This "D' powered Dunedin

Published July 29, 1991|Updated Oct. 13, 2005

D DeSantis of Dunedin National stood there Saturday morning, listening to the same questions he's been asked many times before. But this time it wasn't in the middle of a classroom. It wasn't even in the cafeteria line, where gossip is second-nature and names stick like glue.

It was on a baseball diamond where many nicknames are born and some are forgotten.

And Seminole will remember DeSantis' unusual nickname.

As he stepped nearer to the batter's box during the first inning of the Section IV majors (11- to 12-year-olds) baseball championship game at Helen Howarth Park, DeSantis immediately heard the chants and familiar sounds, and he glanced over at the Seminole bench and smiled before settling in at the plate.

"D, D, D," the Seminole players chanted. "Why don't you have a first name? It must be easy to spell your first name. So, what is it?"

DeSantis never revealed his first name, but he did make his nickname memorable as he belted a two-run homer to leftfield off Seminole's ace pitcher, Dominic Fecarotta. His two-run blast helped lead Dunedin National to an 8-2 win over Seminole and a berth in the state tournament, which begins today in Orange City at 5 p.m. Dunedin National will play Section 2 winner Tampa Northside.

"D doesn't stand for anything," said DeSantis, whose name is Ronald Dion DeSantis. "I just want people to call me D because I like that better than my real name. I thought it was funny when they (Seminole) started yelling "D.' "

The Seminole players never questioned DeSantis' name again after he stroked two more singles, scored another run and pitched three innings (and striking out five) to pick up the win.

"I was pumped for this tournament, and especially pumped to face Seminole's ace pitcher because we had already seen North Naples and Sarasota's aces," DeSantis said. "It was nice to hit so well against three tough pitchers."

DeSantis batted .720 in three tournament games and had eight hits. He knocked in five runs and struck out once.

"I'm really happy because I hit the curveball so well and a lot of my hits were to rightfield," said DeSantis, who is a right-hander. "I just do better against better pitching."

DeSantis wasn't the only one concentrating in the tournament as Dunedin National outscored its opposition 23-8 in three games. Dunedin National hit eight homers in the sectional tournament and in All-Star play it has hit 21 home runs in seven games.

"We just hit the ball hard," said Jeremy Kurella, who had six hits, including three home runs in the sectional tournament. "We know we have a good chance of scoring when we get on base because someone is always coming through in our lineup."

Brady Williams proved that against Seminole in the fourth inning of the championship game. With Dunedin National leading 4-2, Seminole had the bases loaded and no outs. Manager John Frazer brought in Williams for starter DeSantis and Williams retired the side, striking out the first two batters and getting the last batter to ground out.

"I like coming in under pressure situations," said Williams, who is the son of Atlanta Braves first base coach Jimy Williams. "It makes me work harder and throw strikes when people are on base."

Dunedin National's pitching staff has thrown well throughout the two all-star tournaments. It has allowed only 17 hits in seven games.

"That's an astounding statistic," Frazer said. "We've had a lot of credit regarding our hitting but let's not forget our pitching."

And no one is forgetting Dunedin American's odyssey last year. Most of all, everyone is comparing and asking questions.

Dunedin American, a youth league across the street from Dunedin National, won the state title and came within one game of going to the Little League World Series last year.

"Yeah, I remember," Kurella said. "We just want to go one step further than they did."

Section IV seniors

Dunedin National swept a doubleheader from Fort Myers on Saturday at Englebert complex in Dunedin to capture the Section IV championship in play for 13- to 15-year-olds.

Dunedin National will play the winner of Section I today in Lake Wales at 5:30 p.m.

Dunedin National, climbing out of the loser's bracket, defeated Fort Myers 8-3 and 9-2. In the first game, Mark Watson tossed a two-hitter and fanned five.

Josh Kurella, Craig Dour and Ryan Bodino each had two RBI to lead the team. Watson, Trad Sobik, Brandon Tecklinberg, Rino Bush and Eric Koefler contributed key hits.

In the second game, Matt Hansen fired a one-hitter and Ryan Bodino contributed two RBI and had two hits.

Big League "B"

Billy McFarland fired a one-hitter and struck out seven as District 12 defeated District 5 in two games and captured the series for 16- to 17-year-olds.

McFarland was aided offensively when District 12 scored four runs in the first inning of the first game 5-0.

Kent Magilligan and Tony Sagnella combined to pick up a win as District 12 defeated District 5, 7-3 in the second game.

To report local youth baseball and softball news, call Wayne McKnight at 867-8743.