Fauquier Gators pitcher Bobby Lasko, headed into his sophomore season at James Madison, carries more than just his baseball glove into the dug out. The 6-foot-4-inch right-hander -- be it practice or a game -- also comes equipped with a toothbrush.
"It started last year at JMU," Lasko explained, laughing. "I woke up late for an early morning practice, about 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there, and didn't have time to brush my teeth. So I just brought it all with me, and after we stretched I brushed my teeth in the dugout."
And though coaches and teammates tease him, Lasko says he's continued the habit with the Gators not out of superstition, but, well, habit.
"Now I'd just feel weird if I didn't brush my teeth before I play," Lasko said. "What can I say? I just like clean teeth."
Gators to Watch
In the early part of the Clark Griffith League's 42-game regular season, several Gators have made an impact in several statistical categories.
Catcher Bryan Towler (Marist College) and shortstop Matt Hill (Elon University) rank in the top 15 of all batters in the seven-team league. Towler is batting .348 through eight games with 10 hits, including three doubles, and three RBI. Hill carries a .321 average with nine hits in seven games played with one RBI.
Others to watch on the Gators' roster include Central Missouri State pitcher/outfielder Josh Outman and Notre Dame outfielder Danny Dressman.
Outman, who is 2-0 on the season with a 1.50 ERA, was Fauquier's leading hitter a year ago. He finished the 2003 season with a .340 average that included 34 hits (six home runs, four triples, four doubles), 16 walks and 13 RBI. Dressman has played only three games so far for the Gators, having arrived late, but participated in 46 games for the Fighting Irish as a freshman, batting .264 with 32 hits and 18 RBI.
Rangers to Watch
Loudoun Rangers outfielder Phillip Beall, a Hylton graduate now playing at Virginia Tech, ranks fifth in the Valley League with a team-high .474 batting average. Other Loudoun players to watch include infielder Brandon Reichert (Tallahassee Community College), who is batting .314 with 11 hits and nine RBI, and center fielder Jeremy Bellotti (South Florida). Pitchers Neal Fronts (1.50 ERA) and Jason Kiley (2.51) lead the Rangers on the mound.
On the Web
To keep up with the Valley League's Loudoun Rangers, go to www.loudounrangers.com. For team and game information on the Fauquier Gators, go to www.fauquiergators.com.
-- ANGELA WATTS