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Spring Hill's Senior Boys team saying 'Why not us?'


Published:   |   Updated: August 3, 2013 at 06:53 PM

Though 18 summers of Spring Hill Dixie Baseball, no West Hernando County club has ever returned home as a Triple Crown winner: retaining the District 6, state championship and World Series titles.

But in Year 19, two Spring Hill diamond clubs will attempt to snap the drought.

While Spring Hill American's AAA Minors (10-Under) All-Stars trek to Laurel, Miss., this weekend, Spring Hill's Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars will journey over eight hours and some 550 miles to their respective World Series at the Shaver Complex in Seneca, S.C.

The 51st annual Senior Boys World Series features a five-day event (weather permitting) with 12 teams in a double elimination format including: Spring Hill, Fla., Sumter County, S.C., McNairy, Tenn., Fairhope, Ala., Columbia County, Ga., Goochland County, Va., Huntington, Texas, Hattiesburg, Miss., Dallas, N.C., Texarkana, Ark., Bossier City, La., and host Seneca.

West Georgia is the defending World Series champion.

Three Sunshine State teams have previously toted home the World Series championship hardware, but none since the Pensacola-based Brent program in 1983.

The closest any Spring Hill program has arrived to capturing districts, states and the World Series was Mike Sollazzo's Senior Boys All-Stars in 2008.

That squad finished as World Series runners-up in Covington, Ga.

Hernando County's 2013 entry, Spring Hill, arrives via a chartered bus into Seneca at 10-0.

Spring Hill's Senior Boys All-Stars feature: 3B/SS/2B Morgan Ashton, SS/OF Stephen Bienstock, P/LF/3B Robert Bunyon, P/CF/3B Paul Coumoulos, SS/C/2B/P Luke Laferty, C/3B Zack Lawrence, CF/LF Brett Maharaj, 1B/P/3B Dominic Marrone, C/RF Nick Nguyen, CF/2B Logan Ross, RF/2B Bodhi Sbashnig, P/1B/RF Noah Siem and P/LF/3B Trevor Vendrone.

Experience-wise, five players - Laferty, Bunyon, Marrone, Sbashnig and Ross - will be playing in their third World Series. For Siem, this is his second.

Head coach Shawn Laferty will be assisted by Tony Siem and Dale Ashton.

Coach Laferty, whose club grabbed the District 6 crown in Brooksville, tied the record for most Hernando County District 6 titles since the millennium at four, shared by Brooksville's Gerald Johnson and Spring Hill's Jim Keith and Vito Tambasco Sr.

At states in Highlands County, Laferty captured his third state championship behind a perfect 6-0 run to tie Brooksville's Tim Sims.

Laferty enters his third World Series behind a lackluster 1-4 career won-lost mark.

Laferty's club, which arrives hitting a combined .392, has out-scored its opponents, 138-28.

"I've talked to the kids about the past," explained Laferty on his team's mission to bring home Spring Hill's first state title. "We're taking a different approach than in the past. Everything we're do I'm asking, 'What can we do different this time?'?"

"The biggest thing is making sure our kids are mentally ready before we step between the lines," noted Laferty. "We want to stay positive and remain even-keeled throughout the tournament. Obviously, whatever I've done in the past World Series hasn't worked before - so now I'm just emphasizing, 'Let's finish the job we started this year.'?"

The biggest difference from districts to states was the addition of Bienstock at shortstop.

Bienstock, who played only one district game before heading to a family vacation, was a force at states, hitting a team-best .526 behind 10 hits and a team-high 13 runs batted in.

Through seven games, Bienstock arrives in Seneca as the team's leading hitter.

Bienstock, however, doesn't have to shoulder the offensive load on a team that averages a homer every 15 at-bats this summer.

Marrone (.455) leads the squad in at-bats (33), total hits (15), doubles (4) and triples (1).

Siem (.452) and Nguyen (.414) have combined for 32 runs scored and five homers and driven in 22 runs.

Other standouts include Luke Laferty (.387) with a team-best 25 runs scored and Coumoulos (.355) with a team-high four taters and 20 RBIs.

"Even though we're seeing better pitching, we're hitting the ball 1-9," noted Coach Laferty. "Our approach at the plate is simple. We're really not trying swing for the fences; we're concentrating on hitting the top half of the baseball. As long as we continue to stay away from strikeouts, we'll do what we do best - put the ball in play - we'll be fine."

On Bienstock's play at states, "He was an absolute monster at the plate," described Laferty. "What I like most is he's also really good in the clubhouse. He's one of those types of guys that help calm guys down."

On the bump, Spring Hill pitchers hurled two no-hitters in Sebring.

Siem returned to his old dominating self with 16 punch-outs in seven unscored-upon innings to improve to 3-0 during the summer.

On Siem's turnaround, "Big players show up in big games," noted Laferty. "That's Noah. Sure, he had some issues at districts; he's adjusted.

"At states, I don't think he could've pitched better than he did."

Marrone enters the Seneca event at 2-0 with 0.55 ERA behind a team-leading 12.2 innings pitched. He's fanned 15 batters compared to yielding one free pass.

Bunyon, Maharaj and Coumoulos are a combined 4-0 with 26 Ks in 25.2 innings.

"Our pitchers as a whole did great," stressed Coach Laferty. "We walked fewer guys and threw more strikes. The key is to continue hitting their spots."

Defensively, "We played very consistently from the first pitch on," described Coach Laferty. "There's always room for improvement."

On Spring Hill's approach to this World Series, "We've been practicing since June - that's a long time," pointed out Coach Laferty. "It's been a grind. We've practiced a lot more than we've played. After a while, the heat takes its toll, so we've changed things up (in the practice schedule)."

"We're looking at Seneca as just another tournament and deemphasizing World Series," explained Coach Laferty. "The key is we've got to keep the kids loose and they've got to get their rest."

Laferty clearly understands the significance of winning Saturday's Game 1 against Fairhope, Ala.

"Winning Game 1 of any tournament is the most important issue," he said. "It's almost suicide to drop the first game to come back and win the whole thing.

"The key, I see, is to finish the weekend 2-0. . There are so many distractions once we get there; it's all about being mentally tough once we step on the field."

At a Glance
WHAT: 51st annual Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars World Series.
WHO: Twelve teams in a double-elimination format including: Spring Hill, Sumter County (S.C.), McNairy (Tenn.), Fairhope (Ala.), Columbia County (Ga.), Goochland County (Va.), Huntington (Texas), Hattiesburg (Miss.), Dallas (N.C.), Texarkana (Ark.), Bossier City (La.) and host Seneca (S.C.). 
WHERE: Shaver Complex in Seneca, S.C.
WHEN: Aug. 3-7 (weather permitting).
AT STAKE: World Series champion crowned.

 
Road to "The Show" District 6 Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars Tourney Recap
at Brooksville's Ernie Wever Youth Park

06-22:
Wildwood 12, San Antonio 11
Wesley Chapel 10, Bushnell 6
Spring Hill 12, Brooksville 0 (4.5 Innings)

06-23:
San Antonio 12, Bushnell 2
Wildwood 15, Wesley Chapel 12

06-24:
Brooksville 11, San Antonio 5
Spring Hill 16, Wildwood 1 (5)

06-25:
Wildwood 11, Wesley Chapel 0
Spring Hill 13, Brooksville 1 (4.5)

06-26:
(Championship)
Spring Hill 23, Wildwood 13 (4.5)

 
2013 Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars State Baseball Championship

at the City of Sebring's Max Long Baseball Complex

07-20:
Hardee County 17, Havana 2 (5 Innings)
Wildwood 12, Mulberry 7 (6½)
West Seminole 4, Bartow 0
Spring Hill 18, Key West 0 (5)
Avon Park 12, Brooksville 0
Sebring 13, Sumter County 1

07-21:
Havana 12, Mulberry 8
Bartow 8, Key West 6
Brooksville 13, Sumter County 2
Wildwood 16, Hardee County 12
Spring Hill 15, West Seminole 1
Sebring 12, Avon Park 2

07-22:
West Seminole 10, Hardee County 0 (4½)
Brooksville 10, Bartow 7
Avon Park 18, Havana 5
Spring Hill 12, Wildwood 3

07-23:
West Seminole 8, Brooksville 5 
Avon Park 14, Wildwood 4
Spring Hill 10, Sebring 0 (6)
West Seminole 5, Sebring 4
Spring Hill 12, Avon Park 4

07-24:
(Championship)
Spring Hill 7, West Seminole 5 (6)

 
2013 Final District 6 Senior Boys (age 14) Standings

at Brooksville's Ernie Wever Youth Park
PL TEAM   W L .PCT RS RA
1. Spring Hill*    4 0 .000 64 15
2. Wildwood*   3 2 .600 52 62
3. Brooksville*   1 2 .333 12 30
4. Wesley Chapel  1 2 .333 22 32 
5. San Antonio*   1 2 .333 28 25
6. Bushnell   0 2 .000 08 22  
TOTALS (6)   10 10 .500
* Denotes teams that will advance to July 20 State Championship at Sebring.

 
2013 Final Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars State Baseball Tournament Standings

at the City of Sebring's Max Long Baseball Complex
- Compiled by TONY CASTRO
PL TEAM   W L .PCT RS RA
1. Spring Hill*   6 0     1.000 74 13
2. West Seminole  4 2 .667 33 31
3. Avon Park   3 2 .600 50 33
4. Wildwood   2 2 .500 35 45
4. Sebring   2 2 .500 29 18
4. Brooksville   2 2 .500 28 29
7. Hardee County  1 2 .333 29 28
7. Havana   1 2 .333 22 37
7. Bartow    1 2 .333 15 20
10. Mulberry   0 2 .000 15 24 
10. Key West   0 2 .000 06 26
10. Sumter County  0 2 .000 03 26  
TOTALS (12)   22 22 .500 
* Advances to Aug. 3-7 12-team World Series at Seneca, S.C.

 
2013 Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14) All-Stars
NO. NAME   POSITIONS
1 Stephen Bienstock* SS/OF
2 Bodhi Sbashnig* RF/2B
3 Luke Laferty*  SS/C/2B/P
4 Logan Ross*  CF/2B
5 Brett Maharaj  CF/LF
7 Noah Siem*  P/1B/RF
9 Trevor Vendrone* P/LF/3B
13 Robert Bunyon* P/LF/3B
23 Morgan Ashton 3B/SS/2B
24 Paul Coumoulos P/CF/3B
25 Dominic Marrone* 1B/P/3B 
28 Nick Nguyen*  C/RF
77 Zack Lawrence* C/3B
* Denotes 2012 Junior Boys all-star
Head Coach - Shawn Laferty
Assistant Coach - Tony Siem
Assistant Coach - Dale Ashton

 
2013 Spring Hill Senior Boys Baseball Statistics (thru 08-02)
Hitting (thru 08-02) NAME  GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI .AVG Bienstock 07 19 13 10 2 1* 2 13 .526*
Marrone 10* 33* 15 15* 4* 1* 0 10 .455
Siem  10* 31 20 14 2 0 2 10 .452
Nguyen 10* 29 12 12 1 0 3 12 .414
Vendrone 04 10 07 04 1 0 2 04 .400
Laferty  10* 31 25* 12 0 0 1 02 .387 
Bunyon 10* 28 08 10 0 0 1 10 .357
Coumoulos 10* 31 12 11 1 0 4* 20* .355
Lawrence 10* 24 07 08 3 0 0 08 .333
Maharaj 04 06 02 02 1 0 0 01 .333
Ashton  10* 22 17 07 2 0 1 16 .318
Sbashnig 03 04 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000
Ross  10* 00 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000
TOTALS (13)10 268 138 105 17 2 16 106 .392
* Denotes team leader  

 
Pitching (thru 08-02) NAME AP GS CG IP H R ER BB K ERA W L
Marrone 04* 02 00 12.2* 10 01 01 01 15 0.55 2  0 
Siem  04* 04* 01 10.1 07 10 10 11 21* 6.80 3* 0
Bunyon 02 02 01 10.0 12 05 05 05 13 3.50 1  0
Maharaj 04* 00 00 8.0 12 07 07 00 04 6.13 1  0
Coumoulos 02 02 01 7.2 06 02 02 04 09 1.83 2  0
Bienstock 01 00 00 2.1 00 01 00 01 00 0.00 0  0
Lawrence 01 00 00 2.0 02 01 01 00 01 3.50 1  0
Laferty  01 00 00 2.0 00 00 00 00 03 0.00* 0  0
Vendrone 01 00 00 1.0 00 00 00 02 01 0.00* 0  0
TOTALS 20 10 03 56.0 49 28 26 24 67 3.25 10 0 
* Denotes team leader

 
2013 Spring Hill Senior Boys State Championship Baseball Statistics Hitting NAME  GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI .AVG
Bienstock 06 19 11 10 2 1 2 13 .526
Vendrone 01 02 02 01 0 0 0 00 .500   
Coumoulos 06 18 09 08 0 0 3 08 .444
Laferty  06 21 14 09 0 0 1 02 .429
Siem  06 20 11 08 0 0 2 07 .400
Marrone 06 20 07 08 3 0 0 03 .400
Bunyon 06 15 05 05 0 0 0 01 .333
Ashton  06 18 04 05 1 0 0 07 .278
Lawrence 06 17 05 04 3 0 0 05 .294
Nguyen 06 17 06 06 0 0 0 04 .353
Ross  06 00 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000
Maharaj 02 02 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000 
Sbashnig 02 03 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000
TOTALS (13) 06 172 74 64 9 1 8 50 .372
* Denotes team leader  

 
Pitching NAME AP GS CG IP H R ER BB K ERA W L
Marrone 02 02* 00 9.2* 09 01 01 00 10 0.73 2* 0
Siem  02 02* 01* 7.0 01 00 00 04 16* 0.00*  2* 0
Bunyon 01 01 00 5.0 09 04 04 02 06 8.75   0  0
Maharaj 03* 00 00 4.1 05 04 04 00 02 6.46 0  0
Coumoulos 01 01 00 2.2 01 02 01 03 04 2.63 1  0
Bienstock 01 00 00 2.1 00 01 00 01 00 0.00 0  0
Lawrence 01 00 00 2.0 02 01 01 00 01 3.50 1  0
Laferty  01 00 00 2.0 00 00 00 00 03 0.00* 0  0
Vendrone 01 00 00 1.0 00 00 00 02 01 0.00* 0  0
TOTALS 13 06 01 36.0 27 13 11 12 43 2.14 6  0
* Denotes team leader

 
2013 Spring Hill Senior Boys District 6 Baseball Statistics Hitting
NAME  GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI .AVG
Lawrence 04 07 02 04 0 0 0 03 .571*
Siem  04 11 09 06 2* 0 0 03 .545
Marrone 04 13* 08 07* 1 1* 0 07 .538
Ashton  04 04 13* 02 1 0 1 09 .500
Nguyen 04 12 06 06 1 0 3* 08 .500
Maharaj 02 04 02 02 1 0 0 01 .500 
Bunyon 04 13* 03 05 0 0 1 09 .384
Vendrone 03 08 05 03 1 0 2 04 .375   
Laferty  04 10 11 03 0 0 0 00 .300
Coumoulos 04 13 03 03 1 0 1 12* .230
Ross  04 00 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000
Bienstock 01 00 02 00 0 0 0 00 .000
Sbashnig 01 01 00 00 0 0 0 00 .000
TOTALS (13) 04 96 64 41 8 1 8 56 .427
* Denotes team leader  

 
Pitching NAME AP GS CG IP H R ER BB K ERA W L
Bunyon 01 01 01* 5.0* 03 01 01 03 07* 1.40   1  0
Coumoulos 01 01 01* 5.0* 05 01 01 01 05 1.40 1  0
Siem  02* 02 00 3.1 06 10 10 07 05 21.02  1  0
Maharaj 01 00 00 3.2 07 03 03 00 02 5.73 1  0
Marrone 02* 00 00 3.0 01 00 00 01 05 0.00* 0  0
TOTALS 07 04 02 20.0 22 15 15 12 24 5.91 4  0
* Denotes team leader  
 
Past Dixie Senior Boys (age 14) World Series Champions
YEAR  TEAM
1963  Myrtle Grove, Florida
1964  Myrtle Grove, Florida
1965  Bossier City, Louisiana
1966  Pascagoula, Mississippi
1967  North Augusta, South Carolina
1968  West Monroe, Louisiana
1969  Hueytown, Alabama
1970  Meridian, Mississippi
1971  Texarkana, Texas
1972  Selma, Alabama
1973  Pascagoula, Mississippi
1974  Hattiesburg, Mississippi
1975  Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
1975   Larsen Center
1976  St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana
1977  Alexandria, Louisiana
1978  Hoover, Alabama
1979  Hoover, Alabama
1980  Lufkin, Texas
1981  Hartsville, South Carolina
1982  Hattiesburg, Mississippi
1983  Brent, Florida
1984  Hattiesburg, Mississippi
1985  Bossier City, Louisiana
1986  Texarkana, Arkansas
1987  Montgomery, Alabama
1988  Alexandria, Louisiana
1989  Texarkana, Arkansas
1990  South Gwinnett, Georgia
1991  Troy, Alabama
1992  Columbia County, Georgia
1993  Bossier City, Louisiana
1994  Texarkana American, Texas
1995  Valdosta Boys Club, Georgia
1996  Valdosta Boys Club, Georgia
1997  Hartsville, South Carolina
1998  Columbia County, Georgia
1999  Valdosta Boys Club, Georgia
2000  Henderson, Texas
2001  Phenix City, Alabama
2002  Columbia County, Georgia
2003  Columbia County, Georgia
2004  Hartsville, South Carolina
2005  St. Andrews, South Carolina
2006  Sumter, South Carolina
2007  Union, South Carolina
2008  Sumter, South Carolina
2009  Montgomery, Alabama
2010  Laurel Jones County, Mississippi
2011  Brunswick County, North Carolina
2012  West Georgia
-50-

 
Previous Spring Hill Dixie Baseball World Series Results (2005-12)
- Compiled by TONY CASTRO

YR  TEAM     W L .PCT COACH
2005  Spring Hill National AAA Minors (10-U) 2 2 .500 David Smith
2008 ^ Spring Hill Senior Boys (age 14)  4 2 .667 Mike Sollazzo
2008  Spring Hill American AAA Majors (11-12)  0 2 .000 Shawn Laferty 
2010  Spring Hill National AAA Majors (11-12) 3 2      .600 Al Sorrentino
2010  Spring Hill Pre-Majors (ages 15-16)  0 2 .000 Frank Vitale
2011  Spring Hill National AAA Majors (11-12) 1 2      .333 Shawn Laferty
2011  Spring Hill Junior Boys (age 13)  2 2      .500 Jeff Hamilton   
TOTALS (7)        -6-
^ Denotes World Series runners-up

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