Kissimmee, FL - On a weekend in which Prospectwire 16U nearly did not field a team for the Mizuno Sunshine State Challenge, players and parents rallied together to ensure they did. PW 16U took to the field in the Mizuno Wood Bat event, with 12 players...3 of which were last second additions. Pitcher Graham Webb & Catcher Jose Nunez answered the call and were able to help Prospectwire win some key games in the event. "Going 2-2 on the weekend can be seen as a success," PW Director of Travel Baseball Brian Werner said. "We were about 30 mins away from not fielding a team. So many players & parents stepped up. They really came through and ensured we did not miss this event. The players love to hit with wood. This event, for many of our guys, was the first time they got to in a tournament setting. Im really happy with how they performed this weekend!"
Clutch defensive efforts were turned in all weekend by Boca Ciega players Nate Aipel and Duke Barber. According to Coach Leo Dominguez, "Duke really had a good event. He hit the ball well a couple times, and really played a great CF. He's fast and gets good reads on the ball." He also remarked, "...and that Nate Aipel kid did really well. He made some good plays that kept us ahead. We just had some baserunning mistakes on Saturday that killed us. Picked off 2 times at 2nd, a couple walks...it just wasn't meant to be for us in that last game."
Other players, such as Michael Ray, Clay Simmons & Mr. Everything, Chris Gaynor had a good tournament as well in the field and at the plate. "They all played really well. For not really playing much together, this team can surprise you. Im surprised at how hard they hit the ball with wood," said Dominguez. "I think the next tournament is going to be a good one for us. We will be at full strength with Jared Barnes, Alex McGathey and Seth McGarry coming back," exclaimed Brian Werner.
On the other side, PW 18U had a wild run during their side of the event. Coming within 1 run of making the finals, Coach Paul Giambalvo and his players had an outstanding tournament for a lot of reasons.
"Given who we had to play to get to that last game, we did awesome. Im really proud of the guys for stepping up. D-Lee (Devin Lee), Matt Bowers, Dakota Wilson, K'Shawn Smith...all of them. From pitching to defense to hitting...we had a great event," said Giambalvo. "Ro (Roche Woodard) had one of the best defensive plays I have seen a HS player make vs. the Shockers. K'Shawn made some awesome plays in the hole. D-Lee had 2 saves in back to back games. Joey Hall was awesome over 6 innings vs. the #2 seed Shockers! What more can you ask for?"
Pitching really was the key for PW for most of the tournament. Joey Hall, Dakota Wilson, Brandon Meadows, Jacob Elszasz and Cameron Oxiner all stepped up, throwing multiple games for Prospectwire. Defeating teams like the Florida powerhouse West Florida Shockers, defending 16U Mizuno Wood Bat Champions in an epic 3-2 extra inning affair was one of the highlights. Taking the defending 18U Mizuno Sunshine State Champions, FTB Black Racers, to the brink on Saturday in the semi finals was also a major highlight for Prospectwire. "They are all 2010 Grads," remarked Giambalvo. "To take a group of 17 year olds to this event, put wood in their hands, and have them take the best team in the event...a team that was not even tested prior to that game...to the final play of the game...that's awesome! We didn't make the finals, but we really should hold our heads up high this weekend," said Giambalvo.
Up next, Prospectwire 16U heads down to Lake Worth, FL for the Prospectwire 16U State Finals. PW 16U is set to defend their title against 31 of the best 16U teams that Florida has to offer. June 30th - July 4th. Check the website for details. Don't miss the action!