Sports Scene: Doral’s Sofia Sewing wins Eddie Herr tennis title

 

About this feature

Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports activities in your neighborhood. The aim is to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on the directors and coaches of each league, as well as community members, parents and schools to submit information. We accept photos but ask that everyone pictured be identified with a first and last name and the name of the team or park they represent.

Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.


Sofia Sewing, a Doral resident, earned a straight-set victory to capture the Girls 14s title at the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships in Bradenton.

Sofia is in the Junior Orange Bowl Tournament, competing in the 16s draw.

The second-seeded Sofia did not lose a set in the tournament, defeating No. 12-seed Olesia Pervushina of Russia 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Sofia has played the Eddie Herr four times, calling it her favorite tournament.

“I was 10 when I first started in the 12s,” she told Zootennis.com, a tennis blog written by Colette Lewis. “Last year in the 14s, I lost in the first round. This year, I’ve really improved a lot, and I started playing ITFs. It’s different — everyone’s older and hits harder, so it helps.”

In the finals, Sofia led 5-2 in the second set but then lost two straight games, giving herself some anxious moments.

“It was difficult toward the end,” she said. “I was up 5-2, then it got to 5-4, 40-30, and I hit this winner just barely on the line. It was definitely difficult. It still feels unreal. It’s so exciting.”

Pop Warner Super Bowl

Three local teams advanced through the first round at the 57th annual Pop Warner Super Bowl at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at DisneyWorld in Lake Buena Vista.

The Gwen Cherry Bulls defeated the Harvey Colts (Illinois), 14-7, in the first round of Division 1 Jr. Pee Wee competition.

The Liberty City Warriors shut out the Dorchester Eagles (Massachusetts), 32-0, in the first round of Division 1 Jr. Midget competition.

The Overtown Tornadoes also earned a shut out, defeating the Bedford Heights Saints (Ohio), 28-0, in the first round of Division 1 Midget competition.

Gymnastics champion

Janell Cruz, 9, from Tumblebees Gymnastics in Kendall, won the Level 5 All-Around State Championship at the USA Florida State Gymnastics Championship in Fort Myers.

Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep

Greg Magner, athletic director at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame Prep, announced the school’s Athletes of the Week.

The Male Athlete of the Week goes to wrestler Michael Calixte, a junior. He improved to 6-0 after winning matches over Alonzo Mourning, Edison, Coral Gables and South Dade.

The Female Athlete of the Week is senior Alyssa Lambert. She is the only member of this year’s volleyball team to receive a prestigious four-year plaque for varsity competition.

• The First Team All Conference Players were recognized and presented with medals during halftime at the Southeastern Conference Championship Game at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. Representing the Knights were seniors Bryan McDonald, offensive line; Demonte Lumpkin, linebacker; Germaine Smalls, athlete; and Isaacson Innocent, scholar athlete.

Our Lady of the Lakes

The Our Lady of the Lakes varsity girls’ basketball team finished its season undefeated, capturing the All-Catholic Conference North Division Championship.

At 8-0, the team, under the direction of coach Eddy Fleitas, had a tremendous turnaround from going 0-8 last season.

“The team really came together, played hard, and most importantly did not quit,” said coach German Garcia, OLL’s athletic director. “All the hard work truly paid off in the end, and in one year the team went from worst to first.”

The team clinched a playoff berth in the ACC 3A Classification and will host a semifinal game.

Miami Country Day School

The school has announced its weekly award winners.

The Middle School Female Athlete of the Week was Laureen Jean-Jacques, varsity soccer. As a seventh-grader starting on the varsity, Laureen scored seven goals in wins against Greater Miami Academy, Hillel and Miami-Braddock.

The Middle School Male Athlete of the Week was Tristan Escalante in basketball. Tristan combined for 20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and 10 steals against Gulliver, Dade Christian and Ransom Everglades.

The Upper School Female Athlete of the Week was Gina Macropulos in soccer. She scored 11 goals in wins against Greater Miami Academy, Miami-Braddock, Archbishop Curley and Hillel.

The Upper School Male Athlete of the Week was Cameron Ivory of the soccer team, who scored four goals and added an assist in wins against Dade Christian and Archbishop Curley.

Florida Christian High School

Four players from the 2013 Florida Christian School district and regional championship baseball team, that was also a state semifinalist, signed college National Letters of Intent.

Anthony Lopez, a right-handed pitcher, and catcher Jack Diaz signed with St. Thomas University. Anthony had two saves in 14 innings last season, and Diaz drove in 21 runs. Jack was a Miami Herald All-Dade Honorable Mention and a Gold Glove winner.

Right-handed pitcher Michael Campos signed with Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton after going 2-2 with a 3.10 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 2013.

Erik Montero, an outfielder, signed with North Carolina A&T. Erik had four homers, 21 RBI and was the team’s Offensive Player of the Year.

U13 Coral Gables Toros

The Coral Gables Toros U13 boys’ travel soccer team won its third consecutive tournament, taking the title in the Disney Junior Soccer Showcase in Lake Buena Vista. The team is ranked third in the state in their age bracket.

The teams at the Disney Junior Soccer Showcase Tournament were: FC America Premier from Florida, Atlanta Fire United from Georgia, Ottawa South United Force Black from Canada, South Carolina United and in the final, Braddock Road YC Bryc Elite from Virginia.

Scheck Hillel Community School

Scheck Hillel Community School has named two standout soccer players as Athletes of the Week. On the boys team, senior Daniel Furmanski, who is also team captain, scored four goals against Greater Miami. He is the team’s leading goal scorer.

On the girls’ side, junior Alexandra Mendal scored two goals against SLAM.

Baseball

The Florida International University baseball and softball programs have announced that former Major League Baseball pitcher and current broadcaster Jim Kaat will speak at the annual Diamond Dinner on Feb. 8 in the Graham Center Ballroom on campus.

Kaat was a pitcher for five different teams in a stellar 25-year career. He currently broadcasts games on the MLB Network.

“Jim pitched 25 years in Major League Baseball and was one of the greatest in the history of the game,” said FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas. “He is very much of a household, recognizable name we look forward to speaking at the Diamond Dinner. Jim received seven Emmy Awards for broadcasting excellence, which makes him significant for both his on field and off field endeavors.”

FIU softball coach Jake Schumann added: “I am truly excited to not only have someone of Jim Kaat’s baseball background speak at this year’s Diamond Dinner, but I’m truly excited because as someone who grew up in Minnesota, I am a lifelong Twins fan, and to get the chance to meet him will be a great honor. When someone like Jim speaks about his life in baseball, it can only be a positive influence on our student-athletes. Having heard Jim call games on TV and hear him speak about not only baseball but things other than the game, it should be a great evening for our teams to take that knowledge and apply it to their everyday lives.’

Kaat, who was nicknamed “Kitty,” kicked off his career in the big leagues with the Washington Senators in 1959. Once the team moved to Minnesota in 1961, Kaat was a member of the Twins organization until 1973. After 15 years between both clubs, he went on to have stints with the Chicago White Sox (1973-75), Philadelphia Phillies (1976-79), New York Yankees (1979-80) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980-83). He won 283 career games while posting a lifetime ERA of 3.45. During the 1966 season, he won a league-leading 25 games for the Twins and finished fifth in the AL MVP voting.

At the time of his retirement in 1983, Kaat’s 25-year career was the longest of any pitcher in Major League history. He is now third all-time behind Nolan Ryan’s 27 seasons and Tommy John’s 26 years. During Kaat’s playing career, there were seven different United States presidents.

After a brief coaching stint with the Cincinnati Reds, Kaat focused on his broadcasting career. Most recently, he has served as a broadcaster on the MLB Network. Kaat has won seven Emmy Awards for excellence in sports broadcasting.

Tickets to the Diamond Dinner cost $120 for an individual and $1,200 for a table of 10. Purchases can be made through FIUSports.com. Anybody interested in opportunities to give to the Diamond Dinner fund, contact Alyssa Meyer at 305-348-7297 or by email at alymeyer@fiu.edu.

Marlins Tours

The Miami Marlins offer behind the scenes tours of Marlins Park. The tours are open to the public on non-event days for $10 a person.

The tour includes visits to the field (behind home plate), home clubhouse, home batting cage area and Diamond Club, Promenade Level featuring the art in the facility, the bobblehead museum and the premium areas including the Suites.

Tours operate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except when the Marlins play at home or when other major events are scheduled at Marlins Park. Group tours, accommodating between 10 and 25 people, are available by appointment.

For information, fans can call 877-MARLINS or email tours@marlins.com. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between Northwest 14th and 15 avenues) and are for the time and date specified.

Tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable.

HOF baseball

Hall of Fame Baseball is sponsoring travel baseball teams for 11-12, 13-14, 15-18 (high school).

Hall of Fame coach Rich Hofman and his staff will coach the teams which will practice and play in tournaments and leagues. Register for a tryout at www.hofball.net or call David Hofman at 954-804-5600 or Ed Tisdale at 803-463-2591.

Youth Rugby South Miami

The Miami Rugby Youth Division, boys age 6-18, practices 6-8 p.m. Mondays at Murray Park and Wednesdays at Palmer Park, 6120 SW 67th Ave., South Miami. Call 305-400-0134, ext. 101.

Visit www.miamirugbykids.com .

Rowing

For the first time in more than 20 years, the World Rowing Championships will be in the United States.

Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park has been selected by the International Federation of Rowing Associations to host the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

The 2017 World Rowing Championships are expected to attract more than 1,500 Olympic-caliber athletes from more than 70 countries. The international competition, which is a precursor to the Olympic Games, will be broadcast to a worldwide television audience of 130 million people.

An estimated 40,000 spectators are expected to attend the event.

The official announcement was made on Sept. 2 in Seoul, South Korea.

More than $40 million in public- and private-sector funds have been committed to help transform a former borrow pit into Nathan Benderson Park, the premier rowing venue in North America, capable of hosting an Olympic-caliber event. Those funds have paid for Phase I (dredge and fill) and Phase II (installation of park amenities, hardscaping and landscaping). Phase III of the project, construction of a state-of-the-art boathouse, timing towers, grandstands and other amenities, will be funded by SANCA and corporate support.

In addition to the commitment of state and local elected officials and the community, FISA officials cited the park’s proximity to Interstate 75, Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport and the city of Sarasota, calm waters and year-round good weather as reasons for choosing Nathan Benderson Park.

Many of the best rowing teams in North America spend the winter months training at Benderson Park. The opportunity for Sarasota-Bradenton to partner with USRowing to host the World Championships will further develop rowing interest around the country. The United States has more than a quarter of a million rowers competing domestically and internationally. NBP will continue to host events throughout the year, demonstrating that the United States of America has the premiere rowing venue in the Western Hemisphere.

Tennis

The new 2013-14 Century Doubles Men’s Tournament series, presented by Cliff Drysdale Tennis and an official USTA Florida Pilot Event Series, will conclude in Miami.

The five-event Century Doubles Men’s Tournament series is open to men’s doubles teams with a combined age of 100 years or over, featuring a Club Division and an Open Division. Players must be age 35 or older to compete.

For each individual tournament, players will earn points on a sliding scale toward qualification in the end-of-series Grand Finals at The Ritz-Carlton, (Miami) Key Biscayne in April. A minimum of 60 total points will be required to participate in the Grand Finals.

“Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded for each tournament’s division winners and runners-up, with the addition of luxury hotel getaways awarded to the series winners,” said series coordinator Bertan Cikigil. “All participants are guaranteed at least two matches, with a maximum of three per day at each event.”

Series schedule:

Jan. 25-26: Weston Tennis Center, Weston.

March 1-2: Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island.

April 5-6: Miami Grand Finals & Awards hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Tennis Garden, Key Biscayne.

The Club Division and Open Division at each event will be limited to 16 teams each. Scoring is best of three sets, with a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a third set. USTA rules and regulations apply, including the point penalty system and 15 minute default rule. Teams must be available to start at 9 a.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

“USTA Florida is excited about partnering with Cliff Drysdale Tennis to offer alternative events that will offer different play opportunities compared to our traditional events,” said USTA Florida President Bob Pfeander.

Event entry fee is $100 per team, and players must be active USTA members.

For information contact Bertan Cikigil at b.cikigil@cliffdrysdale.com or call 914-815-4093, or to register online go to www.CenturyDoublesTennis.com.

Tennis classes, programs

Tennis classes and programs for all ages are at the Penny Sugarman Tennis Center at Sans Souci, 1795 Sans Souci Blvd., North Miami. Call for information on group lessons, annual passes, court rates and private lessons. Tennis pro is Ross Dubins. Call 305-893-7130.

JCC Maccabi program

The Levis Jewish Community Center seeks participants for its JCC Maccabi program.

Jewish athletes between ages 13 and 16 (as of July 31, 2014) can participate in team sports, and athletes between age 12 and 16 (as of July 31, 2014) can participate in individual sports.

Athletes will represent the Boca Raton Mitchell Dobbin Maccabi Team in boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’ baseball, boys’ flag football, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, swimming, tennis, bowling, golf and Star Reporter (a competition for Jewish teens with skills in writing, reporting, photography and social media). Participants will show off their skills and be inspired by the values of community involvement, teamwork, creativity, integrity and pride.

The JCC Maccabi Games is the largest Jewish youth event in the world.

Athletes interested in competing in individual sports must contact the JCC Maccabi Games Delegation Head at 561-852-3257 or lfriedman@levisjcc.org by Jan. 10. Individual athletes do not need to try out, but must pre-register online at www.bocamaccabi.org by Jan. 10.

Visit www.levisjcc.org for details.

Swimming

The USA Swimming Foundation granted more than $250,000 to help local Make a Splash partners in 19 states provide children with life-saving, learn-to-swim instruction for free or at a reduced cost.

More than 130 applications were received, and 41 local programs were selected as recipients of 2013 Make a Splash grants. Among the 41 recipients nationwide was Hialeah.

Make a Splash is the national child-focused, water-safety initiative of the USA Swimming Foundation. Make a Splash partners with more than 600 learn-to-swim providers in all 50 states in an effort to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim.

“This funding allows our local partners to provide swimming lessons to children who otherwise may never have the opportunity to learn the life-skills of swimming,” said Debbie Hesse, Executive Director of the USA Swimming Foundation. “The USA Swimming Foundation is excited to see continued growth, as we now have programs in all 50 states and have reached nearly 2 million children since 2007. We are incredibly grateful to our donors and corporate sponsors who are dedicated to making sure all children in American learn to swim.”

The USA Swimming Foundation grants money to partner organizations on an annual basis, and, to date, has disbursed more than $2.8 million. Grants are made possible by the support of donors, foundations and corporate partners.

Since June of 2007, more than 1.8 million children have taken lessons though local Make a Splash partners. Grant recipients like Hialeah provide a portion of its lessons for free or at a reduced cost, or provide free water safety education in their communities.

About USA Swimming Foundation

The USA Swimming Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of USA Swimming. Established in 2004, the Foundation works to strengthen the sport by saving lives and building champions – in the pool and in life. Whether we’re equipping our children with the life-saving skill of learn-to-swim, or providing financial support to our heroes on the U.S. National Team, the USA Swimming Foundation aims to provide the wonderful experience of swimming to kids at all levels across the country.

The Foundation also serves as the home for our National and Olympic Team Alumni reunions and regional events. The development efforts of the USA Swimming Foundation aim to establish an endowment to strengthen the future of USA Swimming’s programs and services. To learn more, visit www.usaswimmingfoundation.org .

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, makes its South Florida debut at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks – Tropical Park (7900 SW 40th St. in Miami), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St. in Hialeah).

Headed by Soccer 5’s Director of Coaching Development Alan Georgeson, who has more than 15 years of experience in Europe in mini/small-sided soccer, kids, age 3-12, will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer play for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in 3v3 to 7v7 matches.

With Kendall Park, ts recent grand opening of Soccer 5 Tropical Park and its third location at Amelia Earhart Park, mini/small-sided soccer will be available across the county, providing a greater opportunity for children and families to access the proper 4G turf game fields specifically designed for “5v5,” “6v6” and “7v7” games.

With smaller fields, mini soccer is much easier for young children or children who have never played. In addition, mini soccer is designed for competitive play against less number of players, providing more opportunity for pick-up games, as well as more opportunity to play the ball making mini soccer popular with older players, too.

Soccer 5 Tropical Park is open 3 p.m.-midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m.-midnight Saturdays and Sundays.

“I cannot thank Miami Dade Parks and our Soccer 5 coaching staff enough for making our dream of developing small-sided soccer for kids in the Greater Miami area a reality,” Georgeson said. “It is an exciting time for us at Soccer 5 as we continue to expand our Kids Academy in South Florida built on the success of our public/private partnership with Miami Dade Parks and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade.”

Allison Diego, director of Business Development, Fundraising and Advocacy for Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, added: “The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade is delighted to partner with The Soccer 5 vision to provide an outstanding experience for this community through soccer. We are happy to be a part of this important child sports development.”

For information or to register, visit www.miamisoccer5.com.

Soccer

South Kendall Sun Blazers (sksoccer.org) at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79th St. (305-630-3314).

Miami Dade Soccer League (miami-dadesoccer.com) at Three Lakes Park, 13375 SW 136th St. (786-488-5216).

Soccer 5 (ussoccer5.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. (888-575-2976).

Club Atletico De Miami (camsoccer.com) at Kendall Soccer Park, 8011 SW 127th Ave. (305-764-5783).

Soccer Academy of the Americas (socceraa.com) at Tamiami Park, 11201 SW 24th St. (786-486-3804)

Pinecrest Premier Soccer (pinecrestpremier.com) at Deerwood Bonita Lakes, 11511 S. Dixie Hwy. (305-255-3422).

Optimist Club of Westchester (tropicalsoccer.org) at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St. (786-370-4222).

Coral Estates Soccer Club (coralestatessoccer.org) at Coral Estates Park, 1411 SW 97th Ave. (305-279-2328)

South Kendall Soccer Club (sksoccer.org) at Kendall Indian Hammocks Park, 11395 SW 79th St. (305-630-3314).

Southern Soccer Coalition-AYSO (kendallsoccer.com) at Millers Pond Park, 13350 SW 47th St. and Westwind Lakes Park, 6805 SW 152nd Ave. (305-965-0083).

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPleX, 1440 NW 82nd Ave., Miami.

Thunder Basketball is currently running a day camp and summer league, open to boys and girls, age 5-17. Thunder Basketball’s mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. They stress the importance of team and sportsmanship.

Thunder also encourages players to succeed in the classroom and all aspects of life. For information visit www.jointhunder.com Registration is now open. Contact contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

Miami Lady Express basketball

The Miami Lady Express girls’ basketball team needs funding to continue competing in tournaments throughout the United States. The coaches volunteered to train the girls, giving them something positive to do, and the parents have been fundraising.

Travel costs, food, tournament fees and lodging are very expensive for these girls. They practice at the Keys Gate Gym in Florida City and South Dade High School where their coaches teach. Contact coach Larry Hicks at 786-301-2577.

Tamiami basketball

Tamiami youth basketball registration is open for girls and boys, age 5-16. Email Tamiami basketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.

Heads Up

Former tight end Troy Drayton played nine seasons in the NFL, including 1996-99 with the Miami Dolphins, and he is now the Dolphins’ youth program coordinator.

Drayton is adding a new title to his listing – NFL Ambassador for Heads Up Football.

The NFL and USA Football jointly announced the national launch of Heads Up Football, a youth football program aimed at making the game of football better and safer for all who play it. The program is being supported with a $1.5 million grant from the NFL Foundation.

Three million kids already play tackle football and the game can be even safer. Heads Up Football includes a tackling model that removes the head from the game.

Heads Up Football has five core elements: 1) The use of the Heads Up Tackling model, 2) coaching certification, 3) Player Safety Coaches, 4) concussion education, and 5) proper equipment fitting.

The program was launched in three pilot markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues throughout 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 will be assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton will serve as a mentor to a local Heads Up League – the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

Rebelle volleyball

Rebelle Athletics Club offers girls’ volleyball tryouts at Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School, 4949 NE Second Ave.

The volleyball club, a member of the United States Volleyball Association, is under the direction of Mandi Tate, Dee Rey and former Barry University player Kelly Dantas. They are former coaches with South Florida Volleyball Club and currently coach at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School in Biscayne Bay.

Rebelle Athletics is dedicated to providing developmental and participatory athletic sports programs beginning at the youth development level. It offers a progression of sports activities for persons of all ages, races and creeds. It strives to enhance the physical, mental and moral development of amateur athletes at all levels, promoting sportsmanship and active citizenship.

Visit www.rebelleathletics.com .

Jai-Alai

Jai-alai is open to anyone, age 10 to 80.

With a rubber ball and cestas, the amateur jai-alai facility is at 1935 NE 150th St. in North Miami, near FIU’s north campus.

It is indoors, air-conditioned and open to all. Contact Luis at 305-389-2313 or Bob at 786-556-3574.

Jai-Alai for women

Who said you have to be a male to play jai-alai? Just as females play the sport in Spain, France and Mexico, women can play it in South Florida at an amateur indoor air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150th St., North Miami, near FIU’s north campus.

There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open everyday. Email admanUSA@aol.com or call Brucio 786-629-5428. The American Amateur Jai-Alai Academy is a not-for-profit organization.

CB Sports Leagues

CB Sports Club offers Youth Basketball, Flag Football, Youth Soccer, Adult Soccer and Adult Basketball. Visit cbsportsclub.com. Call 786-273-5639.

Physically Challenged

Miami-Dade Parks welcomes children with disabilities in its youth leagues. If you need accommodations to participate, call 305-735-7847 (V/TDD).

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

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