Jacksonville Royals 14U National Travel Team: Welcome

American Flag waving

The Jacksonville Royals
14U National Travel Team 2007
Jacksonville, Florida
Head Coach - Mike Jones
Assistant Coach -  Randy Gainey

Visit the team's official Website at www.jaxroyals.com
View the history of the 2005 12U and 2006 13U Jacksonville Royals Click HERE



Baseball flying



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Royals Runners-Up in USSSA Gulf Coast Classic

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Hanging The Banner - Steve Tanner and Lonnie Weets
Saturday, July 28

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Royals vs Star Maker Stingrays - AAU Nationals - Sarasota

Saturday, July 28
Former Jax Royal Billy Butler Rocks For KC Royals

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Click picture for official Billy Butler Web site
Jul. 27 - 11:39 pm et
   
Billy Butler hit a three-run homer off Rangers starter Jamey Wright as the Royals recorded a 6-1 victory on Friday. Butler, the Royals' rookie designated hitter, is batting .351 with six doubles, three home runs and 24 RBIs in 19 games.

"It was a slider that he got up, not where he wanted to throw it," Butler said. "I'm glad I didn't miss that."

Wright said Butler hit a breaking ball.

"He was sitting on it," said Wright, who had not allowed a home run since June 16, a span of five starts.

Still just 21 years old, Butler looks like he belongs in the majors thanks to his batting average and 15 extra-base hits in 139 at-bats.

Billy Ray Butler resides in Baldwin, Fla...graduated from Wolfson (Jacksonville, Fla.) High. He and RHP Eric Hurley (30th overall to Rangers) became just the 5th high school teammates to both be 1st-rounders in the same draft...named Florida Times Union Player of the Year...member of Team Florida USA team.




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Timberwoods Resort and Villas - The Royals home for AAU Nationals
Sunday, July 15
Royals 2007 Road Show Heads To Sarasota

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This coming week the Royals Road Show heads to Sarasota for the AAU National Championships, the final stop of the 2007 campaign. Or,  is it?

If the Royals emerge from the fray atop the AAU pack, a feat they are capable of, would there be a phone call from Orlando offering a spot in the Big Dance at Disney World, the USSSA Elite 24 World Series? Never say never!

Click
HERE for Tournament Information.

There is "too much information", but take the time to scan through it for the things you want to know. It answers a lot of questions about what, when and where.

Coach Jones is contacting AAU and will let us know what time to arrive in Sarasota.




10 Jul 20-28 AAU Nationals

Tournament Info
 Locations and other Info
Automatic Bids
AAU

 Interactive
Map

Check-In Sahib_Shrine

Ed Smith Stadium

 Teams

Timberwoods Vacation Villas

AAU NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS - ROYALS TOURNAMENT LINKS



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Ed Smith Stadium Sarasota

2007 Royals Continue To Challange Top Drawer Teams

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LEESBURG, FL July 8 - In 2007 the Jacksonville Royals set a goal...to sharpen their skills by honing them against the top competition. That was the premise of putting eleven tough tournaments on the schedule.

Most recently on July 7 and 8 the Royals traveled to Leesburg, FL to take on some of Florida's top teams in the USSSA Florida Elite 12. The roster of teams is sparce and there are only five 14U teams in the tournament. After some long delays due to weather, a cloud cover moves in, the temperature cools down and that helps as the Royals eak out a victory over the Ocala Blaze 5-4. In the second pool game with a late 9:30 PM start the Royals fall 8-2 to the nation's #1 ranked team the Apopka Black Sox. 

Two too many runs allowed pushes the Royals into the 4th seed positon making an extra game on Sunday necessary. At 9:00 AM on Sunday morning in Pat Thomas Stadium  the Royals take on the Central Florida Knights. The Knights jump out front in the top of the first, but the Royals roar back in the bottom of the first to take the lead and stretch it to 9-4 in the final inning. Three outs away from getting into the semi-finals the wheels come off and the Royals lose 12-9.

Close games lost and runs allowed has been anathma to the Royals. In The Battle In The South  the Royals play four pool games and come home again not making the championship playoff bracket. But, consider this. The Royals scored 25 runs and gave up but 23. They played and defeated the #25, the #13, and the #1 ranked teams in the nation. They played and lost two games to an unranked team and the #11 team by a total of 3 runs. Had they allowed one less run or scored 2 or 3 more runs they would have come out of their pool as the #1 seed. So close. That could be the year's slogan, "so close". But....the year's not over.

After the Firecracker Classic in Leesburg next week comes the AAU Nationals in Sarasota. The Royals closed strong in 2006 with a #5 finish at the AAU Nationals in Myrtle Beach. The 2007 Royals have played a tougher tournament schedule against top drawer teams. A tournament victory has so far eluded  them, only once even coming out of a quarter final elimination to play in the semi-finals at the Gulf Coast Classic. The Royals have had some stunning victories over top ranked teams, but so far have not put together a tournament winning combination. They have played some games with less than a full roster due to injury and absences, but still the lack of consistency is puzzling, and with only two tournaments to go, one keeps wondering when, or if,  the Royals will have their break-out run.

Winning is good, but it's not always the point. Seizing an opportunity for individual development sometimes trumps a team win. Developing young men to be better players and better people is the point. Getting ready to peak at the AAU Nationals is the goal. The Royals have proven they can beat anybody. They beat the Black Sox and they beat the Dallas Yankees. Putting it together is always the challenge and championship teams are the ones who can do it at the right time. Go Royals!



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Pat Thomas Stadium - Leesburg, FL

Monday, July 2
Royals Edge Out 13th Ranked Baton Rouge Astros in Battle In The South Consolation

HARRINGTON, TN June 30 - Coming into the Battle In The South, The Baton Rouge Astros (32-5-0) were ranked #13 in the nation by Junior Baseball National Rankings.  In a 9:00 PM start under the lights, Spencer Brown takes the mound with Cody Spin behind the dish, and seven innings later walks off with a start, a close, and a win. A complete game is unusual these days at any age level in any league. Brown goes the distance and gets the 4-3 win vs the Baton Rouge Astros by pitching out of every challenge and throwing strikes... seven innings with no walks.

Not only that but several Royals starters (Orth, Ruckel, Weets, Stanley) spend the entire consolation game in a support role from the dugout. Some notable plays include a 5-4-3 (Warford-Byram-Tanner) bang-bang double play, a shot up the middle stopped by second baseman  Kevin Coville with an acrobatic flip to Kenny Byram for the force out, and as usual everything hit in the outfield (Pennington - Moreno - Foster) is tracked and caught.

Kevin Young (DH) continues with a hot bat with a shot into right-center. Brown wins the pitching battle in several tight situations. The Astros threaten with the runners in scoring position, two outs and a full count. The batter freezes and takes the third strike looking as it comes in high and dives into the strike zone.

Royals 4 - Astros 3. The Royals head back south to Florida with a 3-2 record in the Battle In The South and one memorable moment. They beat the nation's number one ranked team and prove some things, to the Dallas Yankees, and to themselves.

The AAU National Championships loom three weeks in the future, but first come the USSSA Florida Elite 12 and the Firecracker Classic. Do the Royals have a hungry eye on the big prize?


Sunday, July 1
Royals Score Memorable Win - Shock #1 Ranked Dallas Yankees

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Royas vs Dallas Yankees at Battle In The South

KINGSTON, TN June 29 - The Dallas Yankees arrive at the Battle In The South as the prohibitive favorite, the number one ranked 14U team in the nation with a record of 55-10-2.  They are not prepared for what faces them in their third pool game.

The Royals split their pool games 2-2 and fail to make it into the Championship Bracket, but they leap onto the national stage at the "Premier" 14U tournament in the nation with an indescribable win over the nations #1 team. Royals 5 - Yankees 4. A victory made even sweeter by the exceedingly bad sportsmanship exhibited by the Yankee players and their coaches.

But for one less run allowed and two or three more runs scored, the Royals would have not only come out of their pool, but done so as the #1 seed. So close.

Memories are made in times such as this. Blaine Foster opens on the mound for the Royals with Cody Spin behind the dish. Foster pitches two stirling innings, and does it confidently with a 3-0 lead. In the top of the first inning with two men on, Kevin Young blasts a three-run homer into the picnic grounds outside the left field fence. It shocks the Yankees.

Kevin Coville takes over in the third inning and continues to frustrate the Yankee hitters. The Yankee coaches are now shouting with obvious panic in their voices. Although the Yankees are inching closer with three runs, the Royals add two more runs as well and now lead 5-3.

The slow moving pitching dual is only rolling into the fifth inning as the one hour fifty-five minute time limit approaches. Royals Coach Mike Jones calls for lefty Matt Pennington to execute the save. It gets exciting when the Yankees score another run and then load the bases. There are two outs, bases loaded and the count is 2-2. This Yankee batter could win the game with a solid base hit. Pennington delivers the right pitch and Lonnie Weets pulls down the pop fly in center field for one of the biggest wins in Royals history. With three championship pitching performances from Foster, Coville, and Pennington backed up by an equally first rate defensive effort from all the Royals, the Dallas Yankees get a lesson on how to win with talent, quality and class.

UPDATE: In their first elimination game the Yankees fall to another Florida team The Manasota Meteors who in turn are whacked by the Atlanta Seminoles who face the Texas Drillers in the championship game. The Drillers had to eliminate the Apopka Black Sox in the semi-finals to move on to the championship game and win the tournament.

When it comes down to it, if you play in a Florida touranment that includes the Black Sox, the Meteors, and the Royals, you are playing on a national championship level. With the Florida Elite 12 and the Firecracker Classic coming up followed by the season-ending big dance, the AAU Nationals in Sarasota, an interesting scenario could be unfolding.

GO ROYALS!



Thursday, June 28
Jax Royals Launch Battle In The South With 3-0 Win

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KINGSTON, TN June 28 - On a hotter than normal, humid day thirty miles West of Knoxville in the Smoky Mountains, the Jacksonville Royals launch their 2007 July Tournament Campaign with a 3-0 victory vs the OTC Beaucats of Georgia in the Elite Battle In The South.

Matt Pennington opens on the mound for the Royals with Cody Spin behind the dish. Matt delivers a stirling no-hit four-inning performance backed up by an almost perfect defensive effort. Kevin Coville takes over in the fifth and throws a one-hit three-inning jewel for the save.

The Royals take advantage of a crack in the Bearcats defense and scratch out three runs for the shut-out victory. The Royals defense is solid. The Bearcats get their first hit in the bottom of the seventh. But their hopes are quickly vanquished by a 5-4-3 double play from Perry Orth at third, to Kenny Byram at second, and Jared Stanley at first.

At the end of the first day of pool play, the Royals and the Dallas Yankees are the only two undefeated teams in their pool. The Yankees beat the Virginia Marvericks and the Ohio Warhawks both 5-4. Headed into the second day, the Royals are where they want to be with no defeats and no runs allowed.


Wednesday, June 27
Jax Royals and Dallas Yankees to Face Off in Battle In The South

KINGSTON, TN June 27 - The Jacksonville Royals and the Dallas Yankees will face off in the Battle In The South this Friday in Kingston, TN. The Jax Royals 2006 AAU ranked fifth team in the nation are coming off an inconsistent season, but have a tradition of peaking during the June/July tournament campaign. The Dallas Yankees are the currently ranked #1 team in the nation by Junior Baseball National Rankings. The #3 ranked Apopka Black Sox were defeated by the Jax Royals in their most recent meeting 4-2.

FOR JUNIOR BASEBALL NATIONAL RANKINGS CLICK HERE


1    Dallas Yankees        Dallas, TX   55-10-2
2    Cincy Flames     Southwest Ohio League    Monroe, OH   37-8-1
3    Apopka Black Sox        Apopka, FL   30-4-3


Here is what TBS (Travel Baseball Star Web Site) says about the teams in the Royals Pool:
(Pool E) The OTC Bearcats out of Georgia have a top ranked pitching staff and will represent Georgia very well in this tournament. The Winter Park Wildcats have already impressed this winter in Florida winning a big tournament and have a very good team. (NOTE: The Wildcats dropped out of the tournament and were replace by the Jacksonville Royals.) The favorite in this bracket though is the Dallas Yankees. D. Mitchell is a top player and this team may have the best 1-2 punch in their rotation. The Yankees showed well at last years Battle in the South Tournament. 


Monday, April 30

GET ALL THE ROYALS TOURNAMENT INFORMATION EASILY IN ONE LOCATION
JACKSONVILLE ROYALS TOURNAMENT CENTRAL


Tournament dates, venues, maps, teams, lodging and more, ALL just ONE CLICK away.
Interactive MAPS you can use to print your own directions.
When information is updated by the tournament, you get it automatically.
Visit the chart below and click on the infomation you want.



Jacksonville Royals - TOURNAMENT CENTRAL - Hot Links To Tournament Information


# Date Event Venue                    Host Map             City Teams Schedule

Royals
Place

Motel

1 March 9-11 Shootout at
Sleepy Hollow 
1. Sleepy Hollow Rec. Complex 
2. Pat  Thomas Stadium  
3. Leesburg HS
Florida USSSA 1. Map

2. Map

3. Map
Leesburg Teams Schedule

Results

4-way tie for 5th out of 11

Guesthouse Inn and Suites

2 Mar 30  -Apr 1 Triple Crown Journey to
the Stars
1. Orange Park Athletic Assn. 
2. Alberts Fld MSA
3. The World of Baseball
Triple Crown 1. Map
2. Map
3.
Map
Jacksonville  Teams Schedule

3rd out of 13

Home

3 April 13-15 Slug-A-Rama 1. Pirate City - Bradenton
2. McKechnie Field
Florida AAU Sunshine Sports

Map

Bradenton  Teams Pools

Schedule
3-0
Rained Out
Shorewalk Villas 
4 April 20-22 Conference USSSA
Florida State Championships
Pat  Thomas Stadium   Florida USSSA

Map

Leesburg  Teams Results 2-2
Qtr
Comfort Inn and Suites - Mt. Dora
5 May 4-6 USSSA Gulf
Coast Classic
Joe DiMaggio  Sports Complex Florida USSSA

 Map

St. Petersburg

Teams

2nd Place Best Western Gateway
6 May 18-20 Florida Super NIT Osceola Co. Stadium - Astros USSSA

 Map

Kissimmee Teams Results Clarion Resort & Waterpark
7 May 26-27 AAU Florida State Championships Tiger Town - Lakeland Florida AAU Sunshine Sports

 Map

Lakeland  Teams Schedule

Results
Hampton Inn - Lakeland
8 Jun 28 - Jul 1 14U Elite Battle In The South East Tennessee Battle In The South

 Map

Kingston, TN and other towns  Teams Pools
Schedule
Brackets

Caney Creek Inn

9 Jul 5-8
4 days
USSSA Florida Elite 12 Sleepy Hollow Rec. Complex Florida USSSA

 Map

Leesburg

Teams

Pools
Schedule
Brackets
Best Western - Lake County - Tavares
10 Jul 20-28 AAU Nationals

Tournament Info
 Locations and other Info
Automatic Bids
AAU

 Interactive
Map

Check-In Sahib_Shrine

Ed Smith Stadium
 Teams Timberwoods Vacation Villas

 



Sunday, June 17
Great Team! Great Win! Great Weather! Great Picnic! Great Food! What a Great Day!!

Jax Royals 11 - NF Hurricanes 16U 7

Reving it up for the big time.
On the mound: Stanley - Coville - Tanner - Foster - Pennington, well done.
Infield: Warford - Byram - Ruckel - Orth - Brown, well done.
Outfield: Moreno - Wheets - Young, well done.
Coaches Jones and Gainey, well done.
Picnic plans: Tanner - Browns, well done.
Food: Everybody, well done.
A very good time was had by all.
GO ROYALS!


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Monday, June 11
Royals Lift Fans Spirits With Exciting 9th Inning Finish

JACKSONVILLE, FL June 10 - The Royals continue the Spring Training type preparation for the July tournament campaign by playing the hometown Ponte Vedra Sharks and the Jacksonville Nuts this weekend. Saturday, the Royals split a double header at Davis Park with the Sharks losing the first 8-1 and rebounding in the second with a 3-0 shutout.

The Sunday 9-inning game with the Jax Nuts produces more than a little excitement. Kevin Coville starts for the Royals and holds the Nuts to a 2-2 tie at the end of five innings. Then the fireworks start. The seesaw high-scoring affair in which the Royals just keep fighting back still finds the Royals trailing 13-12 in the bottom of the 9th. The drama builds as The Royals load the bases with two outs. Spencer Brown stands in and singles driving in the tying run. Then,  Elliott Warford pops a single over the shortstop's head driving in the wining run and lifting the Royals spirits with one of the more exciting finishes of the season. Now, that's fun! Royals 14 - Nuts 13.



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Sunday, June 3
Royals Are Headed to "The" Premier 14U Tournament - The Elite Battle In The South

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Travel Ball Select

Fifty (50) select 14U teams, by invitation, will meet in the East Tennesse Smoky Mountains June 28 - July 1. The Jacksonville Royals will be there.

TRAVEL BALL SELECT Website says -
 Breaking News! The Battle in the South Tournament will be one of the Top events of the season at the 14u level.


Click
HERE for a complete rundown of all the teams and who Travel Ball Select thinks will win each of the ten 5-team pools.

Click
HERE for National Youth Baseball's UPDATE story on the 14U Battle in the South.

Rockwood, Tennessee is a quiet town of about 6,000 folks, nestled in the shadow of Mt. Roosevelt. The town’s motto is "the place to be in Tennessee ” and in 2007, Rockwood will become the center of the youth baseball universe for ages 11 through 14.  In the past few years, the Battle in the South has become the early season proving ground for national champions, and it’s hard to believe that the 2007 champions won’t be among the teams already planning the trip to middle Tennessee. (Quoted from the National Youth Baseball Website.)  Click
HERE for the entire story behind the tournament.

Click
HERE for the 14U "Junior Baseball" Magazine National Rankings. The Apopka Black Sox are ranked 6th in the nation, and in their last meeting with the Jacksonville Royals, the Royals won 4-2.

Click
HERE for the "Travel Ball Select" National Rankings. (Scroll down to the 14U list.) Here, the Apopka Black Sox are ranked 9th in the nation.

Click
HERE for the National USA Sports Rankings for 14U Travel Teams.

Click
HERE for the State USA Sports Rankings for 14U Travel Teams in Florida. The Jacksonville Royals are ranked #5 in Florida.

In 2005 the Royals were USSSA Florida State Champions and reached the Top 8 in the Elite 24 World Series. In 2006 they were runners-up in Florida, and reached #5 in the nation at the AAU Nationals. In 2007 the Royals are being recognized for those achievements with an invitation to the Elite Battle In The South.

This tournament presents a new reality to the 14U Royals. New eyes are watching what they are doing. The baseball world already has them on their radar. They are standing at the steps that lead up onto a national stage.
NYB (National Youth Baseball) says the finish here will determine the national rankings until late July and early August.

To borrow a phrase from William Shakespeare, "The world is your oyster". It's yours for the taking; whatever you make of it. Fourteen 14-year-old boys from Jacksonville under the capable leadership of a coach they love and admire will step onto the national stage June 28. They will come home as young men. Coach Mike Jones tells them, "If you will listen to me and do what I say, we are going to make some dreams come true."



"And I won't look back, I can go the distance.
And I'll stay on track, No I won't accept defeat.
It's an uphill slope, But I won't lose hope.
Till I go the distance, And my journey is complete.

To look beyond the glory is the hardest part,
For a hero's strength is measured by his heart."
(Hercules - Go The Distance)



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The Royals listen as Coach Jones discusses their ascention to the national stage

Sunday, June 3
Battle In The South Tee-SHIRTS Must Be Ordered Before June 10

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Battle In The South T-SHIRT FRONT

To order Tee-shirts for The Battle In The South, e-mail or call Steve Tanner right away. Deadline for turning in the order is June 10.

The shirts have the Royals listed with the other 14U teams on the back The price is $16 each. They will be delivered to the field for the first game. Order now and put the money into your team account anytime before leaving for the tournament.

Don't forget to specify the quantity and sizes that you want.

DEADLINE FOR TURNING IN ORDER IS JUNE 10TH



 


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Battle In The South T-SHIRT BACK

Field of Dreams - "Go the distance."

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"Sometimes when you believe the impossible, the incredible comes true."



James Earl Jones


Sunday, January 21
"Go The Distance" Theme [click here to listen]

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"Go The Distance"
I have often dreamed
Of a far off place
Where a hero's welcome
Would be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face
And a voice keeps saying
This is where I'm meant to be


I'll be there someday
I can go the distance
I will find my way
If I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile
Will be worth my while
When I go the distance
I'll be right where I belong


Down an unknown road
To embrace my fate
Though the road may wander
It will lead me to you
And a thousand years
Would be worth the wait
It may take a lifetime
But somehow I'll see it through


And I won't look back
I can go the distance
And I'll stay on track
No I won't accept defeat
It's an uphill slope
But I won't lose hope
Till I go the distance
And my journey is complete


But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero's strength is measured by his heart


Like a shooting star
I can go the distance
I will search the world
I will face its harms
I don't care how far
I can go the distance
TillI find my hero's welcome
Waiting in your arms...


I will search the world
I will face its harms
TillI find my hero's welcome
Waiting in your arms...



Saturday, May 26
AAU Florida State Championships - Royals KO Black Sox

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AAU Florida - Sunshine Baseball
LAKELAND, FL May 26 - (Royals 4 - Black Sox 2) Call it revenge. No, we don't believe in that. Call  it payback. Maybe. Call it justice, or call it what you will. The Black Sox are the Royals friendly rivals, always battling one another for a top spot in their age group in Florida travel baseball. Two years ago the Royals knocked the Sox out of the Super NIT. Last year the Sox came from beheind to stop the Royals from repeating as USSSA Florida State champions. This great rivalry continues. Just one week ago the Black Sox knocked the Royals out of the Super NIT and got a birth in the Elite 24 World Series. Today in the first game of a weird scenario at the AAU Florida State Championships the Royals defeat the Black Sox 4-2 in what turns out to be the knock-out punch taking the Sox out of the tournament.

It is a game to remember. With Cody Spin behind the dish, RHP Kevin Coville and LHP Matt Pennington team up in a supurb pitching performance backed up by an inspired defense. Just days out of the hospital for removal of his appendix, shotstop Garrett Ruckel leads a charged-up defense and provides a first-inning double that drives in the first run, putting the Royals ahead to stay. All of the Royals infield shines with Kenneth Byram moving to third replacing injured Perry Orth, Spencer Brown on second and Jared Stanley on first. The Royals outfield is sensational, with Toby Mereno in left, Lonnie Weets in center and Kevin Young in right. Jeff Tanner, Blaine Foster and Elliott Warford sit this one out waiting their turn in two other games to be played later in the day.

In the second game of the day with Jeff Tanner and Kevin Young on the mound and Elliott Warford behind the plate, the Royals are still playing hard but can't find their bats and fall 6-0 in a well-played no-hitter by the SWFL Dirtbags.

In the third game of the day, played Saturday night, it is lights out, literally. With Jared Stanley and Blaine Foster pitching the Royals to an 8-2 lead over the Creeks Bears in the sixth inning, the lights on the Bridgers Park field malfunction and the game is called. Although three teams have two wins, the Royals and the Black Sox are out of the tournament. The Dirtbags move on due to fewer runs allowed. This is reminiscent of the AAU Slug-a-Rama when the Royals won all three pool games, outscored their opponents 33-3 and still failed to advance in their division.

In retrospect, the Royals, Black Sox and Dirtbags, auguably three of the state's top teams, were placed together in one of two punitive pools ominously called XX and YY because they had not played the required number of regular season AAU games. As it turns out, only one of the eight XX-YY teams is allowed to advance to the playoffs, compared to half of the other teams. (Note: There were 24 teams in the Ice Division, 4 teams each in 6 pools A-B-C-D-XX-YY. The top 2 teams in A-B-C-D advanced. Only 1 team each came out of XX and YY and they had to play one another in an extra game, advancing only 1 into the playoffs. A punitive team's chance of  getting to the playoffs was reduced from 50% to 12.5% by the AAU.)

The AAU's policy raises a question. Perhaps if a team doesn't qualify, they should not be allowed to play in the tournament at all. But if the AAU accepts the money and allows a team into the tournament, then shouldn't that team have an equal opportunity to win? If every team does not have an equal chance to win, do the results have any meaning?  The AAU State 14U Championship results are as follows: 1st Wellswood Stars, 2nd Jacksonville Nuts, 3rd Tampa Bay Raiders, and 4th Manasota Meteors.

The tournament was advertised to be played at Tigertown, but two of the Royals three games were played at the substandard Auburndale Bridgers Park with rough fields, short fences, and poor lighting. On the positive side, by playing in the AAU State Championships, the Royals post a memorable WIN against the Apopka Black Sox and show they are a team to be reckoned with in Florida for the third year running. It also fulfills a requirement to play in the AAU Nationals, where the Royals ranked #5 in the nation last year, should they choose to go. CONGRATULATIONS ROYALS!!!


Monday, May 7
Royals in the Super NIT - Three Impressive Wins, Then Sox Close The Door

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USSSA SUPER NIT 2007

KISSIMMEE, FL May 20 - The Royals worked their way into the Super NIT Quarter Finals this weekend with dominant pitching, aggressive hitting and base running complimented by some spectacular defense from the outfield before running into a buzz saw Sunday afternoon.

Opening in the Astros Spring Training Osceola County Stadium with a game vs Team TPX under the lights Friday night, Kevin Coville starts and Blaine Foster saves a 3-hitter 6-5.

Saturday afternoon the Royals crank it up and it only takes Jeff Tanner 3 innings to finish his 1-hitter vs the Windemere Nationals 17-0.

Saturday night Jared Stanley starts by giving up an in-the-park home run on the first pitch; thereafter, he hurls 4 hitless innings to win this game vs Bullets Baseball 10-1.

In the first three games the Royals give up a total of only 5 hits, score 33 runs, and allow 6. There is good reason to be confident heading into the Sunday Quarter Finals with Matt Pennington on the mound. The wily Black Sox have lost two pool games, sticking to their tournament routine of saving their pitching. They barely squeeze into the Sunday playoffs by beating the Orlando Explosion in a California tie-breaker. Passionate about winning a berth to the Elite 24 World Series, the Black Sox come to play. They crowd the plate and hack at everything, and this day their balls have eyes. It is one of those days. They blank the Royals 14-0 in four innings. The Black Sox go on to win the Super NIT. Click HERE for the final results.

The Royals will try again for the Elite World Series by entering the Last Chance Super NIT in Pensacola in June. Time to get to work. As usual once school is out, you'll find the Royals on the practice field. The Summer is young and a Royal battle is shaping up. There is half a season to go before the end of July. GO ROYALS!!



Monday, May 7
Matt Pennington Hurls 4-Hitter, Knocks Out the Knights - Royals Runners-Up In Gulf Coast Clash of Titans

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#9 Matt Pennington

CLEARWATER, FL May 5, 2007 - USSSA State Coordinator Bert Holloway creates a clash of titans when the Gulf Coast Classic attracts four of Florida's top 14U teams. The Central Florida Knights, SWFL Dirt Bags, Winter Park Wildcats and the Jacksonville Royals meet for a slimmed down tournament of USSSA Major teams that has no good, better best...just cream of the crop. There are certainly more than four good teams in Florida, ie. Manasota Meteors and Apopka Black Sox, but there are no second tier teams at this contest.


After dropping two hard fought games in Saturday's pool play 8-4 Knights and 8-6 Dirt Bags, the Royals wake up Sunday morning as 4th seed. This places them squarely against #1 seed CF Knights. With Cody Spin behind the dish, the Royals' Matt Pennington promptly hurls an impressive 4-hitter, going the distance to knock the Knights out of the tournament 5-1 and putting the Royals into the championship finals.


The Royals lead the seesaw championship contest vs the Winter Park Wildcats most of the game, at least when it isn't tied, but fall behind at the end settling for 2nd place with a 7-4 loss. Jeff Tanner, Kevin Coville, and Jared Stanley work the mound for the Royals with Elliott Warford behind the plate. It is a good game and a great warmup for the USSSA Super NIT coming up week after next, a qualifier for the Elite 24 World Series.



Sunday, April 29
The Jacksonville Royals - Quintessential Boys of Summer

The Jacksonville Royals have played 25 games including four tournaments since beginning the 2007 season in March. They do not play Fall ball. During this developmental phase of the season there are more important considerations than a dogged determination to win every game; however, the team still has a .500 + winning record.

After traveling to St. Petersburg next weekend for the USSSA Gulf Coast Classic, the Royals will then, and only then, start their Summer stretch. After competing in four tournaments in March and April and one the first week of May, there will still be 9 tournaments to go in May, June and July.

According to the current schedule, the Royals are resting on Sunday, May 13, which is Mother's Day. Then, coinciding with the last day of school in St. Johns County May 18 (Duval lets out May 25) the Royals wade into the tall grass. May 18-20 is the FLORIDA SUPER NIT in Kissimmee. This is the first of two opportunities to win a berth in the USSSA Elite 24 World Series. The second comes June 15-17 in Pensacola. Only the champion moves on to the Elite 24.

Peaking at the right time is something the Royals have been rather adept at doing. Both in 2005 and 2006 they placed number 1 or 2 in Florida and Elite 8 in the nation either in the USSSA or the AAU.

Pack your bags. The Royals July campaign includes five tournaments, beginning with the USSSA Northeast State Championship at home in Jacksonville, then they hit the road with the Florida Elite 12 Championship and the Firecracker Classic both in Leesburg, the AAU Nationals in Sarasota and hopefully the following week at the USSSA Elite 24 World Series in Orlando. The Royals already have a berth in the AAU Nationals by virtue of their 5th place finish in 2006, but still must qualify for the Elite 24.

With a 50 + game schedule still ahead of them, Head Coach Mike Jones' Jacksonville Royals are patiently building toward another successful season. The Royals are the quintessential Boys of Summer, and Summer begins May 18.



Monday, April 30
Royals Awarded Berth in USSSA Florida Elite 12 Championship - Dates Change - Reprint Schedule

Who's Who of Competitive Baseball In Florida...
Florida's Elite 12 Championship Will Tell It All!

USSSA Assistant State Director Bert Holloway announces that the Jacksonville Royals  have been awarded an at-large berth in the USSSA Florida Elite 12 Championship. NOTE: The tournament dates have been changed to July 5-6-7-8, switching with the Firecracker Classic, which will now be held July 13-14-15. Both events are in Leesburg, FL. 

THROW AWAY YOUR OLD SCHEDULE AND REPRINT. You can print the "schedule" from the Website menu, the "calendar" from the Website menu, or get a more detailed schedule from "handouts" on the Website menu.

Congratulations Royals for another "elite" accomplishment !


I N T R O D U C I N G The 2007 14U JACKSONVILLE ROYALS


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Sunday, April 15
Sludge-a-Rama: A Grade B Mystery Thriller With A Happy No-ending

                       Sub-title: "TIME OUT - BEE ATTACK!"
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          "BASEBALL UNDER THE LIGHTS - THE AM VERSION"


Sorry, this drama ended so abruptly there are no pictures.

Its Saturday afternoon April 14, 2007. The Jacksonville Royals are playing the Cat 5 Hurricanes at Braden River Park in Bradenton, Florida. Toby Moreno in left field hears Lonnie Weets in center field yelling something like "Watch out!". Toby thinks there must be a snake in the grass. He's looking down. "Look up!" Lonnie screams. "Bees!"

Unpires, coaches and fans are wondering why without warning two players in the outfield start running for their lives. "What the....?" ... Bees!!!. "Time Out - Bee Attack!" Now the bees are headed for third base. A giant swarm of hundreds and hundreds of bees has made its way over the left field fense, headed for the third base dugout. Now Perry Orth at third and the entire Royals infield are in full retreat to say nothing of the Cat 5 Hurricanes in total panic, fighting to get out of the dugout. The Bees are not attacking but swarming and slowly move out of the playing field and go away. Never has anyone present seen anything quite like that.
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Boys everywhere dream of playing baseball under the lights. But this is not what they had in mind. It's 6:30 AM at Lakewood Ranch High School. A small cadre of cars makes its way through the dark and approaches the bright lights ahead. The field crew has the baseball field in perfect shape, lines marked and ready for the 7:30 AM start of the Royals vs Venice Barracudas. "Baseball under the lights - The AM Version". Somebody please make a coffee run.
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Sludge-a-Rama: A Grade B Mystery Thriller With A Happy No-ending.
This story has a little bit of everything. Soon after the Royals win their early morning game the skies open up with lightning and a deluge floods the fields. The Sludge-a-Rama is postponed.

One might deduce from the foregoing events that travel ball is sometimes not everything it's cracked up to be. Not so this weekend. As it turns out, it is a new dawning for the 14U Jacksonville Royals. Three games. Three wins. Two shutouts. 33 runs scores, 4 runs allowed. After the first game Head Coach Mike Jones asks, "Who are these guys? Where have they been? I don't know what you did or what you ate before this game, but, keep doing it!"
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It's Saturday morning, 7:45 AM at Pirate City. The Royals take the field with an air of confidence, not arrogance, but with a sharp look, best described as professional. And soon they back it up. Indeed, the first pitch to leadoff hitter Lonnie Weets is a stand-up double. The first pitch to shortstop Garrett Ruckel, aother stand-up double with an RBI. It goes on. Everybody hits! The Gulf Coast Tide goes out in 4 innings 12-0 before the umpires even realize the "run rule" is in effect, ending the game. Kevin Coville starts and finishes for the win.

Three hours later at Braden River Park the Royals take the field again, this time vs the Cat 5 Hurricanes. Same result. Four innings and 18 runs later the Royals "run rule" the canes 18-4. Spencer Brown starts for the win and Jeff Tanner closes.

Sunday morning 7:30 AM at Lakewood Ranch vs the Venice Barracudas. The Royals look sharp in spite of the hour. Against better pitching the Royals collect 3 runs on 4 hits and demonstrate stellar defense to take a shutout 3-0 as time expires. Blaine Foster starts and gets the win and Kevin Coville closes for the save.

"A Happy No-ending" - The tournament is called due to rain, but that doesn't dampen the spirits of the Royals and their fans. The 2007 14U Royals have arrived. The genie is out of the bottle. And it's fun!
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The AAU Slug-a-Rama is a unique event in that it first combines the Ice and Fire Division participants, totalling 29 this year; then, after two pool games, re-organizes them into three brackets called Ice, Fire, and Matrix based solely on "runs allowed". A team allowing less than 4 runs takes first seed out of the Royals' pool and goes to the Ice bracket. The Royals go to the Fire bracket in spite of winning both games, scoring 30 runs and giving up only 4.

The Royals are registered with the AAU as an "Ice" team, the AAU Sunshine Sports designation for the most competative teams in the state. The "Fire" division is for teams that desire less competition for reasons of positive development. Most AAU touranments are divided into Ice and Fire and the two never play against one another; however, the Slug-a-Rama combines the two.

The rain-out is perhaps another mercy win for the Royals. Going home rather than playing for a trophy that nobody wants is probably the best thing to happen. The Royals accomplish everything they could have hoped for this weekend without even finishing the tournament. There seems to have been a sudden metamorphosis into what they've been working toward. Now, they're on their way! 

GO ROYALS!



Sunday, April 1
From April Fools Day to Friday the 13th - Royals Head to Bradenton for the AAU Slug-a-Rama

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McKechnie Field, Bradenton, FL, Spring Training Center for the Pittsburg Pirates

April Fools Day was not so kind to the Royals, so how about we move on to Friday the 13th?

The Royals put on their traveling shoes and head down to Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida, on Friday the 13th for the 2007 AAU Slug-a-Rama. Here is what the USSSA Website had to say about the Royals appearance there in 2006:

Kind of a "semi" unknown team with the 20th seed in the Slug-a-Rama, this team wound up placing 4th in that tournament and then earned the 3rd seed out of pool play at the Super NIT by winning a one run game over Manasota. They were then knocked out with a one run loss to Apopka. They have a great lefty pitcher. But looking at the scores of recent games, they seem to have good, but not overwhelming run production. This team is one or two players short from a state championship.

As it turned out, the Royals did indeed play in the USSSA Florida State Championship and were leading in the championship game when, who will ever forget, a freak accident downed  left fielder Blaine Foster, allowing the Apopka Black Sox to move ahead and win.

The AAU Slug-a-Rama will attract top competition and provide excellent facilities at Pirate City, the Spring Training grounds for the Pittsburg Pirates.
(Click HERE for a map of Bradenton showing the locations for the Shorewalk, Pirate City, Braden River Park, Lakewood Ranch and McKechnie Field.)



Sunday, April 1
Royals Place 3rd in Triple Crown Journey to the Stars - Fall to Champions Orlando Explosion in Semi-Finals

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Royals warm up for the Triple Crown Journey to the Stars semi-final game.
ALBERT FIELD, MANDARIN, FL Sunday, April 1 - Gainesville Bats Scheduling Snafu - Forfeit Moves Rested Royals Into Semi-Finals. It could have been an April Fools joke on the Gainesville Bats! Their game was not at 11:30 like someone told them at Baseball World. It was at 9:00 AM at MSA vs the Jacksonville Royals. No matter, it was printed on the official games/brackets schedule. Thus, for failing to show up, the Bats forfeit the game and are out of the tournament.

By virtue of the forfeit and the bye for being second seed, the rested Royals move into the semi-finals. They play the winner of the Jacksonville Nuts vs Orlando Explosion game which turns out to be the Orlando Explosion who get a walkoff home run mercy rule victory over the Nuts.

SEMI-FINAL GAME: EXPLSION 4 - ROYALS 2
In the semi-final game between the Royals and the Explosion, which is a rematch of last year's championship game, the Royals hold the Explosion to only four runs, but fail to produce enough runs of their own. 

Garrett Ruckel starts on the mound for the Royals with Cody Spin behind the dish. The Explosion jump out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. After that the Royals shut them down with Kevin Coville in relief throwing two excellent scoreless innings and then Blane Foster takes over to do the same. The Royals even find their bats long enough to score two runs and create other opportunities. Take Jared Stanley's sharply hit line drive to right field for example. But two runs is all they get and that isn't enough. Final: Explosion 4 - Royals 2.


Saturday, March 31
Royals Seeded #2 In Triple Crown Journey to the Stars - To Play Gainesville Bats Sunday 9:00 AM at MSA

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Royals Placed 2nd in 2006
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ORANGE PARK, FL March 31 - The Royals come out swinging in the early morning second game of the Triple Crown Journey to the Stars and post a five-run advantage in the first inning. Jared Stanley takes the mound for the Royals and does a fine job holding the C.C.B. Prospects from Savannah, Georgia, to only one run for four innings. The Prospects are stymied as the lefty Stanley picks off not one, but two of their runners in one inning.

The Royals defense looks mature with a diving infield catch by Kenny Byram and Perry Orth with a diving stop, stand-up and throw to first for the out. The infield does yoeman's work. Not many balls reach the outfield. Spencer Brown takes the mound for the final two innings and holds the Prospects to only two more runs, while the Royals add three more for a final score of 8-3.

ROYALS NUMBER 2 SEED OUT OF 13 TEAMS
The Manasota Meteors are seeded #1 by virtue of two wins and a 14 run differential. The Royals take two wins with a 12 run differential for the #2 seed. The Orlando Explosion is seeded 3rd. The top three seeds draw a Saturday night "bye" and don't play until Sunday morning. The Gainesville Bats defeat the NF Hurricanes 14-5 in their Saturday night game to advance to the quarter final game against the Royals.

NEXT GAME: SUNDAY 9:00 AM VS GAINESVILLE BATS AT MSA FIELD #1
Royals will play the winner of the #7 vs #10 game.

Alberts Field (MSA) Off Orange Picker Road 
12073 Brady Road 
 Jacksonville, Florida 
Driving Directions:
Take I-95 to I-295, take exit 5 (if you are headed South) or exit 5B (if you are headed North) onto San Jose Blvd (State Rd 13). Head south 1.5 miles to Orange Pickers Rd (1 Light past McDonalds and Taco Bell). Turn right and go west 1.5 miles to Brady Rd. Alberts Field (MSA) is at the intersection of Orange Pickers Rd and Brady Rd.



Friday, March 30
You Haven't Seen Everything If You Didn't See This

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Triple Crown Journey to the Stars
ORANGE PARK, FL March 30, 2007 - Fromhart Park, site of the Triple Crown Journey to the Stars 14U games for the Jacksonville Royals, will go down as the location of one of the most unusual games ever played in Royals lore. Appropriately, there is a misty rain throughout the game. Assistant Coach Randy Gainey guides the Royals, absent a head coach and a couple of players, to a big victory in their first game of this annual event.

In a six-plus inning California tie breaker the Royals start from behind (0-1) , work their way in front (4-1), give it away (4-4), establish a comfortable lead (11-6), give it away, and end in a tie (11-11), only to explode to a huge lead (20-11), and hold it for a 20-12 win over the bewildered Creeks Kodiaks.

Jeff Tanner starts and goes three innings and Blaine Foster comes in for two innings. Each starts very strong and then runs into problems as the Kodiaks tie the score twice. Kevin Coville takes the mound for the tie breaker and closes out throwing strikes and ground balls holding the run differential to 8 which is one more than than the 7 maximum allowed for seeding.

The Royals have some really nice defensive moments, but the Web Gem of this game easily goes to Toby Moreno for a long trip into the right center field hole finished off with a flying horizontal catch.

Perhaps the strangest play of the game is a heads-up tag made by Spencer Brown on a Kodiak runner who is called safe at second base, but who, being convinced he was out, stands up and starts walking back to the dugout. Spencer alertly chases him down and makes the tag.

The Royals bats grow more menacing to the Kodiaks as the game progresses. None more so than Elliott Warford who goes 4 for 4, including one bunt for a hit to lead off the tie-breaker. He also gathers a walk, getting on 5 for 5. Toby Moreno goes 3 for 3 plus a walk and one reached-on-an-error, also getting on 5 for 5.

If the stats were available I'm sure they would show that up and down the order the Royals bats are on fire in the tie-breaker segment. Take Cody Spin's base clearing 3-RBI triple, for example. The Royals deliver not only a win after a having a big scare, but doing it convincingly, and with more than the seven-run differential needed to give them the maximum advantage for seeding.

Most importantly, the Royals do not fold after letting a five run advantage slip away. When the tie-breaker begins, the Royals are playing at the top of their game, executing, swinging aggressively, hitting the ball hard. Offense is what Head Coach Mike Jones asked of his Royals this week, and offense they delivered...20 runs. GO ROYALS!


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Good Game - Royals vs Nuts
Sunday, March 25
And How Could You Not Be Pleased With That?

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Execution
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JACKSONVILLE, FL March 25, Bolles HS - It is a picture-perfect day in the beautiful treed surroundings of the Bolles High School baseball field, and how could you not be pleased with how the Royals play today? And the Coach tells them so. In almost errorless ball with sound pitching, hitting, and fielding, the Royals take the first game of a 3-way double header from the Creeks Bears 3-1, and then the hitting gets stronger in their 9-2 victory over the Jacksonville Nuts in the second game. One can't help but notice...some of the magic is back.

The Royals use three pitchers in each game. On the mound facing the Bears are Blaine Foster and Spencer Brown with Kevin Coville closing. Then, throwing against the Nuts are Matt Pennington and Garrett Ruckel, with Jared Stanley closing. Elliott Warford and Cody Spin alternate behind the dish.

For the Royals Cody Walters and Jeff Tanner work first base, with Kenny Byram and Kevin Coville on second. Garret Ruckel and Spencer Brown share short, and Perry Orth holds down third.

The Royals outfield is covered flawlessly by Kevin Young and Jared Stanley in right field, Toby Moreno and Lonnie Weets in center, and Blaine Foster and Matt Pennington in left.

The Web Gem of the day goes to shortstop Garrett Ruckel for a run-saving over-the-shoulder catch in shallow center and a quick throw to third base for the inning-ending double play.  Honorable Mention must go to Lonnie Weets for a diving grass-top catch in center field.

The Royals are known for clutch hitting and situational execution. Today it shows. Coach Mike Jones directs the traffic as time after time the Royals hit the ball where they should... bunts, line drives, opposite field grounders and up the middle. The Royals score two by two in four of the first six innings and cap it off with a 9th run in the 7th.

With Assistant Coach Randy Gainey's help coaching at first base, the Royals run the bases well, taking advantage of every opportunity to push forward without any obvious miscues.

And it bears repeating...all six pitchers for the Royals do an excellent job today, laying the groundwork for the Triple Crown Journey to the Stars tournament coming up next weekend in Jacksonville. Last year the Royals were runners-up in the Journey, and the defending champion Orlando Explosion will be back. Don't miss it.



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Two by Two - Royals vs Nuts in 2nd Game of 3-Way Double Header

Sunday, March 11
Pat Thomas Stadium, Leesburg, FL - USSSA Shootout at Sleepy Hollow


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Coach and Crew

Sunday, March 4
Royals "Looking Better" - Tie One, Win One vs Ponte Vedra Sharks In Sunday Double Header

JACKSONVILLE, FL - March 4, 2007 - On a spectacular, comfortable, sunny day under really blue skies, the Royals host the Ponte Vedra Sharks in the Royals second outing of the season. The first game ends in a 4-4 tie. In the second game the Royals begin to show signs of their old finesse winning 4-0.

In the first 7-inning affair the Sharks get on the board first. The Royals come back to take a 4-1 lead, then the Sharks scrap back, taking advantage of a couple of untimely Royals bobbles and tie the score in the 6th 4-4, and that's the way it ends.

On the mound for the Royals, all doing a fine job, are Matt Pennington, Jeff Tanner, and Blaine Foster. Cody Spin goes the distance behind the dish.

The second game is a different story. Showing signs of rejuvenating their defensive finesse, reaching deep into the pitching staff and batting more aggressively with some timely, well-placed shots, the Royals score 4 runs on 9 hits while holding the Sharks to a 2-hit shut-out.

On the mound sharing the 2-hit performance are Jared Stanley and Spencer Brown. Then Kevin Coville takes over to close out  and delivers a quick 3 up - 3 down sequence in the 7th. Elliott Warford starts behind the plate in the second game, moving to 3rd to replace Spencer Brown when he moves to the mound, both standing in for the ailing Perry Orth.

For the afternoon Cody Walters and Jeff Tanner share first base duties. Second baseman Kenny Byram shifts to third temporarily, then back, while sharing the position with Kevin Coville. Garrett Ruckel has a solid performance at short.

The Sharks poke a pop fly into shallow center field while three Royals players hold a committee meeting about who will catch it, with no decision being made; otherwise, the outfield gives their usual exciting athletic performance. Sharing outfield assignements are Toby Moreno, Lonnie Weets, Kevin Young, Blaine Foster, Jared Stanley and Matt Pennington.

"Looking better", remarks Head Coach Mike Jones. Assistant Coach Randy Gainey quietly goes about his business directing traffic at first base.

Next week the Royals Road Show heads south to Leesburg for the USSSA Shootout at Sleepy Hollow. See the tournament story below for links to the park, motel, city and team information. GO ROYALS!


Thursday, March 1
First Tournament of 2007 - USSSA Shootout at Sleepy Hollow - Mar 9-11 - Leesburg, FL

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Click headline or logo for tournament Website. Leesburg is between Ocala and Orlando. Mapquest shows a route down I-95, US 1 to Bunnell, 11 S, 40 W, 19 S, 44 W and finally 441 W into Leesburg. It is 135 miles, about 2 1/2 hours.

To see a list of the 14U teams entered in the tournament, click HERE.   

The location of Sleepy Hollow Recreation Complex in Leesburg is on "Locations" on the top menu, or click HERE.

For information on the city of Leesburg, click HERE.

Lodging arrangments are being made by Tony Brown. You will be contacted by this weekend to find out who is going and who is sharing rooms.For information on the motel where rooms are blocked for Royals, click HERE.

The pools have not been set. Even so, the Royals should not have to play Friday night, but may play early on Saturday; therefore, rooms have been reserved for Friday and Saturday nights.



Sunday, February 25
Cashing In On The Opportunities - Or Not

JACKSONVILLE, FL - Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007 - It is the Royals first outing of the new 2007 14U season. On a warm, mostly cloudy but pleasant February afternoon the Royals host a 3-way double header with the Winter Park Wildcats and the Creeks Bears. The Royals mighta, shoulda, coulda won both games... but didn't. No particular reason. There is a mixture of good plays, a few really great ones, and only a few not so good. Actually there are very few miscues for it to be so early in the season.

Mostly, the Royals have opportunities that just don't pan out... situations that fizzle; however, after dropping the first game 7-1 to a  hard-hitting Wildcats team, the Royals do charge back from a 6-0 deficit in the last two innings of the second game to come within one run of tying the Bears. The Bears escape with a 6-5 win, but the Royals show their metal.

In a typical season opener, Coach Mike Jones looks at almost his entire pitching staff, uses all his players, sometimes switching positions, and tests the waters. The object is always to win, but on this day there are also other things to accomplish.

In addition to their defensive play, Matt Pennington, Blaine Foster, Jared Stanley, and Garrett Ruckel take the mound in the first 7-inning game with the Wildcats. Kevin Coville, Jeff Tanner, and Spencer Brown share pitching duties in the second game against the Bears. Cody Spin and Elliott Warford trade off behind the dish. Sharing defensive assignments with the seven pitchers, Perry Orth, Kenny Byram, and Cody Walters solidly anchor the infield, with Toby Moreno, Lonnie Weets and Kevin Young covering the outfield with more than a little speed. 

The Royals show good pitching and defensive depth but less than the needed run production to win today. The games turn out to be fun, and fun to watch. All in all a good start.

The Wildcats and the Bears square off to a 4-4 tie in their mid-afternoon game. Both teams seem to show signs of physical and pitching fatigue in their second games, symptoms that do not plague the Royals, demonstrating the depth they bring to the table.

Next weekend the Royals host another double header at Episcopal, this time with the Ponte Vedra Sharks. Game times are Sunday at 1:00 and 3:30 PM. The team will practice on Saturday starting at either 9:00 AM or noon. Time to be announced.


Saturday, February 24
You've Seen The Winter Park Wildcats - As The Maitland Little League All Stars on ESPN

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Dante Bichette, Jr. in 2005
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JACKSONVILLE, FL - Sunday, February 25, 2007 - U P D A T E
As it turns out only two players on the Winter Park Wildcats played on the Maitland All Stars in the Little League World Series, Dante Bichette, Jr. and Mike Tomlinson.
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Recognize these eyes? Chances are you do. You saw them peering over his glove again and again on ESPN as Dante Bichette, Jr. son of former Major League Baseball player Dante Bichette, threw a four-hitter with eight strikeouts in a sterling performance pitching his Maitland Little League team to the SE Little League Championship vs Buckhead, Georgia, in 2005 propelling them into the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

After beating Iowa and Pennsylvania in the Quarter Finals then falling to eventual World Champions Hawaii, Maitland was knocked out of the World Series in the Semi Finals by Vista, California; nonetheless, it was a great ride to the mountaintop and you can't take that away from them.  We know nothing of what this team did in 2006, or how intact they have remained, but they are reincarnated as the Winter Park Wildcats and will be hosted by the Jacksonville Royals in an exciting season opener this Sunday at Episcopal HS. Don't miss it! Come welcome the Wildcats. Start time 12:00 noon. Concessions available.



Saturday, February 17
Let The Games Begin - 2007 Schedule Released (Updated 3-16-07)

Royals R icon Who will emerge as the 14U team to beat in Florida? If the Jacksonville Royals hit the game field with the same intensity as they practice, they could very well move into position to vy for that honor. The dads who stay around to watch the practice sessions seem to think this team is developing into something like they have never seen before.

Royals R icon HOW DO I GET THE SCHEDULE - 3 Different Ways
1. Click Schedules on the top menu
2. Click Calendar on the top menu
3. Click Handouts on the top menu and download the 2007 Schedule (Word document)

Royals R icon Season Summary: (As of 2-20-07)
·             Playing season = 23 weeks. 
·             Double Headers  5. (Episcopal 2, Jacksonville Area 2, Longwood 1)
·             Tournaments  14 ( USSSA 10 – AAU 3 – Triple Crown 1) Total tournament fees per player est. $375
·             Weekends Off 4 – Weekends Open 1
·             Locations: Jacksonville 3 – Leesburg 4 – Tampa Bay Area 4  – Orlando/Kissimmee 2 – Pensacola 1

Royals R icon ROYALS OPEN AT HOME WITH 3-WAY DOUBLE HEADER - SUN FEB 25
The Royals crank up the 2007 show a little earlier than expected. They open this Sunday, February 25 with a 3-way double header at home vs the Winter Park Wildcats at noon and the Creeks Bears at 4:00 PM . The Bears play the Wildcats at 2:00 PM. (Creek Bears Web link is
http://www.creeksbaseballclub.com/ . Concessions will be available. For the convenience of our guests, see map to Episcopal High School by clicking on "Locations" on the top menu.

Royals R icon March action begins with another double header at home vs the Ponte Vedra Sharks. Game time at Episcopal is Sunday, March 4 at 1:00 PM.

Royals R icon ROAD SHOW BEGINS WITH ONE TOURNAMENT IN MARCH - Leesburg
The Royals Road Show pulls out of town on March 9 headed to Leesburg, Florida, for the 1st of 14 planned tournaments, the USSSA Shootout at Sleepy Hollow II. The following two weekends are off due to Spring Break in St. Johns and Duval counties.

Royals R icon DOUBLE HEADER ADDED with Jacksonville Nuts March 25
The Royals will travel across town to take on the new Jacksonville Nuts in a Sunday Double Header, March 25 at 1:00 and 3:30 at Bolles High School.


Royals R icon ROYALS GOLF TOURNAMENT - DATE TBA)
We need every family to fully participate in selling sponsorships and signing up golfers for the Royals Annual Golf Tournament planned for April. Trying for a three-peat as tournament champions will be Coach Mike Jones' team.

Royals R icon THREE TOURNAMENTS IN APRIL - 1 in Jacksonville, 1 in Lakeland or Bradenton, and 1 in Leesburg
March 30-April 1 is the Triple Crown Journey to the Stars Tournament in Jacksonville followed by a weekend off for Easter. Then April 13-15 is the AAU Slug-A-Rama in Lakeland or Bradenton, followed April 20-22 by the Conference USSSA Florida State Championships in Leesburg.

The last weekend in April serves up a couple of doubles headers. The Royals play the Creeks Bears at Swiss Point Middle School on Saturday, April 28. Then on Sunday, April 29 travel down to Longwood north of Orlando for a three-way double header with two top teams, the Central Florida Knights, who won the AAU Fall State Championship, and the Patriots.  The Central Florida Knights Web link is http://eteamz.active.com/centralflaknights/

Royals R icon THREE TOURNAMENTS IN MAY - St Petersburg, Kissimmee and Lakeland or Bradenton.
Mother's Day is Sunday, May 13, and there are NO games scheduled. School is out May 18 in St. Johns and May 25 in Duval. All three May tournaments are out of town. The Royals will warm up with the USSSA Gulf Coast Classic May 4-6 in St. Petersburg before taking a shot at qualifying for the USSSA ELITE 24 World Series by playing in the USSSA Florida Super NIT in Kissimmee May 18-20. A week later the big tent moves down the road to Tiger Town in Lakeland or Pirate City in Bradenton for the AAU Florida Stte Chapionships May 25-27.

Royals R icon THREE TOURNAMENTS IN JUNE - Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Jacksonville
School is out and Summer is heating up. The Royals kick off June with the USSSA Summer Kick-Off Classic in Jacksonville June 1-3. The following weekend is open. Then after a Tuesday, June 12 double header at Ponte Vedra Davis Park vs the Sharks, for the first time ever the Royals travel across Florida to Pensacola to face off in the USSSA Super NIT June 15-17, which is another chance to qualify for the Elite 24 World Series, if needed; otherwise, it will be a venture in search of the toughest competition they can find. June 23-24 is an open weekend for the Royals to rest up for the big July Campaign. For a July warm-up the Royals will play in the USSSA Northeast Florida Championships in Jacksonville June 29-July 1.

Royals R icon FOUR TOURNAMENTS IN THE JULY CAMPAIGN - "GOING THE DISTANCE"
 Then the "Campaign" begins. From July 6 through August 5, provided the Royals go the distance to the Elite 24 World Series, they will sleep in their own beds only 8-9 nights. First there is the USSSA Firecracker Classic and Festival in Leesburg July 6-8. Followed the next weekend July 12-15 by the USSSA Florida Elite 12, also in Leesburg.

The AAU Nationals begin in Sarasota July 20 and end on July 28, one day before the Hallalujah Goal - The USSSA Elite 24 World Series at Disney World July 29 thru August 5. Unlike last year, the boys will then have a couple of weeks to throw back and relax before school begins. Is is too much? For us or for them? Well, this is not about us, it's all about them, now. It's about honing skills, building character and endurance, staying "hooked up", and getting to the next level. It's about being passionate about something. It's four little words that make dreams come true - "I live for this!".

Royals R icon There's a good feeling in the air. The Coach is fired up, the team chemistry is gellin', everything seems good and everybody's having fun. GO ROYALS! We believe you can "Go The Distance" in 2007. 

NOTES: For links to the AAU, USSSA, and TRIPLE CROWN Web sites, click "Links" on the top menu. Also, remember that until school is out, every effort will be made to switch any Friday night games to Saturday.

SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE - CHECK WEBSITE REGULARLY FOR UPDATES



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Gators Playing in Jacksonville


The Florida Gators Baseball Team will play FSU on Tuesday evening, April 3, 2007, at the Jacksonville Sun's Ballpark. Game time 7:00 PM. Tickets are currently on sale and may be purchased through the Sun's Box Office by calling 904-358-2846.


Ticket prices are:
Dugout Box Seats:   $15.50 each
Home plate Reserved Seats:   $12.50 each
General Admission:  $8.50



Thursday, February 22
It May Not Be New News, But Did You Know - The Royals Are Pre-Qualified for 2007 AAU NATIONALS

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AAU Letter
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The paperwork and payment have been submitted to continue the Royals Level 3 membership in the AAU as a tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, and to Sunshine Sports, the Florida AAU league; therefore, player insurance will be provided through the AAU and the Royals will be able to take advantage of what they achieved last year.

Because of their Elite 8 finish in the 2006 AAU Nationals in Myrtle Beach, the Royals automatically qualify for the 2007 AAU Nationals,  provided the district requirements are met. Steps are being taken to put the Royals in position to once again participate in the AAU Nationals scheduled in 2007 for July 20-28 in Sarasota, Florida.

Congratulations, again, Royals!



IT HAS BEGUN - First Practice Held - Roster Expands to 15 - MEET THE NEW ROYALS

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Head Coach Mike Jones
At the first team/parent meeting and practice held Saturday, January 27th at Episcopal High School, Head Coach Mike Jones tells the 2007 14U Royals and their families that "... as planned, the roster expands to 15. We are growing stronger and deeper and after two great seasons, you can look forward to a successful season that will be even more fun."

The Royals welcome Spencer Brown of Ponte Vedra Beach and Lonnie Weets of the East Arlington area of Jacksonville, both formerly of the Jacksonville Heat, and Cody Spin of Lake City and Matthew Pennington of Live Oak, both formerly of the Manasota Meteors. We also welcome Mom, Dad, brothers and sisters and look forward to sharing a lot of great times.

Gear up for more games, more picnics, and more fun than ever before coming in 2007. Once the season begins, it will be busy, and once school is out, it will be...Summer, and you know what that means. The new Royals Road Show rolls out in March. Once released, the games and practice times will appear at the top of this "home" page automatically updating to show the next seven days. To view or print a complete schedule, after it is released, click "Calendar" or "Schedules" on the top menu. For a "Working Draft" of the game schedule, click "Handouts" on the top menu. GO ROYALS!


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Saturday, January 20
Randy Gainey Returns as Royals Assistant Coach for 2007 Season

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Asst. Coach Randy Gainey

Want some really good news? Expert infield instructor Randy Gainey returns for a second season as the Royals' Assistant Coach. Gainey enjoys a great relationship with his players and leaves them awestruck with his demonstrations of speed and agility in how to receive and deliver the baseball.

Gainey will step up to pilot the Royals in games that may conflict with Coach Jones' obligations to his defending state champion Episcopal Eagles. Welcome back Coach Gainey! That would be a unanimous YES!


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Exciting New 2007 14U Season Ahead As Royals Continue to Build

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Coach Jones discussed plans for 2007 with parents at the first team meeting.

Had you heard ...

... that the Royals are returning 11 of their 13 players from the 2006 season and adding four new players to the roster? TRUE

... that the Royals, who placed 1st or 2nd (USSSA) in Florida, plus Elite 8 (USSSA and AAU) in the nation, in both of their first two seasons, believe their best seasons lie ahead? TRUE

...that the Royals schedule may take on the look of other comtemporary championship teams whose weekends find them playing in more tournaments as opposed to regular season double headers, made possible in 2007 by the creation of several new tournament opportunities in Jacksonville and central Florida? TRUE

... that whenever possible until school is out, the Royals will try to trade out-of-town Friday night tournament games for an extra game on Saturday? TRUE

... that the Royals 2007 Game/Tournament Schedule from March through July is taking shape and may be available before the season begins? TRUE

... that a good friend of Coach Jones and also a former major league player, who is well known and respected for a lot of things, particularly his hitting instruction, may be spending some time with the Royals? NOT YET CONFIRMED

... that the Royals goal is not to win every game, but to improve as players, as persons, and as a team --- and to "go the distance" in the USSSA Elite 24 World Series. TRUE

... that the 2007 14U season will be even more enjoyable and more exciting than the first two? TRUE

Congratulations Royals on two great seasons and all the best in your third year together. May you "go the distance" and attain your hearts desire in 2007. Be safe and have fun. GO ROYALS!



Monday, December 11
The 2007 Baseball Winds Are Blowing

It's only December but already big news is brewing in the evolution of Jacksonville as a major player in the development of baseball talent in Florida and the nation. In 2006 there were eight 13U travel teams playing out of Jacksonville, led by the USSSA Florida State Champion Runners-up Jacksonville Royals, nearly repeating their state championship run of 2005 and climbing all the way into the "Elite Eight" at the AAU Nationals.

Some teams are folding, new teams are forming, and the Jacksonville Royals 2007 14U edition is solid and growing stronger under the leadership of 2006 Division III Florida State High School Championship Coach Mike Jones of Episcopal High School. The Royals have outperformed expectations both of their first two years gaining respect and recognition on both the state and national baseball stage. What's in store for 2007? More fun than you can imagine, I'm told.

The call has gone out from Coach Jones that the team will meet in January to celebrate last year's accomplishments and begin planning for the 2007 seaason. There is exciting news and the updated roster will be announced here soon. GO ROYALS!



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Episcopal HS Campus
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For Links to Tournament Organizations - USSSA, AAU, TRIPLE CROWN - Click HERE


Tuesday, June 27
Coach Mike Jones' Episcopal Eagles Win Florida 3A Baseball Title

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Click picture for Episcopal Eagles Website

By CHASE GOODBREAD, The Times-Union
SARASOTA -- Episcopal High shocked two-time defending state champion Miami Florida Christian 8-5 on Tuesday night in the Class 3A baseball championship at Ed Smith Stadium. 
And it didn't even have to swing the bats to do it.

The Eagles (19-13) scored four runs without a hit in the fifth inning, and their eight runs on only two hits for the game, as the Patriots issued walk after walk.

When reliever Clay Wright struck out Alex Marrero looking to end the game, Episcopal completed an improbable run to the state title that began with a 6-13 record and ended on a 13-game winning streak. Among those 13 wins were six elimination games.

"Lucky 13," Episcopal coach Mike Jones said. "We never stopped believing in ourselves."

NOTE: Coach Jones invites Royals to attend Eagles' Ring Banquet.

The baseball state championship ring ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. in Jacksonville University's student center Wednesday, July 12.  Tickets are $20 per person and include dinner.  Please contact coach Mike Jones at 904.396.5751, ext. 1420 to R.S.V.P. as space is limited



Sunday, March 5
The Facinating Success Story of the Jacksonville Royals First Edition

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"If they will pay attention and do what I say, we are going to make some dreams come true."  Coach Mike Jones

It started in 1996 by simply putting together an 11 and Under travel team called the Jacksonville Royals. It developed as the team stayed together with relatively few changes for the next seven years until the boys graduated from high school. His goal was to make them better baseball players and better people. Then something special happened. 

When the 18 boys who played on this first Royals team graduated from high school in 2004 and 2005, three of them were drafted by the major leagues. Two of them, Billy Butler and Eric Hurley, were first round picks.

Consider that there were only 30 players chosen in the MLB first round draft in 2005, both college (25) and high school (5). Incredibly two of those thirty were high school graduates from Jacksonville, Florida, and, yes, both were former players for the Jacksonville Royals. Another was chosen in the thirteenth round. Plus, all the others are playing on college teams, one as a walk-on, and the rest on full baseball scholarships.



In 2002 Mark Woods, sports writer for the The Times-Union wrote that in the early 80's Mike Jones was "the rising star" pitcher for the World Champion Kansas City Royals but his career was shortened by an automobile accident. Now, Jones says, he is realizing God’s calling to coach young boys and help make their dreams come true both as coach of the Episcopal High School Eagles and the Jacksonville Royals.

In 2005 a second group of outstanding 12 year old players was chosen and the second edition of Jacksonville Royals was born. They played top competition, won 59 out of 83 games, and became 2005 USSSA 12U Florida State Champions, advancing to the USSSA Elite 24 World Series, the highest level of 12U baseball in the nation.

Who knows what stories are evolving and what dreams are taking shape each time the Jacksonville Royals take the field, but every time this group of boys and this coach and his assistant step across the white line, something exciting happens. Their fierce dedication and love the game of baseball are so evident you can just tell there is something special going on right before your eyes.

GO ROYALS!

Note: To read the 2002 Times Union article about injured baseball player Brandon Coffey and Coach Mike Jones, click "Handouts" on the left menu.



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Jacksonville Royals First Edition


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Read the exciting history of the 2005 12U and 2006 13U Jacksonville Royals. Click HERE.