PBSA celebrates its 53rd annual Opening Day Parade, Ceremony

By Bill Hurst….

A $1,000 check for funds raised for Austin Haworth, son of slain Police Officer Amanda Haworth, is presented to the Cutler Bay Police Unit. Pictured (l-r) are Priya Nembhard, Jean Ton Noon, PBSA treasurer Kevin Kaufman, Maj. Julie Miller, PBSA president Bill Hurst, Mercy Hernandez, Bill Meiklejohn, Capt. Laura Wood, Officer John McLaughlin, Officer Debbie Fuentes, and Delores Triane.

The Perrine Baseball and Softball Association celebrated its 53rd annual Opening Day Parade and Ceremony at Franjo Park on Saturday, Jan. 29.

With the help of John Ruiz and Mike Tosar, the opening day ceremonies were televised by La Ley Sports. The tradition of parading all the league teams through the Town of Cutler Bay to Franjo Park has been taking place on the last weekend of each January since the league started playing at Franjo Park in 1972.

More than 500 players (52 baseball teams and three divisions of softball), along with their coaches, parents and friends made the trek this year. The parade was led by a Cutler Bay Police car and the Southridge High School Color Guard.

The ceremonies began with the singing of the National Anthem by Erika Glass. This was followed by a blessing given by Pastor Amber Massengil.

The newly elected Town of Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougal was introduced and spoke about the new Lakes by the Bay Park which will be operational by January 2012. Mayor MacDougal mentioned how this new park will help the PBSA expand and double the amount of fields available for the league.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell spoke next, and gave PBSA a Proclamation of Appreciation for all members presented to PBSA president Bill Hurst. John Ruiz from La Ley Sports, who graciously provided the television crew, then addressed the crowd, and made mention of several exciting projects La Ley Sports is working on within the South Florida Community.

Also in attendance were several South Florida baseball personalities including: Florida Marlins player Gaby Sanchez, Marlins sales director Mario Signorello, former PBSA player and current Oakland Athletics pitcher Vinnie Chulk, former PBSA player and 14-year Major League Baseball player Orlando Palmeiro, legendary Miami Dade College Coach Charlie Greene, several University of Miami and Barry University coaches and players, Coach Dave Bisceglia from Coral Reef High School along with some of his players.

Also participating were several Palmetto High School baseball players, as well as former PBSA president and current Southridge High School freshman coach David “Hooter” Houtz.

Also in attendance, was Southridge Softball coach Michelle Cerda, who along with her players helped judge the team banner contest, which was won by the Tee-ball Pirates and 11U Astros. The winning teams received tickets for their players and coaches to PBSA Day at the Florida Marlins game on Apr. 22.

Each year the PBSA awards certain players “Sportsmanship Awards.” These players earned the awards by demonstrating that sportsmanship means more to them than hitting a home run or striking out a batter. It means playing with a smile through good and bad, encouraging a teammate that just had a bad game and always enjoying the experience of playing youth baseball.

Sportsmanship Awards, presented by Softball Commissioner Kevin Bender and Baseball Commissioner Sean McCreary, were presented to: Victoria Bouch, Amaris Victoria, Juliana Gambill, Adriana Fiorilo, Taylor Reyno and Hanna Barczak.

Baseball Sportsmanship Award winners were: Korbin Cotayo, Ryan Adams, Jonathan Brutti, Richie Benavides, Jordan Hopwood, Darian Rivera, Rodrigo Alea, Andres Agudelo, Maclyn Black and Nick Valencia.

Finally, PBSA announced several awards to current and former volunteer members, who are the lifeline of this community park. The Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to Janet Cintra, the late Bill McCreary (received by his wife Carol, son Sean, and grandchildren Jake and Megan), and to former PBSA president David “Hooter” Houtz.

Visit www.leaguelineup.com/pbsa for more information.

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