Players Grab Bibles, Bats in Big League World Series
The hotel Bible is a key component of success for some of the all stars from Dunedin, Largo, Clearwater and Palm Harbor who are on their way today to represent Florida and the Southeast United States in the Big League Baseball World Series in Easley, SC.
All-Star outfielder Carter Cashman was sitting on the couch in his hotel room when he went to grab his wallet before a game early in the Big League state tournament.
The recent Clearwater Central Catholic High grad saw a Bible in the drawer, picked it up, opened it to a random page and began reading a passage he doesn't remember.
So, Cashman and several of his teammates kept the winning tradition going as they swept the state championship and came away with the biggest title of their Little League careers — the southeast regional championship against reigning South Carolina. It's a win that means they're headed to the Big League Baseball World Series in Easley, SC.
"Gelling is everything," Head Coach Matt Morrow said of his team. Many District 12 players have grown up playing baseball together — in Little League, high school and travel ball, he said. "They're knowin' what the other's thinkin'. They haven't missed a beat."
For the coaches and five Dunedin players — Will Priest, Alex Hart, Colyn O'Connell, Brett Beery and Ben Emery — that Big League Southeast region victory was extra sweet.
They were a part of the Florida 12-year-old Little League team that made it all the way to the Southeast region championship game only to fall to Georgia, one shy of the 2006 Little League World Series. Georgia went on to win the whole thing, Morrow said.
"It kinda gets the monkey off our backs," Morrow said during a recent practice at Englebert Complex.
The team's roster also includes five Largo players — Brian Balbin, TJ Glessner, Brad Miller, Steven Petrilyak and Derrick Webb.
District 12 was set to travel to South Carolina on Monday so it could be there in time for opening day ceremonies. The 2012 Big League Baseball World Series runs July 25 to Aug. 1, with the best U.S. team facing the best international team on the final day.
The team faces Indiana, who represents the Central United States, for their first World Series matchup on Thursday at 4 p.m.
If tradition continues, several of the players will pick up the hotel Bible, open it to a random page and read a passage or two.
Then they'll pick up their gloves and step onto Field 3 at the JB "Red" Owens Complex to play in what Morrow calls "the experience of a lifetime."
The District 12 Big League Team Needs Help
District 12 is in desperate need of donations to offset the team's unexpected travel expenses.
Little League Baseball is fronting the cost of plane tickets, but the 15-player team is responsible for the cost of luggage, food, and any additional equipment.
The City of Dunedin has already chipped in $500 and Nelson Construction of Palm Harbor donated $2,000. The donation goal is $5,000, according to the team's page.
To help, visit the District 12 donation page.
District 12 All Stars:
Greater Dunedin Little League
|6||Brett Beery||RF||Dunedin High|
|40||Aaron Chesson||P||Dunedin High|
|11||Jesse Dingman||1B, 3B, P||Palm Harbor University High|
|14||Ben Emery||3B||Dunedin High, University of Miami|
|9||Brannon Glover||P||Dunedin High|
|18||Jack Hamrick||P, 3B||Dunedin High|
|22||Alex Hart||P, SS||Dunedin High|
|27||Colyn O'Connell||Dunedin High|
|19||Will Priest||Dunedin High|
|99||Jordon Savinon||C||Dunedin High, St. Petersburg College|
Largo Little League
||DH||Indian Rocks Christian, Palm Beach Atlantic|
|12||TJ Glessner||2B||Osceola High, Brevard College|
|45||Brad Miller||P, 1B||Indian Rocks Christian|
|10||Steven Petrilyak||SS||Largo High|
|21||Derrick Webb||LF||Largo High|
Clearwater Little League
|5||Carter Cashman||OF||Clearwater Central Catholic High|
District 12's World Series Schedule:
- Thursday, July 26: vs. Central (Indiana), 4 p.m.
- Friday, July 27: vs. Southwest (Texas West - Laredo), 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, July 28: vs. South Carolina (Bye team), 7:30 p.m.
- Monday, July 30: vs. West (Southern California), 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, July 31: US Semi-Final / International Semi-Final
- Wednesday, Aug. 1: Big League World Series Championship (on ESPN3)