BAND OF BROTHERS: Dr. Phillips Little League 16U division wins state championship

After defeating North Springs Little League 8-2 recently, the DPLL 16U division became the first team in the league to win a state championship title.

The boys have developed a tight-knit chemistry on the field this season. The team also has a strong offense that currently boasts a .517 batting average.
The boys have developed a tight-knit chemistry on the field this season. The team also has a strong offense that currently boasts a .517 batting average.
Photo by Andrea Mujica
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The Dr. Phillips Little League All-Star 16U division made history Sunday, July 9, after defeating North Springs Little League 8-2 during the state championship game.

With the win, DP claimed the state championship title for the first time in league history.  

“It’s awesome,” head baseball coach Michael Roy said. “I know the most common word you’ll hear is ‘surreal,’ but it is.”

A band of brothers, as they like to call themselves, the boys have relied heavily on trust this season.

“Coaches have been great, putting up good quality practices, everybody showing up and doing their job, and just helping each other out,” shortstop, pitcher and third baseman Diego Diaz said. “Playing as a team, trusting (one another) and trusting (everyone’s) abilities. Everybody is good in this team; they are on this team for a reason. I believe teamwork is what has gotten us this far.” 

Winning the state title has been a dream for many of the players on the team since they were playing on All-Star teams back when they were 8 or 9 years old. This year, that dream finally became a reality. 

“It feels crazy, knowing that we made history; that’s wild,” third and first baseman Shakir Rodriguez said. “I never even thought that would ever happen, so it means a lot. I want to thank God, because it’s crazy that we are the first to ever do (this) at (DPLL).” 

Leadership on and off the field also played a huge role this season. 

“I’ve watched them in the batting cages helping (one another) with the swing,” Roy said. “I watched them on the field talking about how you made this right or wrong, also making our job a lot easier. That’s made them that much more close-knit and knowing they are going to work things out. I think that’s really the biggest thing.” 

The team has enjoyed much success with its offense this season. It currently owns a .517 batting average, with Aaron Dominguez leading the team with a .778 batting average and Rodriguez coming in close second with a .739 batting average. 

“The biggest thing has been our consistency with our bats,” Roy said. “Our lineup, one through nine, is going to be able to hit any type of quality pitching. You throw 80- to 85-mph pitches, and we are still going to be consistently hitting.” 

The boys are excited to represent Florida at the regional tournament, which takes place starting Saturday, July 22, at Safety Harbor Little League. 

“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” Diaz said. “Knowing you have a whole state behind you that you are trying to represent. It’s just fun.” 

“I don’t really know how good the teams are going to be,” Rodriguez said. “I’m hoping they are all right, because the teams in the state championship they were all right, not good. So, I feel like we got it.” 

The ultimate goal for all members of the band of brothers and their coaches is to get on a plane and travel to South Carolina to compete in the World Series. To do this, the game plan is to earn three wins in the first three games, which will qualify the team to play on the final round of the tournament. If the team does not win three consecutive games, the boys will enter the loser bracket and will have to play a total of six or seven games prior to qualifying to the final round. 

“For that, you have to be able to have a lot of depth in pitching, which we do,” Roy said. “(We want) to try to maximize the first three games with three wins and wait to see who we are going to go against later.” 

DPLL will face North Carolina Little League at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 22. 



Andrea Mujica

Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.

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