classroom, Jasiak was superb. He maintained a 3.9 unweighted and 4.2 weighted grade point average.

He mulled over Division-I offers from Duke University and Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers prior to signing with D-I University of South Florida Bulls in Tampa.

Area coaches heaped praise

As solid a season as Lantigua enjoyed, Jasiak was the Cadillac.

Springstead Head Coach Shawn Laferty. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“Jack was on point all season … He possesses a great arm, but he has such

tremendous leadership; that’s what I’m gonna really miss,” shared Springstead’s fifth-year skipper Shawn Laferty, who was named Hernando County Coach of the Year.

“… He eats, sleeps and breathes baseball … He reminds me of a buddy of mine who ended up playing for the Minnesota Twins … He was the kind of player that picked guys up in the dugout … He was always behind the team.”

Patrick McHugh

“Jack was a great hitter and great pitcher,” added Weeki Wachee’s Patrick McHugh. “It seemed like he always threw well; was always productive at the plate … He always seemed to get the strikeout when he needed it … What separates him from so many others is his velocity and he has a great baseball IQ.”

 

 

Al Sorrentino Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“Was a dominant player as a pitcher and a very good offensive player as well,” explained Central High’s Al Sorrentino. “We didn’t see him, but he obviously has a quality arm … That doesn’t happen unless you have some kind of ability … Tremendous student/athlete.”

Frank Vitale Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

“Was a pretty dominant pitcher … Rarely walked anyone,” noted Nature Coast Technical mentor Frank Vitale. “Every time he came out to compete, he showed great class on the mound … He swung the bat well, too.”

 

Tim Sims

“Fits the mold in strikeouts … Has the right body size … Fits the mold to a “T” stressed Hernando High’s 24th-year skipper Tim Sims. “I respect him as a competitor … He does everything you would ask someone who is heading to the next level … His discipline and his work ethic separates from others … He’s a kid whose gonna work toward his goals … Jasiak is the whole package: the work ethic, the classroom and what he does on the field.”

NO-HIT BUNCH –  Pitchers 49, Jack Jasiak and Bryce Holmes. Catchers Jake Rice and Jake Jasiak. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

POY Reaction

Jasiak, 18, explained that he wouldn’t have minded to have split the honor with Lantigua – a long time friend from West Hernando Little League days – on Deltona Boulevard.

“Jiovel had a great season. He did well,” stressed Jasiak. “He’ll tell you, he could’ve done a little better – which is crazy.

Listen, guys like Jiovel made my job a lot easier. The offense he generated, took some pressure off,” explained Jasiak. “It’s a lot different pitching with the lead.

“…We had a lot of chemistry on our team – that was our foundation. Jiovel deserves a lot of credit. I would have been fine be named Co-MVPs.”

After being tabbed POY, “I’m very honored,” accepted Jasiak. “At the end of the day, the team helped me do this. We all went through the ups and downs together. We had to pick each other up along the way.”

Jack Jasiak                                                                                             Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Jack was born in Naperville, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago – as the third of four children to Joseph and Jennifer Jasiak.

Jack’s dad played football in Naperville but inherited his mother’s DNA from playing softball and volleyball.

The Jasiak’s have called Spring Hill home for the past 15 years.

Tracing his athletic roots, Jack’s first organized sport was playing baseball at the Hernando County Family YMCA in Spring Hill at 5.

He played at “Y” for two years until joining WHLL. He played on Deltona Blvd’s “Freedom Field” until he was 12.

That’s when he turned to travel ball playing for the St. Petersburg Storm for two years.

He attended Challenger K-8, and played junior varsity basketball as a sixth- and seventh-grader.

Challenger K-8 Navigators

As an eighth-grader, he made the varsity basketball team.

Once he matriculated to Springstead High, he was one of the key cogs in the Eagles’ 16-1 junior varsity baseball campaign as a freshman.

He played the final three varsity seasons under Laferty.

As far as his favorite courses at SHS, Jasiak says he struggled writing essays until completing English I and English II and getting assistance from Mrs. Herniaz in English III.

NEXT BULL – Spring Hill’s Jack Jasiak signs to attend USF. With hisgGrandparents, Gary and Carol Vandernoord.
Back row features his brother Jake, his father Joseph and mother Jenny Jasiak. sister in ;aw, Stephanie. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Becoming a Bull

Jasiak officially visited Duke University and Florida Gulf Coast University prior to inking with another Division-I program: USF.

University of South Florida Bulls

“Both Duke and FGCU had a lot to offer,” shared Jasiak. “But when I got to Tampa, I fell in love with the place. It was like they have my whole life mapped out.

“Even with the generous offer from Duke, it was too expensive to attend Duke. I loved the coaches. The facilities were first-rate, but I was also 10 hours from home.“

“At USF, I’m an hour away from home,“ grinned Jasiak. “The facilities were out of this world. They just finished building a new softball and baseball complex. The coaches were also straight with me.

“I was guaranteed nothing. For me to play, I have to go out and earn it,” he shared. “I’m coming in ready to work out. Because I’m a pitcher, I don’t hit, but it was cool just stepping on the field under that huge jumbo tron scoreboard, Even their weight room was beautiful.”

Jasiak plans on studying health science. He aspires to become a personal trainer or a chiropractor or possibly open up his own gym.

While Lantigua is fighting off fast balls, Jasiak began summer school courses in Tampa.

It’s just to help him acclimate himself academically to school.

“As a freshman, I‘m living in an apartment-style dorm. All the baseball guys are on the same floor. There are a lot of renovations going on campus. They’re even putting in a Publix,” noted Jasiak.

“USF was the right place for me,” added Jasiak. “To me, it was the right fit.”

Springstead pitcher Jack Jasiak is greeted by catcher Jake Rice, between innings during the game versus North Marion. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Retracing his prep days

Jasiak believes his days in Spring Hill have prepared him for the college process ahead in Hillsborough County.

Jack Jasiak

“Springstead was a great experience, both athletically and academically,” he shared.

“The program was so successful. Part of the reason was because we had discipline and we had guys who went through some adversity. I think we proved some people wrong when we won districts again this year.

“… We were a little more mature this season because of guys like Jiovel and I. I hope the younger guys feed off of what we did this year,” noted Jasiak.

On the keys to the Eagles’ fourth district final in a row, “We had so much versatility in our lineup,” emphasized Jasiak. “Take a guy like Jake Miller. Absolutely no one knew who he was, except our guys. He came through super clutch. So did Max (O’Rourke).”

Though there was interest from the Philadelphia Phillies organization, Jasiak was not drafted.

“The Phillies have seen me a few times. There’s a lot of good people there,” shared Jasiak. “I just couldn’t say no to that last workout with them. Professional baseball is my ultimate goal. It’s where I want to be. Playing baseball is a life decision. That’s why I only went four innings in my last start (regional quarterfinal against North Marion).

“All my teammates were super supportive. Everybody knew the week before the game what the deal was,” shared Jasiak. “We had plenty of opportunities to win that game. But we made some mistakes; that’s baseball.”

When the curtains came down on his prep career, “It was a great run,” smiled Jasiak.

Of all Jasiak’s accomplishments, he was most proud of his stinginess toward issuing free passes.

“For me, what stands out is walking five guys all year,” Jasiak boasted. “I hope Max and other pitchers learn that walks are what keeps you from winning.

“I think wins are over rated, but walks are something that we, as pitchers, can control.”

Being a part of the program that won districts as a freshman and sophomore season was okay, but nothing resembled winning districts as a senior.

According to Jasiak, “That last district championship stands out,” he grinned. “It was pretty fun beating a good Dunnellon team. They were our toughest competition. They’re a scrappy team just like we were. After losing to then at home as juniors, it was special to win it again.”

Springstead shortstop Jack Jasiak puts an end to a steal attempt during the Class 6A, District 6 Championship game versus Dunnellon. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Card of thanks

Before beginning the next chapter of his life, Jasiak paused to thank some folks.

“First of all, I have to thank God and my parents for getting me this far,” he said. “My family helped me and we prayed together about making the right decision to go to USF.”

“…I have to thank Coach Laferty as well,” he added. “He was a big help. It meant a lot having him in my corner.

“I also have to thank my teachers at Springstead for getting me prepared for college. They helped me build an academic foundation.”

Prior to attending college fulltime, “I’m excited and nervous,” described Jasiak. “I feel like I’m prepared for the experience ahead.”

On his legacy, “I just pray. I’d like to make it to Major Leagues. Whether anyone recognizes me there doesn’t matter. I’d like to be remembered as a child of God,” shared Jasiak.

By the Numbers:

Springstead’s Jack Jasiak (2017-19)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

HITTING

Jack Jasiak                                                                                               Photo by JOE DICRISTOFALO
 

YEAR

 

GP

 

AB

 

R

 

H

 

2B

 

3B

 

HR

 

RBI

 

.AVG

2017

26

79

12

26

5

1

0

21

.329

2018

27

82

19

30

8

0

0

16

.366

2019

27

90

22

34

5

2

1

22

.378

 

TOT

 

80

 

251

 

53

 

90

 

18

 

3

 

1

 

59

 

.359

PITCHING

Springstead High’s Jack Jasiak started the game on the mound versus Nature Coast.                               Photo by JOE DICRISTOFALO
 

YEAR

 

AP

 

GS

 

CG

 

IP

 

H

 

R

 

ER

 

BB

 

KO

 

SO

 

W

 

L

 

ERA

2017

10

10

0

44.0

34

13

6

7

51

0

7

1

0.95

2018

13

11

4

61.2

52

27

13

12

86

1

7

3

1.48

2019

13

12

5

62.0

41

13

9

5

113

3

7

1

1.01

 

TOT

 

36

 

33

 

9

 

167.2

 

127

 

53

 

28

 

24

 

250

 

4

 

21

 

5

 

1.17

 

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