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Pasco hires Pat Fortunato as new baseball coach
Posted Jun 21, 2012 by Mike Camunas
Updated Jun 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM
After nearly two decades, Pasco baseball has a new head coach.
Pirates athletic director Tom McHugh announced Thursday morning that the school hired Pat Fortunato, the Wesley Chapel JV baseball coach, as the new baseball coach, replacing interim Joe Neale, who filled in when long-time coach Ricky Giles resigned amongst an investigation this past season.
“We’re going to get down to basics, but this team has always had a great baseball tradition and I’m going to continue that tradition,” the 32-year-old former collegiate player said. “We’re going to build on what they’ve done in the past.”
Fortunato, a Rochester, NY native, played two years at Monroe Community College and another two at Frostberg State in Maryland before coming to Wesley Chapel in 2008, then JV Wildcats coach in 2009. Fortunato is also an assistant football coach for Pasco and is a PE teacher at Lacoochee Elementary. He takes over a team that was 18-9 and Class 5A-District 8 runner up, despite nabbing the district’s No. 1 seed after winning 11 of its last 12 games.
“We’re not starting from scratch,” Fortunato said. “I’m going to be very enthusiastic from the start, but with a lot of great core players coming back, I know that they are key and can be leaders right away. I’m not an enforcer, but I can get my point across. I’m a very hands on when it comes to coaching, so I like to get right in there with the guys. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Fortunato will get great returners such as Lane Stancil (.474, 23 RBI), Matt Plourde (.431, 24 RBI), Malik Johns (.329, 19 RBI) and Robbie Hanlon (.381, 13 RBI).