Island Majors hitting their stride
SUN PHOTOS/CHRIS GRUMLEY
West Coast Surf Shop’s Mikey Ellsworth puts the tag on a New Youngsters’
player in a game played Saturday morning at G.T. Bray.
The Islanders Majors squad is beginning to come together and look resilient under the leadership of coach Chris Moneuse. The opening pitcher this evening was Max Moneuse, no slouch on the mound and a player who always has his head in the game. His opposite number for B-town had a little trouble settling in and this was advantageous to the Islanders, who scored three quick runs in the first inning.
B-Town got to grips at the top of the first and tied the game with some well placed hits with The Islanders looking solid in the field. B-Town’s Adam Reid was an early pitching change and as he set himself, he walked two and struck out three, swinging to end the second.
B-Town has some hard hitting young athletes and they were in full force by the time the third inning came around. The game took a turn. William Brusso came in to pitch, and by the time Justin Garget ended the inning at first base, B-Town had tightened its grip on the game.
"What can I say, we continue to make errors early in the game,” Coach Moneuse pointed out. “Making early mistakes sets the pace for the entire game. I don't understand the dropped balls and grounders through the legs. These are mistakes that plague us every game. Our pitching and batting seem to be getting better, however.
“On the brighter side, the kids are still having a great time,” he added. “Their enthusiasm is unmatched and seems to be on the mend for us coaches. I have never seen a closer group of kids. Perhaps that's the hidden victory."
The attitude of this Majors squad also is impressive, as the players keep trying, never look down and continue to play hard and find ways to win.
West Coast Surf Shop vs The New Youngsters
Saturday, April 19, at GT Bray
West Coast found itself up by two in the first inning, an excellent start to this early Saturday morning game. Mikey Ellsworth opened the pitching and threw some early strikes. An error opened the scoring for the New Youngsters, but Hambone Clark made an excellent play at home plate to stop a score and end the inning 2-3. Jacob Barker came in to bat in the second, after Amanda Bosch Nyberg was struck out, only to be hit by an errant pitch. The ball glanced off Jacob’s helmet and he walked to first, but eventually was thrown out at third on an excellent play. Ben Ware, up next, was struck out by some solid pitching.
Ellsworth continued pitching in the second inning and as a ball was hit back to the mound he came up with a groundout to first. The New Youngsters added two more runs and Blaine Jenefsky came in as relief with Ellsworth moving to first base. Nyberg tagged a runner at third and Devon Cole caught a high ball to end the second inning.
An error in the third allowed Devon Cole to slide across home plate and Henrik Brusso scored to bring the total to 5-4 in New Youngsters’ favor. A close play at home was ruled safe by the umpire, and even after some fine fielding from West Coast, the New Youngsters would find themselves up by four heading into the fourth and final inning.
Nyberg, looking confident at the plate was walked to first base and would eventually score. Jacob Barker was struck out and in came Jack Coleman who would walk to first. Jack stole all the way home to score and had a hand in West Coast’s comeback. Devon Cole hit to left field and was safe at first, but to no avail as the inning ended with a strike out. It was a good outing for West Coast Surf Shop against a polished New Youngsters side and Coach Robert Vita will take many positives from the attitude of his players as the season progresses.
Ozark Law Group 8 – Islander Juniors 7
The third time was almost the charm for the Islanders Junior Division squad in its game against Ozark Law Group Saturday at Birdie Tebbetts Field in Holmes Beach. The much improved Island team was riding a two-game winning streak and jumped out to an early 4-1 lead on the strength of big Blake Wilson’s right arm, plus some timely hitting and nifty base running. Wilson completely dominated the first three innings, mowing down Ozark hitters one after another. But Ozark was able to claw its way back into the game, capitalizing on some unforced errors to hang around long enough to tie it up at 7, then win the game late, 8-7.
But the loss didn’t hide the fact that this clearly is an improved Juniors team, both at the plate and in the field, especially with the lanky Wilson on the mound. In fact, Ozark soundly beat this squad twice in previous meetings and they may have underestimated the improvements the Islanders have made.
Wilson just joined the squad, having completed his season with the Manatee High School JV team. High school rules prohibited him from playing for both teams, but he’s on the Islanders now and it is apparent his presence, along with a fast ball reportedly clocked at 84 mph, will make a big impact. And with the obvious improvement in the Juniors’ bats, this appears to be a team that has turned things around and can compete with just about anyone.
In the words of the legendary Yogi Berra, "It ain’t over ‘till it’s over."