By: Matt Rothman
The Parkland Pokers 14U baseball team earned their second tournament championship of the season on Sunday, winning the Perfect Game Holiday Classic on December 4 in Coral Springs.
The Pokers received a historic performance from Abraham Halaoui in the championship game after pitching a no-hitter and beating Team Venezuela 8-0. He also won MVP and added four hits at the plate as the Pokers outscored their opponents 41-14 and went 5-0 in the tournament.
The team is also coached by a pair of former professional baseball players in Head Coach Michael Sandoval, Juan Rincon, and Jose Rodriguez.
Sandoval, who is the brother of Pablo Sandoval, played 447 games in the minor leagues. Rincon won 35 games in the major league and pitched mainly for the Minnesota Twins.
Rincon and Rodriguez each have kids on the team in Santiago and Angel. Both Michael DiGiorgio and Jack Rostock each had two hits in the final and were joined on the All-Tournament Team by Rodney Chung, Rincon, Fabio Sanabria, Alejandro Rodriguez, Santiago Baptista, Zack Nattis, and Gavin Broome.
“I am extremely proud of the boys and how they played as a team,” said Coach Sandoval. “Every one of them contributed to this championship. Winning is great, but player development is my primary objective, and the boys are getting better and better every day.”
The Pokers previously won the Perfect Game Labor Day Tournament in September. Next, they will play in a tournament in Fort Myers on December 17-19.
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- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism and then graduated from the University of Florida as a graduate student. He also works for the Mohave Valley Daily News in Bullhead City, Arizona covering high school sports.
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