Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Youth Sports

Teammates since 2005, five Spring Hill baseball players see their diamond days end

“In 2007, we were national champions in St. Augustine,” said Mike Speakman, far right. “That’s my best memory with these guys. All five were on that team.” From left are Cam Kick, Bryan Nicolini, Mike Adams and Tom Dwyer.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

“In 2007, we were national champions in St. Augustine,” said Mike Speakman, far right. “That’s my best memory with these guys. All five were on that team.” From left are Cam Kick, Bryan Nicolini, Mike Adams and Tom Dwyer.

SPRING HILL

One constant for most youth baseball teams is the friendships and bonds formed over the years between players. For one group of five young men, this is their last hurrah. Playing together since 2005, Mike Speakman, Cam Kick, Bryan Nicolini, Mike Adams and Tom Dwyer are members of a Little League All-Star team that qualified for the state championship tournament held last weekend.

All 18 years old and recently graduated from high school, they are integral members of a team they have dubbed the Hitmen. A majority of the club was formed from West Hernando Little League regulars and the remainder of the roster was added from Crystal River Little League.

The team was able to win the Section 7 Big League title last month to lengthen its final run together on the diamond. No one on the roster imagined the ending that was to come. A 6-2 loss to Port St. Lucie Little League on Sunday night sealed their fate and placed them third in the state this season.

"Our pitchers did well," manager John Maggard said. "We just didn't get hits throughout the lineup like we normally do."

The group will likely never play together on the same team again.

When they were all 14, they played for Spring Hill Dixie and made a similar run in the postseason. Maggard was also the manager then and says he remembers the brilliant chemistry and competitiveness of those five players.

The first time the five took the field on the same team, that club also finished third in the state. That drew an eerie parallel to their final time together this past weekend.

However, their most memorable moment together on the diamond is neither this run nor the Dixie titles. In 2007, they played on an AAU travel team named the Cat 5 Hurricanes. Made up of ballplayers from Citrus, Pasco and Hernando counties, the team traveled to St. Augustine that summer to compete in the Triple Crown championships.

"In 2007, we were national champions in St. Augustine," Speakman said. "That's my best memory with these guys. All five were on that team."

The Hurricanes stunned a competitive national field and won the tournament. For Speakman, Kick, Nicolini, Adams and Dwyer, no time has been finer to date. That isn't to say that some of them won't experience greater things. Kick, a Central grad, hung up his spikes to focus on school at Pasco-Hernando Community College, where he'll major in engineering.

"Since I was 12, baseball has pretty much been my whole life," Kick said. "It was a lot of fun while it lasted, but I knew it wasn't going to be that way forever."

Having found prep success as well, Speakman (PHCC), Nicolini (PHCC), Adams (University of Tampa) and Dwyer (Bishop State in Alabama) are moving on to another level of competition.

No matter the next step, they know this success can come and go. As almost any adult will say, these memories of childhood fun with close friends will be what they remember most.

"This entire run with the guys, I kept trying to get everyone to understand that it was going to be our last ride," Kick said. "It is just one of those times you know that you'll never forget."

Submit feedback, story ideas to communitysports@tampabay.com.

Fast facts

Hitmen, Big League All-Stars

League: West Hernando/Crystal River Little League

How did they get here: Section 7 champions

Hitmen lineup: Jack Diven, C; Cam Kick, 2B; Tom Dwyer, SS; Bryan Nicolini, 3B; Mike Adams, RF; Brett Maggard, 1B; Mike Speakman, LF; Eric Adams, DH; Chris Churay, CF; Matt Garlock, SP; Matt Adams, C; Tyler Schoonover, P; and Tyler Burich, OF.

Coaches: John Maggard (manager), Mel Burich, Jim Nicolini and Jim Diven

Teammates since 2005, five Spring Hill baseball players see their diamond days end 07/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 6:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too long. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support

    Sports

    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday

    The Heater

    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)