FORT MYERS, Fla. – The 14u Florida Stealth are well on their way to the Perfect Game Florida State Championship after their first two games of the tournament. Florida is composed of some of the best baseball talent the country has to offer, and the teams competing in this tournament will not only be proving themselves as the best team in their state, but also as one of the best ballclubs in the country.
The Stealth are 2-0 in pool play thus far, and they look like the favorites to win the title. They dominated the CC Lightning in their first game of the tournament, winning 14-0, and won a tough battle on Sunday 6-3 against a very good O-Town Select team.
The Stealth are led by head coach Manny Sanguillen Jr., the son of former Pittsburgh Pirates catcher and MLB All Star Manny Sanguillen. “We have some new players in this tournament, and we’re starting to learn how to play together,” Sanguillen said.
Sanguillen’s squad had great performances throughout their lineup in their first game of the weekend. Dane Dorsainvil, Shelby Frazier and Nick Wells led the way with multi-hit efforts. Dorsainvil went 3-3 with a double, three runs scored and three RBI, while Wells and Frazier each had two singles and were in the middle of the Stealth’s offensive outburst.
Frazier was the pivotal hitter against O-Town Select on Sunday, as he was the only player in the lineup to collect multiple hits. He drove in two runs on the day, one of which he did on a bomb of a triple in the fifth inning to add an insurance run. Sanguillen explained how the triple almost didn’t happen, saying, “funny thing with Shelby, his bat was broken by one of the players earlier in the game, so we had to go buy him a bat and he hit the triple with it.” Frazier’s new bat is likely to do even more damage against opposing pitchers as the tournament progresses.
While the Stealth have succeeded at the plate in their first two games, Sanguillen sees pitching and defense as the keys to their success. “We tell our guys that in order to win, we need to throw strike one and make the routine plays, and we’re doing that so far.”
The Stealth pitched a mercy-shortened no-hitter against the CC Lightning, as Cade Tierney and Justin Anglin each pitched two clean innings.
Hakim Williams, Jake Chaykin, and Ryan Wallace all pitched well for the Stealth on Sunday. Their opponent, O-Town Select, won 9-0 in their first game of the weekend and posed a big threat to the Stealth’s championship hopes. However, the Stealth were able to overcome O-Town’s offense with their strike-throwing mentality.
Williams started for the Stealth and pitched four effective innings, giving up just four hits and two runs while striking out five. “Hakim was able to command three pitches today,” Sanguillen said. “Hakim is really working on pitching backwards. He has a nice build and can throw a good fastball, but we’re really working on his ability to throw strikes with his off-speed stuff early in the count.”
Chaykin was very impressive before he lost control of the strike zone in the seventh. Sanguillen explained, “Jake got a little tired at the end, but he came in and did a good job for two innings with a lot of run on his fastball. The key for our pitchers is throwing strike one.”
Wallace entered the seventh inning with the bases loaded, but he escaped the jam unscathed while throwing an economical five pitches.
Despite having already used a number of talented pitchers, Sanguillen feels like pitching will still be a strength for the Stealth going forward in the tournament. “We’re in good shape pitching-wise, we have our top three or four guys still available. If we make routine plays and throw strike one we should be in every game.” The pitchers Sanguillen still can throw are Ryan Rivera, Jordan Alvarez, Nick Wells, and Wallace, who will be available the rest of the way because of how few pitches he threw on Sunday.
The Stealth are now the only undefeated team in their group, but they will have to win their last game of pool play to secure their first-place finish in their pool. They will take on SWFL 14u on Monday at 8:00 AM ET at the 5-Plex Player Development Complex. SWFL fell to the O-Town Select team 9-0 earlier in pool play, but they are a high-end program that could have saved one of their best starters for the Stealth.
The Stealth aren’t worried, however. Sanguillen leads his team with confidence and it is evident in the way his kids play the game. The Stealth are talented, deep, and play the game the right way, and they should be the favorites to win the 14u PG Florida State Championship.