Chobee Dirtbags recognized by Okeechobee County

OKEECHOBEE- Youth baseball team the Chobee Dirtbags were recognized for their accomplishments at the Okeechobee Board of County Commissioners meeting on Aug. 27.

On July 19 the Chobee Dirtbags won the USA Travel Baseball Championship, going 6-1 and claiming the championship trophy with a win over travel team Warstic. That championship win came right on the heels of the Dirtbags going undefeated in a tournament in Tavares on July 12.

“You can tell the parents and coaches really care about making sure the team understands how to give back to the community,” said  Okeechobee County Community Services Director Denise Whitehead at the Aug. 27 meeting. “I just wanted to congratulate them personally from the Parks and Recreation department.”

The term “dirtbag” was first coined for those players whose uniform would be full of dirt after every game from how hard they were playing. In baseball it’s considered one of the highest compliments.

The Chobee Dirtbags celebrate after winning the USA Travel Baseball Championship on July 19.

“In the baseball world, a dirtbag is someone who plays the game hard and has a lot of grit, passion and fire about the game,” explained Dirtbag coach Ruben Guerrero shortly after forming the team in 2019. “We just thought it’d be a unique and different name. We didn’t want to go with another animal or something. I want our kids to play the game hard and have some confidence in what they’re doing.”

Before they became the Chobee Dirtbags the same group of players and coaches battled their way to the World Series in Lumberton, N.C. as the 8U Okeechobee All-Stars.

“The team and their coaches have completed a very successful season with bringing home the USA Travel Ball Championship title,” said the proclamation read into record by Commissioner Terry Burroughs. “The BOCC would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of the players, coaches and parents by issuing a proclamation in recognition of their teamwork and sportsmanship in achieving a successful season.”

In 2018, before they became the Chobee Dirtbags, the same group of players and coaches advanced to to World Series as the Okeechobee 8U All-Stars

In the tournament before the Travel Ball Championship the Dirtbags went undefeated, winning five games in a row. Chobee beat Ocala Elite 17-8, Volusia Cudas 10-9, Ocala Elite 12-7, FLX 16-1 and WGPA 18-3. The team also managed to hit 15 home runs during the tournament.

“I’d like to thank everybody for recognizing these young kids,” said Guerrero after the proclamation. “They and their parents are very dedicated. We travel and play against a lot of good teams from bigger cities that have more players and our kids stand right up and play them. They’re learning a lot of life lessons in this. We want to thank everybody from Okeechobee for supporting us.”

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