Travel Ball Select.com is very pleased to honor one of the most successful travel baseball coaches of all time by naming Coach Troy Roberson of the Georgia Bandits as the 2012 Coach of the Year for 13U teams.
What can be said that hasn’t already been said about Coach Troy Roberson and the 13U Georgia Bandits? The Bandits theme since they were 6 years old has been East Bound and Down, Loaded up and Trucking, We’re going to do what they say can’t be done. And 2 years ago if you had told the travel baseball world that the 13U Bandits would compile a 179-9-2 record you most likely would have gotten a few laughs. But the 13U Bandits led by “Coach Troy” not only did it they did it competing against many of the toughest teams in the Nation including Team Florida and MBA Pride that the Bandits will always consider two of the greatest teams they ever played.
Although Coach Troy has only coached youth baseball for 8 short years he has managed to compile an overall won-loss record of approximately 640 wins, 30 losses, and 2 ties and along the way produced 10 National Championship Titles and over 20 State Titles and has won tournaments in 11 States. He has set the bar high and has given the travel baseball world and the up and coming Coaches something to shoot for.
Any Coach of the Year candidate has to possess some special quality that sets him apart from the many great Coaches across the nation. Coach Troy stands tall in his baseball knowledge and his passion for the game but what sets him apart is his uncanny ability to make what seems to be all the right moves at the right times in all of the tight game situations and has won more close games than Apple has apps. Some might even say that he has the luck of the Leprechaun’s on his side but the Leprechaun lost more Lucky Charms than Coach Troy ever lost baseball games. And no Coach could ever put more emphasis on practice and preparation than Coach Troy has over the years. Coach Troy gives a lot of credit for his success to his able group of Assistant Coaches consisting of Joey Hardigree, Rodney Kay, and Walt Ledford. He also credits much of his success to Chris Clark and Kelly Brierly that provided all of the scouting reports and strengths and weakness of the opponent through their statistical information.
Coach Troy Roberson has managed to maneuver through the treacherous waters of what has proved over the years to be one of the toughest age groups ever to come through Elite Travel Baseball. And not only did he maneuver the 13U Bandits through the waters he reached into their young minds and into the very depth of their hearts as only he can and made them believe that whatever they set their minds to and whatever dreams they dreamed could come true with hard work and practice. And Oh how they dreamed. Led by what the Bandit faithful and many others would tell you is the greatest youth Coach of all time they brought home the “ Rings” for the 12U 2011 USSSA Elite 32 Championship, the 13U 2012 USSSA Elite 32 Championship and the first ever 13U Travel Ball National Championship.
TravelballSelect.com rounds out its year-end “Player of the Year” series by selecting Nico Hoerner, of Lamorinda Baseball as the 14U Player of the Year. For the past several years, Nico has long been widely regarded as one of the nation’s top athletes. His name has always rises to the top of the list when All America teams are named and MVP awards are handed out.
He had many outstanding tournaments this year including a standout performance in the AAU nationals where he was named Co-MVP. In that national championship series, he lead the Monarchs to a record of 10 for 12 in bracket play.
His total body of work during his 14U 2012 season resulted in his being named as the MVP of the Lamorinda Monarchs. This team went 53-3-1 and won 7 of their 9 tournament appearances. In addition, the Monarchs finished “Runner-Up” in their 2 remaining events, including the Elite World Series.
After wrapping up his 14U 2012 season, Nico was selected to the 15u Team USA as a fourteen year old. He led that team in hitting with a 1.245 OPS in the team's Dominican Republic event.
As a hitter, Nico led his team in most hitting stats including Average, Slugging, OPS.
As a pitcher, he led his team in ERA and K’s. He combines a powerful 90 mph fastball to go with a devastating change up, along with a couple of excellent curve balls. One of his best pitching outings this past season was when he tossed a 7 inning, 4 hit, 1 ER shutdown on Team Warehouse in Semifinals of Elite World Series.
To understand just how good this young athlete really is, consider that he was the starting Shortstop, “3-hitter”, and closer on Royce High School’s Varsity team. That team won the California State Sectional Championship. In that championship run, Nico closed the championship game to save a 3-2 win and the state sectional title.
Clearly, Nico Hoerner is one of the nations truly elite players and we believe the above facts prove why he was TravelballSelect.com’s unanimous choice as its 2012 Player of the Year. Look for this young athlete to standout in the years to come.
Due to weather concerns, all three 12U games tomorrow, Sunday, December 30th, including the Championship game, in the San Diego Travelball National Qualifier will be broadcast Thursday on TravelballSelect.com. Weather and weather's effect on scheduling has hampered live webcasting, and webcasting in general, because of the risk to equipment, making it necessary to tape delay the broadcast to allow for post production. The two games prior to the Dec. 30th 12U championship on Hickman Sports Complex Field #1 and the 12U championship itself will be broadcast but delayed until Thursday, weather permitting. Status of the 9U broadcasts will be posted later today.
Questions? Contact Info@TravelballSelect.com
Florida Pokers Founder and Legend Mike Roberts Passes Away - December 2012
Florida Pokers Founder and Legend, Mike Roberts, Founder of The Florida Pokers, passed away early Thursday morning unexpectedly at the age of 73. Coach Roberts was the person who single handedly changed the landscape of travel baseball in South Florida back in 1990 when he founded The Pokers.
From 1990-92 the Pokers were a American Legion team made of 3 local high schools. As he began to showcase the players and travel around the country, he quickly realized he needed to make some changes. From 1992 - 2005, The Florida Pokers became one of the most respected 18u Travel Baseball programs in the United States. At the highest point, The Pokers were rated the #9 Amateur Program in the country.
One regret of Coach Roberts was that he never reached the Connie Mack World Series. Three times his teams made it to the final of the SE Regional in Memphis.
Regardless of all the wins though, Coach Roberts was a mentor of young men (and more recently of the younger generation). Over 300 players came through his program from 1990-2005 and went on to earn degrees in college with over 3 dozen being drafted and a handful making it all the way into the Majors. There are still 4 active players playing in the majors with another dozen in the minors. Countless others made it to play in the College World Series at schools such as Miami, LSU, Florida, Florida State, Tulane, Clemson, Indiana, FAU, UCF and many others.
Over the past 7 years, he has been assisting his son Lenny Roberts with relaunching the younger generation Pokers. The Pokers now have teams at 8,9,10,11,12, 13 and 14u. Coach Roberts was involved with teaching and mentoring these young boys as well. His passion for the game can be found in so many of his former players that are now back working with young players and coaching in High School.
Von Stertzbach (founder of Clutch Baseball) is a big part of the Pokers family as he is currently involved with the 14u, 13u, 11u and 10u teams. Other players such as Danny Core, Tim McNab, Mike Rodriguez, Cameron Demming, David Kopp, Chuck Jeroloman and Alex Silversmith have been involved too. Coach Todd Fitzgerald, head coach at Douglass HS, still runs the 12u Florida Pokers after spending over 10 years assisting Coach Roberts.
The Florida Pokers Family as well as the Travel Baseball Community around the country will miss his presence on and off the field.
The Roberts Family is accepting visitors at the following address at the times listed:
Friday Dec 28th
793 NW 123 rd Dr.
Coral Springs, Fl. 33071
Saturday, Sunday and Monday following services
1827 NW 124th Ave
Coral Springs, Fl. 33071
Service for Coach Roberts is Monday Dec 31 at 10am
Temple Beth Orr
2151 Riverside Dr.
Coral Springs, FL.
For Donations: Checks can be made out in the memory of Mike Roberts to Poker Baseball Club, Inc. so that his passion for helping the youth of our society can continue.
It can be mailed to the 1827 NW 124 Ave Coral Springs 33071
Thanks for all your support. My family really appreciates the outpouring of support we have received from so many individuals and teams since Thursday.
TravelballSelect.com is pleased to select Coach Eddie Abram Jr. of Ralph Grant Baseball Academy (RGB) as the 2012 Coach of the Year in the 12U age group. Coach Abrams is the skipper of RGB baseball, an organization that is located in Oakland, California. Coach Eddie and the RGBA organization is all about building an opportunity for young aspiring athletes to develop and play baseball. They don’t charge their players lofty sums to play at RGBA; rather, they rely on donations and fundraisers to support their players learning and development experiences.
Coach Eddie Abrams Jr. has coached youth baseball for over 25 years. In that time frame, he has led several of his teams to winning numerous national championship trophies; including this year’s Travelball® National Championship in Atlanta. Over his 25 years of coaching youth baseball, one experience that stands out was Abram’s trip to Cuba. Over 10 years ago, he was asked to coach a USA team to play in Havana, Cuba. It is believed that his team was the first youth team ever invited to play there. When asked about that experience, Coach Abrams says, “Going to Cuba was about much more than baseball. As I watched our kids and the Cuban kids interact, I could only think that we adults could learn so much from innocent kid games.”
Considering Coach Eddie’s success over the span of his 25 years, it is clear that he has a special knack for getting his kids to play hard for him. When ask about his coaching style, Coach Eddie says in recent interviews with local media, that he approaches coaching much like he approaches his negotiating experiences - combined with positive reinforcement and encouragement. An example of his negotiating ability is clear from an experience he had years ago. As a sports agent, he assisted former pro football player “Rocket” Ismail who, at that time, signed one of the largest contracts of any first year player in sports history.
Ask Coach Eddie and he will be quick to tell you that a big factor in his and RGBA’s success is their line-up of outstanding assistants. His assistants include; Wil Ash, Randy Jordan, Dave Buscovich, and Alex Martinez.
Coach Wil Ash (pictured left) was also a standout catcher at the University of California during the 1971-74 seasons. His work is one reason why RGB always seems to produce outstanding catchers.
Coach Dave Buscovich (pictured right) was a former player at Diablo Valley College, and also at the University of California where he capped off his play by beign selected as a member 1st Team, All Big 8 Conference Team. He is primarily known as the hitting coach for RGBA.
Coach Randy Jordan (pictured left), aka “Coach Q”, coaches with a style that embodies RGB’s mission; Simply stated, “Make every moment a learning experience for each player”. One can understand the RGBA Coaching philosophy by noting a direct quote from “Coach Q”, during recent interviews with local California media, “Every moment can be a learning opportunity”. He went on to say, “It’s not just baseball plays . . . the kids learn about themselves . . . how to face adversity . . . how to respond when knocked down . . . and how to get back up. They're gonna to learn today, how to be men tomorrow."
Based on the successes of RGB teams, one can say that they are doing an outstanding job of instilling that philosophy into each player. That is why TravelballSelect.com is proud to honor Coach Eddie Abrams Jr, and his coaching staff as the 2012 Coach of the Year.
TravelballSelect.com is pleased to name Mike Helton, of the LIDS Indiana Bulls baseball organization as its 2012 Coach of the Year for the 11U age group. Truly, Mike did an outstanding job of coaching and developing an outstanding young team from the northern states. This is particularly impressive considering that he faces some distinct challenges that many others may not always face; Specifically, his team is located in the state of Indiana where the available baseball season is, by nature, abbreviated. While Indiana is a state that is largely known for basketball, Coach Helton and his staff and this LIDS Bulls team proved that Indiana also produces great baseball teams – not to mention all other sports.
Coach Helton is pictured right along with his assistant coaches, Todd Hemenway and Rock Pelfree. This group of coaches led the LIDS Bulls to an outstanding season as they compiled a record of 63-8-2 along their path to winning the 2012 Travelball™ National Championship in Atlanta, Georgia. In that series, the LIDS Bulls beat several of the nation’s top ranked teams proving that they are an elite program.
Mike is a 1987 graduate of Whiteland Community High School where he played basketball and baseball, earning honors in each. Following high school, Mike attended Franklin College, where he graduated in 1991 with a degree in Information Technology. While at Franklin College, Mike also played baseball where he was a four-year varsity member, earning all-league honors and was selected as his team’s MVP during his final season.
Coach Helton has been involved with youth baseball for the past seven years, serving as a coach of multiple teams and serving as president of the Greater Whiteland Baseball Association (2007 thru 2009). This will be his fourth year as head coach for the Bulls.
The LIDS Indiana Bulls team draws players from all across the state of Indiana. To be on the name, a player must be able to prove that he is a resident of that state.
When we spoke with Coach Helton, he was quick to give lavish credit to his assistant coaches, and his players and their parents - saying “those are the people that made our 2012 season what it was”.
Coach Helton also is quick to give praise to his wife, Kathleen. She understands and supports the effort and the commitment it takes to produce champions. Mike is pictured (left photo) with his his wife, Kathleen and their two children, Luke (12) and Drew (7). His son Luke was a standout athlete on this 11U LIDS Bulls team this past season. But wait, Coach Mike has a lot of baseball parenting to look forward to in the future. Also, pictured in the lower right part of the photo is (no doubt) another future baseball star - Drew Helton who is just getting his baseball play into full gear.
Congratulations to this outstanding LIDS Bulls Coaching staff for their long hours and outstanding work and for the acheivements of the LIDS Indiana Bulls - This team finished this past season as TravelballSelect.com's #2 ranked team in the nation .
TravelballSelect.com is very pleased to honor one of the truly outstanding coaching staffs across the country. TbS names Coach Scott Switalla, of the 10U VSA Vipers as the 2012 Coach of the Year. Coach Switalla founded the VSA Sports Academy Baseball program in 2009. He also coaches at the high school level in Chatsworth, California where he is a successful varsity basketball coach at Chatsworth High School. He is assisted by two outstanding coaches; Jason Parada and Jeff Durfee. He and his coaching staff have led the VSA Vipers to three straight outstanding seasons. The VSA Vipers have been the nation’s top team for the past two years running. At this point, this team looks like a potential “Dynasty” in the making. This team has been dominating the baseball diamond throughout their past two seasons. The VSA Vipers finished their 2011 9U season with a record of 54-13-2 record that was capped off by winning the Elite 32 World Series and earning TravelballSelect.com’s ranking as the #1 team in the nation. They followed with an equally dominant 2012 season as they compiled a record of 62-7 that was capped off with a 38 game winning streak and culminated with their 7-0 run as they won the XDS World Series. With this performance, the VSA Vipers repeated as the TravelballSelect.com’s top ranked 10U team in 2012.
When we spoke with Coach Switalla, he was eager to give credit to his staff and to his parents, saying ”Clearly this is a team honor that is based off the success the VSA Vipers has had over the past couple seasons. It is recognition of our talented and committed players, their tremendous families, and our dedicated coaches”. Coach Scott went on to say, I can’t give enough thanks to Coach Jason Parada and Coach Jeff Durfee for all of their hard work, dedication, skill and time. Also, he went on to thank the VSA Vipers families for all of their hard work and entrusting his staff with the honor of working with their sons.
Coach Switalla also commented, “Our team is a close-knit family and we take great pride in the fact that we have had very little movement on and off our roster in the three years we have been together.” In addition, he was also quick to mention, Chatsworth High School Baseball Coach, Tom Meusborn, who has been his friend and mentor. Considering that Chatsworth Baseball was selected by Baseball America as the #1 High School Baseball Program for the decade of 2000-2010, he clearly has quite a mentor. Coach Meusborn has won multiple National Coach of the Year Awards (USA Today in 2003 and National High School Baseball Coaches Association in 2004). He is currently a coach in the United States National Team Program (Head Coach for the 15u National Team).
Finally, Coach Switalla gave credit where credit is really due. He thanked his wife, Sonja for everything she has done to help his coaching effort and to help the team achieve the impressive successes that they have enjoyed – not the least of which is provide the team with one of its many outstanding players – Julian Switalla who is a standout athlete on this team that is laced with loads of “All America” level talent. Coach is pictured above and left along with his son, Julian.
Based on the exceptional records and accomplishments this team has achieved, TravelballSelect.com is pleased to honor this outstanding coaching staff. We look for them to return strong and continue their impressive play in the years to come. This VSA Vipers team is worth the price of a ticket to watch anytime they take the field.
TravelballSelect.com wraps up an outstanding year of travel baseball by naming its 2012 Coaches of the Year for each age group from 9U through 14U. One cannot say enough about the hard work contributed by coaches across the nation as they give much of their time to the development of today’s young players. Because of their work, most of these players will move on to enjoy high levels success in high school, collegiate play. In addition, some will eventually move into the professional play. And the successes of players can all be traced back to the foundations that travel baseball coaches are making today.
TravelballSelect.com starts this series by honoring the top coaching staff from the 9U age group. This year, TravelballSelect.com honors Will Evans, Manager/Coach and Steve Williams (Head Coach) of Team Avalanche of Eagles Lake, Florida for their outstanding work during the 2012 season. They were assisted by an outstanding staff that included; Teddy Koukoulis, Mike Meyers, and Mike Willis. These coaches lead the development of one of the nation’s most outstanding 9 year old teams to an impressive regular season record of 86-16-4. Along their way, the Avalanche won 12 major tournament titles including the Travelball® National Championship in Atlanta. They also finished “Runner-Up” in five other major series including the USSSA Elite 32 World Series held in Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Florida at the end of July 2012.
TravelballSelect.com congratulates and honors this very fine group of Coaches for a job well done in 2012.
Leagues, Regions and State Championships
1. On-line Registrations is active now through February 1st, if you wish to enter the Who's Coming List in your State or Region please contact: NCS@USSSA.com
2. Teams will be separated into different divisions in their age group by area or city.
3. The top two teams in each area or league, with the best record shall qualify for the undisputed state or regional championship tournament.
4. Winner of the Regional Championship shall represent the Region @ the Travelball National Championship, in that age groups selected location. (States in White may particate in more than one region, see map below)
5. Winner shall also receive a Jostens Custom Official Travelball/USSSA State or Regional Championship Ring.
6. State and Regional Championships will be broadcasted live. (Larger population areas will have "state" championships, i.e. Florida, California, Georgia, Texas. Other areas will have Region Championships, i.e. Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, etc.)
Policies & Procedures
1. Schedule, Scores, & Standings shall be monitored by Travelball.com the official National Championship Series website.
2. Coaches pre-season kickoff meeting will be held on or before March 1st in your area.
3. Coaches will be given till March 15 to schedule two games with all teams in there division in a home and away series. Schedules will be uploaded into NCLS website.
4. Coaches must also have players pictures & team rosters uploaded by March 15 before rosters are locked. Rosters will be capped at 17 players.
5. Home team shall be responsible for providing field, or field rental. (If a double header format is used field cost shall be split.)
6. Home team shall be responsible for scheduling Travelball/USSSA approved umpires in there area. (List will be provided) umpire fees shall be split equally by both teams.
7. Scores must be uploaded into Travelball.com website and validated by both coaches within 7 days of the scheduled game.
8. Once game score is uploaded, the system will automatically update the standings.
9. All league series games must be completed and uploaded by June 1st.
10. National Game scores & news shall be displayed and updated daily on the NCS website. Game changer will be required for news broadcasting.
11. Travelball TV will be hosting a weekly news show, every Wednesday on the NCS website with scores & highlights of all the top games and upcoming events throughout the country.
12. Questions? Contact Info@Travelball.com
December 21, 2012
Travelball® National Championship Series
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), the largest travel baseball organization, has formed an alliance with TravelballSelect (TbS), the leader in youth sports media, and Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) to create the biggest event ever assembled in travel sports, the Travelball® National Championship Series. This event will showcase Regional and Super Regional Tournament Champions along with official undisputed State Champions. The Regional, State and Super Regional Tournaments will bring out the most competitive format possible to crown the true Travelball® National Champion for ages 8U-14U. Twenty Super Regional Champions, Four Regional Champions and four State Champions will battle for supremacy amongst the Travelball® ranks.
The Regionals will kick off December 27th in San Diego, California webcast on TravelballSelect.com and the Super Regionals will kick off February 15th, 2013 in Miami, Florida and will tentatively feature games broadcast on ESPN3. Travelball will have 20 Super Regional events that will be hosted at premier parks and cities in over 15 states throughout the country as well as an “At Large” series located in Puerto Rico. Championship teams of these Super Regional Tournaments will receive an automatic bid to the Travelball® National Championship Series.
The State Championships will host the different league winners from all the Travelball (NCS) leagues and the winners of each of the states’ district tournaments. Teams will face off in a Super Tournament that will crown the official undisputed State Champion in that state, and will be broadcasted on ESPN3.
TbS will provide coverage to include but is not limited to live webcasting, broadcasting, print, and social media (gamechanger, tweets, forum). TbS plans to broadcast each Super Regional and League Championship game. Look for events near you this Spring at the premiere parks hosted by select Travelball directors.
See below for 2013 Travelball Select Events and Locations.
|June 14-16||8 to 14||Southern CA||BLD West Covina||Craig Ciandella|
|June 21-23||8 to 14||North TX||BLD Mansfield||TX State Office|
|June 28-30||10, 12, 14||Florida||Kissimmee||George Gonzalez|
|July 4-7||9, 11, 13||Florida||Kissimmee||George Gonzalez|
|TBD||8 to 14||Georgia||TBD|
|April 25-28||11||Ohio||Warren County||Larry Redwine|
|May 2-5||9||Ohio||Warren County||Larry Redwine|
|May 2-5||12||Indiana||Westfield||Larry Redwine|
|May 9-12||10||Ohio||Warren County||Larry Redwine|
|May 9-12||14||Indiana||Westfield||Larry Redwine|
|May 16-19||13||Indiana||Westfield||Larry Redwine|
|June 6-9||15||Ohio||Cincinnati||Larry Redwine|
|June 7-9||10 & 12||Illinois||Lynwood||Fran Pell|
|June 12-16||9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14||Florida||Pembroke Pines||White/Bencomo|
|June 13-16||16||Ohio||Cincinnati||Larry Redwine|
|June 14-16||8 to 14||Puerto Rico||Rio Piedra||Ken Vega|
|June 25-28||8 to 14||New York||New York City||Sagaro/Zitalgio|
|June 28-30||8 to 14||Nevada||Las Vegas||Ben Herrera|
|June 28-30||9, 11, 13, 14||Illinois||Lynwood||Fran Pell|
|Dec 27-30||9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14||California||San Diego||Ben Herrea|
|February 15-18||8 to 14||Florida||Miami||Palmer/Sagaro|
|March 1-3||8 to 14||Southern CA||BLD West Covina||Craig Ciandella|
|March 8-10||10, 12, 14||Georgia||TBD||Guerry Baldwin|
|March 22-24||8 to 14||Northern CA||BLD Manteca||Adam Farb|
|March 29-31||9, 11, 13||Georgia||TBD||Guerry Baldwin|
|April 5-7||9, 10, 11, 12||South Carolina||Greenville||John Rodes|
|April 5-7||8 to 14||Florida||Osceola Stadium||George Gonzalez|
|April 5-7||8 to 14||Arizona||BLD Gilbert||Rick Perrault|
|April 12-14||8 to 14||Mississipi||Biloxi||Legg/Skates|
|April 13-14||8 to 14||Maryland||Glen Burnie/Lakeshore||Mike Sagaro|
|April 19-21||8 to 14||Ohio||Toledo||Gavin Helmig|
|April 25-27||8 to 14||South Carolina||Lexington||Jason Gross|
|April 26-28||8 to 14||New York, NY||Baseball Heaven||Zitalgio|
|April 26-28||8 to 14||West TX||Lubbock||Victor Falvey|
|May 3-5||13, 14||South Carolina||Greenville||John Rodes|
|May 3-5||8 to 14||North Tx||BLD Mansfield||Joey Odom|
|May 3-5||9, 11, 13||Missouri||Kansas City||Wally Fortuna|
|May 3-5||8, 10, 12, 14||Iowa||Des Moines||Bob Egr|
|May 10-12||9 to 14||Illinois||Chicago||DJ Wabick|
|May 10-12||8 to 14||Pennsylvania||Harrisburg||Mandy Sierra|
|May 17-19||8 to 14||South TX||BLD League City||Frank Griffin|
|May 17-19||8 to 14||Kentucky||Elizabethtown||Rick Goff|
|June 14-16||8 to 14||Colorado||Denver||Tate Shetterly|
|June 28-30||8 to 14||Tennessee||Memphis/Southhaven||Scotty Baker/Joe Platt|
|July 8-12||8||New York, NY||Baseball Heaven|
|July 10 - 14||11 & 13||Northern TX||BLD Mansfield|
|July 24-28||10 & 12||Southern CA||BLD West Covina|
|July 30 - August 3||9 & 14||Atlanta, GA||East Cobb|