Okeechobee 6U T-ball conquers district championship

OKEECHOBEE — Another district tournament, another district championship for Okeechobee, this time in the 6U t-ball division.

Fresh off the heels of the 2018 8U Okeechobee All-Stars winning their district championship, the 6U t-ball All Stars have won their district championship as well. The team went undefeated in the district championship and earned their ticket to the 2018 Dixie Youth State Tournament being held in Sebring from July 14 through 19.

The Okeechobee 6U t-ball All Stars practice base running near the end of their practice on July 9. Photo by R. Marion.

Head coach Mundo Cruz is pleased with his team’s results.

“I can’t say I expected to be where we are now,” said Cruz. “I know there is stiff competition in other counties and other districts, so I thought we’d do OK. But they exceeded my expectations. This is the hardest hitting team I’ve ever seen, and I’ve heard similar comments from the umpires in our games as well.”

Although the offense has been a strength of the team, Cruz reports that the infield defense has been solid as well.

Some 10 different districts will be competing in the state tournament in Sebring.

Okeechobee’s first opponent will be West Volusia at 1 p.m. on July 14, if they can get past them, the All Stars will face either West Seminole or Avon Park at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“Considering how good we played in our district tournament, I think we are gonna fair very well at the state tournament,” said Cruz. “Many districts are a lot stronger than us because they play year round baseball and we don’t.”

That playing time advantage that other teams have over Okeechobee is a common denominator over many sports. From swimming, to golf, to soccer and even baseball many young athletes on the treasure coast get significantly more playing time due to year-round leagues that aren’t available in Okeechobee. Still, even with this disadvantage, Okeechobee athletes are able to go toe to toe with many of the treasure coast teams.

“The kids put in tremendous work,” explained Cruz. “They practice for two hours every day and they give it all they’ve got. You have to admire their competitive nature, because they all want to play and win.”

Okeechobee 6U t-ball All Star coaches Saul Tijerina, Justin White, Cody Storey and Mundo Cruz give their players a short speech at the end of their practice on July 9, 2018. Photo by R. Marion.

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