West Tampa Little League has been in the past the home to players such as Fred McGriff, Tino Martinez, Lou Piniella, Tony La Russa and Luis Gonzalez. Now, thanks to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the fields have been renovated to allow future generations to play on high quality fields. The fields were rededicated Tuesday.
The West Tampa project is the second the Rays have undertaken in the club's Rays Field Renovation Project. Oliver Field in St. Petersburg was the first to get made over in 2006.
'We are proud of the work that went into this project and feel fortunate to have a role in preserving what has been wonderful community asset for generations past,' said Rays President Matt Silverman. 'We would like to thank our partners for their commitment to this project and for sharing our passion for the Rays Field Renovation Program.'
During the course of the renovation, all four fields had their turf removed, had more than 45 tons of clay added in the infield, bullpen and to create new pitching mounds. In addition to the on-field improvements, the Rays also added breakaway bases, which are going to be required for all Little Leagues in 2008, and built a new concession stand and installed roofing over one set of bleachers.
Partnering with the Rays on the project were All-Star Carl Crawford, Mayor Pam Iorio and the city of Tampa, J.O. DeLotto and Sons, Metro PCS and Bryant Heating and Cooling.
Spartans, Hoosiers Win Basketball Titles
Eric Williams scored 22 points and Quentin Bastian added 20 as the North Tampa Spartans won the Tampa Bay Basketball Organization's Middle School Division title with a 60-58 win against the Citrus Park Hoyas on Saturday.
'When it's one of your missions from the outset, from the first day of practice to the final, it's real nice for the kids,' Spartans coach Tom Forward said. 'Especially for some of them who have been with the program for a number of years they've been a part of it from the start.'
The Hoyas were led by Eric Storts, who scored 31 points, and was named one of the league's co-MVPs along with Mike Matthews of the Temple Terrace Hoosiers. But while Storts was able to score, the Spartans limited his creativity as none of his teammates was able to reach double-digits. David Montgomery II and Nick Cullen both scored 8 points for the Hoyas.
The Spartans had reached the title game two seasons ago but missed out last season. Forward said getting back there was in part thanks to the focus his players showed during the season.
'It's a tall order when you have this much talent in the league,' Forward said. 'It was great to get back to the championship.'
Citrus Park, which had reached the final a season ago, again left as runner-up. The Hoyas had lost to the Brandon Gators 66-50 last year.
The Temple Terrace Hoosiers won the first Junior Varsity Division title with a 70-59 win vs. the Brandon Gators.
Xavier Bradley score 21 points and Aestley Montilla added 13 for the Hoosiers. Bradley, who attends Tampa Bay Tech, was named the league MVP.
'He was the X-factor,' Coach Kahlil Daley said of Bradley.
In prior years, the Hoosiers had fallen short in the Middle School Division with the same players that made up its JV squad this season. Winning the inaugural title meant a lot to the players and Daley after falling short in the past.
'I thought in the middle school league we should have been in the championship,' Daley said. 'We didn't get there, so to be the first JV champion, I wasn't that upset anymore.'
In addition to the player awards, An Le, the coach of the West Tampa Running Rebels, was named as the coach of the year.
'We taught our kids to come out and play hard, to play as a team, and they all came together as a team,' Le said. 'They played with a lot of heart, and I think that reflected on me to win the award.'
Newsome Blue, Freedom Undefeated
Freedom and Newsome Blue stood as the only undefeated teams after the second week of the Hillsborough High School Hockey League as the Patriots beat Newsome White 4-0 and Newsome Blue beat Bloomingdale 11-0.
Spencer McNabb led the Patriots with a pair of goals, including one short-handed, while Chance Letson and Mike Napora also found the net. Chris Burt recorded the shutout, and was one of four goaltenders to do so during the weekend's five games.
Newsome Blue's Tom Kowalski had six points in the Wolves' win against Bloomingdale, finding the net four times, while Mike Semago added a hat trick. Zach Vandelaagemaat, Johnny Maiello, RJ Racine and Mike Ziegehofer also added goals and Scott Vargas had three assists.
The Tigers moved into third place in the standings with a 4-0 win against Wharton as Nick Johnson shut out the Wildcats. Ryan McCaugherty, Pete Lowrey, Angelo Mole and Kyle Kortum all had goals as the Tigers came back from an opening loss to Newsome Blue.
Wesley Chapel got four goals from T.J. Johnson as the Wildcats beat George Jenkins 5-0. Spencer Slocum added a goal and Nate Gotschall recorded the shutout as Wesley Chapel bounced back from an opening loss to Bloomingdale.
Joey Heyer scored four times in Riverview/Durant's 9-1 win against Plant. Billy Augensen added a pair of goals for the combined team while Nick Feira, Stephen Scrivener and Andrew Theodores also found the net. Stephen Guerra added three assists for the combined team, while Chris Reed scored the only goal for the Panthers.