Author Archives: Mark Edwards

Dragons Spoil Senior Night

A chorus of cheers echoed throughout Charles R. Head Field, Monday night. Parents lined the left field fence screaming and gloating over their son’s victory on Senior Night. Unfortunately, the parents and players celebrating the 6-5 win were the opposing Lake Placid Green Dragons.

Avon Park (16-4) entered their 20th game of the season with a bevy of confidence, while riding a 7-game win streak. The Red Devils hadn’t lost since March 27, and dominated Lake Placid 12-2 in their previous meeting. But that wave of confidence might have blinded the Red Devils from seeing how energized the Green Dragons were for this final showdown.

On a night that was dedicated to honoring 9 seniors, Avon Park quickly found itself in a 2-0 hole. Starting pitcher Drew McGuckin was pulled after walking the first two batters on 11 pitches. Dayvon Terry relieved McGuckin, but could not escape the jam without Lake Placid plating two runs on a RBI-double and an error by Shortstop Cory Leech.

The Red Devils had their chance to even the score in the bottom of the first and third innings with the bases loaded, but couldn’t cash in on their opportunity. It was a common theme throughout the night for the team, as they left 13 men on base.

Avon Park Head Coach Whit Cornell said the loss was very disappointing. “It’s a tough pill to swallow. We all expected to win this game and send these seniors off in style, but you gotta earn every win and we just didn’t do that. We had several chances to break the game wide open and just didn’t execute. Credit Lake Placid for coming in and fighting a lot harder then some guys thought they would.”

Lake Placid would go on to score 3 runs in the top of the third, and add their 6th and final run, in the top of the 6th. Green Dragon starting pitcher J.J. Huego held the Red Devils in check through 5 innings. He struck out 6, and didn’t allow a run until he was pulled in the bottom of the 6th, after walking the first two batters.

Avon Park, in jeopardy of being shutout at home, on Senior Night, rallied to score 5 runs in the home half of the 6th. Dayvon Terry smoked a fastball to the left-center gap for a 3-run double to finally put the Red Devils on the board. Two batters later, Drew McGuckin brought Terry home with a single to left field to cut the lead to 6-4. First Baseman Luis Perez grounded into a force out at first, but scored Trent Lewis from third to make it a one run game.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Red Devils had men on first and second with two outs, but couldn’t bring either man home. The late game rally created incredible drama, and seemed like the game would end in story book fashion, but it wasn’t enough. Lake Placid held on to win 6-5.

Avon Park looks to put this unexpected loss behind them, and take out their frustration on Sebring in their home finale, Thursday night. The Red Devils are 2-0 this season against the Blue Streaks.
First pitch will be 7pm. Hope to see you there.


To flip or not to flip. THAT is the question…

If you’ll excuse my revision to the great line from Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, I’ve been asking and debating this very question with a number of lifelong fans of America’s pastime.

This question came about and stirred up (ANOTHER) fiery debate because recently, White Sox Shortstop Tim Anderson hit a BOMB of a homerun off Kansas City Royals Pitcher Brad Keller, then “flipped” his bat in celebration, which eventually led to a bench clearing brawl…

Oh baseball players…you and those Ty Cobb era “unwritten rules”…

Ever since Anderson flipped his bat in excitement, after undoubtedly executing THE MOST DIFFICULT FEAT IN ALL OF SPORTS (hitting a major league pitch for a homerun), current and former MLB players, managers, execs, and of course, US, the fans, have been going back and forth about whether or not it’s acceptable for big league hitters to celebrate after hitting a home run that (generally) doesn’t win a game.

Most “old school” ball players and fans have vehemently opposed bat flipping or any other kind of celebration by a batter, simply because the “pitcher is the policeman.” They say pitchers keep the peace and make sure players don’t do anything to upstage the importance of the game. Okay, I can buy that. As a guy who’s always been team first, I appreciate that idea. HOWEVER…there’s also the little detail about “not showing up the pitcher” which is complete and utter BS they sometimes fail to mention….

Since pitchers “police” player conduct on the field, they have a certain CANYON WIDE EGO that comes with that rank. Due to their not-so-little ego, they expect that if a batter hits a homerun, they should put their head down and quickly round the bases. Basically, “you got the best of me and since everyone became excited for you, you should take your victory lap and move on.”

If a batter fails to abide by these “rules” – bat flipping, punching the air like a boxer, staying at home plate to watch the ball, or doesn’t round the bases quickly enough, to name a few.. – the opposing pitcher sees this as an EGREGIOUS OFFENSE (cue the thunder and lightning of Zeus), and justice MUST be served…

The “justice” that a pitcher most commonly serves up is a 95 mph fastball to either the perpetrator, or their teammate. This tactic sends a clear message that this kind of chicanery will not be tolerated, and to stay in your lane.

HERE’S THE PROBLEM…The only thing this “justice” does is create ABSOLUTE CHAOS.

The team who watched their player PURPOSELY get hit with a 95 mph pitch, now plans to retaliate…
This leads to various batters getting hit or “thrown at”. And between the LONG, hot day, the ocean-sized volume of testosterone in competition, and the outright act of committing assault, the benches and bullpens clear and we’ve got a good, ol’ fashion donnybrook.

This ARCHAIC lunacy goes back to the days before even Ruth or Cobb played, and sadly is predicated on not “embarrassing” someone more than they already are…BOO. FREAKING. HOO.

YET, there have been a number of pitchers through the baseball years who were VERY DEMONSTRATIVE when they struck batters out. Relievers like Jose Lima, K-Rod, and others are all guilty of acting “wild” or “overly emotional” when they’d strike a batter out. A lot of starting pitchers will punch their gloves and scream “YEAH!” or “LET’S GO!” AND walk off the mound when they strike a batter out to end an inning.

Personally, I have no problem with a major league hitter celebrating with a bat flip or a stare down of the ball as it soars through the air because they just accomplished the most difficult feat in sports. They won the cat and mouse game that is pitcher against hitter. AND IT’S FUN! It makes the game more competitive, and raises the intensity and stakes of each at bat, which creates more draw to watch!!
Higher ratings and attendance mean more $$$ – DUH!!

When I play sports and my opponent gets the best of me, I want to get them back by out-performing them. I don’t want to get the best of them by potentially injuring them. That’s what cowards do. Throwing at someone’s head or back doesn’t mean you’ve used your mind to outwit your opponent to embarrass them through skill, it means you’re too weak in ability and belief in yourself to face them like a real competitor.

If a football player can dance and celebrate after outrunning 11 of the biggest, fastest, strongest men to score a touchdown, then I think baseball can take a page from the pigskin playbook and teach it’s pitchers to knockoff the bean ball wars and embrace the healthy competition.


Behind another strong outing from Junior right-hander, Trent Lewis, Avon Park was able to shutout McKeel Academy 4-0 to win their final district game of the season.

The Red Devils (16-3, 8-0) victory, Thursday night, preserved their perfect record in class 5A-District 10 play, and earned them the honor of hosting the District tournament for the second straight year at Charles R. Head Field.

Making his 5th start this season, Lewis pitched six stellar innings. He allowed just two hits, while striking out 9 Wildcats. The Junior faced a bases loaded jam in the top of the first, but once he came away unscathed, he settled in and sat McKeel’s hitters down in order the next three consecutive innings. Lewis improved to 3-2 on the season, and leads the team with 54 strikeouts.

At the plate, Shortstop Corey Leech and Second Baseman Dayvon Terry, provided the necessary run support.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Leech drilled a fastball to left-center, which scored Luis Perez from second base to give Avon Park the early 1-0 lead. The next at bat, Terry sat dead red on a 2-0 fastball, and bashed it over the left field wall for a 3-run home run. The Senior second baseman’s blast gave Avon Park a 4-0 lead, and tied Trent Lewis for most home runs on the team.

Red Devil Head Coach, Whit Cornell, said the win was another big step in the long road to get back to the State Final 4. “We played a really good ball club tonight, and were able to make key plays in the field and at the plate. Hosting the District Tournament, again, was something we wanted to accomplish, and now we gotta keep fighting hard to knock more things off our list.”

Avon Park will host Lake Placid Monday Night at Charles R. Head Field. First pitch will be at 7 p.m.

Tiger Blood Is Thicker Than Water

Sunday afternoon, Tiger Woods holed his final putt to win the Masters, and officially complete his LONG OVERDUE comeback.

The moment was everything die-hard and casual golf fans had waited for. As Tiger triumphantly raised his hands above his head, you could just feel his overwhelming burden lifted, as feelings of unbridled happiness, pride, and I think RELIEF, poured out of the man who once was the true GOLD STANDARD of modern golf.

While that moment was incredibly special, it truly pales in comparison to the moment that took place just a few minutes after Woods tapped in to win his 5th Masters….

As Tiger walked off the 18th green, he high-fived a number of fans who couldn’t stop screaming with excitement at what they just witnessed. He had the biggest grin on his face, and rightly so, for a person who had just accomplished what so many said couldn’t be done, but the thrill of victory wasn’t the main reason he was smiling.

Rushing toward the newly crowned champion, with an equally giant grin, was Tiger’s 10 year-old son, Charlie. As he charged full speed ahead at the man he called, dad, Tiger opened his arms as wide as he could, and the two embraced in the biggest bear-hug you’d ever see.


I was immediately sent back in time to 1997, when Tiger won his first Masters, and watched he and his father, Earl, embrace in a tearful bear-hug. The father-son combo who had spent infinite hours honing Woods’ game to realize that moment was soul stirring. And right on cue, CBS put up the footage of that exact moment in time to remind fans how special these precious insights are.

I’ve played golf for more than two decades, and it’s all thanks to the man I call, dad. We’ve shared good rounds, bad rounds, sunrises, sunsets, and most importantly…quality bonding time. I couldn’t imagine spending time with my dad doing anything else. So when Tiger and his son shared THAT MOMENT, you’d have thought I was sitting in an onion cutting factory.

Now that Tiger captured his 5th Masters, and 15th Major Championship, the debate has reignited about how many more he’ll win and will he eventually catch and surpass Jack Nicklaus. And while all that jazz is fun to debate with your buddies, there’s no debate about how special, and meaningful it is to spend time with family.

Axe Throwing Fun

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of trying out a new activity – axe throwing…. and it was AWESOME!!

Think darts, but a heck of a lot more fun!!

My girlfriend’s dad turned 60 on Saturday, so we celebrated his birthday by visiting Axe Throwing Orlando. It’s an incredible hole-in-the-wall spot in downtown Orlando, that lets you throw hand axes at a HUGE wooden target!!

My girlfriend had already been before and kept telling us we had to go. So we finally did, and man…it was a blast!!

After you sign the safety waiver – you’re throwing axes, so you know stuff happens – you follow a coach to your station, and they show you everything from safety and technique, to fun party games. It takes a few throws to get the technique down, especially if you played sports like baseball, football, or tennis, because you aren’t supposed to snap your wrist (which can be a little frustrating to pick up at first).

Once you have that down to a science, they teach the two-handed throw, and that really lets you hurl it with some power. We ended up playing 2 games – highest score after 10 throws and a throw off with the cornhole scoring system. The Birthday boy ended up winning BOTH games! He edged me by 1 point on our 10 throws, and he outlasted everyone on the second game.

We all had a great time and couldn’t believe how fast time flies when you’re chucking axes. Oh, and it’s a good workout too! If you haven’t used your lats in while, you’ll definitely feel it the next day!
Check out Axe Throwing Orlando if you want a cool, new activity you won’t get bored trying!

Chris Pinson
Host of The Chris Pinson Show
Office: 863-382-9999
Cell: 863-214-7844

Meder & Me – Golf Outing

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of playing my favorite sport, golf. It was a picture-perfect 75 degrees, not an ounce of humidity, with a slight, cool breeze – better known as a golfer’s paradise. But the weather wasn’t the reason this particular round was so enjoyable. Sunday’s round was so much fun because my friend, John Meder, came along.

Many moons ago, John gave golf a try, and quickly realized it wasn’t for him. However, he likes watching golf, so when I asked him if he’d like to drive the cart and watch me play, he said, “of course.” So off we went…

Since John is a fellow radio personality like myself, I figured it’d be fun to have him commentate while I play. AND BOY, he took to it like a fish to water… With my smartphone in hand, John was describing the setting, asking how would hit each shot, and building the moment like he was Verne Lundquist of CBS Sports on the 16th green at Augusta.

Lucky for me, I was playing better than expected – I made the turn at +2. As we made our way through the back 9, John had me cracking up and shaking my head because he kept saying “Pinson’s putting from 40 yards away” and I’d quickly shout back “FEET JOHN, FEET!” John would start laughing and saying he’d get it right by the 19th hole.

As we approached the 16th hole, I told John THIS was my NEMESIS hole. This stupid, dog-leg right par 4 always gave me trouble off the tee and ruined many good rounds. Sure enough, I pulled my drive into the bushes and had to take an unplayable lie. Unfortunately, on my next shot, I mistook my 6-iron for my 3-iron and came up well short of the green. Eventually, I finished the hole with an infuriating triple-bogey 7…
Realizing my shot at breaking 80 had now become more of challenge than I wanted, I steadied myself and parred 17. Now for the BIG finish…

The finishing hole at Golf Hammock is a tough par 5 that requires an accurate drive over water. Once you’re in the fairway, it’s a straight shot to the green. So after splitting the fairway, I laid up, and popped my 3rd shot just short of the green. My chip shot ran about 5 feet passed the pin, which meant I had a testy putt for par. Knowing I could 2 putt and break 80 took a lot of pressure off me. As John softly spoke, building the moment until my putter met the ball, I was thinking how cool this entire experience had been. When my ball rolled passed the left edge, I felt disappointed because I hadn’t finished off the round in style, but John smiled as I shook his hand and commented how much fun the day had been.

Perfect weather, solid play, and friends sharing a few smiles during a round of golf made this experience one I’ll never forget.