Tag Archive | "High School"

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Pompano player wins tourney

Posted on 26 September 2019 by LeslieM

Pompano Beach’s Julia Vulpio returns a shot against Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen in the finals of the Women’s Open Division in the Delray Cup – Prize Money Open, Age Category and NTRP Championships at ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray Beach. Vulpio won the title with a 6-4, 7-5 win. Photo by Gary Curreri

By Gary Curreri

In the beginning, Julia Vulpio wasn’t a big fan of tennis.

“At first, I didn’t like it,” said Vulpio, 18, of Pompano Beach. “I wanted to play with dolls and do normal kid’s stuff.”

She got her start when her father saw a poster of Argentinian tennis pro Guillermo Vilas on the floor for his academy and they went.

“It was closed for the year and my dad said since we are here, let’s play,” said Vulpio, who was age 4 at the time. She continued to play recreationally until age 9 when she had a breakthrough.

“I saw Rafa Nadal play at the French Open, and I said, ‘wow, I really want to play now,’” Vulpio recalled. “I love the competition. I like everything. I like the fighting. It is definitely mental, a lot of it.”

She cited her strengths as a backhand crosscourt, her slice serve and a topspin forehand.

Vulpio recently scored a 6-4, 7-5 win over Boca Raton’s Nina Gulbransen in the finals of the Women’s Open Division in the Delray Cup – Prize Money Open, Age Category and NTRP Championships at ProWorld Tennis Academy in Delray Beach. Not bad considering she hadn’t played in a tournament in a couple of months and had just been training.

“I just decided to go back and play a few tournaments,” said Vulpio, a Quinnipiac University commit. She is currently homeschooling to prepare. She has also been training at ProWorld for almost two years. She was a former No. 1 in France for girls 16s and was ranked No. 900 at WTA at age 17.

“It was a good match to start back,” she said. “Winning the tournament gives you confidence for sure, especially since it is my first tournament in a while.”

The tournament also featured Men’s Open singles, Men’s Open doubles, Women’s 3.5 NTRP singles and Men’s 4.0 and 4.5 singles play. There were 81 players in the event and in addition to players from Florida, there were also competitors from CA, TX, NJ , NY, MI, and PR.

“The tournament had about 80 players – 70 in the Open and 11 in the NTRP,” Tournament Director Lew Wolfe said.

Bucks win third straight game

After opening the season with two straight losses on the road, the Deerfield Beach High School football team have regained their winning ways with a third consecutive shutout following a 42-0 win over Oak Ridge (Orlando) at home on Friday night.

Senior quarterback Michael Pratt tossed three touchdown passes, while senior running back Jaylan Knighton topped the century mark rushing and added two touchdowns for the Bucks, who have defeated Blanche Ely (42-0), Zachary (La.) 52-0 and Oakridge in the team’s home opener.

Pratt, a Tulane University commit who transferred to Deerfield Beach from nearby Boca Raton in early August, will face his former team on Friday when the Bucks take on the Bobcats at home.

Pratt connected with Aydin Henningham, Xavier Restrepo and Jaziun Patterson for TD passes and Knighton, a Florida State commit, totaled 101 yards on the ground and scored twice.

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Two locals receive Dolphins’ playfootball awards

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Two local residents recently were among the recipients of the Miami Dolphins’ weekly PlayFootball awards.

Deerfield Beach High School junior running back Jaylan Knighton was recognized as the High School Player of the Week after the University of Oklahoma commit rushed a school-record 26 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bucks to a 44-8 victory over Taravella.

Consuelo Lewis, of the Pompano Chiefs from the Florida YouthFootball League, was recognized as the Team Mom of the Week.Lewis has been a dedicated parent and volunteer for the Pompano Chiefs for many years. She is always at practices and games, and makes sure the boys have everything they need. Lewis’ presence in the park has been evident since she became a team mom and even overcame her bout with cancer.

The program is designed to celebrate youth football in South Florida. For each home game, the Dolphins will identify a high school coach of the week, high school player of the week, youth player of the week and team mom of the week.

The other winners were Santaluces coach Brian Coe (High School Coach of the Week) and Termain Sherman from the Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes Super Peewees of the Florida Youth Football League (Youth Player of the Week). They received their awards at the Miami Dolphins’ overtime win over the Chicago Bears.

Award recipients will receive tickets to a Dolphins home game and were presented with a plaque on the field at Hard Rock Stadium. They also receive acknowledgment of their accomplishment in the game program and through the Dolphins’ social media platforms. The Dolphins also recognize a team of the week, who will be on field during the national anthem.

The program concludes at the Dolphins-Jaguars game where the Dolphins will honor yearly award winners in all categories with the exception of the team of the year.

Christensen wins BCAA golf title

Pompano Beach High School’s Thomas Christensen posted the lowest round of the day at 3-over 75 at the Palm Aire Country Club to help his school win the Damian Huttenhoff Golf Championship.

The tournament, which featured golfers from all of the county’s schools who are members of the Broward County Athletic Association, was played in blustery conditions that led to high scores from its participants.

I felt comfortable this year after playing well a year-a-go here,” Christensen said. “As a team, we played pretty well, so it’s a good direction for us going into the next few weeks.

Christensen carded a two-day total of 11-over, 155 at last year’s Florida High School Athletic Association Class 2A state championship tournament at Mission Inn Resort & Club at Howey-in-the-Hills.

I actually struck the ball poorly today hitting only seven greens,” he added, “but my putting and chipping were solid.”

He helped the Tornadoes win the tournament with a 316 total. Douglas was second with a 325 total. Teammate Deon Riley was one stroke back with a 76, while Dennis Murphy also broke 80 with a 79.

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PBHS Class of 1968 Visits Hillsboro Lighthouse

Posted on 06 October 2018 by LeslieM

By Rachel Galvin

From Sept. 28 to 30, the Pompano Beach Senior High School Class of 1968 held its 50th reunion, including a school spirit night ice breaker and dinner dance with music from 1965 to 1968. Mr. & Mrs. 50th Reunion were recognized – George Gardner and Sue (Colton) Franklin, said Cherryl Cook, one of the organizers of the event. Some of those attending the reunion also made a Sunday trip to the Hillsboro Lighthouse, leaving their home base of the Pompano Beach Marriott and heading by trolley over to see the landmark and take a tour happily provided by Ben, who portrays the Barefoot Mailman.

Visitors could also climb the 175 stairs up to the top to get a great view on a perfectly beautiful day.

The group who had assembled posed on the stairs to the entrance of the lighthouse, which have new railings that were just put in to match the original design (based on old blueprints, etc) from 1906, with materials donated by Skyline Steel. This was one such renovation recently made to the lighthouse. Among other things, they just replaced 48 tie rods and turnbuckles that were devastated by last year’s Hurricane Irma. They fixed it using a brand new process, said President of the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society Ken Herman.

The lighthouse is the most powerful continuous public lighthouse in the world, according to Herman. Want to visit the lighthouse? Their next event is on Barefoot Mailman Remembrance Day, Oct. 13. Find out more at www.hillsborolighthouse.org.

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Taylor, Dolphins surprise Tornadoes with gear

Posted on 26 July 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Miami Dolphins recently surprised the Pompano Beach High School football team with new equipment for its program. Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Vincent Taylor was on-hand for the surprise. They donated equipment, including Dolphins branded shirts, Gatorade coolers, blocking shields, medicine balls and cleats.

It was an honor to give the kids equipment they didn’t have, even if it was a pair of cleats,” Taylor said. “I remember being in their same shoes and getting a pair of cleats from somebody just made me want to play harder.”

The team also had the opportunity to hear from Dolphins alum and Youth Programs Ambassador Twan Russell about perseverance and the importance of teamwork.

It was a great message,” Taylor said of Russell’s speech to the team. “He said some important stuff and one of the things that caught my attention like attitude … things may not always be right, so you have to have a positive attitude.”

It was amazing to have the Miami Dolphins organization come out and donate and talk to the team,” Pompano Beach High School Head Football Coach Melvin Jones said. “It scratches things off our list that we need to get so we can fundraise for some other things to look good. We’re thankful and truly blessed and everything is going to go a long way.”

This is the second Junior Dolphins Equipment Donation this year. The Dolphins also made a similar donation to Miramar High School in May.

The Junior Dolphins program encourages youth players and coaches to learn, teach and play football in a fun and safe environment. The program is designed to give kids access to learn the fundamentals of football using the NFL’s top resources. To grow the game, the program will work to educate coaches, parents and youth on the health and safety of football with a strong emphasis on character development.

Simply soccer camps wrapping up

Area residents are encouraged to attend the Simply Soccer camp, which has two weeks remaining in its 30th year of soccer camps for children 5-15 in nearby Coral Springs.

There are three sessions each day ranging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; extended hours camp is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a Tiny Tot program for kids ages 5 and 6 is from 9 a.m. to noon. Full day campers must bring a soccer ball, swimsuit, shin guards, water bottle and lunch. You do not have to be a city resident to attend. The remaining dates are July 30-Aug. 3, Aug. 6-10. You can register daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Coral Springs Gymnasium, 2501 Coral Springs Dr,. Coral Springs. For information on the camp call 954-345-2200.

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Tornadoes fall in regional quarters

Posted on 24 May 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

There will be no Class 5A state title for Pompano Beach High School this season.

The Golden Tornadoes, which had won back-to-back District 14-5A titles and fell in last year’s state championship game, came up short in this year’s district final to North Broward Prep (9-4) and followed that loss up with a 3-2 setback on the road against Ft. Pierce Lincoln Park.

Two days following the loss, Pompano High School Manager Joe Giummule announced he was stepping down after four seasons at the helm. Giummule went 76-29 over four seasons leading Pompano to two district championships, three regional appearances – one which led to a state appearance and another to regional finals.

The year before Giummule took over, the Golden Tornadoes were 8-15. They went 14-10 in 2015; 20-7 in 2016, 24-4 last season and 18-8 this past year.

I’d like to thank Coach (Jason) Frey for giving me the opportunity to coach at Pompano,” Giummule said. “We turned an academic magnet program where kids applied because of school to a school kids applied to be part of state-ranked baseball program.”

He cited teaching and coaching at different schools as the primary reason for resigning. Giummule teaches middle-school reading at Cross Creek, a K-12 emotional behavioral disability school in Pompano. He would commute after school to coach the Golden Tornadoes. He would still like to coach baseball in Broward County if he can find a school with a teaching position.

I’ve made some great friends, coached some great players and I can leave knowing I left the Pompano baseball in a better place,” Giummule added. “Unfortunately, Pompano was unable to get me a teaching job during my four years as a coach.”

The Tornadoes were unable to overcome injuries to their top two pitchers – ace Trevor Kniskern (Pepperdine signee) and Chase Costello (LSU) down the stretch. Kniskern battled a back injury, while Costello injured his pitching hand sliding into second base.

Mike Schuler (FAU signee) stepped in and filled the void down the stretch and fared well. Schuler tossed a complete-game in the loss to Lincoln Park. He gave up three unearned runs in the game and scattered four hits.

Schuler also went the distance in a complete-game, one-hit win over Coral Springs Charter School. Schuler fanned eight and didn’t allow an earned run in the 3-1 win over the Panthers.

Shuler finished the season with a 4-2 record with two saves and a 1.35 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 41.1 innings. He led the team with three complete games. He led the team with 12 stolen bases and 32 runs scored to go a long with a .337 BA.

Kniskern led the team with a .400 BA, was second in stolen bases and third in runs scored with 26. He also had a team-leading 27 RBI and was second in HRs with three. Kniskern was 5-1 this season with a 1.51 ERA and 64 Ks in 37 innings.

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Bucks win regional semifinal

Posted on 01 March 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Deerfield Beach High School boys’ basketball coach Kenny Brown switched his team to a zone defense and the Bucks were in a zone in taking out the state’s second-ranked Class 9A team in Coral Springs, 73-60 on Tuesday night.

Senior Lutelson Jerome led four players in double figures for the Bucks with 19 points in the Class 9A regional semifinal at Coral Springs High. Jonathan Lemy and Hansley Senatus had 12 points each, while Michael Johnson added 11 in a winning effort.

Deerfield Beach (22-8) will travel to play Wellington in the regional final on Friday night. The Wolverines, who lost in the state semifinals last year to the eventual state champion, Osceola, are 29-0 this year.

We held some things back in the first three games,” said Bucks coach Kenny Brown, whose team entered the game as the eighth-ranked team by MaxPreps in Class 9A. “We weren’t going to do certain things. We just stuck to the basics. We decided to do some things tonight that we felt would work against them.

Tonight, we decided to play a zone (defense) and we knew they weren’t going to be prepared for that because we hadn’t done it before,” Brown continued. “They thought we were going to play man-to-man the whole game…we just played some 1-3-1 (zone) and never played man-to-man the whole night.”

Coral Springs (22-7) had defeated Deerfield three times during the season winning 61-55 in OT in the first meeting and then 60-54 in the second. The Colts, the second-ranked team in Class 9A and 8th ranked overall, then topped the Bucks 71-56 for the district championship.

Deerfield opened up an early 12-2 lead before the host Colts clawed back to tie the game at 30-30 on a lay-up by Deante Moore. The Bucks’ Hansley Senatus drained a 3-point basket at the buzzer as the Bucks took a 33-30 lead at the intermission.

Deerfield Beach used an 18-11 run in the third quarter to break open a close game and the Colts were unable to recover.

Coral Springs was led by Moore who scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, but the Colts were unable to recover from an 18-11 run in the third quarter that stretched the lead to double digits. The Colts, who won the state title in 2016, led just once in the first half as Jelani Heard opened a 2-0 lead with two free throws.

It was a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal won by Coral Springs, 47-44. Deerfield Beach reached the state semifinals in 2013 when it fell to eventual champion Haggerty, 57-54.

This is huge for these kids,” Brown added. “I have a lot of kids who this is their first year on varsity and this has been a year where they learned on the fly. We have had some ups and downs because of their youth, but they learned from it and they played a lot better tonight.”

Tigers rally past Dwyer, 65-50

Michael Forrest scored a game-high 38 points as Blanche Ely blew past Dwyer, 65-50, in the Class 8A regional semifinal in Palm Beach Gardens on Tuesday night.

Tigers coach Melvin Randall said Forrest has been the key to the team’s success down the stretch.

He is finally getting it that he is the leader,” said Randall, whose Tigers (21-8) will host McArthur on Friday in the Class 8A regional finals. “We don’t go anywhere without him.”

The win was the Tigers’ fourth straight year where they ended the Panthers’ season in the playoffs. Dwyer (26-2) saw its 13-game win streak come to an end. The team’s only other setback came on Jan. 9 to University School, 66-62.

Joshua Scott added 11 points on the night for Blanche Ely, which won four state titles in a five-year span from 2012-16. The Tigers, who won back-to-back championships in 2015 and 2016, were upset in their bid at a three-peat last year when it fell to Palm Beach Lakes in the regional semifinals.

Forrest scored 14 first-quarter points to stake the Tigers to 11-point lead after eight minutes and stretched the margin to 38-22 at the intermission. Dwyer made a late run, but it wasn’t enough.

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Bucks looking strong under new coach

Posted on 25 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The Deerfield Beach High School girls basketball team looks poised to make a deep run in the playoffs this season under new coach Tami Vaughn.

She has also coached at Boyd Anderson, Pompano Beach, Northeast and was an assistant at Florida Atlantic University (2006-07). She also played overseas in Europe (England, Spain and Ireland).

They are very disciplined and work together as a team,” said Vaughn, who still has former coach Portia Williams on the staff. Williams stepped down from her head coaching duties due to health issues.

I enjoy coaching this group of girls. We are trying to rebuild the tradition here,” said Vaughn, whose fiancé is Jevon Glenn, the varsity football coach. “We also have Shuteamia Brayboy on the staff and she won state here. She is able to tell the girls what it means to be a Lady Buck and coach Williams is still here. The tradition is big here with girls basketball and I am very honored to be a part of it.

I was an assistant for three years and this is my first year as head coach,” Vaughn said. “We have everyone back from last year.”

One of the returners is sophomore guard DenAsia Mitchell, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament at the end of the last season and has helped the team get off to an 18-2 start, including key wins over District rival Douglas High School.

Losing her last year was very tough because we had some high expectations,” Vaughn said. “With her going out with the ACL, it put a damper on things. This year, with her back, we are on a roll. We are excited.”

Vaughn said they play more as a team this year and they have been listening more.

I think we can make a run for it if everybody stays healthy and we are praying that everybody stays healthy,” Vaughn said. “We need to play in bubble wrap. Beating Douglas this year shows they are ready and they are focused. Everything we have been doing is helping us for down the road.”

Vaughn said Ashley Shell and Mitchell have been two of the catalysts this season and said a pleasant surprise has been freshman Aaliyah Reid.

She’s been a rebounding machine,” Vaughn said.

Altieri takes fourth at nationals

Deerfield Beach’s Lucas Altieri, a member of the Florida Panthers Figure Skating Club, recently took fourth in the Novice Men’s Division at the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating National competition in San Jose, Calif. Altieri, 16, a North Broward Prep School sophomore, had hoped for a first place finish. He was fifth last year.

I skated my best so I am happy with it,” Altieri said. “When I first started, I wanted to be a speed skater and there is not much of that in Florida, so the coaches told me to try figure (skating) and I really liked it.

On the ice, I love it when I am skating really fast and it is fun when you are landing all of your jumps really well and you know everyone is watching you,” he said. “It is awesome. When you fall, you just get back up. I do get really frustrated, but I try and think that if I reach my goals, it will be worth it. If not, I will have other chances to do well.”

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Tornadoes show improvement on court

Posted on 18 January 2018 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

The first thing on Pompano Beach High School boys’ basketball coach James Stone’s bucket list was to win a game.

Check!

The Tornadoes were coming off an 0-21 (2016-17) season and lost the final game in the 2015-16 season when they finished 5-16. Pompano Beach dropped their first eight games of the 2017-18 campaign before a 72-65 victory against host Plantation on Dec. 14 snapped a 30-game losing streak. The team was 5-16 and 4-16 the two years prior to that.

My biggest priority was to get a win after they went 0-21 last year,” said Stone, who moved up from the junior varsity team after a year with the Tornadoes and a year at Coral Springs Charter School. It is his first varsity head coaching job.

I told them to act like we won before (after beating Plantation) so we got on the bus and we had one guy, Conrad (Bennett), he’s a sophomore so he was about to cry,” Stone said. “He was on the team last year and he said, ‘coach that was my first win as a Pompano basketball player.’ It was a big moment for me to get him his first win.”

Pompano Beach (4-9) defeated a team from Australia in the Deerfield Beach Holiday Tournament in an exhibition game and that has sparked the team to back-to-back wins over Cardinal Gibbons (60-56) and Coconut Creek (57-55). Pompano Beach travels to play at Hallandale on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

That was a big tournament for us because last year they didn’t win a game,” Stone said. “This was a good confidence builder for them this year. It was a great experience for us to play against a team from Australia.”

Stone said he has a junior oriented team, with eight juniors and three seniors. Senior Andre Francis leads the team with 16 points and 10 rebounds a game and Stone also said he’s received solid play from the following juniors — Cedric Camper, Braxton McMillon, Takobe Clark, Brandon Peets and Tristen Anderson.

Stone said the team is buying into his philosophy.

They keep their composure,” Stone said. “They are a very composed group of guys. They don’t get rattled when they go down.”

There has been little adjustment in becoming head coach.

There really hasn’t been too much of an adjustment since most of these guys came up with me from the JV,” Stone said. “The transitions are easy since they already knew the system. The ones who played on the varsity last year, those are the ones that had to buy into the system.”

Knowing that all but three players will return next year has Stone excited.

Having the core coming back is great,” Stone said. “I wanted this to be a building year and next year I would have had my guys together for three years, so next year I am looking to turn it around. I want to go far in the district and make the (BCAA) Big 8 tournament.

They can be a great team,” Stone continued. “Sometimes they get into the ‘I’ basketball and they want to be the guy to carry the team and I tell them it is a team sport. If I can get them to focus on team and play hard and fight for all 32 minutes, we’ll be alright.”

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Pompano reaches state for first time in school history

Posted on 25 May 2017 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

First, came the final out on a strikeout by Pompano Beach High School junior Trevor Kniskern. Then there was the perfectly executed back flip by the 5 ft., 11 in., 170-pounder off the mound, followed by the dog pile and pure pandemonium.

Kniskern, a Pepperdine University commit, helped the Tornadoes (24-3) to their 11th consecutive victory and its first appearance at the Class 5A state tournament in school history as he tossed a 3-hit, complete game 9-0 Region 4-5A finals win over host Monsignor Pace (24-6) on Tuesday night.

Kniskern struck out six and improved to 11-0 on the season, and avenged a regional final loss to Pace last season.

Pompano Beach coach Joe Giummule said the victory was huge for the program.

Last year was the first time in 55 years, since the school won a district championship, and Pace dog piled on our field after they won the regional final, and today we got to return the favor,” Giummule said. “I don’t think it matters who you are or what team, the wins are all huge when you get to go to states.”

Monsignor Pace, winners of five state titles, lost in the Class 5A state championship game last season, 1-0 in nine innings to Jacksonville Bolles, Pompano’s next opponent. The Tornadoes will play play Bolles in the state semifinals on May 31 at 10 a.m. at Centurylink Sports Complex in Fort Myers.

After four scoreless innings, Pompano Beach junior Christopher Ajello doubled with one out, Kniskern followed with a single and junior Chase Costello pounced on a 0-1 pitch from Pace starter Manuel Rodriguez for a three-run home run to center to stake the Tornadoes to a 3-0 lead.

Pompano Beach extended the lead to 4-0 on a bases-loaded walk to Costello and then padded the lead to 7-0 on a three-run fielding error on senior Austin Carney’s fly ball to center-left in the sixth and junior Michael Schuler added an exclamation point, with a two-run single. Ajello led the way by going 2-for-2 with two runs, while junior Matt Stephenson was 2-for-4.

We made the plays and they didn’t,” Giummule added. “We have relied on pitching and defense and from 1 to 20 the kids have all bought in. This may not be the most talented team I have ever coached, but it has the best chemistry.”

The win was the first in four regional games as a coach for Giummule, who lost last year as a head coach and also fell in 2002 as an assistant coach with Deerfield Beach and in 2001 as an assistant at Taravella. He reached the state tournament in 1994 with Coconut Creek, but lost to Sarasota.

If we can continue to get pitching and defense I think we have a shot,” Giummule said, “that’s what wins championships.”

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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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