A team of Southwest Florida high school players competed with the best in the country at a USA Baseball tournament this weekend and came home with a trophy.
Team Impact, with nine players from three Collier County schools, went undefeated in the Labor Day Cup 16-and-under tournament at USA Baseball's national training complex in Cary, N.C. The team was one of eight invited into the field after winning a USA Baseball national tournament in June.
The local team, featuring six players from Barron Collier, two from Community School and one from Naples High, beat Purpose Driven Baseball 8-1 in Monday's championship game. Team Impact qualified for the title game by finishing 3-0 in pool play.
After arriving in North Carolina late Friday, Team Impact had to play the defending Labor Day Cup champion from Southern California early Saturday. The local squad fell behind early, but scored twice with two outs in the seventh inning to win 4-3.
"We beat Southern California in a nail-biter," coach Charlie Maurer said. "From there we just picked up momentum and won the championship."
Barron Collier's Jesse Ferreira pitched the first game, while Cougars player Matt Zino was on the mound in the championship. Barron players Mark Coffers, Joey Dalton, Enrique Ferrer and Josh Saletko also were on the team.
From Community School, Will Jauss and Casey Santos-Ocampo were Team Impact’s 13-man roster, along with Naples High’s Grant Ashline, and former Community School player Bryson Smith.
"We put a team of local guys together who are all the best at what they do," Maurer said. "They played the best of the best, and to win that shows it's a good group of kids. It was good to put Naples on the map."
Team Impact also won the USA Baseball 15U Championships East at Fort Myers' City of Palms Park this summer. The tournament was one of two 15-and-under tournaments hosted by USA Baseball, the umbrella organization for the national teams.