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Pine Tree speedster bound for Crowder College

By Gabriel D. Brooks
May 1, 2012 at 11 p.m.

As the sports cliché goes, speed kills, and that's exactly what Crowder College is getting in Pine Tree's Ryan Lazo.

The Pirates' leadoff hitter has signed with the Neosho, Mo., junior college to continue his baseball career, which has so far thrived on speed, according to PT coach Gus Harmon.

"Speed always shows up in baseball. Offense doesn't some days. Defense doesn't some days. Pitching doesn't some days. But speed always shows up. He's got a tool that shows up every day at the ball yard."

Lazo's .394 batting average atop the Pine Tree order leads the team, as do his East Texas-leading 40 stolen bases and 45 runs scored.

"In 28 years of coaching, I haven't coached a kid with that many runs scored and that many stolen bases," Harmon said. "He's got great instincts. He reads pitchers very well and evaluates outfielders' angles and arms on base hits. He has the best instincts of a base runner in my 28 years of coaching, and I've had some great base runners."

Lazo, who moved to Pine Tree this past offseason from Conway, Ark., just north of Little Rock, caught Crowder College's eye while playing for a summer team in Arkansas in 2011. He got to know the coach and has liked the idea of playing for Crowder ever since.

"I've always wanted to play (college baseball)," said Lazo, who has played shortstop and center field this season for Pine Tree and expects to play second base for Crowder. "It's good to know that I'm already going somewhere."

Lazo said he's considering engineering and biology as possible majors and plans to transfer to a four-year school to continue his baseball career after his two years at Crowder.

With his speed already more than satisfactory, Lazo plans to work on his strength to prepare for college baseball. Harmon agreed, adding that his signature speed will take him a long way while he works on his strength.

"He's got great instincts, but his speed just adds to them," Harmon said. "His speed shows up every day."

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