Two Laker alumni — FSU's Chase Haney and UCF's Rylan Thomas — have asserted themselves as important to the success of their respective teams. The Seminoles and Knights squared off last week in Orlando.
Windermere Prep Athletic Director Jacob Doss can recall when the varsity baseball team on campus was new and needed players so badly it included seventh-graders on its roster.
Less than a decade later, when the No. 1 ranked Florida State baseball team (13-3) came to Orlando for a pair of games against the UCF Knights (13-3) March 7-8, Doss and other Windermere Prep staff got to see two alumni square off — nearly in a literal sense.
“That’s a huge deal for us. ... These kids are playing. They’re seeing some pretty significant action.”
— Jacob Doss, Windermere Prep athletic director
Chase Haney is a sophomore pitcher for the Seminoles, and Rylan Thomas is a freshman first baseman for the Knights. Both former Lakers, who spent one season in 2015 as teammates, play regularly for their respective programs.
“That’s a huge deal for us,” Doss said. “It was a very marquee matchup — those are some of the top teams in the country right now. And these kids are playing. They’re seeing some pretty significant action.”
The two nearly squared off when Haney was on the mound March 7. Haney pitched an inning of relief for the Seminoles and recorded the final out of that inning with Thomas in the on-deck circle.
On the season, Haney has made seven appearances as a reliever and allowed just one run, earning one win.
Thomas, meanwhile, is hitting .396 for UCF with 17 RBIs and four home runs. Against Central Michigan this past weekend in a series the Knights swept, Thomas went 8-for-11 at the plate with 12 RBIs and four home runs.
“It just makes you so proud,” Doss said of the way the Laker alumni represent the program.
Another local alum, West Orange’s Andrew Karp, pitched four innings as the starter for FSU in the March 7 game.
Though this year’s varsity team at Windermere Prep is in a bit of a rebuilding mode, with a 5-5 record so far this spring, there are at least two more Division I players in the Lakers’ roster: junior Mason Russell is committed to Duke and sophomore Michael Bacica is committed to South Carolina.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].