Miami Marlins RBI wins Junior Division Championship

Miami Marlins RBI has captured the Junior Baseball Division Championship of the 2014 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, winning their third overall RBI World Series baseball championship, and first in the Junior Division since 1997. Miami triumphed over Detroit Arsenal Youth Sports & Fitness RBI by the score of 8-1 in a seven-inning contest today at Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers. Miami Marlins RBI finished the tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.

 Miami starting pitcher James Spatafora was named the Most Valuable Player of the Junior Baseball Division Championship Game after he tossed 6.1 innings, allowing only one run (unearned) on two hits and striking out nine Detroit batters. At the plate, Spatafora, 16, went 1-for-3 with a double, walk and one RBI. Offensively, he finished the tournament with a .333 batting average, .867 OPS, four stolen bases and seven RBIs, which is tied for third most in the entire Junior Division. On the mound, he finished the tournament 2-0, with a 2.39 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched. Spatafora is a longstanding member of the Marlins RBI program, and, as a 12-year-old, participated in the Jr. RBI Classic with them during 2010 MLB All-Star Week in Anaheim. 

The RBI World Series, which was hosted by the Rangers for the first time, is the international baseball and softball championship tournament of the RBI program, the 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 is currently undeway at Globe Life Park in Arlington between Angels RBI (Anaheim) and Jackie Robinson-Jersey City RBI. The Senior Baseball Division Championship Game will air on MLB Network and stream on MLB.com on Saturday, August 16th at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The RBI program has provided a path for many players to enter the college and professional game. More than 200 RBI participants have been drafted by MLB Clubs throughout the program's 26-year history, and many others were given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. There have been nearly 40 RBI players selected in the 2012-2014 MLB Drafts, 27 of whom have played in the RBI World Series (between 2009 and 2013).

Since the inception of the RBI program in 1989, MLB Clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants, and more than 70 players since 2008. Alumni on MLB rosters during the 2014 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), Anthony Rendon (Washington Nationals), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees), Hector Santiago (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim), Tyler Skaggs (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) and Justin Upton (Atlanta Braves). Crawford (Houston RBI - '97), Loney (Houston RBI - '99), Crisp (LA RBI - '95, '96) and Gallardo (Fort Worth RBI - '03) have each played in the RBI World Series. 

The RBI program, which has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception, 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, while also encouraging academic achievement and success and teaching the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves approximately 230,000 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 World Series, please visit MLB.com/RBIWorldSeries.