Miami Marlins, Miami Herald Neighbors honor youth baseball, softball players for academics, sportsmanship


West Kendall’s Nicholas Frades (Conchita Espinosa Academy), Golden Beach’s Jesse Grosman (Miami Country Day School), Miami Lakes’ Nicholas Sanchez (Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School), Miami’s Sal Maxwell Stewart (Pinecrest Cove Preparatory Academy) and North Miami’s Sarisha Wiggins (Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep School) were honored during a presentation conducted by the Miami Marlins in conjunction with the Miami Herald.

These outstanding student athletes displayed solid academics in the classroom and sportsmanship on the field, competing in school, rec league and/or travel baseball or softball.

Each recipient received two game tickets, complimentary parking, a certificate and an autographed Marlins player card, presented by Marlins catcher Rob Brantly. They were recognized by Brantly, Billy the Marlin and fans near home plate before the Marlins/San Diego Padres game at Marlins Park.


Nicholas Frades

Nicholas, 12, a sixth grader at Conchita Espinosa Academy, has been playing baseball since he was 4. He played at Tamiami Park until he was 12. In 2009, he was the pitching champion and placed second overall in the local MLB Pitch, Hit and Run.

When he was in third grade, he made the school’s baseball team. He was the only third grader playing a middle school sport. He has been on the team ever since. The team has been champions at Bird Lake Park and in the Glades Baseball League. He plays all positions, besting as pitcher and first baseman.

A West Kendall resident, he also plays basketball for Conchita Espinosa, playing on the middle school team the past two years.

He has always been an excellent student, and he finished his first year of middle school with First Honors. He is junior editor of the school’s yearbook. He is a humble young man and a role model, who is and loved by his teachers and friends.

Jesse Grosman

Jesse, an eighth grader, is a Miami Country Day Middle School baseball player who had a fantastic season, earning a promotion to the Spartans’ high school varsity team near season’s end.

Grosman, 14, is also an outstanding student with English 8 Honors (quarter scores 90-92-93); Integrated Math I-8 (80-89-87); Physical Science 8 (90-87-92); Social Studies 8 (88-87-87); Spanish 8 Honors (89-85-92); PE (94-84-93); Drama (88-80-81).

A Golden Beach resident, his extra-curricular activities includes National Junior Honor Society and Operation Smile, an organization that helps raise money to bring smiles to children with cleft lips and pallet deformations in foreign countries that cannot afford it.

Nicholas Sanchez

Nicholas, a Miami Lakes resident, is an eighth grader at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School in Miami Lakes. He was named MVP of the middle school’s varsity baseball team.

The 14-year-old also plays basketball and flag football for the school.

Away from school, he plays baseball for the Optimist Club of Miami Lakes where he’s been captain of its all-star baseball team the past three years.

He recently graduated with honors as an eighth grader from Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School. He will be attending Belen Jesuit High School in the fall.

On Sundays, he serves as lector and acolyte at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church.

He was recently awarded with his school’s Outstanding Citizenship Award. The award is given to a student who demonstrates outstanding service to its community and school.

Sal Maxwell Stewart

Sal, 9, is a dedicated student athlete who leads others by setting a strong example with his effort and intensity in the classroom and on the playing field. His drive is evident in his school work and extra-curricular activities. Sal has demonstrated a unique ability to transcend what is merely required of him in order to make himself and those around him exceed expectations. He not only rises to the challenges confronting him, but he does so with enthusiasm, a sense of duty and an unwillingness to be satisfied with anything less than the best from himself .

His began playing sports at age 3, playing baseball and basketball the past six years. He currently competes for the MVP Legends baseball team, rated the top 9U team in the country. Earlier in the year, he earned MVP honors. He played for the Miami City Ballers basketball team and was a Copa Dorada Sports Award recipient.

A third grader at Pinecrest Cove Preparatory Academy, he maintains a 4.0 grade point average and has made the Principal’s Honor Roll since Kindergarten.

Sarisha Wiggins

In just her first year playing organized softball, Sarisha helped the Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep High School girls’ varsity team win the District 15-3A championship, qualifying for regionals. An eighth grader, Sarisha started at shortstop 15 of 18 games. She batted .289 with a .490 on-base percentage and .342 slugging percentage. She also had 11 RBI and 11 runs and walked 13 times. Archbishop Curley coach Beth Love said she was an integral part of the team’s success.

Sarisha, 14, began her youth sports career at age 4 in T-ball. By age 7, she started playing basketball. Her teammates and opponents have always been boys at the local parks, and she received numerous awards for her hard work and skills. Sarisha also began cheering at age 7. An all-around talent, when one sport ends, she transitions to another.

A North Miami resident and solid student athlete, she is enrolled at Archbishop Curley’s Brother Rice Academy for Middle School. In the winter, she tried out for the high school’s junior varsity girls’ basketball team and made varsity and followed up by making the varsity softball team.

•  YouTube videos of the honorees including presentations by Marlins catcher Rob Brantly and Billy the Marlin and interviews conducted by Miami Herald Neighbors Youth Sports Reporter Jacqueline Alman.

YouTube on the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

Introduction inside Marlins Park:

Honorees on the field with Marlins staff readying for the ceremony:

Photo opt before the ceremony:

Ceremony for honorees with Marlins catcher Rob Brantly and Billy the Marlin:

Photo opt with honorees and Marlins catcher Rob Brantly

Interviews with honorees and parents:

Interview with Juan Garciga, Coordinator of Community Outreach and Youth Baseball for the Miami Marlins:

Closing for the event inside Marlins Park:

Read more Miami-Dade Youth Sports stories from the Miami Herald

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