Squeeze board members help team strive for off-field success

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  • | 12:20 a.m. August 6, 2015
Squeeze board members help team strive for off-field success
Squeeze board members help team strive for off-field success
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WINTER GARDEN — Behind the scenes, the board members of the Winter Garden Squeeze have worked hard all summer to ensure the success of the team.

In 2014, the Squeeze became a team of the Florida Collegiate Summer League, a summer wood-bat league in Central Florida. With the formation of the team also came the creation of a team of board members. From different backgrounds, the member shared a goal of seeing baseball in Winter Garden be successful.

Bobby Olszewski, a commissioner for the city of Winter Garden, is on this year’s board. As board members, Olszewski said they help facilitate the Squeeze and its players’ activities throughout the summer.

“I’ve always been a big baseball fan, and working with Adam Bates and Ed Williams, we thought we could get a franchise for the city of Winter Garden,” he said. “This has always been a goal of ours, and we were lucky that we could make it happen.”

Another board member, Steve McClellan, is involved with the team on a level beyond simply helping with its operations. With one son currently on the team and his other son having played for the team last year, McClellan has been a board member/player’s parent for consecutive seasons.

“I was glad to see college-level baseball come to West Orange County,” McClellan said. “I just want to see an exciting piece of the game stay in West Orange County.”

McClellan grew up locally and now attends Squeeze games at his alma mater, West Orange High School. Like many board members, he spent about six days a week at the field and said he plans to be in the Squeeze family long after his sons are done playing college baseball.

“The biggest thing for me is that I’m going to stay involved with this team throughout its career,” he said. “It’s an exciting time.”

With all of the growth the area has experienced, Olszewski knew that having a baseball team would add to the local atmosphere.

“You look at the history of the Florida Collegiate Summer League, and they have a wonderful track record, and we were very lucky to get a franchise,” Olszewski said. “When you look at all of the great things we have going on, having a baseball team is a wonderful fit.”

Other board members include Dan Karp, Ed Williams, Rich Mojica, Andy Crabtree and Randy Newton, and many others who participated or helped in some capacity throughout the summer.

Many factors go into a successful baseball team, and McClellan said the Squeeze exhibit many. McClellan was in charge of placing players with host families and said support from local families has been tremendous.

“We have a local community support,” he said. “We also have a wealth of local talent, as well as a lot of local organizations we are looking to target. We’ve had great coaching so far, and I think that plays a big part in it as well.”

Being involved with the Squeeze has given the board members another opportunity to be involved with the community.

“When you work with someone as passionate as Adam Bates, who really loves baseball and loves his city, it makes it all worthwhile,” McClellan said.

Contact Emilee Jackson at [email protected].

Squeeze wrap sophomore season

Although it likely wasn’t what they had in mind for a final record, the Winter Garden Squeeze finished the 2015 campaign — its second as a franchise in the Florida Collegiate Summer League — with a record of 8-28. 

The Squeeze won its final two contests to end the season on a positive note. Winter Garden defeated Altamonte Springs on July 30, 3-2, and then defeated Sanford on July 31, 5-3.

Cody Burgess led the team at the plate this summer with a .313 batting average over the course of 128 at-bats. Burgess had 40 hits this season and drove in nine runs.

Ian Doughty was a leader for the team on the pitchers’ mound, tossing 40 innings and earning two wins while striking out 36 batters.

For more information about the conclusion of the Squeeze’s sophomore campaign, visit floridaleague.com/Teams/WinterGardenSqueeze.aspx.


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