By: Matt Rothman
“Vincent and I have been playing together since 9U and always joked about going to college together and for that to be happening is something special,” said Valbuena.
Valbuena has played on the varsity baseball team since he was a freshman, and despite only one at-bat his first year, he drove in a run. His best season came as a junior after hitting .278 with three doubles and eight RBIs’s all while playing terrific defense at shortstop.
On the varsity team for three years, Samuel hit his first home run as a junior and had a triple. He finished last season batting just under .300 and drove in 24 runs.
“It means a lot to commit,” said Samuel. “I feel like committing to a college is a very special part of every high school athlete’s journey. Personally, it feels good knowing that I will be able to help my family out with the college.”
Both players began their baseball careers at age five. Valbuena started playing little league in Tamarac while Samuel began in Margate. They both credit their families for helping them reach this point and varsity Head Coach Joe Giummule for assisting them with the recruiting process.
They both had the opportunity to play for Coach Darren Brown and Charles Weiland in travel ball, where both coaches helped get Valbuena and Samuel an opportunity to play at the next level.
After their senior season at J.P. Taravella, they’ll join a program that went 22-18-1 in 2021, including a trip to the FCSAA State/NJCAA Region 8 Gulf District Baseball Championship.
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- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is now attending the University of Florida as a graduate student.