13U SOUTHWEST FLORIDA (SWF) Yarddawgs
The SWFL Yarddawgs from the Ft. Myers area started the 2008 spring season on a fast pace winning 32 straight games before taking a loss. With a 32-1 overall record, the Dawgs have won the King of Diamonds Classic, IBC Diamond Classic, and the Triple Crown Clearwater Spring Championship. Even with some very close games against some strong Florida competitors, the Yarddawgs have outscored their opponents in the three tourneys 136 to 28. The team only plays in tournaments that offer 60/90 playing fields for 13 year olds. “We felt at the start of the season it would be best to prepare our players on the field that they would be competing on for the remainder of their baseball career.” said manager Steve Ondrejka. Ondrejka has managed the team all four years of its existence. Only two players remain on the team from their original roster, but the big change came this spring when the Dawgs added five key players to make the change to the big fields relatively easy. The Yarddawgs have won some tournaments in the past four years but have also lost their share, but one thing is for sure, when the game was over you knew that the Dawgs had come to play. Opposing coaches have repeatedly complimented the players on the way they play and respect the game. The Yarddawgs roster consists of 11 players with seven of them being pitchers. Tanner Renegar (LHP)(8-1) and Ty Knowles (RHP)(9-0) have been workhorses for the Dawgs with perfect records in the tough tournament semi and final games. Cory Gipson (LHP) and Austin Garcia (RHP) have also been instrumental in big games when their number has been called which has been quite often. Reyes Ramon, Forrest Hunter and Chase Vogelbach round out the staff. With the combo of excellent pitching and a defense that makes very few errors, runs are tough to come by. In 183 innings this season, the Dawgs have given up 79 runs. The outfield is covered by the three fastest players on the team, Danny Mumford(6’1” 190lbs) is the fastest, but lead off hitter Teft Hill and Vogelbach are only a step behind. The strongest infield has Knowles at short, Cole Ondrejka playing second, Ramon at third and Renegar at first. Garica and Hill move in when certain pitchers move to the mound. Corbin Weeks and Hunter get all the work behind the dish. Umpires have said that Weeks is the smoothest catcher they have seen at this age group. Both have excellent pop times and handle pitchers with ease.
Hitting and base running may be the strongest part of the Dawgs game. With speed up and down the lineup, all 11 players can steal bases when called on. Reyes Ramon leads all hitters with a .494 average; Weeks, Vogelbach and Mumford are over .400. All other players are in the high 300s with the lowest being .316. In the 33 games, the Dawgs have scored 341 runs on 346 hits with 106 being extra bases. The Yarddawgs credit the hitting to the hours each week the players spend at Athletes Profile in Ft. Myers, Fl. There they use the MLB ProBatter Pro Baseball System. The computerize system randomly throws eight different pitches at speeds from 40 to 100 mph. The life size projection screen shows an actual pitcher throwing realistic pitches. Fastballs, change and curves come in random order making the hitter adjust to each pitch.
The remaining tournament trail for the Dawgs will be the Super NIT in Kissimmee, FL and the AAU Florida State Championship in the month of May. In June, the Triple Crown Kissimmee Summer Slam and one other TBA. July will be the big bang with the Perfect Game 14U BCS Finals in Ft. Myers, then by finishing the season in Myrtle Beach, S.C. competing in the Triple Crown Summer Nationals.