After winning the Florida state championship, the Okeechobee Angels 10U All-Stars softball team wasn’t about to rest on its success.
In fact, the girls are preparing for the Texas heat they expect to encounter in the upcoming Dixie World Series from Aug. 2-7 by working hard in the Florida heat.
“We practice during the day because it’s going to be hot in Texas. You have to be prepared, be hydrated,” said Okeechobee assistant coach Cheyenne Nunez.
The Angels, whose 12-player roster has eight Seminoles, will travel to Hopkins County, Texas to vie for the World Series championship in a 10-team tournament. The strategy will have been laid out long before the team plays its first game.
“Our pitchers will be focusing on pounding the zone more,” said head coach Daniel Nunez Sr. “As for our offense, we will be working on swinging at only strikes and being more disciplined in the box. As for our defense, we have a pretty solid infield and outfield, so we will just keep practicing on making routine plays, communicating and backing each other up on every play.”
Before Daniel’s daughter Cheyenne – a former multi-sport standout at Okeechobee High School – heads off for her first season of Division I college softball at the University of South Carolina-Upstate, she hopes to guide the All-Stars to another championship win.
The team went undefeated in the state tournament in July and concluded with a nail-biting one-run victory in the championship game against Holmes County.
In the tournament opener, Okeechobee beat Springhill, 18-2, behind a complete game from Hannah Platt in the circle. Okeechobee kept the momentum going in its next game, a 10-0 win against Holmes County as Charisma Micco pitched a complete game no-hitter. In the championship, Okeechobee used a strong combined pitching effort with Melaine Bonilla and Charisma Micco to edge Holmes, 5-4.
“It was intense,” said Cheyenne Nunez, who coaches the squad alongside her dad as well as her boyfriend Eddy Gonzalez. Her younger sisters Joleyne and Daliyah play on the team.
“It was a great experience for these girls to play in a state tournament and win it,” said Daniel Nunez Sr. “We would like to thank the OCRA (Okeechobee Citizens Recreation Association) program and President Jessica Slovenski for all her help. Also a big thanks to all the parents, community, Brighton Reservation, Councilman Larry Howard and Board Rep. Helene Buster.”
Nunez also thanked his coaching staff.
“They have taught the girls a lot and it shows,” he said.
Regardless of how the team fares in Texas, the players have already earned high praise from their coaches.
“I’m extremely proud of them. They have worked so hard,” Cheyenne Nunez said.
Donations can be made to OCRA to help defray costs of the All-Stars’ trip to the World Series.
For more information contact head coach Daniel Nunez Sr. at 863-623-7733.