Tag Archive | "baseball"

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Pompano baseball team enjoys stellar season

Posted on 26 May 2016 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

In two seasons under coach Joe Giummule’s watch, the Pompano Beach High School baseball team has flourished.

The Tornadoes (20-9) were coming off three straight losing seasons following a 13-6 season in 2010-11 under George Petik before Giummule recorded a 14-10 campaign last year and a 20-win season this year. It won the District 14-5A title, in the process snapping a 45-year drought.

I’d be lying if I said that was exactly how I wrote it up,” said Giummule, whose team reached the Class 5A regional final this season where it fell 9-3 to Monsignor Pace. “I knew we had talent, and a strong senior group returning. Our pitching was extremely young with little varsity experience from the previous year, so we weren’t sure how that was going to go.”

Entering the year, the Tornadoes had only reached the postseason three times in school history. The team last won the Class 2A district title in 1971 when it fell 4-0 to Miami Beach in the regional playoff.

The team won its only postseason contest in 2012 when it defeated Jensen Beach, 6-2, in the Class 5A regional quarterfinal only to lose to eventual state champ American Heritage, 6-3, in the semifinals. Pompano Beach advanced to the regional quarterfinal in 2013, but lost to Jensen Beach in the first round of the playoffs. Ironically, the team has posted back-to-back two victory seasons those two years.

I would argue that our district is the toughest in the state of Florida,” said Giummule, who compiled a record of 70-38 at Coral Glades and 59-51 at South Broward before moving over to Pompano Beach. “It is definitely the toughest region in the state of Florida. There would be no days off and we had some great and very talented arms, but inexperienced at the varsity level.”

Giummule said the turning point in the season came on March 17 when it trailed host Pine Crest 9-0 in the fifth inning and the Panthers had a runner on third that would have ended the game with the 10-run mercy rule if he had scored. The Tornadoes had lost to Pine Crest 8-0 just 10 days earlier.

We came back 11-10 and that secured our season,” he said. “We were able to lock up the three seed with that win. Parents were leaving the game and it was on the road. We beat one team with a winning record year and I thought we were headed in the right direction.”

Giummule, 40, of Coral Springs, was pleased that his team was also able to get by Cardinal Gibbons, who beaten the Tornadoes every year since 2003. Pompano beat the Chiefs three times this season. He was able to beat District favorite Somerset twice this season.

The Tornadoes, who graduate six seniors, including three every day starters, will have to replace Bobby Aseere, Nick Marcantonio, and Vinny Costello. Right handed hurler Peyton Trautman, who went 7-0, also graduates.

Our district was so tough, that we could have lost every game,” Giummule said. “The kid that pitched against us in the regional final is going to be drafted by MLB in one of top three rounds. He was throwing 95 miles-an-hour. Our goal every year moving forward is to win a district championship. It is baseball and anybody can beat anybody in that sport.”

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Baseball School expanding

Posted on 31 March 2016 by LeslieM

sports033116By Gary Curreri

When it comes to the expansion of the South Florida Baseball School, Bruce Charlebois said his prayers have been answered – literally.

We have wanted to run a home school division, which is something that we have been praying for a long time and God has answered that prayer with Marc (Carpiniello) and his family,” said Charlebois, owner of the school and head baseball coach at Highlands Christian Academy, where the school is located. “We have also started a softball division this year and that has been another desire of ours for years.

That is ridiculously great!” Charlebois added. “People believe in our system and we have been able to help in the area of character and baseball training throughout the years and people are investing in us. Again, it is a miracle that we get to do this and people love us enough to invest in what we are doing.”

Charlebois, 49, of Deerfield Beach, said the school is celebrating its 20th anniversary and adding a home school division was just a natural progression.

Carpiniello, 45, also of Deerfield Beach, said the home school division for children ages 6 to 13 began a few months ago with a Tuesday camp and just three players. It has since grown to 14.

I think it is more of a want, than a need,” said Carpiniello, who home schools his children, Vince, 7, and Jami and Justin, twin 6-year-olds. He coaches his children in several leagues and about 30 games each, however, there are not many practices.

Even though my kids adapt quickly and make friends fast they are still not in the same circles as most of the other boys since they are home schooled,” Carpiniello said. “With our program, we do a little skill training with them and then break into a wiffle ball or tennis ball game. We will then do some speed and agility, and then some baseball. We will also focus on the pitchers and catchers a little bit. I think it is huge for the kids to be able to play with their friends. They like that they have a league of their own.”

The South Florida Baseball School recently broke ground on a brand new state-of-the-art, 6,000-sq. ft. indoor hitting and pitching facility, currently being built with completion expected by June. They have also added “Rookie Ball” for kids ages 2-5, a softball division, clinics for little league players and coaches.

The hitting and pitching facility is a game-changer for us as far as the academy goes,” Charlebois said. “It will be built where the exiting hitting area and bullpen area is. It is down the left field line.”

Charlebois said the schedule varies depending on the time of the season.

We have home school stuff available at any time during the day – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and our prime time schedule is available from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. during the week,” said Charlebois, who also offers private lessons, small groups and team workouts. “We have Saturdays all day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We also have winter and summer camps. We had a three-day power camp during winter break.”

Looking back over the 20 years, is there one thing that stands out?

For the baseball academy, the best memory would, honestly. be God bringing Marc and his family into our lives,” Charlebois said. “His excellent wife Janis has built our website and is doing administrative work for us.

We have done a lot over the years,” he added. “We have guys in the big leagues with Mike Fiers (Houston Astros) and Michael Taylor (Washington Nationals), both guys who trained in our academy. We also have a number of guys who are in pro ball or Division 1 in college.”

For more information, visit southfloridabaseballschool.com, or call 954-326-2373.

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Deerfield Beach Select All-Stars fall in state tourney

Posted on 16 July 2015 by LeslieM

sports071615By Gary Curreri

So much for the home field advantage.

Deerfield Beach Select All-Stars coach Joe Silvia believed his team had a home field advantage when it took the diamond in the Big League Baseball State Tournament recently at Floyd Hull Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale.

Deerfield Beach (2-2) opened the tournament with a 12-2 victory over Port St. Lucie before dropping a 6-1 decision to Clearwater/ Dunedin, the defending Big League World Champions.

They played hard, but when we lost to Clearwater/ Dunedin it took the wind out of them,” Silvia said. “That was the championships game on Saturday.”

Deerfield Beach seized the lead in the top of the first inning on an infield single by Brendly Martina that scored Blake Guisti for a 1-0 advantage before Clearwater/ Dunedin rallied for the victory and advanced to this weekend’s Southeast United States Regional Tournament that gets underway July 17, also at Floyd Hull Stadium.

Justin Glover got things rolling for Clearwater/Dunedin with a solo home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Clearwater/Dunedin padded its lead with one more run in the fourth and four runs in the fifth thanks to a bases-clearing double by Ian Lisle.

Deerfield Beach pitcher Nick Ferngren, who had his first no-hitter since he was 11 in a 10-0 sectional win over Ft. Lauderdale, didn’t allow a hit until Glover hit his round tripper in the fourth inning.

Ferngren, 19, of Coral Springs, is in his first year on the team.

I love it,” said Ferngren, who recently graduated from Cardinal Gibbons and headed to Rhodes College in Memphis, TN to play for the school next year. “The camaraderie is great. It is like family here. Most of the guys on the team have been here for like three years and they make me feel like I have been here just as long.”

It is the first year playing Big League baseball. He previously played for the South Florida Huskies in a showcase league.

I have only been pitching for a couple of years now,” Ferngren said. “I didn’t get a lot of innings in high school. I am not surprised with how well I have done. I expect a lot out of myself.”

Deerfield Beach went on to split its next two games as it downed Dade City, 11-7, before closing out the tournament with an 8-5 setback against Ft. Myers to finish second overall.

Silvia has coached for 27 years and coached Big League baseball for the past 11 years.

In 2010, the team was one out away from winning the state tournament as it fell to the same Clearwater/Dunedin squad. The team was up 5-4 with two outs and the outfielder missed the catch and three runs wound up scoring for a 7-5 victory.

This team is one of the better teams we have had in seven or eight years,” Silvia said. “This team gelled together. They are all friends and they all support each other. There was no negativity on this team. It’s a pleasure to be here.”

Deerfield Beach had played seven contests at Floyd Hull during the season. The team was composed of players from eight different high schools. Martina, Ferngren, Dalton Williams and Drexler Maccaay paced the team among others.

We graduate about half the team,” Silvia said. “They were a great group of kids.”

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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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Lions fall in regional final

Posted on 22 May 2014 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Zion Lutheran first-year coach Ray Ayala said his baseball team exceeded expectations this season.

The Lions (16-10-1) recently completed their season with a hardfought, 10-4 loss in 11- innings against visiting Miami Brito last week.

Miami Brito Miami scored six runs in the top of the 11th inning to snap a 4-4 tie as the Panthers won the Region 4-2A final and denied the Lions their first trip to the state semifinals in school history for the second consecutive season.

Zion Lutheran lost 11-0 to the eventual state champion, Westwood Christian, in the Class 2A regional finals last season. Jose Rodriguez pitched six innings in relief of Lions’ starter Blayne Baker to keep Zion Lutheran in the game. The team rallied from a 4-1 deficit to force extra innings with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Ivan Ortiz’s RBI single tied the game at 4-4.

We were very fortunate to get it tied,” said first year Lions coach Ray Ayala, who came over from Somerset Academy this season. “We had some opportunities, but we didn’t get it done.”

There were only two players back from last year’s team (Baker and Manny Rojas). Baker finished the season 6-4 on the mound, while Rojas batted .509 for the season and led the team with 35 RBI.

We played in two early season tournaments and went 0-6-1 in them,” Ayala said. “Honestly, if you go back to February, you will see we had a whole bunch of individuals. I put them in over their heads. It took us three months to become a family and we had won nine in a row since then. We had to find a way to have them come together.”

When I first took a look at it, I thought there was something to build there,” Ayala said. “There was nothing there. The cupboard was bare so to speak. I figured two to three years we could build something. As you can see, we moved at a little bit faster pace.”

Ortiz, who was a catcher at Olympic Heights last season, joined the team this season along with shortstop Jose Rodriguez and outfielder Joseph Renovales, who came over from Coral Glades High School.

They all know each other from playing summer ball together,” Ayala said. “We inherited five other kids from other schools.”

Ayala said the slow start showed the team there was work to do.

It made us realize that one through nine we weren’t better than anybody,” Ayala said. “If we played as a team, we could beat anybody. That’s where all of our losses came from and that was the turning point going through those tournaments learning that we could not win individually; we could only win collectively; once we stopped worrying about stats and worrying about who plays, our practices became more geared toward team drills and we were successful as a team and turned the corner.”

Ayala believes the program has a bright future. Ayala said parents who are interested in bringing their sons to the program are already contacting him.

I am already getting calls of interest,” Ayala said. “Parents are getting calls from other parents and telling them they want to switch schools, so that is definitely getting us on the map. We are getting a reputation that we play hard and I am fair to the kids.

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Knights down Calvary Christian, 5-0 for Spring Break diamond title

Posted on 03 April 2014 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

Junior pitcher Mitchell Carroll pitched a complete game, no-hitter, as Highlands Christian Academy’s baseball team topped host Calvary Christian, 6-0, in the championship game of the 4Him Classic during Spring Break.

I don’t remember if I have thrown a no-hitter before,” said Carroll, 17, of Coral Springs, who received the tournament’s Outstanding Pitcher award. “I just compete against the execution of the pitch and control the things I can control. It is always nice to win a championship.”

Carroll ran his season record to 4-1 as he finished with 11 strikeouts in the contest in which he faced just three batters over the minimum. The victory avenged a 5-3 loss to the Eagles earlier in the season.

Senior second baseman Quinsley Balentine, 18, of Deerfield Beach, was awarded the MVP Award as he batted .500 for the tourney. Balentine went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs to lead the eight hit attack in the championship game.

We became more disciplined mid-game at the plate and more patient,” said Highlands Christian Academy coach Bruce Charlebois, who is in his eighth year at the school. “We laid off the breaking ball out of the zone and let the game come to us.”

Charlebois said the bottom of his lineup also came through in the clutch, which was key to the title. Aryton Barbolina, James McGrath and Kyle Bombardier all had solid production in the tournament from the 7, 8 and 9 spots in the lineup.

Highlands Christian got the only run it needed in the top of the sixth when Drexler Macaay and Balentine reached on an error. After Macaay was caught stealing, Saul Velez doubled to left to score Balentine for a 1-0 lead.

The Knights put the game away with five runs with one out in the top of the seventh. Bombardier reached on a third strike passed ball and Kirvin Moesquit had a RBI double to score Bombardier for a 2- 0.

Moesquit stole third and both Bernedley Martina and Macaay both walked.

Balentine followed with a single to center to score Moesquit and Martina, and Macaay moved to third on the hit. Macaay scored and Balentine advanced to second on a wild pitch. Balentine stole third and scored on a groundout.

Highlands Christian opened the tournament with a 13-1 victory over Dade Christian and followed that up with a 6-1 win over Northeast in the second contest.

We are exactly where we need to be at this point of the season, sitting 11-5 and gaining ground on our character, conditioning and chemistry,” Charlebois said. “It was the first goal of four goals we set for a championship season. We wanted to win the Spring Break tournament and the next three are districts, regionals and states. I am confident that we will make our annual strong run at the end.”

Highlands Christian Academy is currently 11-5 overall and 4-2 in the highly competitive District 14-3A, which includes Coral Springs Christian, Jupiter Christian, Lake Worth Christian, Oxbridge Academy, Trinity Christian and Westminster Academy.

This is by far the toughest district that we have faced and I have to believe one of the strongest divisions in the state,” said Charlebois, whose team lost in the Class 1A regional finals in 2010 to state runnerup Miami Brito and in 2008 to the eventual state Class 2A champion, Westminster Christian, also in the regional final.

Coral Springs Christian will host the district tournament beginning on April 24.

If we win this (district) and get home field advantage,” Charlebois added, “I like our chances to take care of the unfinished business from 2008 and 2010.”

Highlands Christian will travel to play Pope John Paul II on Saturday at 4 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s regional quarterfinal.

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Fiers ‘back home’ at DBHS

Posted on 27 February 2014 by LeslieM

Pages 09-16By Gary Curreri

While Deerfield Beach High School’s baseball team is still searching for its first win of the season, it already scored a victory of sorts during the offseason.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers, a 2003 graduate of Deerfield Beach High, spent a few weeks at his alma mater helping coach the players before he left for spring training. The Pompano native worked with both the pitcher and position players on the varsity and junior varsity programs.

Fiers said he came back to help players reach the next level. He is good friends with Bucks assistant coach Mike Dobre and asked to come out and help.

I wanted to help them out with everything whether it is baseball or life in general,” said Fiers, who is 10-14 for his major league career. “I came out every day before I left for spring training and I loved being out there.”

After graduating from Deerfield Beach, Fiers went on to Broward College, spent a year at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky for one year and finished as an All-American at Nova Southeastern University. He was drafted in 2009 in the 22nd round by Milwaukee and reached the big leagues in 2011.

Fiers said he always had a dream to pitch in the major leagues. He played with another major leaguer in Mickey Storey, who is a pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays, for three years at Deerfield.

It’s definitely a tough game and takes a lot of hard work,” said Fiers, 28, of Pompano Beach. “I pride myself on that. I always had that dream and I wanted it. I’ve had setbacks. I’ve had success. It was a long journey. I had the mindset of knowing I was going to make it and staying positive.”

Fiers said he was impressed by the work ethic the players displayed at DBHS. He worked on the fundamentals of baseball with many of the players. In his senior year at Deerfield Beach, they lost in the regional final to Hialeah High.

It was his second visit to Deerfield Beach High since he graduated. Fiers went while he was at Broward College and also volunteered at nearby Zion Lutheran when Dobre was a coach there.

I like coaching and helping out kids,” Fiers said. “They have to take it as a game, because it is a game. You want to go out and have fun and that makes it easier. Some guys maybe take it as a job, but it is not a job yet. You want to get good grades and that will help you out.”

I graduated 10 years ago and it feels the same,” Fiers continued. “It is good to come back and help them get where they want to go. I just want them to compete and, hopefully, their mindset is to want to win. I just wanted to try and make the game as simple as possible.”

Deerfield Beach High School junior Kyle Miller said it was a bonus to have Fiers around.

It was great to have coach Fiers around,” Miller said. “He’s been through this program before and he knows the ins and outs of baseball. He is somebody you can listen to because he is at the top level of baseball right now.

He is not just some guy that puts on a hat and calls himself a coach,” Miller added. “He lives it every day. It was good to have him around teaching us.”

Miller said among the things that Fiers helped him with was his approach to pitching.

He is a right-handed pitcher who doesn’t throw 98 (mph), but he knows how to pitch and get outs,” Miller said. “He relies on good off speed pitches and good location. You really learn good pitching from a guy like Mike Fiers. It’s cool that he volunteered to give back to the program, a program that gave him so much as a kid.”

This definitely gives you hope to see a guy who came out of Deerfield and has had great success playing the sport,” Miller said. “It shows a lot of kids that if you work hard every day and you want it bad enough, even if you don’t throw a 106-mph fastball, you can still have success.”

Mike was like the Pied Piper with the players following him and picking his brain,” said first year Bucks coach Angelo Latrento. “He’s a homegrown kid who gave the kids hope and motivation.”

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Fall Ball Championship game

Posted on 23 November 2011 by LeslieM

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Posted on 10 November 2011 by LeslieM

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Major League Baseball Season came to an end. Baseball isn’t just the Great American Pastime. Baseball has always had a special place in the heart and soul of The Jewish People.

I suspect it started way back before anyone ever heard of Abner Doubleday. In fact, it started way back in Biblical Times. Why else do you think that G-d chose to start the Torah with the words, “In the Big Inning?”

Come to think of it, why else would G-d tell one of the Patriarchs to make a sacrifice …

And, even though the ancients may have lived in a Patriarchal society, even the women got into the game because every Purim we read about Queen Esther throwing a ball. And if throwing a ball was good enough for the Queen, then maybe Polo shouldn’t be the sport of Kings. Maybe they should try playing some baseball.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we read Parsha Lech Lecha. In this Chapter of the Bible, G-d has picked the roster. He has chosen the starting line-up and, he has decided that Abram should, “Go  fourth.”

In baseball, the one who bats fourth is lovingly referred to as the “Clean-Up Hitter.” This is the player who is statistically most likely to do something that enables all the other runners on base to make it home … and, as Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

Most of you reading this column have your home down here in sunny South Florida. But I suspect that many of you are not aware that we, just like Abram, and just like the clean-up hitter, were recently called “fourth.”

Unfortunately, the fourth we were called was not about heading to Canaan, nor was it about bringing others home. Then again, maybe it was about bringing others home if you are talking about the heavens as your final home; because it seems that we of our beloved Sunshine State were just listed as the fourth worst drivers in the Country … and I am not talking about a drive out on the golf range. A clearinghouse for car insurance information put us fourth in a research study that took into play things like traffic fatalities, citations and arrests; and we did not score so well.

In baseball, even if the clean-up hitter hits a homerun, he can’t bring anyone else home unless someone before him gets on base, which brings us to the first batter, the lead-off man.

And again, sadly, we, the drivers of Sunny Florida do indeed lead-off. We come in first in the rankings in the number of traffic citations issued and, talk about semi-pros, we are pretty close to No. 1 in, surprise of surprises,  careless drivers. So I guess I better stop keying this into my computer, put my coffee down and stop talking on my cell phone until I get off the road …

So ladies and gentleman of South Florida, were you paying attention?

We came in fourth, but we can do better. Let’s clean up our roads. Help others make it home … and may the Great Umpire in the Sky be by our side in our driving, in our going fourth, and may He bring all of us home safely.


Shalom My Friends,

Rabbi Craig H. Ezring


Rabbi Ezring is a Hospice Chaplain and Member of the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. He also provides Professional Pastoral Care Services to a number of health centers in Broward County.

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