TAMPA - The 2013 version of Prospect Wire's premier Florida event, the Florida State Finals, is shaping up to be it's largest and best version to date. In growing from 16 teams in 2008 (when it was known as the 4th of July Classic) to 106 last year, the FSF has quickly become one of the top events in the country.
"Last year we broke previous event records when we topped 100 teams, and we didn't even do that until we were just weeks away from the event. This year, 130 teams have expressed interest, with 112 already signed up & registered," remarked Brian Werner, PW's National Director of Events. "It's overwhelming to see the response we have gotten about this event. During our off-season we sat down and set goals for how many teams we wanted to have at our events in 2013. I think I recall us saying 110-115 teams would be great this year. I expected to come close. I didn't expect us to exceed those goals so quickly in the Spring."
However, bigger isn't always better - but Prospect Wire president Matt Bomeisl feels this will be the best FSF to date because of other reasons
"We've done a few things differently this year," Bomeisl said. "We re-added scorekeeping to the event using iScore, we've improved the combine process, we've guaranteed a minimum number of colleges in attendance and we've improved the competition again."
These aren't the only things that has Bomeisl & Werner excited. New in 2013, the Florida State Finals will feature 2 programs not based out of Florida: The Atlanta Blue Jays & New Orleans Cubs will participate in this year's event.
"Last year, Anthony Dye (Atlanta Blue Jays) brought his group down to play a few games, with no real intention of advancing in the tournament. They just wanted to play some new teams and we were happy to host them," stated Bomeisl. "This year, Brian Werner got an unexpected email from Al Saratin & the New Orleans Cubs, asking if it was possible to participate as well. We talked it over and decided that the Florida teams would be thrilled to see some new faces for a change."
"Florida teams are so used to playing each other all summer, the kids get excited when they get to face a brand new team," exclaimed Werner. "We felt it could only benefit everyone involved to bring fresh new teams into the mix. Anthony Dye runs a great program up there in Atlanta, and we have heard some really good things about the New Orleans Cubs. We look forward to seeing them both in action this year against Florida's best."
The competition will be very stiff this year, much the same as it has been in past years. 2012 Champions Chet Lemon's Juice & the Florida Burn both return to defend their titles. They will face some fierce competition from teams like Palm Beach PAL, All American Prospects, CFBL Mizuno Elite, Jacksonville, Warriors, Ostingers Baseball, Florida Heat, Jacksonville Royals, Gatorball Baseball & Next Level Baseball. Newcomers like Premier Baseball Academy, Central Florida Crushers, Florida Barons, Top American Prospects & ProSports Academy are looking to show the "veterans" that this tournament is anyone's to win.
"These guys (Prospect Wire) really get what coaches & players are looking for when it comes to an event," remarked former UNF recruiting coordinator and current manager of the Jacksonville Rockets Bob Shephard. "We are excited to participate this year. Win or lose, I am confident our kids will have a lot of fun at this event. A lot of teams around the state see what Prospect Wire does and we for one fully support it!"
For a full list of teams already registered for the 2013 Florida State Finals, you can find them here:
FSF 18U/17U Event