Primer: 39th Annual Saladino Baseball Preview
The 39th Annual Saladino Baseball Tournament - A Primer
|(Graphic designed by Kavier Nunez)|
For our money, the baseball season isn't quite in its groove until the Saladino Tournament rolls around. It's taxing, tiring and often grueling. But because of this, it's signature moments, and championship victories are cherished by the players forever.
This season will undoubtedly have some similar moments and as the week-long tournament kicks off on Saturday in pool-play from Brandon, Jefferson and Lennard High Schools, as well as the University of Tampa, we have breakdowns of all seven pools.
There are always pool favorites prior to the start, but the very best part of a potential six-game week means that top-tier talent will get you only so far, while strategy, planning, coaching and a smattering of unheralded breakthrough performances are the true key to winning it all.
Get yourself primed here:
|Lennard senior C Levi Montero|
Players to watch: SS Cade Afeld, Newsome - .350 .avg, 8 runs, two doubles; C Levi Montero, Lennard - .583, 7 RBI; SS/P Yazael Nunez, Lennard - .352 .avg, 7 runs, 1-0 record, 0.70 ERA, two saves; P Zan Rose, King - 1-0, 0.58 ERA, 17 K; P Cole Stallings, Newsome - 2-1, 1.20 ERA, 20 K in 11 2/3 innings; P/IF Daniel Vassallo, Carrollwood Day - .545 .avg, 3 RBI, 1-1, 1.05 ERA, 16 strikeouts.
|Alonso junior Sam Drumheller|
Players to Watch: OF/P Brian Baughman, Wharton - .286, 7 RBI, 5 runs, 2-0, 0.45 ERA, 24 K; OF Terence Doston, Hillsborough - .350, five runs, two doubles, three stolen bases; P Sam Drumheller, Alonso - 1-0, 0.78 ERA, 15 strikeouts; IF Zach Ehrhard, Wharton - .412, 6 runs, 5 RBI, 5 stolen bases; SS Drew Lara, Alonso - returns with a home run in each of the past two tournaments; P/SS Jose Monroy, Middleton - complete-game victory against TBT earlier this season.
Pool Three Breakdown (at Univ. of Tampa): Saturday's nightcap has "game of the week" written all over it as Plant (6-1) and Plant City (5-1) square off at 7 p.m. Both teams have only one loss (each to Sickles) and are looking to make a push for a title. Historically, the Panthers have had a little more tourney luck, with five past titles, but the Raiders are looking to add Plant City's name to the champions list this season. Blake (0-6) and Brooks DeBartolo (1-4, prior to Friday night's game vs Bayshore Christian) are both looking to turn around tough starts to the year.
|Plant City senior SS Cade Shissler|
|Durant C Gage Young|
Players to Watch: C Danny Bernstein, Sickles - .529, 9 RBI, 4 doubles, triple, huge plus behind the plate; OF Tyler Castelli, Armwood - .467, 5 runs, 5 RBI, 2 HR; SS/P Dylan Eskew, Sickles - .368, 8 RBI, 3 HR, 3-0, 0.00 ERA, 25 strikeouts; SS/P Trevor Finan, Armwood - .375, 6 RBI, 3 doubles, 1-1, 0.00 ERA, 22 K; C/OF Mario Lopez, Jefferson -.250, 4 RBI, 2 doubles; C Gage Young, Durant - excellent defensive leader for the Cougars.
|Chargers senior P Alex Marshall|
Players to Watch: P Myles Caba, Bloomingdale - 1-0, 0.50 ERA, 16 K; OF/C Manny Caballero, Chamberlain - .375, 6 runs, 2 doubles, 11 stolen bases; P Marcos Herrand, Brandon - 1-2, 1.68 ERA, 31 K; P Alex Marshall, Strawberry Crest - 3-1, 1.00 ERA, 22 K; OF Alex Mussenden, Strawberry Crest - .571, 6 runs, 4 RBI, 3 doubles, 6 stolen bases; C Brock Wilken, Bloomingdale - .571, 6 HR, 9 RBI, double, triple.
Pool Six Breakdown (at Univ. of Tampa): Riverview (4-2) is riding a four-year streak of advancing out of pool-play in the tournament, but oddly the Sharks have never claimed a title. Riverview hopes to change that in 2019, with solid hitters and a lot of depth on the mound, which should play well if they find a way out of Pool Six ... Gaither (3-2) should be fired up this year after missing out on advancing as last year's wild card team by a single run allowed. The Cowboys claimed Saladino crowns in 2003 and 2005 ... TBT (2-4) enters the tournament on a mini-win streak with victories against Brandon and Blake ... Freedom (2-4) comes in on a bit of a skid after winning its first two games of the season.
|Riverview senior OF Dillon Besnier|
OF Dillon Besnier, Riverview - .312, 3 runs; P/1B Ty Correa, Riverview - 2-0, 1.56 ERA, 15 K; OF Derek Crum, Gaither - .438, 6 RBI, HR; OF/P Alex Jackson, Tampa Bay Tech - .250, 3 runs, 1-1, 3.82 ERA, 15 K; P Mitchell Leroy, Freedom - 1-3, 1.88 ERA, 27 K; P Roy Peguero, Gaither - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 15 K.
|Leto SS RJ Gutierrez|
Players to Watch: P Koby Fogg, Robinson - 2-1, 0.36 ERA, 15 K; OF Donovan Garcia, Steinbrenner - .312, 5 RBI, 4 runs; SS RJ Gutierrez, Leto - .500, 7 runs, 4 RBI, 5 stolen bases; P Bryce Leonhardt, Steinbrenner - 1-2, 2.56 ERA, 13 K; P Christian Suarez, Leto - 3-0, 1.15 ERA, 25 K; IF Michael Swanson, Robinson - .385, double, 2 runs; OF Hans Walker, East Bay - .333, 2 runs, 2 RBI.
View the full schedule below: