Palma Ceia manager Keith Gendron couldn't go wrong. Anything he wanted his players to do, they could.
"What we have on this team, unlike a lot of All-Star teams I've coached in the past, is that we have 14 guys, and they're interchangeable," Gendron said. "They can all pitch, they all play the infield and they all can play the outfield. It was never a letdown when we made a position change or a substitution."
That versatility might have been the biggest factor in Palma Ceia's run to the minor (9- and 10-year-old) baseball title, which culminated Friday with a 7-2 win against Northside in District 6.
Pitcher Tyler Linabury fueled the team with a complete game and Kody Thomas added a run-scoring double. Linabury and Nick Ramos were a potent pitching combination for Palma Ceia, which went 4-0 and allowed four runs in the tournament. And the offense averaged 11 runs a game.
"All the guys put the ball in play," Gendron said. "When we have guys on base and we need a groundball, they get us a groundball. They've been hitting well and focusing, which is hard to do with kids that age."
The team is off until sectionals start next month. That will allow Palma Ceia time to work on a few things and get some needed rest.
"I think we'll continue to work on bunt situations and there were some things that came up in the tournament that we didn't work on," Gendron said.
In the double-elimination tournament, Northside was at a disadvantage after losing 8-5 Wednesday to Tampa Bay. The team rallied to take the rematch and win the top bracket.