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Despite coming up short in winning a state championship, Boca Raton Little League Senior Division All-Star manager Charlie Chiaverini couldn’t have been prouder of his group.
Boca Raton, making its first appearance in a state little league tournament in any division in the 40-year history of the program, opened the tournament losing 15-3 to the eventual state champion, North Springs. The team rebounded with an 11-8 win over Englewood before dropping an 8-5 loss to Land O’ Lakes to wind up 1-2 with a fifth-place finish.
“I was very impressed with these young fellas,” said Chiaverini, the longest-tenured volunteer in the Boca Raton program. “They were charged up. The kids played well and were composed the entire tournament. They got some great experiences.
“They had a good time in a tournament of that level and showed they belonged,” he said. “They made some great memories and nine (players) can return next year for a chance to repeat and maybe win a state championship.”
Chiaverini said nine of the players were 14 and they played against teams mostly filled with 15- and 16 year-olds. Some standout performances in the tournament came from Cameron Kennon and Brian Whitener.
“Seven or eight of these kids will play JV baseball in high school next year,” Chiaverini said. “On Sunday after the tournament, I was getting texts from parents saying, ‘Man, what a great experience, wish we would have done that.’ I believe this little run will bring older kids back to the program next year, which is great for our program.”