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Date of Issue: June 29, 2006

Dreams really do come true

sport pic
Holmes Beach resident Chris Perez delivers a pitch for his Miami Hurricane baseball team. Perez and his teammates are in Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series. Islander Photo: Courtesy University of Miami
To say that Holmes Beach resident and University of Miami junior relief pitcher Chris Perez is having a great month would be understated.

On June 6, Perez was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the supplemental draft. Being the 42nd overall pick in the amateur draft could bring Perez somewhere between $800,000 to $1 million in a signing bonus, which would be part of a dream come true for the Islander.

Some dreams have already come true for Perez. When he was 10 years old, he used to sit and watch the Miami Hurricanes on television with his father. He would tell his dad then that someday he would pitch for the Hurricanes.

The first Hurricanes baseball team he pitched for was the Manatee High School Hurricanes, which played a part in Perez getting noticed by UM.

During Perez' junior year at Manatee, Coach Al Melnick took his varsity team to the Miami Hurricanes Baseball Camp where the 6-foot-4-inch Perez showed off a fastball that broke 90 mph on the radar gun.

Perez also played on the Florida Bombers, an AAU team out of Miami that was regularly scouted by Miami coaches.

Perez then went the extra mile to improve his stock as a college prospect when he attended the Pendleton School and the IMG Baseball Academy for his senior season of high school baseball.

Perez, who now sports a fastball that has been clocked at 97 mph is the "closer," or late-inning relief specialist, at Miami and will likely continue that role when his Major League Baseball career begins.

Signing a professional contract can wait, however. Perez and his Miami teammates opened play at the College World Series on June 17 by thumping Oregon State 11-1.

Perez had a lot to do with Miami advancing to Omaha. During the Super Regionals in Oxford, Miss., Perez came on in the fifth inning and allowed only two runs over the next five innings to help the Hurricanes defeat Ole Miss 14-9 and win the Super Regional crown. The win improved Perez to 4-1 on the season with 12 saves and an earned run average below two runs per game.

Perez, who lives with his father Tim in Holmes Beach, also has a 16-year-old sister, Courtney who lives with mom Julia in the Lakewood Ranch area.

His father Tim was asked if he ever envisioned all of this when he first signed Chris up for T-ball in the Manatee West Little League. "Not in a million years," Perez said. "It's a dream most every father has for his son when they start Little League, but I never thought it would come true."

Perez and his Miami teammates were scheduled to take on Rice University June 19 for their second game in Omaha.

Congratulations to Chris and his family and Happy Father's Day to all the dads who go the extra mile for their kids.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

 

Horseshoe news

Eight players showed up for the June 14 horseshoe competition at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. The day also marked the return of Sam Samuels after a three-month absence. Samuels nearly made up for lost time by teaming with John Johnson to advance to the knockout round with a 3-0 record. Unfortunately, Samuels and Johnson ran into the team of Ron Pepka and Herb Ditzel, who came away with a 21-14 victory to earn bragging rights for the day.

Seven teams were whittled down to two during pool play action at the June 10 horseshoe competition, leaving Steve Doyle and Hank Huyghe to battle it out with Norm Good and Tom Skoloda for the championship.

Doyle and Huyghe grabbed an early 6-4 lead, but Good and Skoloda closed with a 19-5 run to win by a 23-11 score.

Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.

 

Center offers youth golf program

The Anna Maria Island Community Center is now offering the Bud Stokes Junior Golf Program for boys and girls ages 7-18. Eighteen-year PGA professional Steve Dietz is the instructor for the five-week program that begins June 27. Golfing equipment will be provided if needed.

Dietz currently is the golf director and instructor at the Ben Sutton Golf School and has been the club pro for Sara Bay Country Club in Sarasota and Seven Rivers Country Club in Tampa.

Cost for the five-week program is $50 for Center members and $70 for nonmembers. Registration deadline is Friday, June 23. For more information, contact the Center at 778-1908.

 

More Center news

There is adult pickup basketball from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m Wednesdays. The cost to play in the Center's air-conditioned (cool) gym is only $2 per player.

And, pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the United States is being played at the Center on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Pickleball, a combination of tennis and badminton, is played by two or four people using wooden paddle/racquets and a whiffle ball. If you are over 21 years of age and interested in this exciting new game, stop by the Center. Cost is $2 with information about league signups to follow at a later date.

For more information, contact the Center.

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