Results tagged ‘ RBI Southeast Regional Tournament ’

…and the winner is? Megan Diaz

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That was the text message I received last Friday to kick off the weekend.

Immediately I was overcome with excitement as if it were I who had been awarded the scholarship, telling anyone who would listen how another one of our RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) players had been awarded Major League Baseball’s “RBI for RBI” Scholarship. Megan Diaz, a senior at Miami Senior High School and a third year RBI participant, became the sixth player in the past five years to be awarded this prestigious $20,000 national scholarship presented to notable members nationwide of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.

In her senior year, Megan served as captain for her high school softball team while excelling in the classroom, maintaining a 5.24 GPA and completing multiple advanced placement classes. Following the RBI season, Megan will be taking her talents up to Gainesville, FL, to attend the University of Florida, where she will study to become a pediatrician. Megan also has aspirations of walking on to the Gators’ softball team.

Personally, receiving the news about Megan was a thrill for me because I had the privilege of serving as her RBI coach for the Miami High School team (my alma mater) during the regular season, and then again on the All-Star team. Last summer Megan made the All-Star team and despite not having played in any of the first three games, she kept a positive attitude, supporting her teammates and staying prepared to contribute when the opportunity presented itself.

In the final game of the tournament, Megan entered as a late game defensive replacement in a tie game in right field. As the softball gods should have it, in the bottom of the 7th inning with two outs and a runner on second, the opposing team smoked a base hit to right field and with the winning run rounding third base, Megan fielded and came up firing. Players came spilling out of the dugout, but not because the game had ended, but because the runner was called out on Megan’s game-saving rocket throw! The game would eventually end in a tie, but it was the program’s first non-loss since 2009, and I could not have been more proud.

Megan shared with me that this was her most memorable moment playing RBI and when asked about it said, “I felt awesome as I ran into the dugout and saw my coach with a smile from ear to ear. I will never forget that moment!”

I hope she also knows that it was one of my most memorable moments not just as a coach, but also since becoming a member of the Miami Marlins.


For more information on the “RBI for RBI” Scholarship visit


RBI Softball All Stars: They Got Game

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It had been three years since the Marlins RBI Softball team recorded a victory at regionals, but this year’s team armed with sparkling defense and young up and coming stars were ready to take on the beasts of the southeast.  The ladies received a favorable draw, only one game on Friday against Atlanta, last year’s champions. In what proved to be a close game early on, highlighted by freshman Chanel Wilson running down a deep fly ball up against the wall, the ladies played a strong defensive game. With ATL leading 1-2 through three innings, the Marlins couldn’t keep up with Atlanta’s speedy offense that would eventually outscore them 1-9.

Needing a sweep in day two in order to play in the championship game, the ladies gave Tampa (2010 World Series runner-up) a scare early on. So much so that in the second inning they got their ace up in the bullpen who they had been saving for the championship game. Unfortunately, they could not force their hand and despite a couple defensive gems by Samantha Konwai at third base, costly errors in the infield led the to the game getting out of hand. The Marlins were 0-2 going into their final game against Montgomery, but what would ensue would be a game worthy of an ESPN Classic replay.

Battling a bruised ankle that forced her out of the previous game, Chantell Stiff would get the start in what would be her final pitching performance in her three year RBI All Star run. She went four strong innings, leaving with the game tied at two apiece and handing the ball over to Tiffany Turman. What happened next was sheer dominance, as Tiffany opened the 5th by striking out the side and tacking on another 2 K’s in the 6th. Headed into the 7th Atlanta would get the leadoff runner aboard and eventually with a runner on second and one out, a clean base hit was smoked to right field. Megan Diaz was seeing her first action of the tournament and with the winning run rounding third, the right fielder fired a perfect strike to nail her at the plate. Now one out away from getting out of the jam and a runner on second, Atlanta scorches a line drive down the line that third baseman Kayla Hernandez stabs and diving towards third, made the tag on the runner trying to advance. The stands erupted and it looked like the Marlins would pull out the win in the bottom half. The game, would go 8 innings and despite Tiffany ending the same way she started, striking out the side, the Marlins would go down in order in the bottom half and end in a tie.

The record books will show a tie game between a couple of 0-2 teams, but for those who participated and the spectators who were in attendance, they will tell you it felt as though they were in the championship game. For this team comprised of predominantly underclassmen, at one point even fielding an infield whose average age was 15, they proved that they could play with the best RBI has to offer. Stay tuned, because the youngest team in the tournament just finished getting their feet wet, and in 2013… look out!

2012 RBI Softball Team

Megan Diaz, OF

Kayla Hernandez, Catcher/Third Base

Samantha Iglesias, Second Base

Ashley Jarquin, Fiesta Base

Samantha Konwai, Third Base

Daniela Madotta, Short Stop/Catcher

Amy Martinez, Outfield

Priscilla Molliner, Second Base

Angelina Muñoz, Second Base

Jissel Ramos, Outfield

Cristina Rodriguez, Outfield

Gaby Rodriguez, First Base

Tiffany Turman, Pitcher/Outfield

Chanel Wilson, Outfield/Short Stop

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

Reviving Baseball In Inner Cities: Marlins RBI Seniors Takes on the Southeast

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The tradition of having a torrential downpour try and dampen the mood on Marlins RBI “get away day” held true again in 2012. Though this time around, we were departing from beautiful Marlins Park with a new look and just as excited and hopeful as ever. The Senior and Junior teams were comprised of regular season RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) teams representing some of the best hidden talent in South Florida; and now they were going to get their shot…

Here’s a Recap of the Weekend:

RBI programs from Charleston, Tampa, Atlanta, Bradenton, Montgomery, and Lake City made the trip down to the Vero Beach Sports Village, formerly known as Dodgertown, to compete for a chance to travel to Minnesota and take part in the RBI World Series. However, before taking the field as opponents, all the participants enjoyed a friendly BBQ by the complex’s pool and enjoyed a couple of friendly volleyball and basketball pickup games, fully aware that once they went to sleep, it would be all business.

The Senior team came out strong defeating Atlanta in the first of their two games, but surrendered an early lead to the defending champion Tampa and would go on to split day one. In that Tampa game, Lian Roque from Hialeah suffered a hyperextended elbow on his non throwing arm while reaching for a ball at first base. When told he would probably have to shut it down the next day he insisted he could still help by pitching, after all, “I still have one good arm!” Going into day two they would need a clean sweep to advance to the championship game which they had played in last year. The bats came alive in game 1 again in a convincing victory that we all hoped would build momentum going into the final qualifying game against Bradenton. The team threw their entire stable of horses, sending Marc Anthony Hadley, who despite his struggles in 2012 had a track record of big performances in previous year, but got off to a shaky start. Next out of the pen was Adan Gutierrez who pitched for the RBI National team in the Team USA Tournament of Stars and was projected to start the championship game if they made it, but you can’t save any arms in an elimination game. At one point Bradenton smoked a ball out to centerfield that appeared to be a sure triple, when out of nowhere Andrew McCoy laid out for a full extension grab keeping the game within reach. Adan controlled both sides of the plate with surgical precision, and after pitching out of a jam in the 5th the team handed the ball to their next ace, William Durruthy. Durruthy was a member of the 2009 Junior team that went to the World Series, and in a one run game the big hard throwing righty walked the leadoff batter and eventually was victimized by an infield single, a bad bounce in the infield, and finally bloop single that would end his tournament. The game would end in defeat, but this team battled all tournament long and showed flashes of brilliance that leaves a great deal of optimism for next season.

There were a couple of brilliant offensive performances by Kevin Peraza and Jonathan Frias. Frias who did not make the team last year, replaced his brother on this year’s team and followed suit by mashing all tournament long.

For players like Roland Eusebio it was their first experience as an All Star, for players like catcher Tony Fernandez from Hialeah Gardens, it was his final. The one thing that is certain is that they had the time of their life and built life long friendships while playing the game they love and playing it the right way. At the end of the day, Marlins RBI doesn’t measure success by wins and losses; for us success is measured by creating major league memories and helping to develop major league citizens.

2012 Senior Roster:

Mateo Cuecha, Pitcher

Roland Eusebio, Short Stop

Williams Durruthy, Pitcher

Tony Fernandez, Catcher

Jonathan Frias, Outfield

Adan “Espresso” Gutierrez, Pitcher

Marc-Anthony Hadley, Outfield/Pitcher

Andrew “The Real” McCoy, Outfield

Adryan “Puchi” Pedraza, Catcher

Kevin Peraza, Third Base

Kenny Rasor, Pitcher/Utility

Peter Rodriguez, Second Base

Lian Roque, First Base

Nicholas Saltare, Second Base

Ronald Williams, Outfield/Short Stop/Pitcher