Renegades shed second-best label
By EMERY SKOLFIELD
Published August 6, 2006
What was perhaps most remarkable about the national championship won by the Clearwater-based Tampa Bay Renegades' 14-under AAU baseball team was the squad's finish in its previous four tournaments.
Tired of wearing the runnerup tag, the Renegades belted 15 hits to defeat the Virginia Breeze 12-5 in the title game to complete a perfect 10-game run at the AAU national tournament held in Sarasota.
"It's been amazing because our kids are really good ballplayers, but it's always been the bad bounce here or there," Renegades manager Rey Ortega said. "I always told them to stay focused, and they did. They knew what they were there to do. When they walked onto the ball field, the focus these kids had was incredible."
Will Fulmer drove in five runs in the title game at Ed Smith Stadium to spearhead the Renegades' attack. Craig Richmond, who went 3-0 in the tournament, started and pitched the first 4 1/3 innings, yielding five hits while striking out five. Left-hander Patrick Camporini threw 2 2/3 hitless innings to close out the victory.
Sean O'Brien hit .633 with seven doubles, a triple, 10 RBIs and 18 runs to lead the Renegades' contingent on the all-tournament team. Camporini hit .615 with 15 RBIs, while J.R. Murphy batted .536 with a double, three triples and 16 RBIs. Murphy also had two wins and a save. Fulmer hit .500 with 14 runs and nine RBIs.
The Renegades outscored opponents 105-29 during the seven-day tournament. "We were behind one time, and it lasted for a half an inning," Ortega said.
MORE YOUTH BASEBALL: Following a surprising state championship, the 9-and-under All-Star team from Fossil Park Youth Baseball placed ninth among 38 teams at the Dizzy Dean Baseball World Series in Southaven, Miss.
After winning its first three games, the Phil Mugavero-coached team fell 7-6 to eventual champion Tallahassee Heat, the same team Fossil Park beat 10-7 for the state title a week earlier.
Fossil Park's Bret Maxwell finished the tournament 11-for-16 .688 with two triples, a home run and nine RBIs. Colton Tison hit .545 with a triple and four RBIs, while Riley Barr batted .545 with three RBIs. Jason Mugavero hit .429 with two triples and seven RBIs.
SWIMMING: The Clearwater Aquatic Team placed sixth among 24 teams with 245 points at the Florida Junior Olympics in Gainesville.
Competing in the 11-12 girls division, CAT's Kelsey Buckley highlighted her team's effort by winning gold in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyles and capturing silver in the 400 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
Wes Stearns (13-14) won gold in the 200 backstroke and earned bronze in the 100 backstroke.
David Morgan (11-12s) swam to silver in the 800 freestyle and bronze in the 200 free, while Sami Blatz (10-under) captured silver in the 50 freestyle, and Mark Marshburn (10-under) earned bronze in the 100 breaststroke.
For St. Petersburg Aquatics, Melanie Margalis (13-14s) won the 200 and 400 freestyles and the 200 individual medley and earned bronze in the 800 freestyle and 100 and 200 backstrokes.
SPA's Summer Fink (10-under) was second in the 100 backstroke, 50 backstroke and 100 backstroke and added a bronze-medal effort in the 100 freestyle.- Megan Romano's 26.31-second performance in the 50 freestyle at last month's SPEEDO Champions Series Southern Zone South Sectional Championship qualified her for a sixth event in the Olympic Trials. Previously, Romano had qualified for the trials in five events: the 100, 200 and 400 freestyles and the 100 and 200 backstrokes.
Times correspondent Emery Skolfield can be reached at (727) 481-2027 or email@example.com.
[Last modified August 5, 2006, 21:10:43]
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