Prose and Kohn: Ryan Kohn
I don’t know how it happened, but the spring sports season is coming to a close.
Lacrosse, tennis and track and field are already into their postseasons. Baseball and softball will follow in a few weeks. Doesn’t it seem like this season moves the quickest? For me it does, at least. But we go out with a bang: spring playoffs always produce unforgettable action.
While we look forward to all that, we can also look at how our past sports phenoms are doing at the next level. Yes, it is time once again for a collegiate report, this time for spring sports. I always forget the field of college athletes this area produces until writing these columns. We are truly blessed to bear witness to this talent in its infancy.
For instance, former Sarasota High baseball pitcher Jordan Gubelman is a junior at my alma mater, Missouri (or Mizzou, if you’re in the know). He’s being used in relief this season, and he’s been effective. In 26.2 innings, his ERA stands at 2.70 and he has racked up 30 strikeouts. It was almost a run lower — 1.73 — before a rare bad outing, giving up three runs in 0.2 innings against LSU on April 14. He should bounce back from that and continue as a clutch option in the bullpen for a program that just cracked the top-25 poll for the first time since 2017 at No. 21.
On the softball diamond, former Sailor Alexis Johns has started 37 of 42 games for Florida International. Johns, a freshman outfielder, is hitting .269 with a triple, six RBIs and 11 stolen bases. She has also scored 17 runs and holds a perfect fielding percentage with three outfield assists.
Former Pine View School student and Sarasota Crew rower Clark Dean helped his Harvard varsity eight boat win its April 14 race against Brown (5:45.3). Dean, a freshman, was in the stroke seat for the race, which helped give third-ranked Harvard the overall win at the meet and take home the Stein Cup.
Riverview High grad Mark Townsend has started 20 games for the Stetson baseball team. The freshman infielder is hitting .245 with nine RBIs and 13 runs scored. Another Rams grad is also at Stetson: Antoine Sanchez, a sophomore men’s tennis player. Sanchez has volleyed between the Hatters' No. 2 and No. 3 slots this season, racking up a singles record of 10-8, including a current three-match win streak. Sanchez is also 9-6 in doubles matches.
Sarasota alumnus Jaasiel Torres is doing big things for North Florida track and field. Torres, a freshman, won the high jump (six feet, nine inches) at the North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville on April 5. It also matched his career-high outdoors mark. It happened at Hodges Stadium where he won the high jump gold medal at last year’s Florida High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships.
As always, there are more than just these athletes doing big things. They are all stars, and just like literal stars, it is nice to remember to look at them once in a while as they shine.