The Brooksville Bombers 8-and-under program has been ranked No. 1 in the state for most of the 2008 season under the guidance of coach Randy Mosser. Many of these youth players have stuck together over the past couple of seasons after a group of parents decided to form the team as an answer to the absence of a competitive travel team in the area.
The team plays its home games at Ernie Wever Park in Brooksville, along with other fields in the county, including the YMCA field and Anderson Snow Park in Spring Hill. There are 12 players on the roster, 10 of whom have been there for the entire campaign.
Earlier this season, the Bombers were chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays to play a double-header at Tropicana Field following a Rays game against the Baltimore Orioles. Following a sweep of those two games, Brooksville won the annual Slug-A-Rama AAU Tournament in Tampa, clinching the top seed in the state tournament.
Brooksville already has clinched the regular season AAU state championship for its age division with a 24-14 record. With their unprecedented success this regular season, the Bombers have already clinched a berth in the National AAU Tournament this summer at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
Teams to Watch
Tampa Pirates: The No. 2-ranked team in the state was dominated by the Bombers this season. In the eight games, Brooksville was 6-2.
West Florida Young Guns: This team out of Hudson was the biggest thorn in the Bombers' side. West Florida, ranked eighth in the state, took six of seven from Brooksville in what is shaping up to be a solid rivalry.
Tampa Bay Bulls: Ranked third in the AAU, they won last season's state title. The Bombers were able to take the teams' two meetings this season.
Central Florida Legends: This was the other team invited to play at the Trop in April. Including the Field of Dreams sweep, the Bombers were 4-2 against Central Florida.
These six Bombers are leaders on the field to keep an eye on:
Daulton Mosser: The team's top pitcher, striking out 48 in 35 innings and hitting in the two-spot in the lineup, he batted .582 and led Brooksville with 52 runs scored. Mosser also picked up a team-high 34 stolen bases.
Steven Beach: Forming a nice one-two punch in the rotation with Mosser, Beach was also stellar on the mound, striking out 46 in 39 innings. He was the team's best hitter, leading the club in home runs (four), average (.610), RBIs (45), triples (seven) and doubles (11). He struck out only once in 85 plate appearances.
Brendan Sessa: This shortstop was Mr. Clutch for Brooksville and always came up with the big hit. Sessa tied for the team lead in RBIs with 45 and was also a key middle reliever/starter for Brooksville, providing depth.
J.P. Gates: Playing centerfield, Gates was one of five Bombers with more than 100 plate appearances. He hit .436 and was third on the team in runs scored (41) and also had 23 steals. Gates was also a key out of the bullpen.
Derek Ordaz: His role as the closer was cemented over the course of the season as he came in on many occasions to nail down a close victory. He led the team in ERA with a 5.88 mark in 19 innings. Ordaz plays second base regularly and hit .333.
Kevin Tomas: Tomas is the Bombers' leadoff hitter while fielding at third base. He led Brooksville with 114 plate appearances, hitting .418 with 43 runs scored and 23 steals.
"One thing that benefits us is that we've had some breaks during this season, and then we bounced back and played well." — Randy Mosser, talking about concerns with the layoff between the regular season and this weekend's tournament.