By: Matt Rothman
The Original Florida Poker continues to be one of the top travel baseball teams in the country.
For the third straight tournament, the 17u team took first place following a dominant 5-0 weekend in the Perfect Game World Series.
The Pokers improved to 27–1-1 and outscored their opponents 27-10 in their five games. They needed some heroics, though, in two of them, with Niko Benestad and Alejandro Sardinas recording walk-off hits and a dominant performance from Gavin Gargiulo in the Championship Game.
He struck out 11 and did not allow an earned run in six innings before James Smith recorded the save. Andrew Raucci, Brayden McClsukey, Dane Rossi, and Anthony Quigley also picked up wins on the mound.
Offensively, Quigley homered for the Pokers and drove in three. Rylan Lujo had two RBIs in three games, while Benestad, Sardinas, Perry, and Ethan Askin knocked in multiple runs. EJ Burns and Gargiulo also had RBIs, as they also stole 14 bases and had nine extra-base hits. They will go for their fourth straight championship and a spot at the number-one ranking in the country in the Prospect Select Palm Beach Open.
The 2025 team also competed this week and dominated in their first four games of pool play. They outscored their opponents 34-9 and had their most exciting win come on a walk-off hit from Jonathan Rodriguez.
Chase Wildroudt, Payton Jay, Thomas Gitlner, and Carter Derks all picked up wins, while the offense was led by Carter Wojcik, who hit a pair of home runs and drove in five RBIs. Cole Lasher, Eric Torres, and Carter Derks also plated five, while Bennett Gary, who shined at the plate and on the mound, knocked in four. Nick Diaz, Hunter Demetree, Rodriguez, Joseph Georgiou, and Thomas Giltner also drove in runs.
The 2026u team finished fourth out of 52 in the Perfect Game World Series. They won six games and scored 34 runs in those games. Mikael Ghann, Nicholas Raber, Blake Sundberg, Nick Sabotino, Jose Torres and Rosado earnd wins. Julian Diaz also pitched six innings of scoreless relief.
Offensively, Jaden Doverspike led the offense with seven RBIs. Nico Sabotino drove in five, while Alejandro Formoso, Brady Buxbaum, Nicholas Raber, and Leo Marrero plated four. Rodney Chung, Jake Miller, Andre Suarez, and Blake Sundberg also contributed to a team with nine extra-base hits and stealing 18 bases.
- 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.
- NewsSeptember 23, 2023Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shows Resilience Despite Setback: Gears Up for the Anticipated Pig Bowl Showdown
- NewsSeptember 22, 2023Marjory Stoneman Douglas Swim Records Wins Over Monarch and Northeast
- NewsSeptember 21, 2023Marjory Stoneman Douglas Girls Volleyball Moves to 10-1 With Senior Night Win
- NewsSeptember 21, 2023Soccer Star Gianna Rizzo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Announces College Pick