WINTER HAVEN - A great year for Polk State College athletics just got a little better: earlier this week at the Polk County Sports All-Sports Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet in Lakeland, the Polk State College baseball team was honored as "Male Collegiate Team of the Year."
The young baseball team, coached by Al Corbeil, registered a banner year, even by the high standards of Polk State, where five of the school's six athletics programs are defending champions. According to Athletic Director Bing Tyus, himself a former baseball coach for Polk State, "Coach Corbeil and his guys put Polk baseball on the map this year."
According to Corbeil, "This honor means a lot to me, to my coaches, and to our guys. We worked hard this year to set a tone. We expect to win every day, and we expect to win a particular way. This award is a great way to top off a special season. We appreciate the fact that our community liked what they saw, and we will work hard to continue to make our fans proud."
Additionally, Corbeil earned Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors, and the entire team was honored by the state's umpire association with the Sportsmanship Award. The team ultimately finished third in the State Tournament after having climbed as high as #1 in the state rankings and #4 in national rankings.
According to Tyus, "This was an exciting team to watch. Coach Corbeil and his staff brought a very disciplined, professional approach to the game, but they also taught an aggressive style that translated into school records in extra base hits and stolen bases."
"We are incredibly proud of this team and the way they represented themselves, their families, the College, and Polk County," said Tyus.
Dr. Eileen Holden, President of Polk State College, commended the baseball team and praised Tyus, Corbeil and the program's coaches and players for "setting a standard of excellence."
"When someone sees 'Polk State' on their schedule, they know we're bringing our 'A-game'," said Holden. "We appreciate the fact that Polk County has honored our baseball team in this way, and I know that Coach Corbeil and the entire Polk State family are committed to building on this winning tradition."
Polk State College, founded in 1964, serves Polk County from campuses in Winter Haven and Lakeland and centers in Lake Wales and Lakeland's Airside Center. The College awards associate's and bachelor's degrees and competes athletically at the "junior college" level in baseball, basketball (men's), cheerleading, soccer (women's), softball, and volleyball (women's). Many of Polk State's student athletes continue their collegiate athletic careers after graduation from Polk State.