Friday, May 11, 2012

Morning reading: Biscuits once yearned for prep titles

The Biscuits open a home series with Jacksonville today and, just after it ends, Riverwalk Stadium will help crown the state's high school championship teams.

Four Biscuits played for state titles in high school. Alex Koronis was part of a Florida state champion that also was nationally ranked. Tyler Bortnick, Merrill Kelly and Shane Dyer were on runner-up teams.

There was a lot that I couldn't get into today's story about them.

Koronis remembers his coach, who was intense, grabbing him afterward and reminding him of a boot camp the Monsignor Pace (Fla.) Spartans went through before the season.

He picked me up by my jersey and screamed, 'What do you think now?'" Koronis said. "All that work, this is what it was for. This is the feeling that you bust your (tail) for and you kill yourself in the fall for this exact feeling.

"He knew what it felt like because he won a state championship (as a player). He was always trying to convey that to us. That's why you go out there and give your blood, sweat and tears."

Dyer never won a high school title, but he was part of four American Legion state championship teams from Eaton (Colo.).

Bortnick scored the winning run in the 10th inning of the semifinals his junior year at Mentor (Ohio).

Kelly has more painful memories of the College World Series (yep, I'll revisit that next month), but his prep loss for Desert Mountain (Ariz.) still hurts.

"We should have killed them," Kelly said. "We were the No. 1 seed the whole year and they were like a 12th seed or something in double digits.

"We were definitely the favorite going in."

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