A couple of North Springs Little League’s All Star teams have gotten off to a successful start.
The league’s 9/10s team and 11s team each won their District 10 and Section 8 championship titles on Sunday, and will soon head into their respective state tournaments with the 9/10s in Ft. Myers and 11s in Crystal River this coming weekend.
“It’s unbelievable,” NSLL President Mike Hendrix said. “I have such a sense of pride and satisfaction to see our young players play great baseball in a way that has become a tradition at North Springs.”
The youngest group opened up their district play at the Coconut Creek hosted tournament by no-hitting Deerfield Beach with a 10-0 win. They followed up that performance by throwing back-to-back perfect games against Ft. Lauderdale (18-0) and Coconut Creek (15-0), respectively.
North Springs met up with Coconut Creek again in the final game, yielding similar results; another no-hit victory by the score of 12-0 to bring home the hardware.
According to the 9/10s skipper, their hard work at practice was mirrored when it came time to keep score.
“We tried to make sure that our practices carried over into the game setting. We’ve worked a lot on fielding and hitting and I really wanted to see how that would be implemented during games,” NSLL’s 9/10s manager Denis Rivard said about his team winning the District 10 Title. “The way the kids came together was beyond my expectations.”
Rivard’s sluggers kept that momentum going as they headed into sectional play in Key Largo. The team put up two wins, defeating Liberty City 4-1 followed by a 13-2 win over Plantation, to earn their sought-after Section 8 Title. Rivard hopes his team will use that play as a springboard as they head into their state tournament.
“We really wanted to just do what we needed to do in order to win — get in and get out, then move onto States,” Rivard said. “I think the kids are ready for states and if we play the way in which we’re capable of, we’ll be fine. These are some very coachable kids.”
While the 9/10s were busy winning their titles outside the city and county limits, the 11s stayed home and played host in their district and sectional games. NSLL’s 11s defeated neighboring Parkland in a best-of-three district tournament at North Springs’ home field of North Community Park. They recorded a 16-2 win in their first matchup, followed by a 5-2 victory, which solidified the district title.
“We were strong with our pitching, our hitting looked great and it was special to be able to do it all on our home turf,” Robert Boing, NSLL’s 11s manager, said. “We spend so many hours at this park, and it’s great to be able to have our families support us at home.”
The NSLL’s 11s offered their fans yet another championship win when they earned the Section 8 title. They took a win over Plantation with a score of 5-3, followed by defeating Liberty City 10-0 to earn that Section 8 champion status. Boing said he is now hoping that his team’s recent feats will continue to propel them during the next leg of their All Star journey.
“I knew that the competition only gets stronger as you move on in these tournaments, and my strategy was to work with each of our players’ strengths and put them in a position to take advantage of them,” Boing said. “States will be harder still. We need to focus on our individual jobs to make the team [more] successful, and I’m looking forward to giving more boys a chance on the mound.”
While the competition has the reputation of getting stiffer as the All Star season progresses, Hendrix remains optimistic of his youngsters’ next quests for victory.
“I think both teams have a great opportunity to win a state championship. They’re deep in pitching, and have a good mix of power and speed,” Hendrix added. “But more importantly, they’ve come together as a team for a common goal/purpose, put in the work and practice, and are both going to be very tough to beat.”
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