Page 1\FloridaSportingNews -

Volume 1 • Issue 7


an Th


June 29 - July 13 2015















All Cover Fotos by Jason Negron

NFL Alumni of Central Florida is a 501c3 non profit organization composed of former professional football players who have joined together to support local Orlando youth charities. Our “Caring for Kids” mission is achieved with fundraising, community service and social events. Please visit and like us on

Page 2 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

Predators Drop to 7-6 with Loss to Defending Champions

with 11.5 total tackles while DL Austin Brown contributed 1.5 tackles with one forced fumble and one blocked kick.

PHOENIX – June 20, 2015 – Turnovers plagued the offense throughout the night as the Orlando Predators (7-6) dropped a 55-35 decision to the Arizona Rattlers (10-3) on the road in front of a crowd of 11,673 at U.S. Airways Arena in Phoenix. The Predators offense committed seven turnovers on the night, including five turnovers on downs. QB Bernard Morris completed 20-of-40 pass attempts while throwing for 285 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, adding eight yards and another score on the ground. WR Larry Brackins hauled in a game-high 11 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, while WR Brandon Thompkins snared four receptions for 83 yards and another score.

Orlando regained possession and tied the contest as Morris lofted a six-yard touchdown pass to Brackins in the left corner of the end zone. Predators DB Rod Issac recovered a fumble after Austin Brown stripped Rattlers WR AJ Cruz on the ensuing drive, but Orlando would turn the ball over on downs again following

Defensively, Orlando managed to stop the Rattlers on four possessions, forcing one fumble while denying Arizona on three fourth-down attempts. DB Emanuel Cook paced all defenders

series, turning the ball over on downs on its own two-yard line. The Rattlers built a 21-7 advantage on the next play from scrimmage off a two-yard touchdown reception by Cruz. The offense stopped its scoring drought a series later as Morris fired a 15-yard touchdown strike to Brackins to cap a three-play, 35-yard drive. The Predators defense would stop the Rattlers shy of the end zone on 4th-&-Goal as time expired in the second quarter, leaving Orlando trailing 21-14 at the midway point. Arizona recovered Orlando’s onside attempt on the ensuing kickoff and converted the short field into a five-yard touchdown run by Cruz, resulting in a 4828 lead for the Rattlers. Orlando committed another turnover as Morris was sacked on fourth down and Arizona gained a 55-28 lead off a threeyard touchdown pass from Davila to Cruz.

four-straight incompletions. Arizona took a 14-7 lead off a two-yard touchdown run by FB Mykel Benson. The Predators offense stalled again on its next

On the next play from scrimmage, Morris completed a pass over the middle to Brandon Thompkins, who broke through multiple tackles while spinning into the end zone for a 36-yard score. Arizona would run out the clock on the ensuing possession, ending the game with a final score of 55-35.

Love of Volleyball Helps AAU Athlete Persevere

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

car Artemus was traveling in, aggravating her back and requiring her to go through physical therapy. “I was scared that the rod or bolts would move and that I would have to get surgery again and relive that pain,” said Artemus.

After losing her father at age 10, Marissa Artemus began playing volleyball to get her through it. She didn’t know that the emotional pain she was going through would soon be accompanied by physical pain. While at a routine physical that is required for high school students to play sports, Artemus was informed that she had scoliosis. She was told that her curvature had already advanced so much that bracing wouldn’t help and she would need a spinal fusion and a metal rod placed in her back. The recovery time would be at least a year, and that was if the surgery and recovery went well. The sixteen year old requested that the surgery be scheduled after volleyball season was over. The surgery went well and she was on her way to recovering when another curveball was thrown her way. A truck ran a red light and hit the

High School Golfer Going Professional After Graduation by Andrea Lerner

Having the sport one loves become their profession is any athlete’s dream come true. For Luiza Altmann, rising senior at Windermere Prep, her dream is about to begin. Playing golf for eight years, she has won over 80 trophies and a variety of world titles. Going into her senior year of high school, she will not be attending college because she will be turning professional. “It’s important for me to be the best that I can be no matter who is watching,” said Altmann. Being known as a world renowned golfer gives Altmann a satisfied feeling, but she says that title is not her main objective. Traveling all over the world, she has played on tough fields and against the best amateur players in the world. Because of this, she has gained a ton of experience and knowledge to help with her game. “From the first time I hit a golf ball, I decided I wanted to do that for the rest of my life,”

During her months of therapy, a few things kept her going. “My love for volleyball and a determination not to let this surgery hold me back from my full potential,” she said. “I wanted to make my deceased father proud. I also had strong support from my

explained Altmann. Feeling grateful, she cannot imagine doing anything else with her life besides golf. She currently pretends to play professionally, until she can live that life in reality. She admits that there are only a few things in the sport to have control over, and

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family and friends.” She was released from her physical restrictions after six months. Now, the Columbia, South Carolina teen will be traveling to Orlando, Florida with her team, the Columbia SC Starlings, for the 42nd AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships. This will be her first year attending and she is looking forward to the challenge. After everything Artemus has been through, she has learned a lot about herself. “I have learned that I’m much stronger than I give myself credit for,” she explained. “I have to be determined and that life is lived day by day and that everyday counts. Life is what you make of it.” While her recovery is going well, her life has been altered because of her physical setback. “Physically, I stretch and take breaks,” she stated. “I have learned to care for my body as an athlete. Physiologically I just try and stay positive by telling myself the pain will go away and that it will pass.” Most importantly, she has learned a lot about facing what life throws at her. “It has shown me that being afraid is fine as long as you don’t let it hold you back,” she said. “Face your challenges head on.”

soon Canada. Making up most of her school work online, her teachers have been very understanding of her dedication to golf, and have done their best to help her get caught up. Traveling and keeping up with school is not an easy task, but Altmann is thankful for all the help she has gotten. “Golf is a challenge, there is no way to be perfect at it,” said Altmann. Focused on beating the course, she does not care who is playing in the field. She enjoys golf because it is a sport that she can constantly get better at. Altmann loves when she gets to travel because she gets to play on different courses and meet so many new people that help her get better.

those things are what she focuses on. Every game, she is determined to play in the moment and not think ahead or of the past shots. “I have missed over 90 days this school year, and have kept a 4.0 GPA,” stated Altmann. With professionalism, comes travel destinations. Altmann travels once or twice a month to places such as Brazil, Japan, England, Germany, and

Like any athlete, Altmann’s sport has changed her life. Waking up early and going to the gym even when she is tired has taught her how to discipline herself. She has learned how to keep her priorities in order with her play time, school, and having friends. Ultimately, golf has taught her how to plan her life and set goals for herself. After she graduates, she is ecstatic to complete her goal of turning professional, and cannot wait to make her dreams come true.

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Page 4 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

AAU Volleyball 18U Championship

The 18u division display’s the country’s best volleyball talent and is sure to never disappoint year after year. This year was nothing different. 18u Open championship morning began with one of the biggest rivalries in all of club volleyball- Mizuno Sports Performance versus Asics Munciana Samurai. These two clubs have faced each other in either the semifinals or finals the past five years at the AAU Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships, four of the five being in the championship match. This year, they found themselves squaring off in the semifinals. Mizuno Sports Performance came into the semis as the two-time 18u Open National Champions, looking to secure an unprecedented third consecutive title; Samurai were looking for revenge, having dropped the last two meetings against them. In normal rivalry fashion the match was pushed to a third set, which ultimately saw Sports Performance take it 1511 and secure a sixth consecutive 18u Open final appearance. The 18u Open Championship was setMinnesota Select versus Mizuno Sports Performance. Sports Performance opened up with a 6-0 run before a miss return put Minnesota on the board. Later,

Minnesota countered with a 5-0 run to pull within one (13-12) and eventually take their first lead at 18-17, but a late 3-0 run by Sports Performance would secure a 2520 first set victory and put them one set closer to another national title. Sports Performance carried that momentum into the second set, appearing too much to handle with their overall attack, including Illinois Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year Molly Haggerty on the outside and Rachel Fara in the middle. Sports Performance would go on to take it in straight sets (25-20, 25-16) to clinch their third consecutive AAU 18u Open National Championship title. Later in the day, Sports Performance faced off against China Shandong, the International Division champions, for the 2015 World Championship title. China got off to an early 2-0 start and would never look back, cruising to a 25-17, 25-20 victory. Execution was the name of the game and China executed their game plan efficiently, creating a wall at the net that could not be penetrated and exploiting holes within the Sports Performance lineup to lay down timely kills. Service errors hurt Sports Performance early on, but China’s precision and technical ability could not be matched.

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

Orlando Hosted World’s Largest AAU Volleyball Event

“The AAU strives to provide the very best event experience for athletes, coaches and spectators,” said Dr. Goudy, AAU President/CEO. “The AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships is the premier volleyball event in the nation and will continue to grow in the years to come.”

AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships Brings Huge Economic Impact to area Lake Buena Vista, FL – The best girls’ volleyball teams from across the country come to Orlando from June 15th through June 26th for the 42nd Annual AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships. The 2012 AAU event set the current Guinness Book of World Records mark for largest volleyball event in the world. ESPN Wide World of Sports and the Orange County Convention Center hosted eleven (11) days of volleyball in what has quickly become the crown jewel of the volleyball season. Due to the huge growth of the tournament, some additional off-site games were played at nearby Orlando Sports Center. Approximately 27,000 players and 5,600 coaches competed on 183 courts. Approximately 100,000 spectators and over 400 college coaches from across the U.S. were in attendance to watch over 12,000 matches being played over the course of the tournament. Concession stands, merchandise and vendor booths added to the atmosphere making it a must see event for any die-hard volleyball fan. The economic impact to the area was over $52 million with participants and their families visiting local hotels, shops, restaurants and other Orlando area businesses. “The Orange County Convention Center was delighted to welcome back the AAU Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships,” stated Kathie Canning, OCCC Executive Director. “Our facility has long been known for its success in hosting sporting events and AAU Girls Volleyball fits on the list very well. The growth of this event and enthusiasm it brings to our city is very valuable. We look forward to many more years of partnership.” Central Florida is well represented at this year’s event. Florida Gatorade Player of the Year, Courtney Furlong, competed with hometown favorite and perennial championship contender Orlando Volleyball Academy (OVA). She is a senior and will be attending University of South Carolina in the fall. Other local players who competed included 2014 MVPs such as OVA’s Tamzen Wilson (12u Classic Division) and Morgan Romano (13u Club Division) plus Tampa Bay Volleyball Academy’s Jenna Hampton (14u Open Division) and Gainesville Juniors’ Jac’Cara Walker (16u Club Division). “The Central Florida area continues to produce top quality players that epitomize what AAU volleyball is all about,” said Dr. Goudy, AAU President/CEO. “These players uphold the tradition of excellence both on and off the court and are role

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Opening Ceremonies were held in Champions Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Monday, June 15th. Doors had opened at 5pm with the parade of athletes that started at 7pm. models for the next generation.” Central Florida area teams competed against the nation’s best clubs. Top teams include Mizuno Northern Lights (Minneapolis, MN), KIVA (Louisville, KY), A5 (Atlanta, GA), Sports Performance (Chicago, IL) and Munciana (Indianapolis, IN). In total, 2,250 teams ranging from ages 10u through 18u competed in the Open, Club, Classic, Premier or International Divisions. The International Division features teams from Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Germany, Israel and Slovenia as well as Puerto Rico. Other international teams featured in regular competition include Haiti, Colombia, Canada, Virgin Islands and Peru.

About AAU Founded in 1888, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, event organizations in the United States. The “Sports for All, Forever” philosophy is shared by over 670,000 participants of which close to 115,000 play volleyball. The AAU annually licenses more than 34 sports programs, 250 national championships, and over 30,000 age division events. AAU alumni include LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Megan Hodge, Cynthia Barboza, and Justin Verlander. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the development of amateur sports www.

Page 6 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

DP Soccer Star Overcomes Injury to Win Tournament by Andrea Lerner

Getting injured in a sport is always rough on the player who has to deal with it. Sitting out of practices, being benched for the game, and being annoyed by the amount of time it takes to heal, and for some, dealing with a fear of not being able to play as good as before. But rising senior Caitlyn Brown, a soccer star at Dr. Phillips, decided to ignore her fears and push herself farther after severely injuring her ankle last October. “I couldn’t play the second half of

the game because I wasn’t able to walk,” said Brown.

tournament. Brown was speechless at how well her team had done. While the girls do wish they would’ve placed 1st, they are gladly holding After her injury, she was benched for a multitude their trophy high. All they can do is…“Practice of games. She couldn’t stand not being able to and try even harder next year,” added Brown. “I help out her team. Slowly but surely, she was never thought I would’ve won that tournament able to play in a game for a very short period of or even played as well as I did because of how time. Not being able to play as much as she used bad my ankle was,” said Brown. to was a huge confidence crusher for her. “It took forever to heal, but once it did I became Although she wishes she never got injured in the a starter again right before the Disney showcase first place, Brown definitely is glad she was hurt for my club team,” explained Brown. at the time she was instead of later on. Happy she got to play the major tournaments, she The whole team was excited for this showcase admitted to almost being thankful for her injury. where they got to play with some of the top After she hurt her ankle, she pushed herself teams in the country. Barely making it into the harder than before, which gave her the strength event, they held the #2 team at 0-0 during one to play an even better game. of the games. Even though they didn’t win the entire event, Brown and the team were looking With all the tournaments done and won, the forward to picking up some new players just team gets a rest until the end of the July. Before in time for more tournaments. “We ended up the season starts back up, Brown is taking placing 2nd in Disney’s President’s Cup which on as much practice time as she can get. She is such a huge deal for our team, we couldn’t be is spending the summer running and getting more excited,” stated Brown. touches on the ball as much as possible. Going into her senior year, she hopes to only get better Before winning at the Disney tournament, and to definitely not get injured again. the team also won 2nd at the Palm Coast

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

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Meet Atlanta Falcon Football Star: Devin Hester at Sports Authority in Winter Garden Village

WINDERMERE—Sports Authority, Florida Sporting News and the NFL Alumni Central Florida Chapter has teamed-up with current NFL Atlanta Falcon, Devin Hester. Sports Authority is teaming up with Devin Hester Foundation in Orlando to support his mission to partner with community organizations to create positive environments, where the youth can develop educationally, socially and physically, and are empowered to become productive citizens in their communities. Come join the fun and enjoy 20% off your entire purchase and get a photo and autograph with Devin. The event will take place on Saturday, July 11, 2015 from 2:30 – 3:30 pm at the Sports Authority at Winter Garden Village located at 3373 Daniels Road Winter Garden, FL 34787.

From 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Devin and his all-star list of NFL players and several Atlanta Falcons are holding a FREE football clinic for all area children at Olympia High School Football field. This is a wonderful opportunity for kids to work with current and former NFL stars. NFL Alumni Central Florida Chapter President Mike Attardi said “It’s an honor to work with Devin and his foundation. The local NFL Alumni chapter is looking forward to working with Devin and the kids. Many sponsors have stepped-up to donate money and services to help make this event a huge success.” Some of these local businesses include Sports Authority, Florida Sporting News and Audi South Orlando. Young athletes will have the rare opportunity to train with NFL

great Devin Hester, several of his Atlanta Falcons teammates, NFL Alumni members and other NFL friends, as they share their knowledge of the game. During the free 3-hour clinic, the youth athletes will be divided into age groups and be taught safe, noncontact football skills, drills and tips, as well as life skills—by NFL Pros, and local high school coaches. Highlights of the day will include lunch, an awards ceremony, and an opportunity to “Race against Devin” to win the title of “fastest athlete in camp!” THE CLINIC IS FREE! SPACE IS LIMITED AND REGISTRATION REQUIRED! DEVIN HESTER FOUNDATION ANNUAL youth Football Clinic is a special treat for local Orlando children. FREE Devin Hester Foundation Youth Football Clinic WHEN: Saturday, July 11, 2015 | 9:00am -1:00pm WHERE: Olympia High School 4301 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32835 WHO: Open to kids ages 6-15 No football experience necessary/no equipment needed.

Page 8 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

Windermere Prep Soccer Star Commits to Columbia Univ. by Andrea Lerner

Before graduating high school, seniors are given their final task of selecting and getting into the college they desire. For athletes, this task comes with the hard decision of which college to commit to. Taylor Duran, upcoming senior at Windermere Prep, was overwhelmed with a decision before finally choosing to commit to Columbia University. “I never thought I would have the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school and still play the sport I love,” said Duran. Prior to her final decision, Duran was also communicating with Louisiana State University and Western Kentucky. At first, she struggled to make a choice knowing that her future was on the line. After visiting the campus, Duran admits to knowing that Columbia was the right choice for her. “I spent the night with the team and really got to know the girls and the overall team dynamic,” explained Duran. With knowledge of the big transition in her future, she is excited to share her new student experience with the other girls by her side.

Although she will be attending Columbia with

15 of her friends, she is looking forward to meeting the other 2016 recruits because, “they will have the same exact emotions that I will the first year,” added Duran. “I’m going to go wherever I can to help the team succeed,” stated Duran. Playing center forward all of her life, she hopes to continue her position when she attends Columbia. While she is ready to just get out on their field, she explained that she is going to keep an open mind when it comes to her position. Even though she will not be attending her selected college until next year, Duran is already counting down the days. “Soccer has made me realize when it is time to be part of a team instead of in control,” said Duran. While playing the sport she loves, Duran has learned some valuable life lessons. For example, she admits to learning a whole new concept of time management after having to juggle school, being on the field, and having a social life. The sport has made her a strong leader and she plans on taking that leadership all the way to Columbia. Going into her senior year, she is excited to get more time to practice her skills on the field before she attends college. Occasionally struggling with injuries, she has developed serious mental strength to constantly be getting back out on the field. With her strong mental attitude and her determination, Duran is looking forward to being a fine asset to the Columbia team.

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

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First Ever Florida State 7 on 7 Competitions a Success by Jason Negron

Palmetto High School (West Palmetto, FL), and Ribault High School (Jacksonville, FL), faced off in the first ever Florida State 7-on7 football competition. Ribault came out victorious in a 28-8 blowout to be crowned the first Florida 7-on-7 State Champion. “I had a vision back seven or eight years ago when I went out to Texas and I saw the Texas State championships,” said co-founder David Menard. “Coming back to Florida, I was so excited about the program. For years now, I’ve wanted to offer a platform that big and do a Florida State championship.” Contrary to the Texas State competitions, Florida makes sure their coaches and athletes remain together at all levels. Never will a Florida high school athlete play for another high school coach in the 7-on-7 league. The games are run on a 21-minute clock, championships games are 25 minutes. The game is played on a 25-yard field. The team who scores most in the 21-minute span is victorious. “We were fortunate enough to partner with Adidas and Gatorade to give these guys that type of platform,” Menard went on to say. “We wanted to have coaches with their athletes together the way it should be.” The league has exploded into one of the premier leagues in the nation in only its first season. Florida is known for its tremendous athletes. Palmetto High School sent out their 4-star recruit and sixth-ranked quarterback in the nation, Jack Allison, to play 7-on-7 ball. Allison has already committed to Miami (FL) University for the fall of 2016. With Ribault High School being crowned champions, they will be the #1 seed in Florida, followed by Palmetto High School at #2, Clearwater High School at #3, and Boone High School at #4. These four teams will now head

over to Georgia where they will take on their top four seeds. Eventually they will play the Louisiana State top four champion as well.

Page 10 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

Club Volleyball Player Only Player From Florida to Make USA Junior National Volleyball Training Roster

get selected for the national team. With plenty of girls who have the same mindset to win it, competition is going to be tough. Samedy is ready to bring her skills to Colorado and hopefully benefit the national team with her knowledge of teamwork, cooperation, and communication.

PREVIEW - 2015 AAU Gymnastics Age Group Championship

by Andrea Lerner Every year, the National Training team picks 12 girls to join the national team for volleyball. This year, a decision could not be made so 20 girls were selected to fly out to Colorado Springs, Colorado to the Olympic Training Center for a second tryout that will narrow the decision down to the final 12. Stephanie Samedy, rising junior at East Ridge, was the only player selected from Florida to have this opportunity. “I couldn’t help but think that this was going to be the start of my future,” said Samedy. Honored to be selected as the only girl from Florida, Samedy is full of hope that she can represent the Sunshine State internationally. A major goal in her near future is to play professionally. Samedy is excited to catch a glimpse of what it will be like to work with girls she has never played with before and combine skills to do great on the court. “I want to be the best that I can be, so I set high standards for myself and I get really frustrated when I can’t reach them,” explained Samedy. Very dedicated, she is a player who does not want to stop until she gets it right. Although her coaches assure her that learning new skills and techniques is a process and it takes time to get it right, Samedy constantly wishes to stay late at practice to get it figured out. She is headstrong and committed, and because of that she landed a chance to be on the national team.

“I can’t just start playing without getting pumped up to some music,” stated Samedy. Without doing anything too crazy, Samedy has her ritual of listening to music to get her in the zone for the game. Her normal self consists of a fun, joking around, goofy attitude. This characteristic is perfect when off the court, but “I can’t be that way for a serious match,” added Samedy.

It’s Vegas season! Join us in the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ for the 2015 AAU Gymnastics Age Group Championship! This event will span over four days at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino and will feature girls’ competition for Levels 1-8 and Open Optional and a Ladies Division with Levels 6-8 and Open Optional. The boys will also be represented at this event, with Levels 3-6, 8 and 9 competing. On Friday, there will be an Opening Celebration Ceremony after competition. The celebration will start with a Parade of Athletes at 6pm. Athletes will line up and parade around the venue by district, so make sure they are wearing their district shirts or colors! Don’t be afraid to get crazy with the face paint and stickers to show your gymnastics pride! During the ceremony there will also be entertainment from local talent, which is guaranteed to be awesome in Las Vegas! There will also be a Dance Party following the Ceremony!

“Not having time for my friends is just a small sacrifice to becoming great,” explained Samedy. While she is about to enter her junior year of high school, she has the normal desire of wanting to spend a Friday night out at the movies with her friends. Not being able to do this as much as others, Samedy admits to this factor definitely being a negative to playing volleyball. But to her, it will all pay off in the After competition, awards will be provided long run. Flying out to Colorado is just a start on for all skill levels and age divisions. Every that marathon. athlete will be awarded an AAU National Championship All-Around medal. Individual Excited to work with a number of other talented event awards are provided at a 50% + 1 ratio girls, Samedy can’t wait to give everything within each age division. she has in hopes of being 1 of the 12 girls who

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

Winter Garden Squeeze Has Slow Start

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by Jason Negron

The 2015 summer has not been what the Winter Garden Squeeze has expected thus far after starting with a 1-11 record. There is much to be said about how the Squeeze have performed up to date. Fans must not be deceived by Winter Garden’s slow start. In all games played this season, the Squeeze have displayed effective hitting, base running and pitching. The lone problem was the inability to piece together all those facets of the game in one night. With the Florida League sending five of its six teams in the league to the playoffs, the Squeeze are still hopeful to fight and make that last playoff spot.

Winter Garden’s leaders so far this season include Shawn Feltner (Northwest Florida State), who has manned the hot corner at third base and put together a .262 batting average with 4 RBIs. Putting up extremely similar numbers for the Squeeze is lead off center fielder Chaz Boyer (University of New Orleans), who also has a .262 batting average thus far with 6 stolen bases and 5 runs scored. Outfielder Yahir Gurrola (Midland College), leads the team with 5 RBIs On the pitching side, Caleb Maggio (Samford), has led all starters with a 1.20 ERA, followed by Mason Fryman (Shelton State CC), with a 2.03 ERA, and Ian Doughty (New Mexico JC,) with a 2.28 ERA. Doughty also leads the team

in strikeouts with 21 in 19 2/3 innings pitched. D’Andre Knight (Seminole State), younger brother of Mets farm system catcher Darryl, has a save in the Squeeze lone win. The Squeeze will end June with matchups against the first-place Altamonte Springs Boom (9-3) and DeLand Suns (5-7) in their quest to turn their season around and fight for a playoff spot. Winter Garden plays their 23 home games at Heller Brothers Ballpark in West Orange High School. For more information on Squeeze tickets, schedule and more, visit their webpage at

Page 12 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

West Orange DE Nolan DeFranco Commits to UNC

By Matt Cohn

At 6’6” and 220 pounds, Nolan DeFranco’s ceiling is just as towering as his frame. West Orange’s defensive anchor and top edge rusher, as well as the number 34 ranked recruit in Central Florida for the class of 2016 committed to play at the next level for the University of North Carolina.

DeFranco also had offers from other top D1 programs as well, amongst them were Virginia, and Iowa State, but said it was his visit to Chapel Hill that prompted his commitment to UNC. Defranco said, “The coaches were extremely impressive. UNC is a great place. Chapel Hill is the environment I want to be in to

get better, great people and great coaches” Last year for West Orange DeFranco’s presence off the end terrorized opposing quarterbacks, pursuit around the edge combined with his staggering size led DeFranco to 7 sacks and countless deflected and disrupted passes at the line. The closest comparison for DeFranco’s edge rush is a 6’6” wrecking ball. DeFranco is one of 6 returning starters and the first commit on a West Orange defense that should be a force to be reckoned with next season. Experience and talent will motivate the Warriors to improve on last year’s 10-1 record. Along with his domination on the gridiron, it’s safe to say DeFranco sacks academics head on as well. With a 4.4 GPA and being a member of West Orange’s National Honor society, DeFranco is the epitome of an example of a student athlete. On academics reinforcing his decision to commit to UNC DeFranco said, “The number one thing for me was good people and a good environment to learn. Academics were a large part of it as well as academic support.” For any high school student whose dream is to play college ball, committing is the solidifying of that dream coming true. DeFranco felt this after calling UNC’s coaches to inform them he’d be a Tar Heel, “It was the most exciting moment of my life and everything I’ve ever worked for became worth it.” Coach Larry Fedora is at the helm for UNC, and watches over a defensive line that has produced NFL players such as pro bowler Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams. DeFranco reiterated coach Fedora played a large part in his decision to attend UNC. “When we sat down on the visit he was so relatable. Coach Fedora and I talked about making me a better man as well as a better football player. He said the entire school at UNC is as committed to me as a person as they are to me as a football player. That really spoke to me.” DeFranco is excited to make an impact for the Tar Heels as soon as he can, proclaiming, “I also want to go to a place where I feel I can win, UNC is a sleeping giant”

AAU Partners with Ball N Prep to add ranking to Girls Basketball Lake Buena Vista, FL – The AAU announced today it has partnered with Ball ‘N Prep Girls Online Magazine to rank the top players competing in AAU Girls Basketball events this summer. This new evaluative effort is led by Prentice Beverly, a National Evaluator for Blue Star Media, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and author of Navigating the Maze: a Grassroots Guide to Women’s Basketball Recruiting. Also, he has numerous years of service within the AAU Girls Basketball program as an area director and coach.

Mixed Results for Orlando City SC by Greyson Everidge ORLANDO- Orlando’s superstar, Kaka, netted the only goal of the game as the Lions claimed victory at the Citrus Bowl against their Eastern Conference rivals and leaders, DC United. Previously, Orlando City had previously failed to win in two earlier matchups against DC, which is why their victory comes as a pleasant surprise to many MLS fans nationwide. The Lions’ only goal came in the 28th minute, as a rebounded shot recovered by Pedro Ribeiro on the edge of the 18-yard box prompted DC United’s Taylor Kemp to charge into him, giving

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

“Prentice is a nationally known and wellrespected high school and college coach who brings experience and instant credibility to AAU’s new ranking initiative,” said Boo Williams, AAU Girls Basketball National CoChair and winner of the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame Human Spirit Award. Ball ‘N Prep Girls Online Magazine gives up-to-date insight into the talent rich world of girls’ basketball. It offers coaches and parents a nationally known outlet to showcase their players. Readers are provided ‘players to watch’ lists from around the country as well as a comprehensive list of top seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen each year. Ball ‘N Prep staff will be evaluating basketball talent at the following 2015 AAU National Championship events: AAU 6th Grade Div. I, II & III National Championship, June 28th - July 3, in Hampton, Virginia, the AAU 7th Grade Div. I, II & III National Championship,

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June 28th - July 3, in Kings Island, Ohio and the AAU 8th Grade Div. I, II & III National Championship, July 12th – 17, in Orlando, Florida. The Ball ‘N Prep staff has numerous years of coaching, playing, recruiting and evaluative experience at all levels of basketball. Rankings will be found at “AAU Girls Basketball continues to be the premier place for college coaches to see elite players in the country compete,” said Matt Williams, AAU Second Vice President & Girls Basketball National Co-Chair. “Partnering with Ball ‘N Prep adds value to our events and gives formal recognition to athletes playing in AAU Basketball events. Over eight hundred (800) college coaches are expected to attend AAU Girls National Championship events in 2015 to watch the next collegiate stars in action.

the referee Jose Carlos Rivero little choice but to point to the spot where the foul occurred.

halt however, as the Lions fell 2-0 to the Impact in Canada.

United’s goalkeeper, Bill Hamid, saved Kaka’s penalty, however he could only watch as Orlando’s No.10 headed the rebound into an empty net.

City keeper Tally Hall came up with a big save in the 32nd minute to deny Impact Captain Piatti on a shot that looked destined for the back of the net. Hall’s effort was to no avail however, as the Impact struck first in the 36th minute through defender Donny Toia on a redirected corner kick.

In addition to the first ever victory in the MLS for Orlando against DC, the league also saw the introduction of water breaks, after the heat index in the City Beautiful reached the required temperature. The Lions’ unbeaten run extended to five games as they moved up to 3rd in the Eastern Conference rankings as they went into their next game against the Montreal Impact, in Montreal. That unbeaten run came to an abrupt

Orlando City was finished off in the 93rd minute, as Dominic Oduro went one-on-one with Seb Hines who did well, but could not hold off the forward as Oduro slotted home against Hall. The Lions next game is on Wednesday, June 24th at home against the Colorado Rapids.

Page 14 Florida Sporting News • 6/29/15 - 7/13 /15

FCA 7 on 7

All Fotos by Bob Gall Images

6/29/15 - 7/13/15 • Florida Sporting News

Mason Williams; Gets Called up to New York Yankees By Greyson Everidge

Williams’ value as a professional player had plummeted since 2010 as a result of hitting challenges, but after connecting better and batting a more respectable .223/.290/.304

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The Yankees placed Williams on their 40-man roster in the off season to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, which prevents teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league rosters. Williams fully logged his time and finally got promoted to the Yankee’s Triple-A club after hitting .318/.397/.398 in 2015. Recently, Williams made his Major League Debut on June 12, 2015 against the Baltimore Orioles and hit a home run in only his second atbat in the MLB.

West Orange High School graduate, Mason Williams, has been called up to Major League Baseball’s storied New York Yankees, a few years after he was first listed as a top prospect for the club.

Meet the athlete: Juan Hillman By Justin Tibbetts A former Olympia Titan/UCF Knight has recently been drafted in the second round of the MLB draft, a seemingly impossible task for most. The 6’2’ standout pitcher was drafted by the Cleveland Indians. Being drafted in the second round should speak volumes considering the entire draft consists of 40 rounds. Hillmans numerous achievements are remarkable. He was invited to the ‘2015 Perfect Game’ as a 1st team all-American, (the world’s largest scouting report service) as well as receiving an All-region 1st team. In 2014 he was part of the Underclass 1st team and was part of the 2013 Underclass High Honorable Mention.

average in 2014, things began to look up for the promising player. Scouts raved about how Hillman “keeps getting better”. That was in addition to his versatility when it comes to his pitching arsenal, which includes a 92mph fastball and a set of deadly off speed pitches. The left hander has a misleading delivery, creating tough pitches for batters along with a great side arm throw. In one inning, Hillman struck out all six batters he faced and threw strikes on 18 of his 23 pitches while his fastball started to hit an outstanding 91mph. Hillman’s stats were impressive, to say the least, during his high school career. He posted an impressive ERA of 0.97, 156 strike outs, and an opponent batting average of a mere .165. During the spring season, he pitched a 0.65 ERA, 82 strike outs against 18 walks in 65 innings. Looking at these stats is stunning. It doesn’t surprise anyone that Hillman was drafted as high as he was. At

Many new fans here in the Central Florida area, have discovered Williams, who has also earned a growing popularity amongst Yankees fans. With a bright new start, time will tell how Williams fares on one of professional sport’s biggest stages.

eighteen years old, it seems there is a bright future ahead for the highly athletic lefty from central Florida.

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