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St. Petersburg's juniors and seniors win regionals for consecutive years.
By BRANDON WRIGHT
Published July 18, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - A pair of St. Petersburg Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities teams recently won regional competitions and will play in the RBI World Series beginning Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.
The junior ages 13-15 and senior (16-8) teams captured regional titles for the second year in a row this month in Jupiter. The Major League Baseball-funded RBI program, in its 19th year, boasts more than 200 leagues in 203 cities worldwide and is designed to keep inner-city youths active in baseball.
"It's just an outstanding program for inner-city kids," St. Petersburg juniors coach John Takarewicz said. "It's another opportunity for them to take advantage of."
RBI, which also has a softball division, is sponsored in all 30 MLB cities and has more than 120,00 participants. Including this year's class, 165 RBI alums have been selected in the MLB draft. Tampa Bay Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford is one of several current major leaguers who participated in the RBI program.
The juniors went 5-0 in Jupiter, outscoring opponents 47-11. Pitcher Tim Lamoureux defeated Miami 8-0 and Atlanta 3-2 in the championship. Noel Thomas pitched the juniors to an early-round 10-4 win over Atlanta while Jeremy Lopez and Shawn Delmontagne (inside-the-park) homered during the tournament. Walter Lammerson, Brock Jensen and Trent Locke provided the offensive punch during the regionals.
The seniors also finished regionals 5-0 and were led on the mound by Donny Albro, Thomas Eatherton and Kyle Clements. Chris Clinton and Clements provided key hitting and coach Shawn Mellnick pointed out the strong defensive efforts of second baseman Satchel Gaines and shortstop Rian Hellwege.
Both teams finished third in the 2006 RBI World Series. This year's event will be hosted by the MLB Urban Youth Academy with the final played at Dodger Stadium.
"The kids had a great time last year and are looking forward to this year," Mellnick said. "The fields at the Urban Youth Academy are first-class and it's always fun for the kids to experience playing on those types of fields."