To recognize deserving South Florida youth baseball and softball players for doing well in school and displaying sportsmanship on the diamond, the two-time champion Miami Marlins have once again partnered with The Miami Herald for a special Team Player spotlight in the Neighbors sports section in print and online.
The honorees for June are Jake Ogden (Somerset Academy South-Homestead), Andrea Pantin (Miami Country Day School), Diego Rivero (Claude Pepper Elementary School), Adrian Quinones-Sordo (Mother of Christ Catholic School) and Sean Soto (Silver Ridge Elementary School).
On Friday, June 2, these standout student athletes participated in the Miami Herald Spotlight “Very Prado You” Batting Practice Experience and Meet & Greet, where they watched Marlins batting practice on the field and later met Marlins third baseman Martin Prado during an on-field, pre-game ceremony.
Mascot extraordinaire Billy the Marlin also participated in the ceremony, and Marlins’ Justin Bour and Nick Wittgren signed some autographs during BP.
Each honoree received an autographed certificate signed by Prado, a Very Prado You T-shirt, a hot dog, popcorn, water/soda, complimentary parking and game tickets -- all provided by Prado.
ABOUT THE HONOREES
Jake Ogden (Somerset Academy South-Homestead)
Jake, 13, is a great leader on and off the field. He plays shortstop for the Canes Baseball Academy 14U Division at Tamiami Park. Just completing seventh grade, he is an A student at Somerset Academy South in Homestead.
He is also a Type 1 diabetic. Through all the highs and lows, he always seems to get his job done, whether it’s on the field or in the classroom. Jake is a great inspiration to all kids. One of his teammates even nicknamed him “The Beast.”
A middle infielder, Jake competes for a team under the direction of former University of Miami standout Jorge Robles, a native of Puerto Rico. Jake played in tournaments in Colombia, Puerto Rico and New York (Cooperstown Dreams Park). He is gearing for the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He’s also played up in tournaments.
Andrea Pantin (Miami Country Day School)
Andrea, 12, completed 7th grade at Miami Country Day Middle School in Miami Shores, where she played middle school volleyball and soccer and high school varsity softball.
“Andrea is an excellent three-sport athlete, excelling in volleyball, soccer and softball,” said Anthony Haderer, assistant athletic director at Miami Country Day School. “She is a tremendous athlete to have in our program at Miami Country Day.”
She won the Sportsmanship Award at Miami Country Day.
Two years ago she competed in TnT Nationals (Trampolin, Double Mini and Tumbling) and placed ninth in the nation in Trampolin. She was first in Texas in Double Mini. She is a great student and a better athlete.
Andrea grew up in Houston and began taking gymnastics at age 4. She stayed at the gym after practice to watch the teenagers doing trampoline, When she was 6, she was accepted on the TnT team. She trained three to four days a week until last year when her family moved to Miami. With TnT, she competed in Houston competitions as well as state, regionals and nationals from age 8-11. She won many medals.
As a gymnast, she also trained in Bela Karoly’s Camp (with trainers of the U.S. National Gymnastics Team) in Huntsville, Texas and the Woodward Camp in Philadelphia. She is very focused, very responsible and a perfectionist.
In middle school at The Village School in Houston, she started to play volleyball. She was so good that her coach decided to train her.
In Miami at the only place for her TnT level, pre-Olympic level training, the gym manager made it mandatory for her to train five to six days a week. She was in a new city, in a new school and decided to postpone her gymnastics, if selected for the middle school volleyball team. She made the team. As a key member, they won the South Florida Conference Championship.
Andrea then made the middle school soccer team. After that season, she was selected for the high school varsity softball team, playing shortstop and second base. She made an unassisted double play, a rare feat for a Miami Country Day School softball player, and hit the ball well.
Andrea recently earned the Certificate of Excellence Sportsmanship Award from Miami Country Day School. With her athleticism, the MCD coaches want her to compete in swimming, water polo and lacrosse, but she can only do so much.
Because of her academic prowess and testing, she was moved up to 7th grade. She had to catch up all the missing work, projects and tests of the first five months of 7th grade. She did it. An ‘A’ student, she had just one B (science).
Andrea gives the best of herself. She loves to do sports. She has a lot of energy. She falls and learns and stands back up and continues. She persists. She is very constant. She is a fighter and never gives up. She can arrive home at 9 p.m. after a Miami Country Day School softball game, eat, take a shower and then do her homework, without anyone telling her. If her mom says at 11:45 p.m. to go to sleep and to talk to her teachers that she did not have enough time to finish homework, she doesn’t listen. She finishes everything.
Andrea enjoys reading and loves animals. She reads about 26 books per year. She loves Dirt Bikes and goes to a Dirt Bike camp every year in the summer in Tarragona, south of Barcelona, Spain. She did snow skiing when she was little, and once she mastered it, she switched to snowboarding.
Passionate for math, science and music, she played violin and saxo at The Village School in Houston where she also learned piano. She danced each year at an NBA Houston Rockets game at the Toyota Center. She loves to dance. She was going to do dance next year at MCD but has been selected for Student Government, only five selected, so she won’t be able to do dance.
Away from school, Andrea and her family feed and help build schools for orphans in Zambia, and she loves to teach them gymnastics.
Her positive attitude, love for all sports, work ethic, community efforts and academic achievements make her an outstanding role model.
Diego Rivero (Claude Pepper Elementary School)
Diego Rivero, 9, completed third grade at Claude Pepper Elementary School in Miami.
With a very strong arm, he is a catcher in the Hammocks Baseball League.
Diego also has excellent academic credentials and loves Physical Education.
“Diego is very enthusiastic about Physical Education and school in general,” said Larry DeSario, physical education teacher at Claude Pepper Elementary School. “However, his real passion is baseball. Diego's skills and prowess in the sport surpasses even our fifth graders. He is very good natured and carries himself with dignity and grace. School work is very important to the Rivero family, and Diego has been on the Honor Roll numerous times.”
Adrian Quinones-Sordo (Mother of Christ Catholic School)
Adrian Quinones-Sordo, 9, completed third grade at Mother of Christ Catholic School in Miami.
He gives 110-percent to school and baseball.
He is a straight A student and hard worker who strives to achieve anything he sets his mind.
During the past baseball season, he was on a new team. He batted eighth. Through hard work and dedication, he ended the season as the team’s second batter. Many of his new teammates were inspired by his progress as he grew not only as a player but as an individual. He encouraged his teammates to work hard as hard work pays off in sports and education. He is a sweet, kind boy, always willing to help others.
Sean Soto (Silver Ridge Elementary School)
Sean Soto, 8, completed second grade at Silver Ridge Elementary School in Davie. He plays coach pitch (7-8 year old) baseball for the Town of Davie Marlins.
Sean is a leader in the dugout teaching others how to better their game on the field and in the dugout with sportsmanship and field play.
He shows the same leadership skills in school as he does on the field. Doing well in class and helping other students when they need it.
Sean also is a good kid at home and does his best to be a good person.
ABOUT MARTIN PRADO
Martín Manuel Prado, 33, was born in Maracay, Venezuela. He was one of four siblings raised in a single-parent family headed by their mother, Irma Prado.
He signed with the Atlanta Braves as a non-drafted free agent on Feb. 23, 2001. He played in the Braves’ Dominican program in 2001 and 2002 and came to the United States to join the Gulf Coast League in 2003.
Prado made his major league debut for the Braves on April 23, 2006. He played for the Braves through the 2012 season. He then played for the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees, before joining the Marlins in 2015. A 2010 MLB All-Star, he is signed with the Marlins through the 2019 season.
Prado competed in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Miami Marlins social media
Youth Sports On The Web
YouTube jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)