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Date of Issue: July 21, 2005

North River American 9-10 All-Stars: Khalyd Cox, Wyatt Easterling, Eric Schappacher, Brett Vedder, Pervous Goff, Thor Miller, Tyler Williford, Cody Deans, Brian Waiters, Anthony Bellemare and Spencer Heintz. Coaches: Brad Vedder and Al Cox. Islander Photos: Kevin Cassidy
Click on image to enlarge
Wyatt Easterling snags a throw from outfielder Pervous Goff as a Manatee East player slides safely into third during North River American Little League All-Star action.
Click on image to enlarge

Former Islander helps North River American All-Star to best finish ever

Former Island resident and Anna Maria Island Little League product Wyatt Easterling is now an integral part of the North River American 9-10 Division Little League All-Star team. Easterling moved to Palmetto back in December and played for Red Hoagland Oldsmobile in the 11-12 age division for current all-star coach Brad Vedder.

Easterling had no trouble fitting in with a new group of players, according to Coach Vedder. "We love him," stated Vedder. "He's a good versatile kid who plays well wherever you put him."

During the District 26 all-star tournament at G.T. Bray Park in Bradenton, all Easterling and the rest of his North River American teammates have done is shock their competition. Much like Anna Maria's little-feared Little League program, none of the other programs in the county fear playing against Palmetto's two annual entrants into the tourney, but this year, in part because of Easterling's contributions, North River American advanced all the way to the loser's bracket finals of the double-elimination tournament.

Easterling didn't have much to say about switching leagues after he moved, though he did answer "yes" when pressed about whether he was having more fun in this year's tournament after getting waxed playing for the Anna Maria all-stars during last season's tourney at Braden River.

Easterling, along with Vedder's son Brett Vedder, formed a strong one-two punch on the mound for North River American, which was a major key to their success.  Easterling has contributed three complete-game pitching performances for North River, including an impressive five-hitter during North River's 4-2 victory over Manatee Central on July 5. Easterling also turned in complete-game performances during two losses to Manatee National, which played Manatee East for the District 26 title July 18.

Easterling and his teammates' season came to an end on Sunday, July 17, when they dropped a 10-5 decision to Manatee East. Easterling played third base and was a solid 2-for-4 at the plate to finish the tournament with a steady .275 batting average and five runs scored.

Other major contributors to the North River all-stars include ace pitcher Vedder, who doubled as the shortstop when he wasn't on the mound; third baseman and catcher Thor Miller; catcher and pitcher Eric Schappacher; Khalyd Cox, who patrolled second base; and first baseman Spencer Heintz. Centerfield was in the capable hands of Brian Waiters, who was flanked by left fielder Pervouse Goff and  Tyler Williford, Anthony Bellemare and Cody Deans, who each shared time in right field.

The District 26 tournament winners now advance to Sectional play at Braden River's baseball fields on Friday, July 22. Stay tuned.

Key Royale Golf news

Nancy Grimme's 35 led a quartet of lady golfers who shot 37 to win the low-net golf competition at the Key Royale Golf Club on Tuesday, July 12. Ruth Fowler, Sue Hookem, Teddy Morgan and Diane Miller each shot 37 to finish in second place, while Miller scored a 24 in the "tee-to-green" competition to claim first place. Roswitha Fowler and Grimme came in second in the "tee-to-green" with a score of 25.

Horseshoe winners

Bill Starrett of Anna Maria and Howe Starrett of New Jersey claimed the top spot in the July 16 horseshoe games at the Anna Maria City Hall park . The brotherly team defeated George McKay of Anna Maria and Tom Rhodes from Cortez.

Winners of the July 13 games were Rod Bussey of Kentucky and Bill Starrett of Anna Maria.

Games get underway at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday morning, and are both free and open to the public.  The park is located behind the Anna Maria City Hall building, at the corner of Gulf Drive and Pine Avenue.  Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to come and either play or watch the games.  There's ample parking and teams are drawn at random prior to the games beginning.  So come on out, have some fun and meet some of the Island residents and visitors.

Join Her-icane golf challenge

The Manatee High School Her-icanes girls' soccer team is hosting a fundraising golf tournament at the Bradenton Country Club at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27. For $100, you can test your golf skills at Bradenton's most challenging layout in a four-person scramble and help out the soccer program.

Players who register before the Aug. 1 deadline will receive a goody bag, cart and greens fees, a post-tourney banquet and guaranteed fun throughout the day. Also on tap are a straightest-drive contest, two closest-to-the-pin contests, a putting contest and raffles for tons of prizes. The field is limited to the first 100 golfers, so don't delay.

The Her-icanes are also looking for sponsors for the tournament. For $800, your business can purchase the Hat Trick package, which consists of a foursome for golf and the banquet, a tee or green sign on the course and a banner to be displayed at all Manatee Her-icane home soccer games. A golden goal sponsorship includes a foursome and a tee or green sign on the course for $500, or you can simply purchase a tee or green sign for the tournament for $175.

To sign up your foursome, list your four players and their phone numbers with a check written out to Manatee Girls Soccer Booster and mail it to me at 3610 York Drive, Bradenton FL 34205. For more information, call me, Her-icane Coach Cassidy, at 807-1105.

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