Here’s a glance at some of the major events the Daytona Times covered this year.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Daytona Tortugas could be gone
Major League Baseball plans to reduce its affiliations with Minor League Baseball by eliminating or relocating 42 teams. On that list is the Daytona Tortugas, a team that plays in the Florida State League a Class A high affiliate.
The Tortugas are affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds but not owned by MLB. They are owned by Ryan French, Reid Smith and Bob Fregolle.
A fight to save the Tortugas and the other franchises are underway. The measure could end 100 years of baseball at Jackie Robinson Stadium in downtown Daytona Beach. The park is named after the man who broke the color barrier in pro baseball; he did it in that same ball park in the minors a year before he did it in the majors.
Local high school teams make playoffs
Another prep season ended with Mainland, DeLand, Flagler Palm Coast, Spruce Creek, Atlantic, New Smyrna Beach and Deltona Trinity in the playoffs. Mainland and Atlantic made the second round.
Atlantic and New Smyna Beach made their first appearance since 2012. Atlantic won a playoff game for the first time since 1996. Mainland made it to the postseason for the 26th straight year.
Wildcats win ninth straight classic
Bethune-Cookman University’s Devin James intercepted a pass by Florida A&M quarterback Ryan Stanley with 1:25 left in the Florida Blue Florida Classic game to beat FAMU for the ninth year in a row.
It was B-CU’s longest string of wins in the series and they did it in front of 55,730 spectators at Camping World Stadium. The attendance was the largest since 2011.
Quarterbacks Akevious Williams and Stanley received MVP honors. Williams finished his career 4-0 in the Florida Classic. The Rattlers went 9-2 overall and 7-1 in the MEAC; they had a nine-game winning streak up until the Classic.
The Wildcats went 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the M EAC. Both teams sat atop the MEAC standings for about a little over half during the season.
Lady Wildcats make first NCAA Tournament
The women’s basketball of BCU went 21-11, won the MEAC Tournament and made their first appearance to the NCAA Tournament. It was their first MEAC tournament title since 1984. The Wildcats overcame six players missing time with knee injuries. It was their third straight 20-win season.
The 2018-19 squad was led by Angel Golden, Chasimmie Brown, Amaya Scott, Armani Walker, Camary Harris, Tania White and Kindall Fincher.
B-CU women win MEAC softball
B-CU went 26-31, won the MEAC tournament and made the NCAA Tournament. It was their second straight MEAC title and NCAA tournament appearance. It was their 10th tournament title and first repeat since their three-peat 2010-2012.
The Wildcats featured Sasha Killings, Alexis Bermudez, Cheyenne Smith, Briana Paysinger, Kaiya Epps-Lee, and others.
Former NFL players clinic continues
The annual Bruce McNorton Youth Football Clinic again brought in former pros to teach kids the game and fun. The NCAA eligibility seminar also gave valuable information on how to get ready to play in college.
Over 300 kids both boys and girls participated. Former Detroit Lions standout Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was among the pros participating this year.
High School football championships return
After 11 years in Orlando, the FHSAA moved its football championships. The Class 1A-3A games were played at Gene Cox Stadium in Tallahassee while Class 4A-8A took place at Daytona Stadium.
It was the first time Daytona hosted title games since 1996. Big crowds highlighted Daytona games, especially between Miami area and Orlando area schools.
In the Class 5A title game, 9,522 fans saw Miami Northwestern defeat Orlando Jones; 6,600 watched Miami Columbus beat Apopka in the Class 8A championship.
The Class 7A title game where For Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas took down Orlando Edgewater also drew large crowds. The games had their problems for fans with traffic, stadium accessibility, tickets, etc., but still were deemed a success.
Lopez girls return to Final Four
Another spectacular season ended in the Class 7A state semifinals for the Father Lopez Green Wave girls’ basketball team. The squad went 27-3 and was led by Taylor Williams and Tierra White.
They also had Gabby Watson, Taneja Robinson, Lauren Stewart and Lindsey Rogers.