It’s been a wild July for the players and coaches of Florida District 12’s Big League All Star team. It started the weekend of July 6th-8th when the team played in the Florida State Tournament down in Fort Myers. I have to say, having been to many of these events before, Florida’s District 9 did an outstanding job of hosting the event. Things were clearly well run, and when you’re going to be at a ball field for 5-7 hours, the concession and amenities are key. Well, hats off to the District 9 staff, as all were above average. As was the performance of the District 12 All Stars. Solid pitching and defense and some good hitting helped them dominate the field, as they went undefeated in the series outscoring opponents 35-11 in securing the State title.
Four days later they were on the road again, this time traveling to host District 21 down in Fort Lauderdale. The tournament was slated to run from Friday July 13th thru Wednesday the 18th, and thankfully it was completed on time, however the South Florida rains presented more of a challenge than the previous week, as there were several delays. Once again strong pitching and defense were the hallmarks of the team and they quickly positioned themselves as the leader of their pool. Heading into the semi final against Virginia, hitting seemed as though it may be a cause for concern. The usually strong offense was held in check and while they won 3-2, each game to this point was an ironic 3-2 one run victory. No complaints as it is the sign of a good team that wins close games, although from a fans perspective you may have found yourself grabbing for the Tums a few times more that expected.
This set up the showdown between three time previous champion South Carolina in the series finale. Once again pitching and defense kept it close, especially during a tense moment when South Carolina had the bases loaded with no outs. Fortunately for Team Florida they escaped allowing only one earned run which kept them up 2-1. Adding two more runs in the fifth on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch, Florida was able to hang on an despite two doubles by South Carolina late, and take the Championship by a score of 4-2.
Host District 21 did a good job, however they may want to have a conversation with District 9 in Fort Myers, because from a fan’s perspective they could learn a thing or two. Clearly everyone involved are volunteers and I respect and appreciate that. However they really could use some help at the concessions as well as in the announcing booth. I have to tell you, the announcer for that series sounded as though he was on loan from the WWF! I get that he wanted to make it exciting, but he was way over the top, Truly he sounded as though he loved to hear himself speak. Tone it down a bit and you won’t have the fans rolling their eyes nearly as much,
One other thing while I’m at it. At each of the tournaments so far, as will be at the World Series in Easley, SC, the host location gets to put a team in the tournament. What? Yes, you heard me right. One of the participating teams did absolutely nothing to get there except be geographically located where the event is being held. I’m sure there must be a good reason for this (?) however I cannot see how that makes any sense. You can argue both sides of the coin as to their preparedness and/or rest that they are able to get, and whether that is an advantage or not, but in my view it takes away from the hard work, effort and energy each of the qualifying teams put in to get there. Someone explain it to me, and please don’t let it be about the money.
So there you have it. Newly crowned Team Southeast will face off against the best the nation and the world has to offer. From what I’ve learned so far it will be one heck of an experience. These boys will be given the red carpet treatment from the time they fly in on Monday July 23rd through their departure on Thursday August 2nd. Aside from all new gear and special events, they will be getting a taste of what it’s like to be a rock star of a baseball player, and that’s great. You can learn more about the series at www.bigleagueworldseries.com and you can follow the action as all games will be streamed live at www.pointstreak.com . And to the US Champion and International Champion goes the privilege of participation in the World Series Championship finale on Wed August 2nd, broadcast live on ESPN2 at 8pm. I for sure will be tuning in.