Seven-run first inning propels Eagles past Knights, 14-4

Springstead High’s Logan Blevins leans away from an inside pitch during game against River Ridge at Weeki Wachee High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO.
Springstead High’s catcher Jake Rice and pitcher Jack Jasiak confer after a scoreless inning during game against River Ridge at Weeki Wachee High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO.
Springstead High’s Joey Hopper scores against River Ridge at Weeki Wachee High. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO.


SHS right-hander Jasiak

departs after 66 pitches,

two-hitter and 12-0 lead


WEEKI WACHEE – Here’s a tell tale stat.

Just two seasons ago when F.W. Springstead set a new school record behind a magical 24-4 campaign, it established another mark for longest win streak.

Over an 11-game stretch, the Eagles carved out 11 straight wins averaging 6.23 runs per game.

Two years later, fifth-year skipper Shawn Laferty’s crew has roared out of the gates.

This time, the Spring Hill crew enters Wednesday night’s third-round of the Tom Varn Baseball Tournament – sponsored by Brooksville’s Farm Bureau Insurance – riding a nine-game win streak.

During the current run to open the season, the Mariner Boulevard crew is averaging 9.22 runs per game.

On Tuesday night at Weeki Wachee’s enormous ballpark, the Eagles rode a seven-run first inning to derail New Port Richey-River Ridge in 4.5 innings, 14-4.

With the victory, the Eagles will face Dade City-Pasco at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nature Coast Technical.

Pasco claimed its second tourney win, edging the archrival Zephyrhills Bulldogs, 2-1.

Several contributors

Offensively, the Eagles collected a game-high 10 hits as eight starters registered at least one safety.

Seniors Jason Bienstock and Jiovel Lantigua paced Springstead with two hits apiece.

Interestingly, all nine starters in the lineup scored at least one run.

Lantigua and Ivan Ortiz each plated three runs for the victors.

On the bump, senior right-hander Jack Jasiak, who has already signed Division-I with the University of South Florida in Tampa, continues on a torrid pace.

Leading 12-0, Jasiak departed after 66 pitches across four frames.

In all, he faced 15 batters and yielded two singles and one free pass against eight punchouts.

To date, the two-time All-Hernando County performer has permitted nine hits in 16.2 innings pitched. He’s allowed two walks and fanned 33 batters while improving to 3-0

Defensively, the Eagles converted 19-of-20 chances while the Knights committed a game-high four errors.

Recapping the scoring

The Eagles paraded 11 batters to the plate in the opening inning against previously unbeaten pitcher Travis Hawks.

Bienstock. who began the week hitting .238 – but has since gone 4-for-5 – opened the tilt with a single to center.

Jiovel Lantigua

With one out, Lantigua, who began the week hitting .364, blistered a hit-and-run single to right field.

Senior catcher Jake Rice followed with an RBI single to left, 1-0.

Ortiz hit into a fielder’s choice erasing Rice, before junior Jake Miller was plunked by a pitch to load the sacks.

Junior Joey Hopper, who entered the week hitting .222, rapped a two-run single up the middle plating Lantigua and Ortiz, 3-0.

On a 3-2 pitch, junior Logan Blevens coaxed a walk to reload the bases.

Infielder Louis Rodriguez followed with a two-run single scoring Miller and Hopper, 5-0.

Bienstock rammed a 1-0 Hawks’ offering up the middle for his second hit of the inning plating Blevens and Rodriguez, 7-0.

The Spring Hill crew added two unearned runs in the second.

With Hawks on the mound, Lantigua singled to right.

With one out, shortstop Joe Mangene committed back-to-back errors to load the bases.

Hopper coaxed a walk on five pitches, 8-0.

Blevens skied a sacrifice fly scoring Ortiz, 9-0.

Logan Blevens

Sam Kennedy replaced Hawks on the mound for the third inning but lasted only six batters.

The Eagles mustered three runs to extend the cushion to 12-0.

Bienstock, again was the catalyst.

He led off with a walk and immediately stole second base before advancing to third on a wild pitch.

Jasiak helped himself with an RBI single to left, plating Bienstock, 10-0.

Lantigua reached on a fielding error by the third sacker before Rice walked to load the bases.

Ortiz followed with a sacrifice fly, 11-0.

After Miller coaxed the fourth walk of the inning, Kennedy was replaced in favor of Mangene.

Joey Hopper

Hopper greeted Mangene with a sacrifice fly – his game-high fourth run batted in – to swell the lead to 12-0.

River Ridge broke up Jasiak’s no-hit bid on back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth by Logan Grande and Deven Henwood.

Both runners were left stranded on base.

When Jasiak was lifted, reliever Joe Berry was roughed up for four runs on two hits.

With the bases loaded, Chris Abbot skied a sacrifice fly, 12-1.

Two batters later, Grande rifled a two-run triple just inside the first base line, 12-3.

When Henwood reached on the Eagles’ only error of the game, Grande scored, 12-4.

SHS needed four batters to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth.

With one out and Rice aboard on a fielder‘s choice, Ortiz launched an RBI double into the left field-corner, 13-4.

Ivan Ortiz

Miller, who began the week hitting .368, punched an RBI single to right plating Ortiz to close the books, 14-4.

The Knights (4-2 overall), who collected four hits, were led by a pair by Grande.

Post-game chatter

Jason Bienstock

Bienstock, who ranked ninth on the hitting in hitting at .235 last season, continues to set the table, reaching base three times in four trips against RRHS.

“I went 2-for-3 and had a pretty solid night,” grinned Bienstock, 17. “The pitching wasn’t anything special.”

On the game’s significance, “Oh it was very big,” responded Bienstock. “We’ve been really hitting lately.”

On Jasiak’s efforts, “He always consistent. He never has a bad game.“

In attempting to reach the tourney finals against Pasco, “We need to continue our same hitting and have no errors,” predicted Bienstock.

Louis Rodriguez

Rodriguez, who came into the game hitting less than .200, explained, “I saw the ball real well tonight,” said the 16-year-old. “The pitches were a little flat.”

On why the Eagles are enjoying their success, “Because we all play together,” responded Rodriguez. “And everybody is hitting.”

On what it will take to solve Pasco, “We have to play together,” he said.

Coaches’ corner

Laferty was amazed on how quickly the game’s dynamic switched.

Shawn Laferty

“One moment its 0-0 and the next we’re up 7-0 and looking for some more,“ explained the SHS mentor. “The green light went off early. Lantigua cracks a hit-and-run single and that really seemed to set us up. It was like the flood gates opened up.

“… I’m most impressed in how we’ve battled at the plate as a team. This is the best we’ve hit in two weeks. We’re doing a lot of the little things well,” noted Laferty.

On Jasiak, “Jack was Jack. That’s basically what he does every time he goes out there. He wanted to come out for the fifth, but we thought why. There was no need.” 

2019 Tom Varn Baseball Tournament

sponsored by Brookville’s Farm Bureau Insurance


@ Hernando

Bishop McLaughlin 7, Land O’ Lakes 3

Hernando 5, Citrus 4

@ Central

Mitchell 15, Central 0

Cypress Creek 6, Lecanto 4

@ Weeki Wachee

River Ridge 6, Weeki Wachee 5

Springstead 13, Hudson 1

@ Nature Coast Technical

Pasco 13, Fivay 8

Zephyrhills 5, NCT 3


@ Hernando

Land O’ Lakes 11, Citrus 1.

Bishop McLaughlin 4, Hernando 0

@ Central

Lecanto 7, Central 2

Mitchell 10, Cypress Creek 0 (6)

@ Weeki Wachee

Hudson 5, Weeki Wachee 4

Springstead 14, River Ridge 4 (4.5)

@ Nature Coast Technical

NCT 7, Fivay 6

Pasco 2, Zephyrhills 1

Springstead 14,

River Ridge 4 (4.5 Innings)







































SPG – Jasiak, Berry (5) and Rice.

RR – Hawks, Kennedy (3), Mangene (3) and Kistler.

W – Jasiak (3-0). L – Hawks (2-1).

2B – SPG: Ortiz.

3B – RR: Grande

Records – River Ridge (1-1 tourney, 4-2 overall), Springstead (2-0 tourney, 9-0 overall).


@ Hernando

Land O‘ Lakes vs. Hudson, 4 p.m.

River Ridge vs. Hernando, 7 p.m.

@ Weeki Wachee

Fivay vs. Weeki Wachee, 4 p.m.

Cypress Creek vs. Zephyrhills, 7 p.m.

@ Central

Citrus vs. Central, 4 p.m.


Bishop McLaughlin vs., Mitchell, 7 p.m.

@ Nature Coast Technical

Lecanto vs. NCT, 4 p.m.


Pasco vs. Springstead, 7 p.m.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

72 − = 66