April 4, 2011
Newsome Wins 31st Annual Saladino Tournament
It has been four years since the Newsome High School baseball team reached the final game at the annual Saladino Baseball Tournament.
However, this time, sporting a second chance to prove what the program is all about, the Wolves had no intention of going home with just a runner-up plaque.
Proud of his boys’ hard work, first year Head Coach Bill Highsmith led them on the quest for the title, replacing the 2007 plaque with the 2011 Tony Saladino Tournament trophy, following the Wolves 2-1 victory over the much-favored Jefferson team, at Brandon’s Don Powell Field.
“Winning this tournament means a lot for the program,” Highsmith said. “The team performance was outstanding throughout the entire tourney. The boys knew what they wanted.”
Setting up the team for the win, Newsome beat Armwood 6-2 in the semi-final.
Against Jefferson in the final game, the Wolves scored first with Newsome senior Jake Jones’s fifth inning hit to left field, which made the way for Michael Farley from third and Tyler Packanik from second to reach home base.
Answering back, Jefferson loaded the bases with one out, needing just one good contact to turn the game around.
Fortunately, Newsome pitcher Julius Engle only had winning on his mind and halted Jefferson’s chance for pulling away by catching a line drive and throwing out a base runner to end the inning.
“The key to win the game was to stay focused,” Jones said, adding, “We didn’t want second place again.”
Engel agreed with Jones when he said, “Our confidence in reaching the title carried us through the entire tournament.”
The tournament’s Team Spirit Award was also claimed by Newsome.
The trophy of the Saladino Home Run Derby, which is traditionally held just prior to the championship game, went to Alonso’s Jose Fernandez, who hit four home runs in the final to win the contest.
Lenin Sanchez, of Brandon, was second with three shots, while Plant City’s Travis Cannoles hit two and Hillsborough’s Roché Woodard and Middleton’s Demetre Taylor tied for fourth place each hitting one.
For more information about the Saladino tournament, please visit www.saladinobaseballtournament.com.