Baseball League starts next month

Posted on 19 March 2015 by LeslieM

SPORTS031915By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach’s Jim Eddy and Pompano Beach’s Alex Rodriguez may be foes on the field, but like many others in the Liberty Hardball Men’s Baseball League, based in Coral Springs, they enjoy the camaraderie and the competition.

Both men recently squared off for the championship and Eddy’s Cardinals’ team won its second consecutive championship over Rodriguez’s Yankees.

Eddy, 49, an athletic trainer at Highlands Christian Academy who also sells real estate, has played in the league for five years.

It is convenient for me because I live in Deerfield Beach,” said Eddy, the league’s most valuable player. “It keeps the competitive juices flowing. It makes you think back to when you could play like that every day. It helps relieve stress that you might go through during the week.”

The Cardinals, which went undefeated in winning the championship last year, won their fourth championship in the past six years and it marked the first time winning back-to-back titles.

The Cardinals finished last season 23-0 becoming the first men’s baseball team in any league in South Florida to ever finish a season undefeated as it swept the Cubs in the championship series. The Cardinals (21-6) also won titles in 2009, 2011 and 2013. It wasn’t easy this year as the Cardinals lost several players; however, they won 10 games in a row to close out the season and 11 of its last 12 contests.

A lot more teams were gunning for us this year, so they tried to stack their teams to take us out,” said Eddy, who batted .574 with 5 homeruns, 30 RBI and 41 runs scored. “That was nice. You get to my age and you need something to motivate you. You don’t have all of that adrenaline fl owing through you anymore and it kind of helps when there is a little chip on the other team’s shoulders.”

Yankees pitcher Alex Rodriguez, 32, has spent four seasons in the Sunday morning league. He likes that they play a 20-game season and then playoffs. Rodriguez, who played semipro baseball in Venezuela, and also pitched in college for Yacambu Universidad, has put off Tommy John surgery to keep playing.

When I played in college I used to throw 92 miles an hour,” said Rodriguez, who batted .414 with 4 HRS and 33 RBI. He also was 3-0 on the mound with a 6.40 ERA. “I would have to stop playing for a year. I don’t think it’s worth it. I can hit, but I can’t throw so much now. I hope to play until I am 40 or 45. I would like to be 60 and still play baseball, but I don’t know if I can get to that point.”

The league will kick off its new season on April 12 and Rodriguez, like most of the other players, enjoys the six-team league.

I love it,” Rodriguez said. “I love the fact that we start at 9 a.m. and we are usually done by 11:30 or noon and have the rest of the day to spend with our families.”

Ely gets national invite

As Yogi Berra coined with the phrase, “It’s never over until it’s over,” Blanche Ely’s boys and Dillard High School’s girls’ basketball teams were invited to play in the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National tournament next month.

Blanche Ely (28-0) won the Class 7A state championship earlier this month, a 72- 60 victory over Kissimmee Osceola. The Tigers became just the second Broward boys’ basketball team to finish as an undefeated state champ. It was Randall’s third title in four years at Blanche Ely and county record sixth overall in his career.

This will be the third trip for the Ely boys to the national tournament. The Tigers attended the nationals in 2012 and 2013. The boys and girls championship games will be played in Madison Square Garden on the April 5.

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