By BRAD KEITH
(July 8, 2017) — One year after making history as the first Dublin team to win a game in any age bracket of the Texas Teenage Baseball-Softball Association softball championships, head coach Tommy Cisneroz believes his Dominators can win the whole thing.
They didn’t just win one game but three at the 2016 10U championships, enough for a winning record (3-2) and sixth-place finish in the 21-team double-elimination event.
With power-pitcher Kiersten Fincannon returning along with catcher Chloe Cisneroz, their coach believes they have the best 10U battery in Texas. He also believes they have the supporting cast around them to win a state championship.
The Dublin Dominators will give it their best shot beginning Monday, July 17, at Mildred, basically in Corsicana.
“For this group it’s back-to-back state tournaments and their third overall, said Cisneroz, a longtime staple on the Dublin athletics scene. “The girls put a lot into what we do. They believe in what we coach and we believe in their ability as players. It’s incredible some of the stuff they have accomplished.”
The Dominators have represented their name well with a 13-0 record including three wins to champion the field at last week’s district tournament in De Leon following a perfect 10-0 mark in local league play.
Cisneroz is quick to list so many role players around Fincannon and his daughter, Chloe, that you wonder if there is a player on the team he didn’t call by name. But don’t be misled. A pitcher and catcher can take you a long way in this sport.
“They have to be one of the top pitcher and catcher pairings in the state in this age group,” says Cisneroz. “I know for a fact there are very few pitchers her age in the nation who can match Kiersten’s speed. After the state tournament, she’s going to California to compete in a national select tournament.”
They also swing heavy bats, the coach says.
“Kiersten is already hitting the ball to the fence. I’ve seen Chloe hit some that get to the fence on one or two hops. These are 10-year olds.”
And they aren’t alone.
“Our ‘veteran’ players (relatively speaking, of course) are Callie Sears, Kre Hicks, Tivvy Hawkins, Kailin Kaiser, I mean they’re all good. They each have that one thing or those couple things they do well, so as coaches we try to put them in position so that they can really use their strengths as much as possible to help us be successful,” said Cisneroz. “We’ve got Emma Rose Villegas, Ava Williams, Kaylee Hayes, Kenli Roberson, … I could keep going. This isn’t just about Kiersten’s pitching or Chloe’s catching. There are seven other positions in the field and in the batting lineup, and I like how we’re playing all around.”
The roster also includes Avery Johnson, Emma Vargas, McKenzie Black, Madison Everett and last, but not least, Madison Turley.
“(Turley) is a first-year player and nobody even knew if she could play or if she wanted to,” said Cisneroz. “I just walked up and asked if she wanted to play softball and she said, ‘If you’re saying you want me to play then I will.’ We added her and we’re glad, because she’s such a bundle of energy and has brought a lot of fun to the team.
Cisneroz, 37, played youth baseball right there in Dublin City Park and later was not just a member of the first Dublin High School baseball team in 1997 but also among the program’s first group of all-district selections.
His ties to the park and to city youth sports run deep. And he’s never been this excited about Dublin teams headed to state.
Cisneroz is also an assistant coach for the Dublin Yankees 15U baseball club, whose roster includes his son, Isaiah Cisneroz. Tommy was head coach of the Yankees last season, but stepped back to assistant so he could place his head coaching focus on the Dominators.
The Yankees placed third in the 15U state championships last summer and have five “veteran” players who will be making their fourth consecutive appearance in a TTAB championship tournament beginning Monday, July 24, at Stephenville City Park.
Playing as the Astros in 2016 – they were the Yankees in 2014 and 2015 and have gone back to their original mascot in 2017 – the Dublin teens came closer than ever before to a state championship, and Cisneroz believes they are on the cusp of bringing that elusive state title to Dublin.
(For more on the Dublin Yankees, see a prior report HERE ON THE FLASH TODAY)
Is he a homer? You can bet your salary on it.
Does that mean he’s wrong? No, it does not.
Win lose or draw, the fetes already achieved by the Yankee baseball boys and the Dominator softball girls have helped to rejuvenate Dublin’s youth sports association. That can only bode well for the high school programs that will benefit from the coming of age of these young athletes, some as early as next spring.
“The Yankees, you will see some of those boys playing for Dublin on the varsity baseball team next year,” Tommy said. “The softball girls are younger so they have a few more years, but watch, they’ll be there.”
A few more years for passionate volunteers like Tommy Cisneroz to work collectively through local youth sports to provide the most fun, sportsmanlike, educational experience possible.
“The community here in Dublin needs to wake up and see what’s going on and get behind these kids, because this is truly something special we have here,” Tommy said. “We have some great young talent and great kids coming up in Dublin. Just being part of it and trying to give back by coaching is an honor because I love this place. I love Dublin, my home, my family’s home, and I think the best way to improve our community is by investing in our future – our kids. They’ll be the ones in charge one day.”
Perhaps some will coach softball, telling teams of the legendary Dublin Dominators. And others can coach baseball and recount the magic of the Dublin Yankees. Maybe a Tommy Cisneroz-type or two can even work with boys and girls, and continue to believe in them with the same passion and enthusiasm he shows today.
Perhaps some of those tales will end with the Dominators reigning supreme, or with the Yankees finally closing the deal.
Or maybe Tommy is right, and the first two summer championships in Dublin baseball and softball history will come home just one week apart.
“We’re going to do this, I’m telling you. We set the stage last year getting third in boys and sixth in girls. Now, it is on, and we’re going first and first and bringing some championships back to Dublin.