Marco Island Cal Ripken Baseball players competed in a double elimination district tournament in Cape Coral, with the winner moving on to the state tournament.
Marco had two “Select Teams” that were put together after the regular season ended on the Island a few weeks ago. The teams were selected after holding tryouts for all players that were on regular season rosters.
There was a Majors team, 11-12-year-olds, coached by Andrew Delgado and a Minors team, 9-10-year-olds, coached by Brian Kocak.
The Majors team had their first game against Cape Coral and were defeated, but played an error-free game defensively. In their second game, they defeated Estero, 14-6, for Marco’s first post season victory ever! The Majors lost their second game to Manatee. Coach Andy Delgado said that his team played competitive games and played hard throughout the tournament and he looks forward to most of his players returning for another shot next season.
The Minors lost their first game to Manatee, but did a lot of positive things, both batting and in the field defensively. In their second game they lost to Sarasota, who ended up winning the tournament and will compete at the state tournament in Ocala.
We saw incredible improvement from all players throughout the season and in the tournament. Playing competitive teams off the Island is such a great experience for the kids, coaches and parents. It allows the players to see their potential and help them realize what they need to work on in order to improve. It also helps them to better understand what the coaches are trying to accomplish in order to make each player better and why fundamentals, mechanics and teamwork are so critical.
Sarasota and Cape Coral rank among the highest in the state at these levels and both have won a state championship in the past. Marco’s league has grown to roughly 175 kids and continues to grow. We have to work hard to compete at this high level.
The Marco teams had the odds stacked against them as they were only able to practice once a week for an hour during the season, due to the growing number of teams in the league and the lack of fields that we have on the Island. It will certainly help tremendously to have the new baseball field at Winterberry Park for use next season. We want to thank Bryan Milk, City Parks & Recreation director, the city’s Recreation Committee and the City Council for recognizing this need for the kids of Marco Island.
We would also like to thank Greg West, Kinetico Water Systems, Joe Irigoyen, Islander Pools and Patio, Tom Leithauser, Bug Free Pest Control Services, along with donations from Dan Keegan and Andy Delgado for the sponsorship of the Marco teams and Paradise Sports for printing the baseball uniforms and hats. Congratulations to all of the players for their hard work and dedication and for making us proud in their representation of Marco Island Cal Ripken Baseball.