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North Babe Ruth hosts Spring Fling

April 10, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

Teams from all over the region flocked to the North Fort Myers Community Park this weekend to compete for bragging rights on the diamond as North Fort Myers Babe Ruth hosted its first "Spring Fling" baseball tournament.

A total of 53 teams from Punta Gorda, Sanibel, Naples, Alva and even one from the Czech Republic came to compete for championships in five age classes.

When all was said and done, North Fort Myers teams won three out of five divisions, with Naples and the Czech team winning the others.

Article Photos

David Hickman of the 12U North Fort Myers David Hickman fires a pitch during the Spring Fling Babe Ruth baseball tournament Thursday at the North Fort Myers Regional Park.


The 12U game was the most thrilling as the Tigers defeated the Naples Pirates 10-9 after winning the previous game and having to come back without rest and the threat of rain.

"It's been a great weekend. The teams have had a lot of fun and our teams went pretty far," Estes said, whose 6U Reds team won its pool. "Naples has done well. They're a very good league and it's great that we get to compete against them."

After a ceremonial first game Wednesday, play started in earnest Thursday as North Fort Myers and Punta Gorda faced off in the first set of games, with other teams playing in the second slate.

The 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. game times were in effect for Thursday and Friday, with a whole slate of games Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing until dark.

Teams competed round robin in pool play, with the winners in the 10U, 12U and 14U divisions continuing on the play for the championship on Sunday. In all, 68 games were played in four days.

To make sure things stayed on schedule, the games were limited to 90 minutes. Still, with so many games in a short period of time, attrition of pitching would be a key to winning.

The winners in each division were:

- 6U: North Fort Myers, Reds, Cubs and Blue Jays won pool play.

- 8U: North Fort Myers White Sox and Twins won pool play

- 10U: Naples Braves def. Naples Brewers 9-6

- 12U: North Fort Myers Tigers def. Naples Pirates 10-9

- 14U: Czech def. Naples Tigers 9-0

The Czech team didn't seem to have any problems playing American ball, as it cruised past the competition. Every year for the past decade, the team has come to Florida for two weeks to get ready for the season, which has actually started, but like Cleveland, it's a little too cold still.

"We started coming here for camp 10 years ago. It's perfect for us. We need the weather because it's good for the team," said Czech coach Jari Kodek. "It's cold at home and snow, so we need the weather to be nice."



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