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Boys & Girls Club of Venice RBI wins Junior Baseball Division Championship

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Boys & Girls Club of Venice RBI has captured the Junior Baseball Division Championship of the 2013 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, winning their fourth RBI World Series baseball championship in five years. Venice triumphed over Santo Domingo RBI by the score of 2-0 in a seven-inning contest today at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins and 85th MLB All-Star Game in July 2014. Boys & Girls Club of Venice RBI finished the tournament with a 5-1 record, including a 10-0 victory over Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket RBI in the semifinal round.

Boys & Girls Club of Venice starting pitcher Jay Sterner was named the Most Valuable Player of the Junior Baseball Division Championship Game after he tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout, striking out three Santo Domingo batters and walking one. He retired 19 of the 23 batters he faced and only allowed one baserunner to reach second base. He also reached safely all three times up at bat with three walks. During the tournament, he recorded a 0.70 ERA over 10 innings pitched, picking up one win and a save. At the plate, he finished with a .333 batting average and a .833 OPS, while stealing five bases, driving in two runs and scoring eight times.

The RBI World Series, which was hosted by the Minnesota Twins for the third consecutive year, is the international baseball and softball tournament of the RBI program, a Major League Baseball youth initiative designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities with the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic success, and teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. The Senior Baseball Division Championship Game will be played tonight at Target Field, beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET, between Harrisburg RBI and Tampa RBI, which is coached by former Major Leaguer Mark Whiten. The Senior Baseball Division Championship Game will air on MLB Network and stream on MLB.com on Saturday, August 10th at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Fifteen alumni from the RBI program were selected in the 2013 MLB Player Draft, including New York Mets first round pick Dominic Smith (11th overall) and Philadelphia Phillies first round pick J.P. Crawford (16th overall), who are both alumni of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice RBI program and the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton. Additional RBI alumni drafted in 2013 were Kevin Franklin (Venice BGC/UYA, 2nd round, CIN); Matt McPhearson (DC RBI, 4th round, ARZ); Cory Simpson (Houston RBI, 6th round, SEA); Tyler Mahle (Angels RBI, 7th round, CIN); Willie Allen (Boston Red Sox RBI, 16th round, WAS); Fabian Roman (Jersey City RBI, 16th round, CIN); John Slater (Detroit Arsenal RBI, 31st round, ATL); Corey Ray (Chicago White Sox RBI, 33rd round, SEA); Cory Jordan (Houston RBI, 35th round, TB); Marshawn Taylor (Chicago White Sox RBI, 35th round, SEA); Juan Avena (Venice BGC/UYA, 37th round, NYM); Ro Coleman (Chicago White Sox RBI, 40th round, CWS); and Sal Mendez (Jersey City RBI, 40th round, TEX). Eight of these RBI alumni (Avena, Coleman, Crawford, Mendez, Ray, Roman, Simpson and Smith) have participated in the RBI World Series.

RBI alumni on MLB rosters during the 2013 regular season include Michael Bourn (Cleveland Indians), Carl Crawford (Los Angeles Dodgers), Coco Crisp (Oakland Athletics), Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee Brewers), James Loney (Tampa Bay Rays), Manny Machado (Baltimore Orioles), James McDonald (Pittsburgh Pirates), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta Braves), Tyler Skaggs (Arizona Diamondbacks), Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves) and Chris Young (Oakland Athletics), among others. Dominic Smith (BGC of Venice RBI - '09/'10), J.P. Crawford (BGC of Venice RBI - '09), Carl Crawford (Houston RBI - '97), James Loney (Houston RBI - '99) and James McDonald (LA RBI - '02) have each played in a RBI World Series.

The RBI program, which is in its 25th year of operation, is administered by Major League Baseball and is designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, encourage academic achievement and success, and teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves more than 220,000 young men and women in over 300 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $30 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues. For more information about the RBI program and the 2013 RBI World Series, please visit MLB.com/RBI.

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