This weekend is a special one for youth baseball and Sarasota County.
Suncoast USSSA Baseball will host 48 youth travel baseball teams from Idaho, Georgia, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Naples, Ft. Myers, Tampa, Clearwater, Plantation, Sebring and Lakeland who will face local teams from Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties in the USSSA President’s Cup.
Of the 48 teams, 37 are staying in Sarasota hotels for the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend, several for three and four nights. Games will be played at Ed Smith Stadium, the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex and the Central Sarasota County Little League fields at Twin Lakes Park and the Nick Lucas Baseball Complex. All games are open to the public, with admission $6 for a day pass or $10 for a weekend pass.
Suncoast USSSA Baseball has partnered with the Baltimore Orioles to provide some of these youth with the opportunity to play on the main field at Ed Smith Stadium.
This two-day tournament, which starts Saturday, will feature two All-Girls 13 and under and 14 and under baseball teams playing against the boys in their age divisions. The two girls "Dream Teams" include the very best female baseball players in the United States with players representing 11 states.
Games begin at 9 a.m. with the 13U Girls Dream Team facing the Sarasota Gap to Gap team.
The 14U Dream Team will play the Charlotte Stingrays team at 11:15 a.m.
The 14U Dream Team will then face the Florida Rage team at 1:30 p.m.
USSSA State Director William Saunders will present the Orioles with a plaque to honor the club as their MLB Partner of the Year and the Dream Team will present the Orioles with a jersey in a ceremony before the 9 a.m. game.
Another highlight of the two-day tournament is the 11 and under Elite 10 Championship.
The nine top-ranked 11U teams in Florida and the No. 1 team from Georgia will play games all weekend to determine the best team in the southeastern United States.
The local Sarasota Salty Dawgs will face teams from Atlanta, Miami, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Naple