Commentary | The good and bad for professional baseball players from Manatee County

June 26, 2012 

Several local baseball players are having mixed results in professional baseball this season.

Bradenton native and IMG Academy alum Tyler Pastornicky enjoyed success by making the Atlanta Braves roster on Opening Day as their starting shortstop.

However, Pastornicky was demoted to Triple-A Gwinnett at the end of May after a slow start in the big leagues.

Pastornicky hit .248 in 45 games for Atlanta and committed seven errors in 134 chances.

Since the demotion, the right-hander has 11 extra-base hits in 97 at-bats and is hitting .258 in 24 games through Sunday's action.

He's currently playing on the same side of the infield with Sarasota's Joey Terdoslavich.

Bayshore High alum Ryan Pope is also off to a slow start with the Trenton Thunder of the Double-A Eastern League.

The right-handed pitcher is 3-5 with a 4.89 earned run average for the New York Yankees affiliate.

Opponents are hitting .321 against Pope so far this year.

Meanwhile, State College of Florida and Lakewood Ranch High alum Jonathan Griffin is excelling in the California League.

Griffin plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks high Class-A affiliate in Visalia, and is hitting .290 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 72 games this season.

Griffin's teammate with the Manatees and Mustangs, Gus Schlosser, is also in high-A ball.

Schlosser's 2011 rookie season saw nothing but relief appearances, but the right-handed pitcher has started every game he's appeared in this season for the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League.

Schlosser sports an 8-4 record with a 3.91 earned-run average, while racking up 73 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings pitched.

Olympic ambitions

Lakewood Ranch High swimmer Danielle Valley, who claimed a state title last fall in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, is competing at the USA Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., this week.

Valley's road to London begins with the preliminaries for the 200 freestyle on Tuesday. Valley, a rising senior at Ranch, would have to swim in the finals Tuesday night, should she progress from the morning prelims.

Valley is also scheduled to compete in the 800 freestyle in Saturday's preliminary heats. The finals are slated for Sunday.

Valley is competing for one of 26 female spots on America's Olympic swim team.

The top two in each event and the top four in the 100 and 200 freestyle qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Heavy competition

The Sunshine State Games' Polk County Festival was held the past two weekends, and featured two Manatee County residents performing well.

Bradenton's Laci Jensen took first place in the women's 63 kilogram weightlifting division when she lifted 132 kilograms (snatch and clean and jerk).

Competing in the women's 53 kilogram division, Lakewood Ranch's Alex Bradbury totaled 87 kilograms to snag third place.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at jdill@bradenton.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill

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