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June 17, 2010

College teammates transformed from high school rivals to roommates Bulldog and Pirate unite as Vikings By Steve Lee Sports Reporter

Former high school arch-rivals from Zephyrhills and Pasco, pitcher Chris Fern (left) and infielder Jake Schrader have formed a unique friendship as St. photo provided John’s River Community College teammates.

Arch-rivals as high school ballplayers for Zephyrhills and Pasco respectively, Chris Fern and Jake Schrader have become fast friends as St. John’s River Community College teammates as well as roommates. “I’m telling you, they are joined at the hip — it’s so funny,” said Laura Schrader, Jake’s mother. “They just clicked once they started playing ball together. They’re like best friends.” As freshmen this past season, Fern pitched and Schrader was an infielder for the Vikings. Both were instrumental in leading St. John’s to a 28-22 regular-season record followed by a berth in the Florida Community College Activities Association State Tournament. The Vikings went a nondescript 1-1 in that season-ending series at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. Still, that experience was something the former high school rivals never thought they would

share before they wound up on the same campus in Palatka, located southwest of St. Augustine. “We got up here and we started talking, because we’re from the same (east Pasco area),” said Fern, who did not realize another county player would be on the roster until practices got under way. “He started coming over and we just started hanging out from there,” Schrader added. “We’d bring up old seasons and kids we knew from the same teams.” There was some good-natured ribbing initially, but Fern, who did not play on playoff-contending teams with the Bulldogs, could not match Schrader’s Pasco teams that went to back-to-back region finals. “There was a little bit (of ragging), but not too much because I don’t have much room to talk,” Fern said. Schrader also got a leg up on his teammate and college roommate during a St. John’s intra-squad game by clobbering one of Fern’s pitches for a home run. “The splitter he has is pretty nasty, but I hit it out during the spring” Schrader said. “He hung it to me.” Fern and Schrader made noise on and off the field for the Vikings. Entrusted by

coach Ross Jones with the closer’s role, Fern posted a 4-1 record with a 3.03 ERA and eight saves. Schrader batted a robust .352 and set a single-season school record with 19 home runs. Additionally, both also garnered postseason awards. Schrader was a Mid-Florida Conference first-teamer while Fern attained all-academic status in the conference and was St. John’s Male Student-Athlete of the Year. “Chris is actually the smartest player on the team,” Schrader said. “We call him doctor.” As for Schrader’s nickname, he settles for “J-man.” Although they did not really know one another during high school, Schrader and Fern get together with each other’s families when they come back to the area. Both are taking summer classes and recently spent time camping with the Schrader family. They also spend time at beaches along Florida’s east coast when they can get away and count St. Augustine Beach and Daytona Beach and among their favorite spots.

➤TEAMMATES: See Page 12B

Bulldogs net 26 All-Sunshine Athletic Conference awards Softball team takes top two honors By Steve Lee Sports Reporter

Softball coach Craig Milburn and pitcher Lauren Pasquale head the list of Zephyrhills athletes and coaches named to All-Sunshine Athletic Conference teams. Coaches in baseball, softball, boys and girls track and field, boys and girls tennis, along with boys weightlifting, voted for postseason squads that hon-

or the best among Pasco County’s 12 public schools. Milburn and Pasquale were named the east side’s coach and coplayer of the year, respectively. The Bulldogs went 20-9, won a district title and advanced to the region semifinals under Milburn, the school’s former athletic director who has earned the SAC’s top coaching honor twice in six seasons. Pasquale, who shared player of the year honors with Pasco ace Courtney Brandt, posted impressive numbers on the mound. She went 16-6 with a paltry 0.24 ERA and 162 strikeouts. “She carried us,” Milburn said of Pasquale, who will be a senior next season. “Everybody kind of contribut-

ed, but she was a big part of why we were successful.” Four other softball players were named all-conference. Outfielder Geanna Arnold, who drove in 22 runs and stole nine bases, and infielder Lacey Cook, who belted a team-leading three home runs, joined Pasquale on the first team. Infielder Tori Jordan and catcher Briana Blanyar made the second team. Another conference coach of the year from Zephyrhills was Lorraine Hinkle, who guided the girls tennis team to its second district championship in school history and first since

➤AWARDS: See Page 12B

All-Sunshine Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Craig Milburn with Zephyrhills softball players Katelin Norris, Brandi Welch, Tori Jordan and Lauren Pasquale. judy norris

Former Bulldog ace Geoff Parker drafted by Colorado Rockies Pro plans on hold to prepare for college playoffs

Steps down to coach football at Pasco Middle

By Dave Walters Sports Reporter

Former Zephyrhills High baseball standout Geoff Parker was on the practice field at Florida State last week, thinking about the Seminoles’ threegame regional series with Vanderbilt to earn a berth to the College World Series. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound right-handed pitcher was focused on the future of his team and not on his own. He knew the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft was going on, but when he’s between the baselines his mind is locked onto Seminole baseball. The future of the 2007 ZHS graduate and First-Team All-State selection changed in an instant when the Colorado Rockies selected him in the ninth round of the draft. Parker made two appearances in the regional series

McDougall’s tenure short as ZHS boys track coach By Dave Walters Sports Reporter

Right-hander Geoff Parker has pitched for Zephyrhills High and Florida State. against Vandy, including getting the start on the mound in the decisive game three in which the ‘Noles won 7-6. The win gives FSU its 20th appearance in the College World Series. “It’s been a very eventful week,” Parker said Sunday after the Seminoles celebrated

the huge win. One of the Seminole coaches came onto the practice field and told Parker that the Rockies drafted him. He went into the clubhouse and saw he missed “a bunch” of calls and texts and text messages including the congratulatory call from the Rockies’ manage-

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ment. “They called me back and we talked for a bit and then my mom called,” said Parker, who won 10 games as a senior at ZHS. “Since then, I haven’t really thought about it much.

➤PARKER: See Page 12B

The coaching revolving door at Zephyrhills High School spun again last week as recently hired boys track coach John McDougall stepped down to take a coaching position elsewhere. McDougall is the latest in a series of resignations that has hit Zephyrhills High this spring. Also last week, boys and girls weightlifting coach Dave Brown submitted his resignation to move to a better position at another school. McDougall, who also served as a graduation enhancement teacher at the high school, accepted the head football position at Pasco Middle School, where he will also work with at-risk students.

McDougall has coached several sports throughout the years at Zephyrhills High. Brown will move on to Cox Elementary to take over as assistant plant manager. Brown has been the driving force toward the resurgence of both the boys and girls weightlifting programs. “Although, I know all the Bulldog athletes will miss coach Brown’s leadership with the weightlifting program, everyone supports him in his career advancement,” principal Steve Van Gorden said. “He is well-deserving of this chance.” It was also announced earlier this month that boys soccer coach Dee Dee Castro stepped down to pursue a career in education administration. Last month, wrestling coach Joe Felice, who was hired in March, resigned to take a teaching position at the new Weeki Wachee High School. In the last 14 months, Zephyrhills High has replaced

➤COACHES: See Page 12B


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