(ran SE edition of LT)
Charlie Brush remembers that when he became involved in Little League 31 years ago, there were just six Minor teams and eight Major teams in south Pinellas' District 5.
Through the years, the District 5 administrator has watched Little League blossom into 13 district charters with approximately 30 teams in each. The district now involves more than 8,000 kids from Ulmerton Road south to the Skyway bridge.
He has watched tiny kids grow into young men and women, and he has gone through many vehicles while putting on many thousands of miles.
"It's been a wonderful home for me," said Brush, who will retire this year after 18 years as the District 5 administrator. "I've enjoyed watching the kids grow up; seeing them later on the streets and shaking their hands. It's been a pleasure for me."
Brush, who will be replaced by Paul Pollard beginning Oct. 1, will oversee his final Bill Lyons City Tournament beginning Monday.
"I'll have a little more time to see the games and enjoy watching the kids," said Brush, who put 2,400 miles on his car in a two-week period last year going from field to field. "Providing a place for them to play has been what has kept me in there so long."
Brush started out as a coach in the Pinellas Park National league in 1962 and quickly became president of the league. He held that post for 12 years before becoming District 5 administrator.
"I won't miss the phone calls at night, especially during the rainouts," said Brush with a laugh. "But I'll sure miss the contact and involvement I had with the kids."
At least Brush will have that contact for the next two months.
The District 5 City Tournament features the champions of 13 leagues in six age divisions: Majors baseball (ages 10-12), Intermediates baseball (age 13), Seniors baseball (ages 13-15), Majors softball (ages 10-12), Seniors softball (ages 13-15), and Minors baseball (ages 10-12).
In the past, Seminole Youth Little League has dominated the tournament. Last year, Seminole won five of the six divisions.
In Majors baseball, some of the favored teams include Seminole's Landata Incorporated, Northeast's Braves, and Azalea. Landata is the defending champion and has won 43 in a row. It opens Monday against Gulf Beaches. Unbeatens Northeast (24-0) and Azalea (26-0) play each another Monday at 7:30 at Northeast.
In Seniors baseball, Seminole appears to be very strong while Northeast and Azalea look tough.
In softball, Seminole, Meadowlawn and Northeast have the strongest teams.
"I can't believe how big this has become," Brush said. "But that's because of all the dedicated workers and volunteers that have helped shape it. There have been a lot of good people I've enjoyed working with."
Tournament of Champions
John Wear and Jason Brock combined for six hits and five RBI as Largo National defeated Clearwater American 11-7 Thursday in a Majors baseball south division losers bracket game.
Ben Jewett, Ryan Lynch, Steve Segrete and Andy Rios combined for nine more hits for Largo National, which won its third straight losers bracket game in the tournament for ages 10-12. It met Clearwater National Friday to decide the losers bracket champion.
Todd Jeranowski picked up the win, scattering six hits.
Kevin Richmond picked up the win and had two singles as Clearwater National routed Largo American 14-1 in the other losers bracket game.
Ben Krentcman added two singles and a triple, Paul Statari contributed a triple and single, and Brendan Fuller added a double and single.
Robby Henrion and Stuart Burgoen played strong defense for Clearwater National.