By: Matt Rothman
The Original Florida Pokers continue to shine, with a pair of teams making incredible runs while one of their pitchers also announced his commitment.
The 14U team won their first tournament in five years, winning the Palm Beach Fall Classic, going 4-0 and outscoring their opponents 25-10.
The 2024 team won their first six games of the tournament and outscored their opponents 25-7 with three shutouts. They had a 4-2 lead in their semifinal game against Top Tier but ended up falling 7-4. They had 12 players drive in at least a run in the game, led by Rylan Lujo, who also hit the lone home run in the tournament.
Zain Diaco, Anthony Quigley, Alejandro Sardinas, Jonathan Lopez, Niko Benestad, E.J. Burns, A.J. Perry, and Jason Wachs all drove in at least two runs. Gavin Gargiulo, Erick Torres, and Ethan Askin also had RBIs, with Javi Miranda, Breylynn Courtney, Andrew Raucci, Ryan Lynch, Aidan Brigato, and Christopher Moore all recording wins on the mound. The Pokers also had four saves, led by Brayden McClsuskey, while the senior announced his college pick.
“I am excited to announce that I will be continuing my athletic and academic career at Hillsborough Community College,” McClsuskey said. “I want to thank my coaches, teammates, and my parents for being with me all the way,”
McCluskey played his first season of varsity baseball with MSD this year and picked up a win in five appearances. The right-hander allowed only two runs in seven innings while the team went on to win their third straight State and National Championship.
While McCluskey still has one more year left on the varsity team, he will play for a college baseball team that won 13 games in 2023.
- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student. He also works for the Mohave Valley Daily News in Bullhead City, Arizona covering high school sports.
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