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Tournaments  | Story  | 6/21/2023

City of Palms Championship Hands Out Hardware

Riley Sheppard      Hannah Jo Groves     
Photo: SWFL 2026 Nation (Perfect Game)
15U City of Palms Championship

After trailing by six runs against Wesley Chapel Storm 2026, SWFL 2026 Nation slowly closed the gap before a fifth inning rally to win 13-8.

"We easily could have shut down and quit and wanted to go home,” Meredith said. “But they kept fighting and finally, they burst through, we took the lead and held them out. [This] feels pretty good. First weekend head coaching and the guys brought me the trophy."

Third baseman Preston Nielsen started SWFL's offense - consistently getting on base and hitting a total of three RBIs.

"We stayed in the game," Nielsen said. "[Our] pitcher was down on himself. We all picked him back up and then just got in the [other] pitcher's head. We kept pushing balls the other way and just clutched up.

"[I've] never won a PG tournament before, so I feel pretty honored."

Wesley Chapel's hitting started as strong as it had been the whole tournament, with Ivan Vasquez and Carter Kindberg each hitting two-run singles and Maikol Madueno and Micah Palmer both driving in an RBI.

But SWFL's defense began making clever adjustments to contain that hitting while Wesley Chapel's pitching weakened - which ultimately resulted in a huge lead change in the fifth inning.

Thomas Cox, the MVP for the division, caught three outs in a row in the top of the sixth - one of them a diving catch - to stop the Wesley Chapel comeback effort.

"We were able to read the hitters," Cox said. "They were all pulling the ball - no one really hitting opposite field except for their fourth hitter...so we were just thinking, 'just pinch to the left side.'"

The fans on Field 2 at 5-Plex amped up their cheering and clapping with each run scored - with the dugout unable to contain its excitement.

"It was definitely a team effort from everyone," Cox said. "[I'm] just happy to be out here playing. I'm a little tired because it's the third game out, but yeah, it's been really fun."

16U City of Palms Championship 

“No Shave November” may not be for another few months, but SWFL Elite Platinum put its own spin on it to fuel a summer objective. 

“I couldn’t shave my beard until we won a tournament," head coach Robert Davidson said with a grin. “That was part of the deal with the kids that I couldn’t shave until we got one.”

SWFL achieved that goal by defeating Prime Baseball 9-4 in the 16U championship. However, it was not an easy journey to reach that point, having to play three games on Monday leading up and six total over four days. 

“They're going to struggle throughout the day,” Davidson said. “So you just gotta not only reassure him that baseball is a game of failure, so you gotta come back strong, no matter if you played a bad game, we still got to play two or three more after that. The biggest struggle really is just keeping them locked in and engaged, especially when you have 21 of them on the bench it's a challenge just to keep them all locked in and not messing around too much.”

Dominic Giglio received the start in the championship for SWFL, tossing 5 ⅔ innings, while allowing no earned runs and striking out four. 

But Prime would strike first, following an RBI single from Caden Sladek to drive in Jorge Rodriguez in the bottom of the first, being the only run from either side until the fifth inning. 

An RBI single from SWFL’s Raymond Cooper to bring home Luc Colantuono began a six-run eruption from SWFL, with Kayden Davidson also knocking in an RBI in the frame. 

Cooper tallied on a pair of RBIs in the top half of the sixth with a two-out double, with an extra insurance run from Joshua Doerrfeld

“A number of these kids here just have a heart and are driving themselves and pushing themselves every single play,” SWFL head coach Robert Davidson said. “Being up 10 or being down 10 it doesn’t matter, they're gonna go all out every play.”

Alex Paxton came on for relief Giglio midway through the sixth, striking out two while not allowing a hit or run over his 1 ⅓ innings of work to close things out. 

Now with a freshly clean-shaven head coach, SWFL will look to make it back-to-back tournament titles at the PG Freedom Classic. 

17U City of Palms Championship

In a drawn out contest between the defenses and pitchers, Bx3 won over Prospect Factory National 2-1 with a sacrifice play making the difference. 

Both teams were able to score a run in the first inning, one for Bx3 reached by error from Prospect, the other a sacrifice fly for Prospect. 

After that, not one run was scored until the top of the ninth inning. 

On the mound for Bx3 through eight innings was right-handed pitcher Sterling Jones. He registered only one walk and wracked up three strikeouts with fastballs that hung around the low-70s  and curveballs in the low-60s - showing significant stamina by throwing 99 pitches. 

A mixed effort from two pitchers kept Bx3 silent for a majority of the match.

The first of those was left-handed pitcher Kenneth Santana, who threw 52 pitches over four innings, got one strikeout and allowed no walks with a fastball in the mid-70s and mixed-in a mid-60's slider. 

The second was Henry Clausell Giraud - who showed immense strength on the mound. In just over four innings, he didn't give up a single walk - but struck out an astonishing seven batters - getting his pitch count up to 76 with fastballs that stayed in the high-80s and sliders in the high-70s.  

At the top of the ninth, a sacrifice ground bunt got one runner in for Bx3 - which was enough for the win after the Bx3 defense kept Prospect off the board.

18U City of Palms Championship 

A late-game rally fell just short in the 18U championship, with Baseline Baseball Grey defeating SoFlo Lime 4-3. 

Palm Beach State commit Luis Penate got his name on the board first for Baseline with some first inning extra bases, making his way home a few batters later. Baseline knocked two more runs in the following inning, with Ramly Cordero driving in Santiago Colina and Henry Fernandez with a two-run single. 

Left-hander and St Thomas commit Nicolas Ratel received the start for Baseline, tossing a strong five innings - striking out seven while allowing just four hits and no runs.

Despite trailing 4-0 entering its final three outs, SoFlo refused to go down without a fight. Following some smart at-bats from Kendry Blanco, Nicholas Roca and Roberto Miranda, SoFlo loaded the bases down to its final out. And despite Nicholas Rodriguez stepping to bat and driving in all three, it proved to be little too late for the valiant comeback effort. 

Baseline finished the weekend a perfect 5-0, outscoring its opponents 32-7 over the four days.