SEFFNER — Six years after watching his older daughter's team capture a Little League Minor (9-10) softball state title, manager Steve Tarte guided the Bloomingdale Little League Minor softball All-Star team to another state championship with a 4-0 win against Windemere Monday at the East Point complex.
Tarte, who currently has daughter Annie on the roster, was a spectator when older daughter Sophia's team won the state title in that age bracket in 2003.
"I helped out on Sophia's team, but wasn't a rostered coach (in 2003)," Steve Tarte said. "This year was just awesome to see the girls come through the way they did. Very special."
It was just the second time in the history of Bloomingdale Little League that the 9-10 age group captured a state championship.
"And I got to see them both," Steve Tarte chuckled.
Madison Farrell's first-inning RBI single proved the only run Bloomingdale would need Monday while pitcher Alyssa Farinas fired a two-hit shutout.
Bloomingdale cruised through pool play, scoring in double digits for all three games. Bloomingdale then beat Citrus Park 7-3 in the semifinal before blanking Windemere for the title.
"Everyone on this team can hit," Tarte said. "My number-nine batter (in the lineup) hit .400."
Bloomingdale hit .449 as a team during the state tournament and outscored their opponents 57-4 during the five-game stretch. Cassidy Davis, Jordan Sendoya, Tarte and Farrell all hit over .500 in the tourney.
But this team wasn't all offense. Bloomingdale gave up just one earned run in the tournament and went errorless in the final. Farinas and Davis handled the bulk of pitching, while Claire Feldman, Megan Bird and Tarte all chipped in with strong performances.
Tarte also said the team enjoyed a big advantage by playing the tournament locally at East Point Little League. The manager didn't have to worry about keeping tabs on 12 young girls, enforcing curfew or keeping them from spending all their free time in an energy-zapping hotel pool.
"Sometimes when you're staying at a hotel, the awe of being in the tournament sets in a little more," Tarte said. "This way they could go home, relax and sleep in their own beds."
It was quite a summer for the Tartes. In addition to Monday's championship, Annie recently won the 11-12 year-old division at Major League Baseball's Pitch, Hit and Run competition held at the MLB All-Star game in St. Louis. Tarte also shagged balls in the outfield during the Home Run Derby and got memorabilia signed from former major league stars Ozzie Smith, Juan Marichal and Andre Dawson.
"This summer's been pretty unbelievable for Annie," Tarte said. "It's going to be hard to top."
Local players honored
Four local players were recently named to the Florida All-State baseball teams. Armwood's Robert Benincasa was selected for the 5A first team, while Brandon catcher Mike Smith made second team. The Hawks' Joe Cartwright earned honorable mention, as did the Eagles' Cory Schools.