JBLN summer teams experience success
Heading into its 30th season of organized baseball in the country, the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) is gearing up for a transformative year in which fundamentals are stressed, innovative ideas are introduced, more exposure is granted to players, and the level of play continues to improve.
Fresh off a third-place finish at the 2018 PONY Bronco (12-and-Under – 12U) Caribbean Zone Championships in Yaguate, San Cristóbal, and the Dominican Republic, the JBLN recently sent two teams to the Miami International Baseball Tournament in Miami, Florida, USA. The week-long tournament is organized by the World Baseball Foundation.
Teams from all over the United States (U.S.), the Caribbean and Latin America participated, and both of the Bahamian teams advanced to the medal rounds.
The 10-and-under (10U) team fell in the final to a team they defeated a year ago, while the 18-and-under (18U) team lost its semifinal game on a play at the plate in the final inning.
In the 10U division, the top seeded Academia Latinoamericana A team, from the U.S., defeated the third seeded JBLN All-Stars, 5-3, in the championship game, to complete an undefeated tournament for them. In the 18U division, the second seeded JBLN All-Stars fell to third seeded Osos de la Chorrera, out of Panama, 4-3, in the semifinals. With a runner on third and one out in the final inning, the runner tagged and headed home on a deep fly ball to right in an attempt to tie the game. The runner was called out at the plate, and the Panamanian team prevailed.
The 10U team finished round-robin play with a 1-2-1 win/loss/tie record. They tied Academia Latinoamericana B team in their first game, 0-0; defeated the Curacao Eagles, out of the Netherlands Antilles, in their second game, 11-3; lost to Academia Latinoamericana A team, in their third game, 12-5; and lost to the Chivas Cubs, out of the US, in their fourth game, 10-9.
The JBLN All-Stars then went on to defeat the Cubs in their semifinal game, 11-6, before losing to Academia Latinoamericana A team in the final.
The 10U games were played at the Grapeland Baseball Complex and the Brothers to the Rescue Memorial Park in Miami.
The 18U team finished round-robin play with an unblemished 3-0 win/loss record. They defeated Panteras de Cancun, out of Mexico, in their first game, 10-5; got past Osos de la Chorrera, out of Panama, in their second game, 3-1; and blanked Academia Eric Jose, from the Dominican Republic, in their final round-robin game, 5-0.
The JBLN All-Stars then lost a hurtful semifinal game to Osos de la Chorrera, 4-3. Osos de la Chorrera then went on to win the championship, defeating top seeded Ranferbeli, out of Colombia, in the final, 10-4.
All of the 18U games were played at Tamiami Park and the Brothers to the Rescue Memorial Park in Miami.
“The Spanish-speaking countries are always very competitive with those countries being a ‘hot bed’ for baseball talent over the past 30 years,” said Terran ‘T’ Rodgers, director of player development and tournaments at JBLN. “We at JBLN think that it’s important for us to expose our players to the best talent around. It’s not always about winning but playing against top notch talent. If we win, great, if we play hard and fall short, that’s fine. We would have had the opportunity to compete against quality talent. We firmly believe that ‘iron sharpens iron’.”
The 10U team was coached by Tamboura Coleby, Javardo Bain and Luther Bowen; and the 18U team was coached by Ken Adderley and Jude Smith Sr.
In 2017, the JBLN All-Stars 10U team advanced to the semifinals before losing. This year, they took it a step further. The JBLN All-Stars 16U team won the title last year, defeating a tough Cuban team in the championship game.
“Moving forward, in 2019, as a part of our 30th anniversary celebrations at JBLN, we will be looking at providing more exposure opportunities for our players,” said Rodgers. “Presently, there are plans for a number of initiatives in the 2019 season that will allow for more development and exposure trips. We’re looking forward to that.”
Online registration for the new JBLN season will be active in early September, and the league’s draft day and tryouts are set for October 6. The preseason will get underway in November.