Commentary | The East Manatee Bulldogs team has plenty to cheer about

December 17, 2013 

The East Manatee Bulldogs' Junior Pee Wee cheer team snagged third place at the recent Pop Warner National Championships at ESPN's Wide World of Sports. The Bulldogs garnered a score of 72.36 percent to finish roughly seven percent behind the winners, the San Marcos Bishops, in the Small Level 3 division.

Meanwhile, the Manatee Wildcats sent four cheer squads to compete in various divisions.

Their Midget team had the best finish of the four with a fourth-place showing in the Large Level 3 division.

The Midget team scored 85.82 percent to fall four percent short of the Orangetown Patriots' total.

Manatee's Junior Pee Wee team finished 13th in the Small Level 2 division.

In the Pee Wee Large Level 2 division, the Wildcats took sixth place, while Manatee placed seventh in the Large Level 3 division of the Junior Midget competition.

Youth football tourney

Thirty-two youth football teams are scheduled to compete eight divisions (four weight and four unlimited weight) at Lakewood Ranch's Premier Sports Campus on Thursday-Saturday.

The event features two games a day for the three-day tournament, and also includes a Coaches Challenge, where players can watch their coaches competing in a variety of events.

For information, contact the Premier Sports Group at 813-728-3899 or visit

Beach Dawgs tryouts

The Bradenton Beach Dawgs are holding tryouts for the 2014 spring season, which begins Jan. 3 and runs through May, for various age groups.

Players practice twice a week at the Manatee Police Athletic League, while playing doubleheaders and tournaments throughout the spring slate. Players are offered instruction, and those interested in trying out can contact Beach Dawgs founder Joel Hartman at 941-705-5435 or email for more information.

The Beach Dawgs had three teams in action this past weekend. Their 11-and-younger, 12-and-younger and 14-and-younger clubs competed. In the 11-and-younger division, Wyatt Sevin (2-for-5, two RBIs, run scored, walk, stolen base), Jeremie Swafford (2-for-5, first career home run, two RBIs, two runs scored, double), Jake Duffy (2-for-4, two RBIs, two runs scored, two stolen bases) and Connor McCray (2-for-3, run scored, walk) led the Beach Dawgs offense. They went 0-2 in Sunday's double header, which included losses to the Lakewood Ranch Marauders (8-7) and the Manatee Hurricanes (8-6), who received a grand slam from Mac May.

In the 12-and-younger division, the Beach Dawgs went 1-1, getting their victory 11-10 over the Hurricanes off Jake Evans' two-run home run and a two-out save by Will Clem.

Corbin Blackstone (3-for-5, run scored, two doubles), Wyatt Beasley (2-for-5, RBI, stolen base), Nathan Hyman (1-for-2, double, two RBIs, run scored, walk), Saurav Kiri (1-for-3, RBI, run scored) and Evans (1-for-4, home run, two RBIs, two runs scored, walk, stolen base) paced the attack.

The 14-and-younger club went 2-2 in the IBC Suncoast Select Toy-nament to snag third place. The Beach Dawgs' leading hitters included: Carson Wehmeyer (5-for-12, four runs scored, stolen base), James Cuccio (6-for-10, three runs scored, RBI, double, 6 1/3 innings pitched, 12 strikeouts), Bryce Longenberger (5-for-9, three RBIs, two runs scored, two walks, double) and Zachary Marshall (4-for-10, three RBIs, run scored). Bobby Duffy (five innings pitched, three strikeouts, win) and Payton Horn (five innings pitched, two-hit shutout win, three strikeouts) teamed with Cuccio to lead the stellar pitching performances.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill.

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