Clewiston 12U All-Stars earn trip to state tournament

CLEWISTON — The Clewiston 12U All-Star baseball team is headed to Belleview, Fla., to compete in the state tournament after coming out on top in their district tournament held in North Fort Myers on June 8.

Clewiston earned its ticket to state thanks in part to a pair of come-from-behind victories during the district tournament.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Clewiston Youth Baseball
The Clewiston 12U All-Stars celebrate after their victory on June 8, which earned the team a trip to the state tournament.

During the first game against Naples, the team found themselves down 3-1 in the early innings, but were able to pull into the lead late and win 7-6. A similar script played out in Clewiston’s next game against Punta Gorda.

Punta Gorda jumped out to a 4-0 lead early. And they held the lead for the entire game until some last-second heroics by Clewiston in the final inning allowed the 12U All-Stars to complete the comeback with an 8-7 victory.

The team wouldn’t need any more late-game drama to win the final game of the district tournament. Clewiston blew out North Fort Myers 9-1 to punch their ticket to the state tournament.

Clewiston 12U head coach Bobby Soles thinks the team’s best baseball is still ahead of it.

“I don’t think we played our best ball, but these boys kept fighting and found a way to win some games that we weren’t sharp in early,” said Soles. “The strength of the team is the overall attitudes, effort, and competitive spirit. These kids have been a joy to coach. They do everything you ask, never complain and just compete.”

Soles says ahead of the state tournament the team plans to work on fundamentals as well as focusing on competing every play.

Lenny Rojas, Papo Rojas, Kelly Torres and Tyler Peacock are all assistant coaches with the 12U All-Stars and will help get the team prepared for the state tournament.

Soles also singled out Clewiston Youth Baseball and Softball League president B.J. Barnes for his support of the team.

“We had four age groups over there competing, and he had countless hours of paperwork to fill out and uniforms to order and he made sure we had everything we needed,” explained Soles.

Before they move on to represent Clewiston in the state tournament, which is scheduled to take place July 4-8, the 12U All-Stars will hold fundraisers to help cover travel costs for the team. The league is still finalizing the details of the fundraisers throughout this week. If you’d like to keep up with the progress of the fundraisers, be sure to follow the league’s official Facebook page located online at facebook.com/ClewistonYouthBaseball.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

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