Sports Scene: Miami Marlins RBI wins Junior Division World Series

08/24/2014 12:00 AM

10/01/2014 8:24 PM

Miami Marlins RBI captured the Junior Baseball Division Championship of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, winning its third overall RBI World Series baseball championship and first in the Junior Division since 1997.

Miami triumphed over Detroit Arsenal Youth Sports & Fitness RBI 8-1 in a seven-inning contest at Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers.

Miami Marlins RBI finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.

Miami starting pitcher James Spatafora, 16, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Junior Division Championship Game after he tossed 6.1 innings, allowing one run (unearned) on two hits and striking out nine. Spatafora went 1 for 3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

He finished with a .333 batting average, .867 OPS, four stolen bases and seven RBI, which tied for third most in the Junior Division. On the mound, he finished the tournament 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. Spatafora is a long-standing member of the Marlins RBI program, and, as a 12-year-old, participated in the Jr. RBI Classic during 2010 MLB All-Star Week in Anaheim.

Against Detroit, Miami scored five runs in the first inning en route to the victory. Brandon Carter went 2 for 3 with a run and two RBI. Nicholas SanMarty had a double, two RBI, scored and a stolen base. Levis Aguila scored and stole a base. Lazaro Morales scored twice and walked. Brandon Dudley had two walks, an RBI and a run. Larry Rodriguez walked and drove in a run, and Robert Robinson was 1 for 2 with an RBI, a run and a walk. Joe Soto pitched 0.2 inning of relief, allowing one hit and no runs.

Prior, Miami Marlins RBI defeated Austin RBI 11-8 in the Junior Division playoff round.

PLAYERS/PLAYS OF THE GAME (MIAMI): Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning, outfielder Brandon Dudley started the scoring with a two-run home run. He finished 2 for 3 with three RBI, three runs, a home run, a walk and a stolen base. Third baseman Larry Rodriguez added a two-out, two-run single in the sixth for the 11-8 lead. He went 2 for 4 with three RBI, a run and a stolen base.

Morales was 2 for 3 with two runs and a walk. SanMarty went 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run. Robinson had two hits, and Giovanni Arriera added a hit, a sacrifice fly, an RBI, a walk and two runs. Carter tripled, scored, drove in two and walked, and Spatafora pitched four innings in relief for the win.

Miami Marlins RBI reached the finals by Los Angeles Dodgers RBI 9-0.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME (MIAMI): Nicholas SanMarty and James Spatafora combined to drive in five of Miami’s nine runs. SanMarty drove in three on a double and a triple, and he also scored. Spatafora drove in two runs on a triple and single, scored twice and stole a base. Pitchers Ogandys Diaz and Giovanni Arriera tossed seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out six.

Robinson scored twice, walked and stole a base. Morales walked twice and stole a base. Dudley was 2 for 2 with an RBI, a run and two walks. Arriera went 2 for 2 with a double and two RBI. Carter doubled and scored. Rodriguez was 2 for 3 with a run and a stolen base.

The champs are Robert Robinson (Northeast High School), James Spatafora (Nova H.S.), Larry Rodriguez (Somerset Academy), Eddy Nodarse Hialeah Gardens H.S.), Levis Augila Hialeah Gardens H.S.), Nicholas SanMarty Monsignor Edward Pace H.S.), Garrison Hadley (West Broward H.S.), Daniel Obando (American H.S.), Devin Adams (Miramar H.S.), Ogandys Diaz (Hialeah H.S.), Brandon Carter (Miami Norland H.S.), Lazaro Morales (Hialeah Gardens H.S.), Joe Soto (Mater Academy), Brandon Dudley (Mater Academy), Giovanni Arriera (Westland H.S.).

Mario Rodriguez was the manager. Michael Rodriguez the first base coach. Jamal Knibbs the pitching coach and Juan Leonel Garciga the bench coach.

In the Senior Division playoff round, Angels RBI (Anaheim) defeated Miami Marlins RBI 3-1.

Miami pitcher Michael Rodriguez went six solid innings, surrendering one earned run on three hits and three walks. M. Matos was 1 for 1 with an RBI driving in A. McCoy, and B. Marks sacrificed and walked.

Jackie Robinson RBI of Jersey City, N.J. won its second Senior Division title with a 7-3 victory over Angels RBI. Jackie Robinson RBI went 5-1.

The Texas Rangers were hosts for the first time in the championship tournament’s 22-year history.

The RBI World Series features youth baseball and softball players representing 20 cities from around the United States, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Miami Marlins RBI has two teams in the tournament, one in the 13-15 age group and the other in the 16-18 age division.

The RBI World Series is the international championship tournament of the RBI program, the Major League Baseball youth initiative designed to provide young people from under-served and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

Since the inception of the RBI program in 1989, MLB clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants and more than 70 players since 2008. Alumni on MLB rosters during the 2014 season include Michael Bourn (Cleveland Indians), Carl Crawford (Los Angeles Dodgers), Coco Crisp (Oakland Athletics), Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee Brewers), James Loney (Tampa Bay Rays), Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Hector Santiago (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Tyler Skaggs (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves) and Chris Young (New York Mets).

Crawford (Houston RBI – ’97), Loney (Houston RBI – ’99), Crisp (LA RBI – ’95, ’96) and Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI – ’03) have each played in the RBI World Series.

Visit MLB.com/RBIWorldSeries

USA Baseball

With Miami third baseman Raymond Gil, the USA Baseball 15U national team advanced to the finals of the WBSC AA 15U World Cup with a come-from-behind, extra-inning, walk-off victory over Mexico 10-9 at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal Stadium in Mazatlan, Mexico.

Trailing by one in the bottom of the ninth, USA Baseball was just two outs away from having to play Mexico again. Team USA didn’t give up as Gil’s third sacrifice fly of the game scored Mark Vientos to tie things at six, forcing extra innings.

Mexico took a 9-6 lead in the top of the 10th inning, but again the Americans rallied, scoring four times in the bottom of the inning for the win. In the 10th, Gil contributed an RBI fielder’s choice and then scored the winner on a two-out hit by pinch-hitter Kristofer Armstrong.

Gil’s first sacrifice fly upped the U.S. lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning. He finished with four RBI (three on sacrifice flies), a run and two assists.

In the finals, Cuba rallied to beat USA Baseball 6-3 for the gold medal.

Gil had an RBI and assist as the Americans built a 3-1 advantage through five innings. Cuba (8-2) started the comeback in the sixth inning.

The silver medal winning USA Baseball team concluded the tournament with the best record (9-1), outscoring the opposition 107-29.

Gil plays locally for Gulliver Prep. Tommy Duenas, an assistant coach at Miami Dade College, and Javy Rodriguez, head coach at Gulliver Prep, are part of the USA Baseball 15U coaching staff.

More USA Baseball

Miami’s Dorian Gonzalez Jr. made the USA Baseball 12U national team after a three-day tryout at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif.

A Belen Jesuit Preparatory School student, he was one of 18 players chosen from throughout the country and one of three from Florida who made it.

The Americans were runners-up at the COPABE Pan American Championships in Mazatlan, Mexico.

In pool play, Gonzalez Jr. went 2 for 2 with a run in a 19-0 victory over Costa Rica. He played second base and shortstop.

In a 4-3 loss to Nicaragua, he played third base and shortstop and recorded an assist. Playing third base in a 7-2 win over Venezuela, he had an assist and a putout, and in an 11-1 victory over Panama, he was 1 for 2 with a run and an RBI.

Kendall Hammocks Football

The Kendall Hammocks Warriors tackle football opened the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League season hosting the Miami Shores Spartans and the Hialeah Cougars.

In the 85-pound game, Kendall Hammocks shut out Miami Shores 24-0 with touchdowns by Alexander Casanova, Ryan Castro Keno Dempsey, Shawn James and Tyler James. The defense limited the Spartans to negative yards.

In the 100-pound game, Keylon Leno led the rushing attach with 73 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-6 victory over Miami Shores. Sebastian Borges, who ran for 45 yards, also scored. QB Angelo Ipparraguirre was 2 of 2 passing for 23 yards. The defense held the Spartans to 40 yards.

Other scores: PW: Hialeah 42, KH 19. 115: SM 28, KH 0. 130: KH 13, Miami Shores 0. 145: Hialeah 6, KH 0.

Tennis

Adriana Reami of Miami and Taylor Russo of Deerfield Beach captured the USTA Girls' 16s doubles national title during the USTA National Junior Hard Court Championships in San Diego. In the finals, the No.3 seeds topped the No.4 seeds Victoria Flores of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Alexandra Sanford of Westerville, Ohio, 6-3, 7-5.

Katerina Stewart of Coral Gables won the USTA Girls' 18s doubles national title with partner Louisa Chirico of Harrison, N.Y., beating Josie Kuhlman of Ponte Vedra Beach and Kaitlyn McCarthy of Cary, N.C., 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. By winning, Chirico and Stewart earned a wild card into the US Open women's doubles main draw.

More tennis

North Miami-Dade County (North Miami Beach Tennis Center) in Men’s 4.5 and South Miami-Dade County (Salvadore Tennis Center, Coral Gables) in Men’s 3.5 were runners-up during the USTA Florida Adult 18 & Over 2.5/3.5/4.5 League Sectional Championships at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach and Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs.

Broward County (Weston Hills Tennis Club) d. North Miami-Dade County (North Miami Beach Tennis Center) 3-2 in the Men’s 4.5 finals.

No. 1 Singles: Gary Fong (Miami) d. Randolph Goodman 7-5, 7-6. No. 2 Singles: Micha Porat (Miami) d. Juan Carlos Posada 7-6, 6-0. No. 1 Doubles: Pedro Galavis/Carlos Joa (Broward) d. Ulisses Lopez/Gera Mats 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (Super-tiebreak). No. 2 Doubles: Gabriel Arraiz/Victor Araujo (Broward) d. Alex Gregory/Martin Lafata 6-2, 6-2. No. 3 Doubles: Alejandro Ciffoni/Anibal Ciffoni (Broward) d. Jorge Cervantes/Jose Chavez 6-3, 6-3.

Clay County (Eagle Landing Country Club, Orange Park) d. South Miami-Dade County (Salvadore Tennis Center, Coral Gables) 3-2 in the Men’s 3.5 finals.

No. 1 Singles: Alec Sotomayor (Clay) d. Miguel Ingelmo 4-6, 6-4, ret. No. 2 Singles: Ritchie Cachin (Clay) d. Jeffrey Robin by disqualification. No. 1 Doubles: Javier Dugarte/Alberto Vega (Miami) d. Ryan Osbeck/Ryan Bowen 6-4, 6-2. No. 2 Doubles: Michael Schlesinger/David Montoto (Miami) d. Chris Payton/Jowell Olson 1-6, 7-6, 1-0 (super-tiebreak). No. 3 Doubles: Francisco Cabrera/Rodolfo Silva (Clay) d. Carmelo Rubio/Geronimo Chala 6-3, 6-3.

For more info on USTA Florida League tennis go to:

www.florida.usta.com/usta_adult_senior_leagues/home.

Golf

AJ Sardina of Key Biscayne won the boys’ 13-15 age group during event No.9 of the SFPGA Junior Challenge Tour, presented by The Honda Classic, at Hawk’s Nest Golf Club in Vero Beach.

Sardina shot 14 over (82-76--158). He tied for second in boys’ 13-18.

The girls’ 13-18 age division needed an extra hole to determine a winner, and Coral Gables resident Sara Ciliberto won it. A Venezuelan native, she opened with a 6-over par 78 to take the first round lead. She totaled 14 over (78-80--158).

Jake Beber-Frankel of Miami was runner-up in boys’ 11-12. He fired 7 over (76-75--151). Miami’s Juan Hurtado finished fifth in boys’ 16-18.

For information on the Junior Tour and its respective Championship and Challenge tours, visit the new South Florida PGA Junior Tour website at www.sfpgajuniorgolf.com.

Events, leagues, programs

Florida Christian lacrosse

Florida Christian School Athletic Director Ed Riggan, announced that FCS Athletics will offer lacrosse at the JV level for the spring of the 2014-15 school year. For information call 305-226-8152 or visit www.floridachristian.org.

Soccer

The Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, as host of Miami-Dade County’s year round Mayor’s Cup Youth Sports Championship Series fostering sports development activities for local youth, announces sponsorship, partnership and volunteer opportunities for the popular Miami Soccer Festival returning to Kendall Soccer Park, Nov. 1-2.

This is the fourth year for this two-day signature event, which features consecutive FYSA-sanctioned tournaments for boys and girls, age 12 and younger, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and free admission for spectators. More than 2,000 people of all ages are expected to watch the tournaments and enjoy the festivities that include entertainment, music, food vendors, a soccer retail village, soccer tricks, juggling demonstrations.

As a father, grandfather and lifetime advocate of the long-term health benefits of regular exercise for children, Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez knows first-hand the esteemed values developed from continuous involvement in athletics.

“The Mayor’s Youth Sports Championship Series allows our youth to learn the value of how working together can build character through organized sporting events,” Mayor Gimenez said in a release. “These lessons on the field, the resilience and leadership skills, combined with teamwork can then be used off the field for future success in life. This is why I ask local businesses and organizations to join us in our commitment to make youth sports available for all children in our community.”

Teams will participate in three elimination games – two on Nov. 1 and one Nov. 2. The finals will follow. Team registration costs are between $70 for younger teams (U5) and $170 for older teams (U12).

For information on the Miami Soccer Festival, visit www.miamisoccerfestival.org

or contact Scott Georgeson at 305-965-9855 or scott.georgeson@soccer5usa.com.

To become a sponsor, partner or volunteer, contact Alan Georgeson at 305-393-5230 or

alan.georgeson@constructive4.com.

Soccer 5 Academy

Soccer 5 Academy Mini Soccer Program, also referred to as small-sided soccer, is at three Miami-Dade County-owned parks — Tropical Park (7900 Bird Rd.), Kendall Soccer Park (8011 SW 127th Ave.) and Amelia Earhart Park (401 E. 65th St., 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 3 to 12 years old will learn the history of mini soccer, the basics of how to play, reasons why mini soccer is the preferred form of soccer for kids, youth and even adults, and will have the opportunity to play in “3v3” to “7v7” matches.

The three locations make mini/small-sided soccer 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 competition among teams with fewer 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. to midnight Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 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 more 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 Bird Rd., (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).

Heads Up

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

Drayton added a new title to his résumé — 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 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: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it expanded to more than 600 youth leagues in 50 states. Of these leagues, 100 were assigned a former NFL player mentor. Drayton served as a mentor to a local Heads Up League — the Tamiami Colts of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League.

ThunderPlex

Thunder Athletix and Brain Gymnasium LLC teamed to offer a complete fitness program of body and mind at the new ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82 Ave. in Doral.

Students can improve their basketball skills and physical fitness, as well as strengthen their academic skills through specialized tutoring programs. They can have fun and finish their homework.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game to children age 5-17.

Brain Gymnasium offers specialized tutoring, homework help, FCAT Prep, SAT/ACT Prep, and Entrance Exam Prep. Their degreed, professional and experienced teachers provide a simple and exciting approach to learning.

For information on special packages, after school programs and summer programs,

visit www.jointhunder.com ; contact@jointhunder.com or call 786-505-5585.

For information on Brain Gymnasium, visit www.braingymnasium.org or call 305-788-7339.

Thunder basketball

Thunder Basketball opened its new year-round facility at ThunderPlex, 1440 NW 82th Ave., Doral.

The mission is to teach the principles, fundamentals and basic skills of the game. It stresses 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 open.

Email 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 raising funds.

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 ages 5 to 16.

Email Tamiamibasketball@gmail.com or call 305 -273-1145.

Tennis

USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation announced a landmark three-way agreement with Special Olympics Florida to provide more tennis playing opportunities to athletes in Florida.

The formal agreement builds on the existing support that USTA Florida and its charitable arm have provided to local Special Olympics programs by offering free 10 and Under Tennis workshops, grants and other resources to providers that offer tennis programs to Special Olympics athletes.

Likewise, Special Olympics Florida will encourage their athletes to participate in USTA Florida programs and events.

“We are absolutely committed to changing lives through tennis,” said Linda Curtis, executive director of the USTA Florida Section Foundation. “This agreement is a prime example of how USTA Florida and our Foundation work together to impact communities each and every day. These athletes play tennis for the pure joy of the sport. It’s inspiring to see, and I’m proud to know that we will be able to provide even more opportunities for them to play through this partnership.”

Sherry Wheelock, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Florida, said: “At Special Olympics Florida, we embrace the transformative power of sports. USTA Florida and the USTA Florida Section Foundation will help us bring first-rate trainings and competitive experiences to our athletes throughout the state. We are excited for this new partnership and are confident that it will further ignite a passion in our athletes for tennis.”

To get a program started, Special Olympics coaches may apply for a USTA Florida Section Foundation equipment grant for adaptive tennis equipment and other program needs by contacting Jessica Flynn at Special Olympics Florida.

For additional training opportunities and training resources, contact Linda Curtis at the USTA Florida Section Foundation at www.USTAFloridaFoundation.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.

Marlins Jose’s Heroes

Tickets to the José's Heroes Fan Zone are available each time Miami Marlins star pitcher José Fernandez takes the mound at Marlins Park.

For $16, fans receive:

A ticket in the José's Heroes Fan Zone (Left Field Bullpen Reserved)

A José's Heroes T-shirt

A 'K' Card to wave when José records a strikeout

Go to

http://miami.marlins.mlb.com/mia/ticketing/joses_heroes.jsp?partnerId=ed-8012831-665489153

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 per 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 of 10 to 25 people are available by appointment.

For more information, fans can call 1-877-MARLINS or e-mail tours@marlins.com. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket windows on Felo Ramirez Drive (Northwest Sixth Street between 14th and 15th 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) players.

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, for boys ages 6-18, practices from 6 to 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 .

Heads Up

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

Drayton is adding a new title to his résumé — 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 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: The use of the Heads Up Tackling model; coaching certification; Player Safety Coaches; concussion education; and proper equipment-fitting.

The program was launched in three test markets last year. This year, it will expand to more than 600 youth leagues in all 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 the Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School Biscayne Bay Campus.

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. Call 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 the amateur indoor, air-conditioned fronton at 1935 NE 150 St., North Miami, near FIU’s North Campus.

There are also leagues for males and children. Rubber or plastic balls are used with free lessons by former pros. Cestas and balls are also provided free with a nominal court fee. Open every day. 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 or 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).

How to recognize someone or team in Sports Scene

Sports Scene spotlights news and notes from youth sports and adult league activities with the aim to feature game notes and the accomplishments of athletes from Miami-Dade County.

We rely on league directors and coaches, 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.

All sports are welcome as long as the team, individual or league is Miami-based.

Email sportsscene@MiamiHerald.com.

Youth sports online

For more area sports photos, go to

www.miamiherald.com/sports/youth/miami-dade

YouTube youth sports and more

YouTube at the Jim Varsallone (the jimmyv3 channel)

www.youtube.com/user/jvarsallone/videos

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https://itunes.apple.com/app/miami-herald-high-school-sports/id692780888?mt=8

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