On Sunday night, the Venice Indians said goodbye to their 2012, 7A Florida State Championship baseball season. The team gathered at the local Elks Club to break bread, express gratitude, relive, revel and remember.
Head Coach Craig Faulkner with his captains, left to right, Mike Iorio, Kevin Guthrie and Grant Banko. (photo Brian Banko)
It was quite a week for the young men. It began on Tuesday with a parade through the City of Venice.
photo Allison Banko
Thursday was measuring day and they gathered to be measured for their hardware, State Championship rings. On Saturday eight seniors graduated and Sunday night the Indians gathered as a team, one more time!
On Monday, the Red Sox made Arizona State junior shortstop Devin Marrero their first pick in the 2012 major league draft. The 6′ 1″ 195 pound right-handed hitter is a product of American Heritage High School in Plantation Florida, a perennial Florida baseball power house. This years edition of American Heritage High lost in the State Finals 2-0 at Digital Domain Park in Port St. Lucie.
Marrero was the captain of his 2009 team which won the Florida State Championship as well as the National Championship.
They then tapped a 6′ 3″ 235 southpaw pitcher with their second pick. The University of Florida hurler came via Cocoa Beach High School in Cocoa Beach Florida.
As a senior at Cocoa Beach, Johnson was 5-1 with a 17 strikeout no-hitter to his credit. He had a 0.76 ERA with 102 strikeouts in 55 innings. He also hit .551 with nine homers and 25 RBI.
Johnson has worn a Red Sox uniform before, playing with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod League.
The first 15 rounds of the draft were completed yesterday and there will be 25 more rounds to wrap it up today. Thirty four players were drafted off the campuses of Florida High Schools. Three from Archbishop McCarthy High alone. McCarthy won their third straight Florida State Championship this year.
Many of these players are known to the “Road Warriors” of Venice High School. They have met many of them on the diamonds of Florida and in some cases played with them on Florida travel teams.
Manatee High School pitcher/first baseman Corelle Prime was tabbed in the 12th round by the Colorado Rockies, the 378th overall pick.
Prime is an old friend and nemesis to the Venice Indians squad as the Indians and Hurricanes have developed quite a rivalry during the last few seasons, playing each other as many as five times a season. Last year it was the Hurricanes who made it to the State Final Four while this year the Indians traveled there on their way to the 7A State Title.
The Venice Indians graduated eight seniors from 2012 championship squad. Not one of those eight names was called by a major league team the past two days. These guys will pursue their futures at Brown University, Eckerd College, Florida Atlantic, State College of Florida, Florida State University and more.
They leave Venice High as part of a team with a GPA of 3.3, the highest of any public school in the state of Florida’s 7A division.
Senior Michael Knott led the team with a 4.6 weighted GPA.
They leave Venice High School having played a significant part in epitomizing Head Coach Craig Faulkner’s motto of “Excellence on and off the field.” They leave Venice High School having made their community a better place by devoting time to community endeavors such as Reading Mentors, the Center for Hope, Care Autism, the Wounded Warrior Program, Challenger Baseball and more.
They leave Venice High School having come to understand the true meaning of team, coming together with each player taking on, embracing their role and executing it. They leave Venice High School knowing the possibilities and with memories of a time in their lives that will echo down through the ages.
They leave Venice High School as champions and “the world is theirs and all that is in it.”
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, June 6, 2012.