Caymanian player Dequan Bennett is making great progress at a US baseball academy.
Bennett would emerge one of the winners at the second annual IMG Hitting Classic this month at the IMG Baseball Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Bennett beat out over 60 participants and earned Finals Most Valuable Player with a two-run home-run in game one and game-winning consecutive doubles in the decisive game two, which went 23 innings.
Bennett, who commenced the academy in August 2012 to complete a high school post graduate year, states it’s a major achievement.
“I had no expectations of winning going into this tournament,” Bennett said. “I thought it wasn’t possible for me to win because I was up against 60 other guys with a few of them already committed to college.
“I stayed focused throughout the tournament and decided that I wanted to represent my Island and create a name for myself at IMG Academy. Luckily, I was able to do so and my name will be placed on the IMG plaque for history to come.”
Bennett, whose nickname is ‘double-double,’ took part in six inning games that were head-to-head contests in covered batting cages with pitching machines. Sam ‘Bam Bam’ Proctor was the tournament’s other winner, batting over .400 in the tournament with two homers, two triples and seven doubles. Academy coaches unanimously named Proctor tournament MVP.
Both Proctor and Bennett will forever have their names engraved in IMG Baseball history after getting their championship trophy from coach Pete Paciorek. Bennett is in a full-time baseball programme at IMG, living, training and attending private school (with a customized curriculum) on a luxurious 400-acre campus. The programme runs concurrent with the State of Florida regular school year schedule (September to May) where boys attend school in the mornings and train in the afternoons.
The IMG programme includes student/athletes from 26 states and 11 foreign countries.