By Tamas Mondovics
As anticipated, the 33rd Annual Saladino Baseball Tournament held at Brandon High School was high school sport 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.
Leading up to the final game, Bloomingdale defeated Riverview 6-0, followed by an 8-6 win over Brandon.
The Bulls carried the momentum by putting the Cougars in their place.
After a 1-0 Durant lead at the top of the 2nd, the Bulls changed things around with an RBI single to center by senior Kameron Wilson to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning, enough for a strong finish and another shot at the Saladino trophy.
“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 its 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. They also then led the Brandon High School baseball team for both playing and keeping the ball park play-ready.
For more information, please visit www.saladinobaseballtournament.com.