Saturday, Apr 19, 2014
Sports

Spring Hill American heads to Walton County


Published:

Hernando County will be represented in today's opening round of the 23rd annual Dixie Youth Baseball Florida AAA Minors (ages 9-10) All-Stars State Championship in Walton County.

Spring Hill American captured the league's seventh District 6 title since 2002 in that age division on June 21 at Brooksville's Ernie Wever Youth Park, defeating Bushnell, 12-2 (3 innings).

SH American, along with District 6 runner-up Bushnell, will journey to the Freeport Regional Sports Complex for the first day of an expected six-day event.

The crowded 16-team field is also expected to feature: Baker, Bartow, Calhoun County, East Lakeland, Franklin County, Havana, Holmes County, Marianna, Paxton, Port St. Joe, Sebring, West Seminole American, West Seminole National and host Freeport.

The defending state champion is Sebring.

The ultimate goal is to be crowned state champion Thursday night (weather permitting) and represent Florida in the 12-team, Aug. 3-8 AAA Minors World Series in Laurel, Miss.

In its 19th season, Spring Hill will be represented for the 11th time at the AAA Minors level.

To illustrate the magnitude of the West Hernando County success, neither Brooksville's storied Hernando Youth League program nor Ridge Manor have reached a state final during that same span.

Four previous Spring Hill teams have reached the state final: 2002 (under skipper Bobby Pasarela), 2003 (Ed Bunnell), 2005 (David Smith) and 2006 (Jim Keith).

Smith's crew, which dropped its initial game at states in Okeechobee, rallied for an incredible 7-1 run to eventually hoist the league's first-ever state championship banner.

This year's SH American AAA Minors All-Stars feature: OF/C Owen Andress, P/INF/OF Talon Bergantino, P/OF/INF Jaren Crawford, INF/OF Riley Cullum, INF Chase Davis, C/INF/P Ryan Ebberup, P/OF/INF Quinton Hotop, OF/INF Tyler Jamieson, C/INF/P Yoskar Lopez, INF/OF/P Collin Nelson, INF/P Zeth Rodriguez and INF/OF Niko Simon.

Erik Andress led the SH American crew to a fine 5-1 effort during the District 6 Tourney. He'll be assisted by Mike Bergantino and Mike Cullum.

Andress' strength is underlined by seven returning All-Stars from 2012 including: Bergantino, Crawford, Cullum and Hotop (Rookies), and Davis, Lopez and Rodriguez (AAA Minors).

During districts, Spring Hill's strength was not the long ball - it collect one homer in 146 at-bats. Andress' club utilized the entire park spraying 60 hits for a collective .411 batting average. SH American outscored its opponents by an average of seven runs, 10-3.

Lopez, a defensive demon behind the dish, paced the District 6 champions in a couple of key offensive categories: runs batted in (eight) and batting average (.571).

Lopez, one of 10 players to hit over .300, didn't carry the offensive burden. Davis led the club in at-bats (18), runs scored (10) and triples ( two) while hitting .444.

Ebberup clubbed two doubles along with the team's lone homer and hit .471.

Another standout, Rodriguez, rapped a team-high nine safeties and tied for the most runs scored (10) while hitting .529.

On the bump, Bergantino and Ebberup both went 2-0. Ebberup, who magically blended his pitches, fanned a team-best 24 batters against five walks in a team-high 10 innings pitched.

Bergantino was equally effective permitting one earned run across seven frames.

"Statistically speaking, we did well in districts," stressed Coach Andress. "Now, that's behind us. Our top pitchers could do a little better.

"At this point Ryan is pitching at another level. Once he steps between the lines, he flips the switch to game mode. He's so much fun to watch."

On the lessons learned from districts, "For us, hitting is a priority. Yes, we hit .411 as a team, but we could've hit a little better in some situations," emphasized Coach Andress. "At states, we know every team will have an (Bushnell's Hector) Arredondo-type pitcher ready for us.

"We stress to our batters to let the ball get to them a little deeper before committing. We have to overcome the thought of seeing a pitch and trying to yank it."

Defensively, Coach Andress tempered his enthusiasm.

"Overall, I was happy with the defense, but I'm not sure we were really tested," cautioned Coach Andress. "We're going to see a lot more athletes as we continue to play."

As far as running the bases, "We did an outstanding job there," noted Coach Andress. "Our mantra is simple. If we get on, we're not staying long - we're looking to advance."

Spring Hill American opens at 12:30 p.m. today against Franklin County.

Franklin County did not play in last year's state tourney at the City of Sebring's Max Long Baseball Complex.

With an opening-round win, looms a second-round clash Sunday against six-time AAA Minors state champion Bartow. Like Franklin County, Bartow did not play at states in 2012.

"Our guys know what they can do," noted Coach Andress. "Mentally, we're in a good place. There's no reason for us to be making wholesale changes."

On whether Spring Hill can reach its fifth state final since 2002, "States is like a puzzle," described Coach Andress. "There are lots of pieces to the final solution. We have to anticipate things and make sure we play our cards correctly with our pitching."

At a Glance

What - 23rd annual Dixie Baseball AAA Minors (ages 9-10) All-Stars State Tournament.

Who - Sixteen teams in a double elimination format featuring: Baker, Bartow, Bushnell, Calhoun County, East Lakeland, Franklin County, Havana, Holmes County, Marianna, Paxton, Port St. Joe, Sebring, Spring Hill American, West Seminole American, West Seminole National and host Freeport. Defending champion is Sebring.

Where - Freeport Regional Sports Complex, 655 Hammock Trail East, Freeport

When - July 13-18 (weather permitting).

At Stake - State champion advances to the 12-team, Aug. 3-8 Dixie Baseball AAA Minors All-Stars World Series in Laurel, Miss.

By the Numbers: Past AAA Minors All-Stars (ages 10-U) State Champions (1991-2012)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

YEAR TEAM

1991 Northeast Pensacola

1992 Northeast Pensacola

1993 Pensacola-Bellview

1994 Pensacola-Bellview

1995 Northeast Pensacola

1996 Bartow

1997 Myrtle Grove

1998 Pensacola-Bellview American

1999 Myrtle Grove

2000 Oak Griner

2001 Bartow

2002 Bartow

2003 Bartow

2004 Marianna

2005 Spring Hill National

2006 Bartow

2007 Bartow

2008 West Seminole

2009 Sebring

2010 Bushnell

2011 West Seminole

2012 Sebring

-22-

Previous Hernando County AAA Minors State Results (2000-12)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

YR TEAM W L .PCT HEAD COACH

2002 ^ Spring Hill American 4 2 .667 Bobby Pasarela

2003 ^ Spring Hill American 4 2 .667 Ed Bunnell

2004 Spring Hill American 3 2 .600 Mike Sollazzo

2004 Spring Hill National 2 2 .500 Robert Miller

2004 Brooksville American 2 2 .500 Gerald Johnson

2005 $$ Spring Hill National 7 1 .875 David Smith

2006 ^ Spring Hill American 5 3 .625 Jim Keith

2007 Spring Hill American 1 2 .333 Vito Tambasco Sr.

2008 Spring Hill American 3 2 .600 Al Sorrentino

2009 Brooksville 3 2 .600 Bruce Price

2011 Spring Hill American 2 2 .500 Joe Abbadessa

2012 Spring Hill American 3 2 .600 Joe Abbadessa

TOTALS (12) 39 24 .619 -11-

^ Denotes state runners-up

$$ Denotes state champion

2012 AAA Minors (ages 9-10) All-Stars State Tournament Standings

at Sebring's Max Long Complex

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

PL TEAM W L .PCT RS RA

1. Sebring 5 1 .833 56 37

2. Lake Placid 4 2 .667 38 21

3. West Seminole 4 2 .667 63 31

4. Spring Hill American 3 2 .600 48 39

5. Bushnell 2 2 .500 33 23

5. Marianna 2 2 .500 21 29

7. Calhoun County 1 2 .333 09 28

7. Holmes County 1 2 .333 20 29

7. East Lakeland 1 2 .333 23 41

10. South Walton 0 2 .000 12 15

10. Mulberry 0 2 .000 08 20

10. Callaway 0 2 .000 07 19

TOTALS (12) 23 23 .500

The Road to "The Show"

2013 District 6 AAA Minors (ages 9-10) Tourney Recap at Brooksville's Ernie Weaver Youth Park

06-15:

Wildwood - bye

Wesley Chapel National 2, Bushnell 0

Wesley Chapel American 16, Ridge Manor 1 (5 Innings)

Brooksville HYL 10, South Lake 0 (5)

Spring Hill National 11, San Antonio 0 (5)

Spring Hill American 10, Oak Griner 0 (5)

06-17:

Oak Griner - bye

Spring Hill American 16, Wildwood 3 (4)

Bushnell 20, Ridge Manor 0 (3)

San Antonio 10, South Lake 5

Wesley Chapel National 15, Wesley Chapel American 5 (4)

Spring Hill National 12, Brooksville HYL 8

06-18:

Wesley Chapel National - bye

Wesley Chapel American 19, Oak Griner 4 (3)

Brooksville HYL 15, Wildwood 3 (4)

Bushnell 6, San Antonio 3

Spring Hill American 4, Spring Hill National 0

06-19:

Bushnell 11, Spring Hill National 1 (5)

Wesley Chapel American 11, Brooksville HYL 10

Spring Hill American 15, Wesley Chapel National 3 (5)

06-20:

Wesley Chapel American 7, Wesley Chapel National 6

Bushnell 10, Spring Hill American 1

06-21:

Spring Hill American - bye

Bushnell 11, Wesley Chapel American 1 (3)

(Championship)

Spring Hill American 12, Bushnell 2 (3)

2013 Final District 6 AAA Minors (ages 9-10) Standings

at Brooksville's Ernie Wever Youth Park

PL TEAM W L .PCT RS RA

1. Spring Hill American 5 1 .833 58 18

2. Bushnell 5 2 .714 60 20

3. Wesley Chapel American 4 2 .667 59 47

4. Wesley Chapel National 2 2 .500 26 27

5. Brooksville HYL 2 2 .500 43 26

5. Spring Hill National 2 2 .500 24 23

7. San Antonio 1 2 .333 13 22

8. South Lake 0 2 .000 05 20

8. Oak Griner 0 2 .000 04 29

8. Wildwood 0 2 .000 06 31

8. Ridge Manor 0 2 .000 01 36

TOTALS 21 21 .500

2013 Spring Hill American AAA Minors (ages 10-Under) All-Stars

NO. PLAYER POSITION(S)

1 Chase Davis* INF

3 Riley Cullum* INF/OF

4 Owen Andress OF/C

7 Zeth Rodriguez* INF/P

8 Talon Bergantino* P/INF/OF

9 Quinton Hotop* P/OF/INF

13 Niko Simon INF/OF

24 Yoskar Lopez* C/INF/P

27 Collin Nelson INF/OF/P

28 Ryan Ebberup C/INF/P

42 Jaren Crawford* P/OF/INF

77 Tyler Jamieson OF/INF

* Denotes 2012 AA Rookies or AAA Minors All-Star

Head Coach - Erik Andress

Asst. Coach - Mike Cullum

Asst. Coach - Mike Bergantino

By the Numbers: Spring Hill American AAA Minors District 6 Results (2001-13)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

YR W L .PCT HEAD COACH

2001 2 2 .500 Mike Adams

2002 $ 7 0 1.000 Bobby Pasarela

2003 $ 7 0 1.000 Ed Bunnell

2004 3 2 .600 Mike Sollazzo

2005 1 2 .333 Jason Stevens

2006 $ 8 1 .889 Jim Keith

2007 $ 5 1 .833 Vito Tambasco

2008 $ 6 1 .857 Al Sorrentino

2009 1 2 .333 Roger Gates

2010 1 2 .333 Al Blevens

2011 $ 5 0 1.000 Joe Abbadessa

2012 4 2 .667 Joe Abbadessa

2013 $ 5 1 .833 Erik Andress

TOTALS 55 16 .775 -12-

$ Denotes District 6 Champion

2013 Spring Hill American AAA Minors Statistics (thru 07-12)

- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Hitting Stats (thru 07-12)

PLAYER GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI .AVG

Lopez 06 14 05 08 0 1 0 4 .571

Rodriguez 06 17 10* 09* 1 1 0 6 .529

Ebberup 06 17 06 08 2* 0 1* 7 .471

Hotop 06 13 05 06 0 0 0 4 .462

Davis 06 18* 10* 08 1 2* 0 4 .444

Crawford 06 07 03 03 0 0 0 1 .429

Bergantino 06 15 02 06 2* 0 0 2 .400

Simon 06 08 04 03 0 0 0 1 .375

Cullum 06 11 05 04 0 0 0 2 .363

Jamieson 06 06 03 02 0 0 0 2 .333

Nelson 06 14 04 03 0 0 0 2 .214

Andress 06 06 01 00 0 0 0 1 .000

TOTALS 06 146 58 60 6 4 1 46 .411

* Denotes team leader

Pitching Stats (thru 07-12)

PLAYER AP IP R ER BB KO ERA W L

Ebberup 2 10.0* 2 1 5 24* 0.90 2* 0

Bergantino 3* 7.0 1 1 4 3 1.29 2* 0

Rodriguez 2 6.0 7 6 5 10 9.00 0 1

Lopez 2 4.0 5 2 3 3 4.50 1 0

Hotop 1 1.0 0 0 2 2 0.00 0 0

Davis 1 1.0 0 0 2 1 0.00 0 0

Crawford 1 1.0 3 3 4 1 27.0 0 0

TOTALS 12 30.0 18 13 25 44 2.60 5 1

* Denotes team leader

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