Son of Wesley Chapel teacher is first Gator ever signed by school
By Kyle LoJacono
LAND O’ LAKES — At first glance, Nick Pardo looks more like a power forward in basketball than a first baseman.
The nearly 6-foot-6, 200-pound senior has been able to utilize his size and strength to earn the first ever scholarship to a Land O’ Lakes player from St. Petersburg College, formally St. Petersburg Junior College.
“He made an impression on me from the first time I saw him play,” 13-year SPC coach Dave Pano said. “We’ll have to start signing some more of these Gators if they are all as good as Nick.”
The senior has played baseball nearly all of his life.
“It really is something I’ve always loved to do,” Nick said. “It’s such a great feeling to be signed and know where I’ll be playing next year. It’s not that far from home too and it has a great baseball program. It’s an honor to get a chance to play there.”
Nick is the son of Kim Pardo, who taught English at Gaither High for 14 years and now teaches at Wesley Chapel High.
“Baseball is just the family business,” said Gerardo Pardo, Nick’s father. “I played in the minor leagues for the Detroit Tigers for a short time and his uncle Al (Pardo) played in the majors.”
Al played four seasons in Major League Baseball, two with the Baltimore Orioles and two with the Philadelphia Phillies. Gerardo was a right handed pitcher, and Nick’s cousin, Braulio, is in the Anaheim Angels minor league system.
Nick played at Gaither during his freshman year before transferring to Land O’ Lakes. He was a wide receiver on the Gators’ football team as a junior, but decided to focus on baseball this year.
“I thought it would be best to stick with baseball,” Nick said. “I thought I’d have a chance at a scholarship as long as I didn’t get hurt playing football.”
The newly signed Nick hit .333 with 25 hits, 23 runs batted in and four homeruns as a junior.
“He’s a great player that leads by example,” Land O’ Lakes coach Calvin Baisley said. “He can do something great every time he comes up to bat and he’s also a standout defensively. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
The Gators went 16-9 in 2009, but were eliminated in the first round of the Class 5A, District 7 tournament by Wesley Chapel.
“We made the Regional Tournament when I was a sophomore and I want to get back at least there again.” Nick said. “Really I want to get to the State Tournament because this is my last year and I want to make it last as long as I can.”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.