EAGLE i: Marco kids Optimist baseball begins

There are four teams in the Minor League Division. The Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Royals. The division is for 9 and 10 year olds in our community.

We have a nine-game regular season for each team that will include two games each with the Estero/Fort Myers Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth Baseball League. Marco Island and Cape Coral/Fort Myers leagues belong to Florida’s District 10 Division, along with Cape Coral, Sarasota, and Manatee. Once our regular season is over we will have an All-Star team compete in a District 10 tournament.

If we win the District 10 tournament we will move on to a Florida state tournament. Then winners go to a Southeast USA tournament, to a national tournament and ultimately a World Series.

Here are the first games played this season for the Minor Division. Each week I will attempt to have each team submit a game summary. Unfortunately, this week only the Yankees and Red Sox completed the game summaries.

The league also has the Rookie Division for 7 and 8 year olds, Major Division for 11-and-12-year-olds and a Babe Ruth Division for 13 and 14 year olds. None of the teams in these divisions reported on their games.

Yankees, 8, Royals, 0

Coach Brian Kocak said his Yankees were aggressive from the start, with runs scored by Jay Vanderjagt, Brian Kocak, Tanner Prange and Howie Jordan in the first Inning to get things rolling at 4-0.

Howie Jordan had his first home run of the season. In the second, Gianna Rose and Jay Vanderjagt stole home during the inning to tack on two additional runs. The Royals attempted to get things going in the third, but the Yankees stopped them quick in their tracks after a hit ball that was caught by Tanner Prange and converted to a double play, throwing out the runner at second base.

The Yankees put up two more runs in the final two innings, with runs scored by Tanner Prange and Gianna Rose. Jay Vanderjagt pitched for the very first time in his baseball career and looked like he had been doing it for years. Zach West, Yankees catcher, did a great job behind the plate to assist Vanderjagt. Jay registered nine strikeouts and with the help of the Yankees defense, also registered his first no-hitter. Other honorable mentions for the Yankees were Colton Couture, Michael Scola, Bon Deese, Brian Laurent, and Sam Rafferty.

This was the first Minor League game played for 10 of our 11 Yankee players that either came up form last season’s Rookie League or are playing baseball for their first time.

It is really great to see the kids playing organized baseball here on Marco Island. The Board worked very hard in their efforts to get the season started and should be proud of their efforts.

A special thanks to all of the coaches and volunteers for their support, hard work and dedication. Special thanks also goes out to our sponsors, Paradise Sports of Marco Island and to the Optimist Club of Marco for their support.

Red Sox, 10, Cardinals 5

Johnny Angel, Red Sox coach reports that our game against the Cardinals showed our defensive strength in the infield, as our Red Sox made accurate throws to first base and caught all the pop flies. Harrison Cross pitched three scoreless innings and we took an 8-0 lead into the fourth inning. Andrew Sprankle came out in relief and pitched the rest of the game and caught two incredible pop fly outs on his own.

Seven of our players scored runs, with Marcus Martinez leading the way with three runs and Hector Diaz with two. Marcus Martinez, catcher, also stopped a lot of wild pitches to keep the Cardinal runners stranded at third base. The game ended with a 10-5 win.

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