CRESTVIEW — The Bulldog 8U travel team, which formed earlier this year, has represented Crestview well, head coach David Ruschmeier said.
Team members won four out of five tournament championships this season.
The Bulldogs ended their season last weekend by winning the End of Summer Bash in Biloxi, Miss., with a final season record of 19 wins and three loses.
Two of their three losses came while finishing with a fourth-place showing in Pace at the Nations Baseball World Series, competing against teams from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
Ruschmeier expressed he was proud of the up-and-coming team.
“I’ve been around baseball a long time, a 1984 graduate and player on the State Final team led by ex-major leaguer Terry Taylor. I’m a Bulldog to the core and my wife (Cari) teaches at CHS as well,” he said. “This group of kids is something special and will be something to watch for years to come in this community. They have what it takes to compete at a high level.”
The team’s defense has been its strength, he said, adding, “We only gave up an average of four runs a game while scoring 14.”
It’s an impressive feat for the young players, the coach said.
"We are a team of all 8-year-olds with the exception of our clean-up hitter (Anthony St. Vincent, age 7). Anthony and Joe Thomas are our deep-ball threats, as they both have hit multiple home runs this year.
Through it all, parents’ support enhanced a successful season, Ruschmeier said.
"We were ... blessed with an amazing group of parents and followers that have made it so easy to coach these boys. We have the best support group possible,” he said.
The coach credited his four assistants — Tony St. Vincent, Wes Treadway, Dennis Dolce and Paul Cadenhead — for preparing the team to play.
"We would not be this successful without these men," he said.
He also thanks Bulldog baseball coach Tim Gillis for stepping up and supporting the team.
"The last nine weeks have been a ride these boys will never forget … There are many people throughout the Southeast that now know who the Crestview Bulldogs are."