Tournaments : : Story
Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Palm Beach PAL sweeps Memorial titles

Jim Ecker        
The Palm Beach PAL youth baseball program turned Terry Park into its personal playground on Monday by winning both titles at the WWBA Florida Memorial Day Classic tournaments.
The Palm Beach PAL 16U team captured the 16-&-under championship on Brett Field at Terry Park Monday evening, then those players, coaches and fans strolled over to the Stadium at Terry Park to watch the last few innings as the Palm Beach PAL 17U club won the 18-&-under crown.
The teams took different paths to the winner’s circle. The 16U team dominated pool play but then had a couple of close calls in the playoffs, while the 17U team had a couple of close calls in pool play and then dominated the playoffs.
“Fortunately, it worked out for us,” said Scott Scrivner, the director of the Palm Beach PAL program.
The 16U team outscored its three pool opponents, 24-1, to cruise into the playoffs, but it got much harder from there. Palm Beach PAL nipped the Florida Stars, 5-4, in its first game of the playoffs and  beat the Florida Hardballers, 9-2, in the semifinals. That sent them to the finals, where they beat the West Florida Panthers, 4-3, on a two-out base hit by Hunter Morey in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The 17U club had a 2-1 record in Pool Play, but Palm Beach PAL won its pool and proceeded to win four playoff games by a combined score of 35-4. Palm Beach PAL defeated Cyclones Baseball 17U, 8-1, in the championship game of the 18U tourney.
The Palm Beach PAL stands for the Palm Beach Police Athletic League. Craig Gero coaches the 16U team and Chad Upson coaches the 17U club.
Parker Danciu of the 16U team was named the MVP of the 16U tournament. “He’s a solid two-way guy,” said Scrivner, who described Danciu as a probable Division I pitcher in college in a few years.
Danciu hit .333 and scored seven runs in the tournament. He got the victory in the championship game by pitching in relief and getting the last four outs.
J.D. Underwood was named the MVP of the 18U tournament. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the championship game, finishing a strong weekend that saw him go 7-for-18 with a triple, four RBIs, five runs scored, six walks and a hit-by-pitch.
“He’s a great baseball kid. In fact, he’s just a great kid,” said Scrivner.
Underwood’s father, Tom Underwood, pitched in the major leagues.
Kyle Smith, who has committed to the University of Florida, was selected as the Most Valuable Pitcher in the 18U event. He was the starting pitcher in the championship game and tossed three shutout innings, with four strikeouts and a fastball that reached into the low 90s.
“He’s a dominant pitcher,” said Scrivner.
The Palm Beach PAL added a 17U team for the first time this year, and both the 16U and 17U clubs began their seasons in style this past weekend.
“We’re always competitive,” said Scrivner. “Palm Beach County has a lot of good players.”
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