Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Mandarin Teams Head to Regionals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Mandarin Teams Head to Regionals

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN SCANLAN

Two Mandarin baseball teams hit the big time during the Babe Ruth League's state championship tournament for rookie leagues in Palm Beach Gardens during the Fourth of July weekend.

Now one of the teams is headed to the league's Southeast Regional Tournament in Gaffney, S.C., today, ready to face competition from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The rookie league is aimed at 7-, 8-, and 9-year-old baseball players who go up against a pitching machine instead of a human pitcher. Controlling the pitches by machine means the fear of being hit by a wayward ball is reduced for the young players -- many have just moved up out of tee-ball.

In the case of the Mandarin Athletic Association, its Killer Bees were the B Bracket Champions at the end of the five-day tournament at Palm Beach Gardens Park. Eight teams played in the bracket, including teams from the San Jose and Julington Creek areas. They had to play six games, and some were tough, said Steve Gonzalez, Killer Bees team manager.

"We won two, lost one and went to the losers' bracket. We played one more game in order to outplay the team that put us in the losers' bracket," he said. "We beat them to force a second game because of a double-elimination format, which forced a final game on July 4, and we beat them again."

Player Brandon Vann hit an inside-the-park home run, while Kenny Fosdick had three hits and scored twice in the last game, which the Bees won 12-1. This was the first year for the B Bracket state championships, making the MAA Killer Bees the first to win it. Now the association will hang a sign at Burnett Park, its home field, saying "Home of the 2006 Florida Champion Killer Bees."

The team members are: Trevor Ainslie, Brandt Arsenault, Jordan Broaden, Dane Clark, Austin Cutlip, Kenny Fosdick, Caleb Gay, Jake James, Chandler Luter, Carter Milstead, Blake Morgan and Brandon Vann. The assistant coaches are Ken Arsenault and Greg Luter.

Meanwhile, the Mandarin Sports Association's 12-member Rebels scored runner-up in the A Bracket at the Florida state tournament, earning them a slot at the Babe Ruth Regional tournament in Gaffney. …

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