Marlins RBI Juniors Brought Out the Big Sticks

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Don’t let the “Junior” fool you; these boys can flat out play. The 15 & under RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Junior team had represented the Southeast division at the RBI World Series back-to-back years prior to losing in last year’s championship game. This year’s team was looking to get back to the winning ways of the past. The coaching staff certainly had the championship pedigree led by Edwin Bonilla (2010 Juniors Champions), Mario Rodriguez (2008 Seniors Champions), and RBI Alumnus Michael Jordan who played on the 2008 WS team. With many of last year’s players moving up to the Senior division, this year’s team was loaded with new faces and some familiar ones making their first All Star team. With six teams in their division they had the most difficult road to the championship game, because one loss could prevent you from advancing. With only four games to be played, there could be no let down on day one… and there most certainly was not.

The boys opened up against Lake City and with Andrew Feldman on the mound, there was no need for a DH. He threw 2 scoreless innings and contributed a 2 for 2 day at the plate with 2 RBI. On their way to a route, Jesus Pineda hit the first home run of the tournament and capped off a 14-4 knockout victory. The boys had lunch inbetween games but definitely stayed hungry at the plate, picking up right where they left off and thumping the boys from Bradenton 12-1. Cleveland Westbrook from Dillard Highwent three scoreless in his RBI debut and the lineup top to bottom was clicking on all cylinders. Our boys were 2-0 and went to bed dreaming of a championship birth on Sunday.

Saturday would open against Atlanta, a heavy favorite in the tournament, and before we knew what happened our championship hopes took a serious hit as Atlanta turned the tables on us and silenced our bats in a 3-14 loss. We now would need help going into the final games of the day, and despite taking out our frustrations on Charleston in an 18-0 victory over Charleston, we would be left out of the championship game. The boys went 3-1 and scored 47 runs in 4 games, but while everyone knows that pitching wins championships, it most certainly wins championships when the tie breaker is least runs allowed. Despite being tied for the second best record, like our Seniors team counterparts, our championship dreams would be dashed.

No reason for these guys to hang their heads though; they put on an absolute show with the sticks and made for an exciting brand of baseball. They constantly took the extra base and hustled on every play and routine ground ball. The future of RBI looks bright as the next wave of talented youngsters continue to improve and take their game to the next level.

2012 RBI Junior Team

Jonathan Benestad, Catcher

Gianlucca Borelly, First Base/Catcher

Andrew Velez, Second Base

Jawuan Harris, Utility

Argenis Hernandez, Pitcher, First Base

Felix del a Cruz, First Base

Brett Marks, Catcher

Jose Padron, Pitcher

Jesus Pineda, Outfield

German Reyes, Outfield

Alex Rodriguez, Short Stop

Michael Rodriguez, Pitcher

Anthony Valdes, Utility

Cleveland Westbrook, Pitcher

1 Comment

Awesome Job Marlins RBI… We loved every minute of it!! Thank you to the Marlins and MLB for having such an amazing program.

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