The greater Miami Shores middle school baseball teams are about to get some new competition: Doctors Charter School is bringing their A game to the field.
DCS will hold tryouts for the new team starting Jan. 19. The final roster will make the school’s first official middle school team. Miami Shores’ resident Paul Calli will coach.
“I think that the program is a great way to help bond the Miami Shores community to the school,” Calli said. “The effort has taken on a life of its own in the community and there’s support which I think affirms the executive director’s belief that the baseball program could present a unique way to reach out to everybody in the greater Shores community.”
Standing behind the new program is DCS principal Nicholas Dorn, who joined the school in July, along with supporters from the community including Miami Shores Presbyterian Church School, Publix and Joe’s Stone Crab.
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“The new baseball team is going to bring a new sense of spirit. It’s a salt of the earth, good old American game, it’s a middle school baseball team. Give it a few years and it may be a JV baseball team,” said Dorn, who approved Calli’s request to form the program in early October. “Bringing this to the community is definitely going to be great.”
Boys and girls are encouraged to try out for the team.
“Girls will be encouraged to try out for this baseball team this year if they wish to do so,” Calli said in an email. “And just like the boys, if they have the right attitude, work ethic and skill they will make the team and they will play.”
For Aimee Harris, the mother of a seventh- and eighth-grader at DCS, the new baseball program is a promising opportunity for both her kids. Her 14-year-old son Nikai hopes to make the team in January. She said her daughter Amaya, 12, also will be trying out. She says that Amaya can definitely “keep up with the boys.”
“I’m glad they’re building up the sports program,” Harris said. “I’m just happy that they’re giving more options to sports and that it’ll continue to grow.”
The new team will give students an opportunity to play ball, something that has not been offered since DCS opened. Since the public charter school has no fields or a gym, the team will use the fields at the village’s rec center.
To get the program running, Calli will need to raise about $10,000, which includes the cost of transportation for the kids, equipment, uniforms and referees. The new program will join basketball, soccer, volleyball and tennis at the sixth through 12th grade charter school.
“I’ve taken on the commitment to fundraise [because] our schools are strapped,” said Calli, who has seen a growing interest for a baseball team. “Funding should not get in the way of that.”
Calli, 47, has two sons at DCS. He spent five years coaching a Miami Shores recreational baseball team and is changing up his game to help bring baseball to the public charter school that opened in 2005.
“I’m just lucky enough to be the one who is crazy enough to devote the time to do it,” he said.
He and his wife Liangy plus a team of about 10 parents have reached out to businesses and individuals to help fund the program. To help with costs, the team will hold a kickoff fundraiser on Nov. 22 featuring an open bar, appetizers and a silent auction.
“It's really a coming-out party of sorts to introduce people to the concept of the program in person and to see what we think it's going to mean to the community and how passionate we are about it,” Calli said.
DCS has already set up games for the spring against Miami Country Day, St. Rose of Lima and Cushman schools starting in February. The first pitch on opening day will be at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 7 at the Miami Shores Recreation Center, 9825 Park Dr.
For 12-year-old DCS student Liam Magee, the school baseball team will mean “playing more competitive teams.”
“I’m excited because I’m with my friends that I’ve been playing with for a long time,” he said. “I’m glad they made it a school sport now.”
If you go
▪ What: Doctors Charter School Hawks Baseball Kickoff Fundraiser.
▪ When: 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 22.
▪ Where: SuViche, 2751 N. Miami Ave., Miami.
▪ Cost: Suggested contribution of $65 per person.
▪ Sponsorship opportunities: Call 305-401-8994 or email DCShawksbaseball@gmail.com.