Founded in 1986 by Ben Stevens and still operating under his principles of ethics, discipline and class in baseball, the Warriors are among the elite in their field. Unfortunately, Ben lost his six-year battle with cancer in September of 2009. Ben’s desire was for the Jacksonville Warriors to become a program to help facilitate and develop the love of baseball in children ranging in age from 8-18 years old.
In 2009, as Ben’s health began to fail, we began to develop Ben’s vision of a baseball program. The younger children (8-12 year olds) played under the name of the Jacksonville BlueClaws until the end of the 2013 season. They acted as the Warriors “farm system.” In the Fall of 2013, the Five Star Tigers took over where the BlueClaws left off.
Quotes from Media Day:
Coach Eric Hurley: “We’ve had more ups than downs, but the kids have really matured. They’ve put everything they have into every practice and every game. It’s been a blast. They’ve stuck together. We’ve come back and won some games. These guys hang out together on and off the field. The thing that sticks out the most to me is their camaraderie as a group.
Jackson Mayo: “It’s been a pretty successful season. This year, I’ve learned to never give up. Always just stay in the game and keep my head up. We just want to play our hardest. We don’t want to take a pitch off.”
Coach Jimmy Lyons: “Offensively, we’ve been strong. We’ve won a few tournaments. Offense has been our strength. I tend to let them play and not micro-manage them. It’s a players’ game and they’ve got to play. When I see them see something on their own and they go after it, whether they make a play or make a mistake whatever it is, that’s what’s impressed me most about these guys.”
Sully Brackin: “This season has gone pretty well. Our offense has been awesome. Our defense has been okay. I’ve gotten to where I let go and have fun instead of just being super-quiet.”
“Our offense will always be there, but we have to pitch well and have good defense if we want to win.”
Coach Reggie Stewart: “This has been one of the great seasons. The parents have been awesome. The kids are really gelling.”
“This is a tight-knit group right now. We’re all about pitching and defense right now. We’re way above the level than where we started. If our pitchers hit their spots and we make the routine plays, we’ll be fine.”
“We just want to show the country what Five-Star is all about. We want to show how we develop the kids and get them to play the game the right way. We want them to respect the game. That’s what we’re here for.”
Coach Alex Martinez: “It’s been a great experience. We’ve got a great family. This has been great to watch the kids grow and learn the game on a daily basis. They’ve grown together as a family.”
Rylan Baker: “This year has been incredible. We keep on winning. Every time we go into a tournament, we make it to the championship.”
11u – DeMarini
Coach Josh Baker: “This is a very close group. We’ve gotten better and better each month.”
“Our versatility has really grown. We joke around that we could put all the names in a hat and whatever position they land on is the position they could play. We’ve got about five or six guys that can play a couple of different positions really well.”
“This is what it’s all about. We have two of the top 9u teams in the country, but they share batting cages, they coexist. The same with our 11u program. This isn’t about chasing individual trophies. It’s about building a good organization, and if you do all of that, the wins will come.”
Jackson Roper: “This season has been great. We just won a tournament in Omaha and we’ve got a lot of confidence coming in to this tournament.”
Coach Jimbo Hannah: “We always try to play the toughest teams we can play. We’ve played in some 10u tournaments this year and won those. We pride ourselves on competing and being tough.”
Tripp Hannah: “We’ve been playing really good. We’ve been hitting well and we’ve been pitching. We’ve been on fire lately. We’ve been hitting the ball all over the field and we’ve been making plays in the field.”
Coach Wes Worbington: “We want to play with strong fundamentals and have fun while we’re doing it, and we’re doing a great job of that. They have a great will to compete. They’re not losing interest, and they’re not giving up. They have a great ability to come back when they’re down.
Gabe Gonzalez: “We’ve had our ups-and-downs but we’ve been playing good lately. We just have a good time. We connect.”
“[As a pitcher] I’ve gotten better at hitting my spots, throwing offspeed pitches, and using the same motion to throw all of my pitches.”
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