The high school baseball season was just getting started in Florida when the coronavirus outbreak put the season on hold.
Even though most teams had played just a couple weeks’ worth of games, there were still some hot starts worth noting.
While many of the players having the most success were some familiar faces, there were also some new players making a name for themselves.
1. Connor O’Sullivan — Venice junior second baseman
With a spot in the Indians infield open, Connor O’Sullivan transferred from Cardinal Mooney to Venice this past offseason. It didn’t take him long to prove he belonged on a team coming off back-to-back state championships.
2. Jacob Bubb — Charlotte junior starting pitcher
The Tarpons entered the 2020 season in desperate need of an ace to step up after losing three pitchers to Division-I baseball this past offseason. For at least the first few games of the season, Jacob Bubb looked the part — allowing four earned runs on just three hits with 23 strikeouts over 16 1/3 innings.
3. Brayden Kelly — North Port sophomore pitcher/third baseman
In his debut year at the varsity level, Brayden Kelly was already playing like one of the Bobcats’ best players.
He hit .359 with just two strikeouts through 11 games and also found success on the mound. Through five appearances, Kelly held a 0.84 ERA with a 1-0 record, a save and 18 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings.
4. Ryan Marti — Venice senior pitcher
Another team that lost three pitchers to college baseball, Venice had to get creative as it tried to replicate a rotation that won back-to-back state titles over the past two years. Through four starts, he was 1-0 with a 0.58 ERA and 13 strikeouts through 12 innings.
5. Jeremie Swafford — Port Charlotte junior
In what should have been his first full season at the varsity level, Jeremie Swafford was making more hits than outs through 10 games — hitting .519 with a .629 on-base percentage, 7 runs and 4 RBI to lead the Pirates offense.
6. Bryce Hayse — Charlotte senior first baseman/pitcher
It’s not much of a surprise that Bryce Hayse was having a good start to the season, but Hayse was playing as well as anyone in the opening weeks.
7. Ethan Zylstra — Port Charlotte freshman catcher
Along with Swafford, Ethan Zylstra was also having a breakout year in his first season with the team. The younger brother of team ace Tyler Zylstra, Ethan was hitting .355 with 7 runs and 4 RBI and four walks to just three strikeouts.
8. Jayson Zmejkoski — North Port senior pitcher/shortstop
Jayson Zmejkoski was one of the hottest hitters in the area through 11 games, hitting .429 with 10 runs and 8 RBI along with 5 steals. W
9. Jason LePage — Lemon Bay sophomore pitcher
Jason LePage was playing like one of Lemon Bay’s best all-around players before the season was suspended. The sophomore was the team’s ace with 10 strikeouts over 11 scoreless innings on the mound.
10. Aiden Roe — DeSoto County sophomore first baseman
Batting .360 through eight games, Aiden Roe led the Bulldogs in batting average, doubles (5) and RBI (10) while also scoring the second-most runs (9).