By Tamas Mondovics
As anticipated, the 33rd Annual Saladino Baseball Tournament held at Brandon High School was high school sports at its best, but the title game re-match of last year’s championship between Jefferson and Bloomingdale turned the excitement up a few notches.
This year, however, was the Bulls turn to shine and walk away with the championship trophy after a 3-2 win over the Dragons.
“I am very proud of what the team has been able to accomplish during this tournament,” said Bloomingdale program head coach, Kris Wilken.
The win proved to be a sweet revenge for the Bulls after last year’s 5-2 loss, but Wilken emphasized that while Friday’s game was a title re-match, it was a new game with many new players.
With a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 7th, the game was sent to extra innings, but with the bases loaded and one out, a fly ball to right field by Bulls, Josh Mote, gave Jamal Wilson a chance to score the game’s winning run.
On their quest for the title, Bloomingdale also defeated Riverview, Brandon and Durant. The Bulls currently stand at 10-4 on the season.
As in years past, the tourney made room for its traditional 12th Annual Home Run Derby, which crowned Robinson High School senior, Zack Sabo, as its 2013 champ. Home Run Derby runner up was Gaither High’s senior, Oscar Mercado.
Tournament hosts Tony and Bertha Saladino, who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, were thankful for everyone’s support including friends and family along with the Hillsborough County Public Schools district as well as expressing a special thanks to the Brandon High School baseball team for both playing and keeping the ball park play-ready.
For more information please visit www.saladinobaseballtournament.com.