Deerfield Beach Little League teams in full playoff mode

Posted on 21 June 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Melcher Feliciano Jr. said the key to winning games in the District 10 Little League baseball playoffs is how you fare on the mound.

You have to have five to seven pitchers,” said Feliciano Jr., who is the manager of the Deerfield Beach Little League Senior All-Star team. “Most of the guys can play all of the positions, but it’s very tough if you don’t have a lot of pitchers and catchers. It comes down to pitching.”

Deerfield Beach opened the Senior Division playoffs with an 8-1 setback against host North Springs Little League at North Community Park in Coral Springs. Shane Garner scored the lone run off a base hit from Anthony Davilla. North Springs won the United States National Championship last year in the Senior Division.

Feliciano Jr., who coached the Deerfield Beach Little League 50/70 team last year, said there is an adjustment between coaching the younger players and the Senior Division squad.

The Deerfield Beach Little League program features a little more than a dozen teams and just two teams in the Senior Division. In addition to playing each other, they also played against other area programs.

Obviously we are trying to get a win in every game we play,” Feliciano Jr. said. There are five teams from the local league playing in the All-Star competition in the various divisions. “We spend a lot of time at practice working on communication and other things. Sometimes it’s very difficult because the kids can’t make the practice or something comes up at the last minute. We ended our season just one week before the All-Stars and that is a lot to go through in a week.”

Feliciano Jr. said they selected the best players from the two Senior Division teams in the Deerfield Beach Little League.

The best ones make the cut,” Feliciano Jr. said. “We are trying to win the whole series and go to sectionals and make it to states.”

Feliciano Jr. said the speed of the game is a little quicker with the 50/70s because the bases are closer and the mound is closer.

The ball comes faster to you in the field and the pitches are faster and you have to adjust to that,” Feliciano Jr. said. “With the Senior Division, the ball is pitched faster than the 50/70s, so I will throw mostly fastballs when I pitch batting practice. I will also hit the ball harder to the infield. We will also go (practice) four times a week.”

He said he would push the 50/70s as well.

Sometimes I try and push them a little harder,” Feliciano Jr. said. “You can’t baby them. They get that feeling when they get to the next level, I don’t want them to crash and say, ‘I can’t do this anymore because it is too hard or too fast for me.’ I try and do the same thing with the seniors, the same method, and make it competitive.”

When Feliciano Jr. and his squad walked in the gate at North Community Park, they passed the national championship banner from 2017. He said it was not intimidating.

This is a challenge for us,” Feliciano Jr. said. “I liked the kids’ attitude, work ethic and how they treat their teammates. They show good sportsmanship. There is nothing negative, and everything is positive.”

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