There are many fictitious stories about two friends who have been with each other since the very beginning and work to reach their dreams together. It’s a real story when it comes to cousins Matt den Dekker and Kevin Chapman.
Matt den Dekker and Kevin Chapman are cousins based on their mothers being sisters. They grew up just a few streets across from each other in Ft. Lauderdale. They were best friends since the beginning, and a little bit mischief during their younger years.
“We used to live on a golf course,” Chapman said. “Me, [den Dekker] and a buddy skateboarded to the golf course and when adults would take their swing, we blew an air horn. The funniest thing is that we never expected them to chase after us, just yell at us.”
Den Dekker started at Coral Springs Christian School before transferring to Westminster Academy after his freshman year and reuniting with his cousin to form a 1-2 punch on the mound.
“He was the No. 1 pitcher on the team and I was No. 2 pitcher so we switch off,” den Dekker said. “We usually have two games a week.”
Even though they were cousins, Chapman and den Dekker played like twins. And like most people, their best high school memory was when they were getting out and moving on up to the next level.
“He signed with Florida and then I ended up signing right after to go to Florida,” den Dekker said. “So we got a little signing/graduation party.”
As a senior, Den Dekker was a second-team All-State selection in 2006 after hitting .455 with 7 home runs as an outfielder, but has Chapman to thank for getting recruited by the Gators.
“I wasn’t really recruited heavily in high school,” den Dekker said. “He was one of the top prospects in South Florida and the coach from Florida would come watch him pitch and he saw me playing and was kind of talking a little bit. I ended up going to their camp and got a scholarship with them through that.”
The duo had plenty of success at Florida, but their favorite year was when they defeated South Carolina for the SEC Championship and went on to make an appearance in the College World Series. They were pretty good in the series but they had a symbolic moment at the end.
“He closed that game out and I caught the last out,” den Dekker said, “so it was kind of cool.”
Both Chapman and den Dekker were drafted in the 2010 MLB Draft. The two were excited that the two have become professional baseball players.
“It was kind of like it was meant to be,” den Dekker said. “We never really wanted to separate or stop playing.”
It was the first time the two were separate from each other. They played together in high school and college but had to finally forge their own path in the minors. That didn’t stop them from keeping in contact with one another.
“We’re always texting back and forth making sure we’re working hard trying to stay the course,” Chapman said.
Later on that year, the dream finally became a reality. Both Chapman and den Dekker were called up in August. But Chapman came before den Dekker, and the news came in Las Vegas while the two were set to face each other in a Triple-A game.
“I got to him from the other side and I expected to face him but I got called up,” Chapman said. “I told him to keep balling and soon enough he was in the Majors, too.”
Den Dekker will start the 2014 season in Triple-A Las Vegas while signs point to Chapman breaking camp with the Astros.
Wayne Blair has stepped down after three years as Boyd Anderson football coach to take on the challenge of getting Cape Coral Island Coast over the hump.
Blair leaves the Cobras after a 20-15 run that included 8-2, 10-3 after an upset of Dwyer to reach the regional finals and then defying the odds to land a state playoff berth with a 2-9 record last season.
Blair said he wrestled with the decision to leave one of the marquee jobs in the state but ultimately decided the move West was in the best interest of his family.
“I would like to thank the administration, teachers, all the student-athletes I came across through my three years at Boyd Anderson,’’ Blair said. “They taught me as much as I taught them.”
Blair believes the experience of coaching against one of the toughest schedules in the will help him take Island Coast, which finished 8-3 last season, to a Class 5A state championship level.
Reigning Class 5A state champion American Heritage looms as the team to beat next season and into the foreseeable future given the top tier talent that has transferred in since winning its first state title.
MCD 1 0 1 0 1 0 X — 3 5 0
SAG 3 1 0 4 0 6 X — 14 14 2
BG 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 1
AM 0 0 2 0 0 1 X 3 8 2
SB 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 4
CM 3 5 0 4 — 11 10 0
GIRLS’ FLAG FOOTBALL
TRACK AND FIELD
GIRLS’ TRACK AND FIELD
GIRLS’ WATER POLO
BOYS’ WATER POLO