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Pompano baseball on a mission, too

It was a typical scene at Tuesday's American Heritage-Pompano Beach baseball game: A handful of Major League scouts flashed their radar guns and stopwatches at some of the Patriots' sure draftees, while American Heritage (19-2) cruised to another win.

"Well," Pompano coach George Petik said afterward, "that's one of the best teams in the country."

But as the Patriots prepare for the playoffs and beyond, the Tornadoes have their own pursuit: the best season in Pompano baseball history.

Last year, they went 15-10 -- which Petik said was the best season since the early 1970s. Now they're 14-6, with five chances to pass the all-time wins mark (Petik thinks it's 17).

"We're just trying to create some tradition," said Petik, Pompano's coach since 2005.

The secret: "Dedication, changing attitudes, changing how kids think," Petik said. "Instead of it being a recreation program where you just show up during the season, it's an all-time thing.

"And guess what? As long as they keep score, we're going to keep trying to win."

Although it'll be tough, it could last beyond this year -- the Tornadoes lose five seniors from Tuesday's lineup, but their starting pitcher/No. 2 hitter, Kyle Bird, is a junior, and their No. 3 hitter, Pat Grady, is just a sophomore.

--Patrick Dorsey

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