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HomeBusiness & CommunityStudent Athlete Spotlight: Carlos Gonzalez Jr.

Student Athlete Spotlight: Carlos Gonzalez Jr.

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Every time the senior pitcher Carlos Gonzalez Jr. stepped on the mound for the Hernando Leopards, the advice of former MLB pitcher Anthony Telford would guide him. When speaking with the Sun, the Hernando athlete’s mother, Jane Gonzalez, said Telford instructed Carlos to “never give up, have a plan before you go out on the mound, have a plan before every pitch, and stay dedicated to the plan. Never give up, especially through the hard times. To always stay consistent through every play.”

Having received pitching lessons from the former professional since he was eight years old, Telford’s coaching is evident in the body of work the younger Gonzalez amassed during his time with the Leopards. The pitcher was credited with his first Varsity victory in a win over Weeki Wachee as a freshman. The following three years, he helped the Purple and Gold to 23-4, 20-9, and 23-5 records in his sophomore, junior, and senior campaigns, respectively. The most recent of these resulted in a district championship.

The 5’11”, 205-pound senior was also credited by MaxPreps with a career record of 14 wins to 2 losses. In both years as an upperclassman, he recorded 5-1 seasons, but he reduced his earned run average by over a third from his junior year (4.62) to his senior campaign (2.91). This ERA places Gonzalez in the top 100 high school players in Division 4A in Florida, according to the site’s metrics.

Much like himself, Gonzalez’s three sisters spent a great deal of time on the diamond, though they played for the Nature Coast Tech Sharks. The trio of Kathryn, Chyloe, and Alyssa also learned from a veteran in the sport, Ernie Chatman. The sisters then went on to play in college and helped to cultivate Carlos’ love of the game.

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Telford’s philosophy extends beyond the field to the classroom and in Gonzalez’s goals. The Hernando athlete is also an honors student, graduating in the top ten percent of his class, graduating with High Honors, and having been on the Superintendent’s list all four years of high school. The senior pitcher was also awarded the WREC (Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative) scholarship and graduated with a 4.3 weighted and 3.9 unweighted GPA while attending dual enrollment courses at Pasco Hernando State College. These academic achievements will help the pitcher as he has aspirations off of the diamond as well.

“Carlos is a highly intelligent, very humble, honest, helpful, and considerate young man,” his mother said. “Carlos has dreamed of being an engineer since he was playing with building blocks and Lincoln logs at age two.”

The younger Gonzalez will pursue his passion for engineering when he attends Florida State College at Jacksonville to take engineering courses and play baseball in the spring and fall. Carlos then plans to attend the University of Central Florida and earn his bachelor’s degree in Construction Engineering. In late April, the lefty pitcher signed with FSCJ with his family and coaches in attendance.

“Our entire family was elated and so very proud of Carlos when he signed with Florida State College at Jacksonville,” Jane Gonzalez said. “Father and mother, along with Carlos, attended the college invite by the baseball team’s pitching coach and were very pleased with the school, the student accommodations, and the entire baseball team and staff. We were so happy that his Orlando Scorpions coaches were able to assist in helping FSCJ find Carlos so that he can continue his baseball career in college.”

As the senior takes the next step in his career, Gonzalez and his family will be looking forward to what is to come with the Blue Wave and beyond.

Carlos Gonzalez Jr. signs with Florida State College at Jacksonville. Photos courtesy of Jane Gonzalez.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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