FLORIDA STATE CHAMPIONSHIp pt2
By: Jossi De La Torre
This past Mother’s Day weekend Perfect Game Youth Florida hosted the PGBA Florida State Championship for the age groups of 13u and 11u in Sanford, Florida. The weekend showcased the strengthens and difficulties that the tournament presents. Over a dozen teams put forth all effort in hopes of taking home the state title. Teams such as the Central Florida Wildcats 11u and Team Orlando Red 13u brought their competing edge to the fields.
Randy Fontanez, head coach of Team Orlando Red 13u, expressed that his expectations going into the State Championships were no different than any other tournament. Randy believes that if his players play the right way and with all their effort, they will come on top.
Fontanez expressed that although pitching was a little bit of a struggle, his team pulled through and were able to take home the rings. Fontanez prepares his players throughout the week with vigorous practices that focus on all aspects of the game such as field practice, hitting, and game like situations. When asked, what winning the Florida State Championship meant to him and his team, Fontanez replied, “It means that my team is maturing not only as a team but as men.” Fontanez expressed that he is very honored to have to chance to witness the growth of young men. Team Orlando Red won the championship game 5-3 against the South Florida Hitmen.
Reinaldo Garcia, head coach of the Central Florida Wildcats 11u, had big expectations coming into tournament. Garcia has devotedly coached his players for years and expressed that they are a well molded team. Although pitching is a very tough task to manage, Garcia expressed that pitching is the team’s biggest strength; 10 out of his 12 players all can pitch at a competitive, winning level. Garcia profoundly believes that, “Pitching wins’ tournaments.”
Coaching 11 year olds can be a bit tricky at times in terms of ensuring their focus towards the game, especially when they have significant amount of down time in between games. Garcia strives to set his team into a rhythm to secure their concentration; having back to back games undeniably aids in Garcia’s ultimate goal.
When asked, what steps he took to prepare his team for this State Championship Garcia replied, “Defense and getting prepared for the turf field.” Garcia drilled his players on the field to become exposed to the possibilities of how the baseball might bounce differently on turf. All the preparation that Garcia and his players put in the field paid off, the final championship score was 3-0 against Krush Baseball. This State Championship title is of great value to the Central Florida Wildcats and has subsequently refined their process of playing the game.
PGBA Florida State Championship certainly brought forth exceptional competition and exposed the strengthens of many players and coaches. Be sure to follow up next week for our coverage on the winning teams of The Lake City Classic.