Winter Garden Little League Reds top Windermere to take district crown
| 5:25 p.m. June 24, 2015
In a game that, technically speaking, started June 9 and ended June 17, the Winter Garden Little League Reds senior team (ages 15-16) topped Windermere, 8-5, to win the District 14 Championship on its home field.
The game was suspended after one inning June 9 because of weather. Scheduling conflicts prevented the teams from returning to the field until June 17, with the boys from Winter Garden holding a 4-0 lead as play resumed.
Things got tense for the Reds when Windermere scored three runs in the fourth inning, but that’s when the Winter Garden bats got going. Curtis Sams doubled in Viadel Ortiz Maldonado and then scored on a two-run home run by Bryan Cabreja. The next batter, John “J.T.” Sweeney, hit a solo homer to give the Reds an 8-3 lead they would hold on to for an 8-5 win.
“We waited all year,” Winter Garden manager Joel Sams said. “No one hit one out all year until this game — and then we got (two home runs) back to back.”
Sams, who has been involved at the Little League dating back 20 years, said this was the first time he has coached a team that won a district title. His birthday was the following Monday, and he told his boys that all he wanted for his birthday was for them to get the “W.” They are the only district champion from Winter Garden — Windermere teams won the Junior (13- and 14-year-olds) and Majors (11 and 12) championships, while Dr. Phillips won the Minors (9 and 10).
The Winter Garden Reds include Johnny Parezo, Curtis Sams, Viadel Ortiz Maldonado, Bryan Cabreja, John “J.T.” Sweeney, Cody Bishop, Vinny Williams, Ryan Crigger, Perry Riggs, Boston Clark, Ronnie Reyes Lugo and Avery Funk. Coaches include Sams, Mark Parezo and Omar Ortiz Maldonado.