FLORIDA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
By: Jossi De La Torre
Scorpions North Prime 12u
Evolution Elite 14u
Over a dozen teams gathered in Sanford, Florida this past weekend for the 2017 PGBA Florida State Championship. Competitive teams such as the Scorpions North Prime and Evolution Elite brought their aggressive game in hopes of winning the State title. Each team had to face opponents who challenged them in every aspect that baseball requires.
Head coach Paul Nugent of Scorpions North Prime 12u, expressed that his expectation for his players going into the tournament was transparent from the get-go, “To win.” Nugent led his players to become State Champions against Team Hoyle with a high scoring game of 13 to 12. Although Nugent knew that having sufficient pitchers would be a challenge, Nugent successfully anticipated the potential struggle by having a full roster with several extra players.
When asked, what preparation was done prior to the tournament Nugent answered, “Practice and having better players.” Despite having a couple of missteps on Saturday, the Scorpions prevailed on Sunday and won the title of Florida State Champions. Nugent believes that Perfect Game brought out the best competition that truly catalyzes a player to, “Go the distance,” in order to win. The Scorpions led the 12u division with a record of 5-0-1.
Like Nugent, head coach Jimmy Coreano of Evolution Elite 14u faced similar challenges in terms of pitching. At times, it can be very difficult for coaches to conserve pitchers, especially during the elimination day, that being Sunday. Despite blowing right through his pitching roster, Coreano managed to follow through with a 3-2 win against the Orlando Scorpions. Coreano believes his players are well equipped to win tournaments due to their rigorous tournament schedule, playing weekend after weekend. When asked, what contributed to winning the State Championship game he replied with, “They know what they have to do. They get it done. They are ballers.”
Coreano trusts in Perfect Game to help his players become stronger due to the immensity of talent that the organization brings. “This is a huge win for us, facing big teams… not everyone can do that.” Evolution Elite led the tournament with a 5-0 record.
Overall, the PGBA Florida State Championship exposed teams to fierce competition and valuable lessons. Every game unveiled an area of growth that will be put into practice in preparation for the next tournament. The talent is evident within these teams but it is the will to prosper that will acknowledge the next set of champions.