VSLL All-Stars win state title, raising money for trip to Southeast Regional

The Viera Suntree Little League Junior All-Stars went 4-0 at the state baseball tournament last weekend to earn a spot in the Southeast Region tournament next week in Virginia.

Fresh off winning the Juniors Baseball state championship last weekend, a group of Viera Suntree Little All-Star baseball players and their families are heading to Virginia next week to take part in the Southeast Regional … and they could use your help.

The team is set to leave for Broadway, Virginia on Aug. 3 with its first game set for Aug. 4 at 9 a.m. against South Carolina.

A GoFundMe page has been set up at https://gofund.me/31f38053 to help the team raise money to make the trip. There will be also two local fundraisers held in the coming days.

“The team has played amazing during states,” VSLL manager Nick Galluzzi wrote in an email. “We played four games. Two wins were by mercy rule and two on walk-off hits. A total team performance (and an example of) not giving up. Recognition to my coaches on all working together.

“Also (recognition to) all the parents o the players with all the (weather) delays and change of fields, supporting us all through this journey. One big team (effort) to get us to the next level at regionals.

“A GoFundMe (page) was set up to help the families who are taking off work and taking on extra expenses during these hard times. A spirit night is planned at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in Viera on Saturday (from) 3-8 p.m. and then a car wash on Sunday from 10-2 at Long Doggers in Viera. All proceeds will go to the families to help with the costs.”

Viera will be representing Florida in a seven-team tournament that includes South Carolina; North Carolina; Virginia; Tennessee; Georgia and West Virginia.

In order to get to the regionals, Viera had to win a state tournament that consisted of eight teams from around Florida in a format that featured four teams in two separate pools.

The VSLL opened the tournament in strong fashion as Kayden Dougherty threw a no-hitter and struck out six in an 11-1 win over Braden River 11-1.

Viera broke the game open with five runs in the fourth inning. Dougherty, Blaine Werkeiser, Luca Bongiovi and Zak Al-Araashi all drove in runs during the frame.

The second game in pool play proved to be quite a challenge for Viera, which trailed Palm Coast 9-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning before a two-run single on a 2-1 count by Brody Vogel drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs.

Werkeiser went 3-for-4 to lead Viera. Nick Cunningham, Owen Stacharczyk and Vogel also had multiple hits in Viera’s 10-9 victory.

Vogel also had a sacrifice bunt and Cunningham added a sacrifice fly for Viera.

Kami Potts got the start on the mound and went 3 2/3 innings for the VSLL.

The final game of pool play was another nail-biter as Viera defeated Englewood 3-2 on a walk-off error in the bottom of the seventh.

Dom Deligato went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead Viera.

Al-Arashi got the start on the mound and threw three scoreless innings, while giving up two hits and striking out four.

Viera’s 3-0 record in pool play earned the team a spot in the state championship game against the other pool winner, Largo.

That one wasn’t so dramatic.

Nathan Burrus threw six scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out six as Viera won the state title game, 10-0.

Dougherty went 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs to lead the VSLL offense. Stacharczyk also ha multiple hits for Viera, which had 11 overall.

Other players who played key roles in helping Viera get to the regionals are Brady Jensen; Derek Galluzzi; Kian Crockett and Brady Kearns.

Now, it’s off to the Southeast Region tournament with a chance to reach the Juniors Baseball Little League World Series in Taylor, Michigan which is set for Aug. 14-21.