The Lee County Sports Authority was successful in its bidding to bring the Florida State Baseball Finals to Lee County for the first time in history.
Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) announced the awarding of the 2013 baseball championship finals to Lee County on its website along with the state cross country finals to Tallahassee and state soccer finals to Melbourne.
Lee County and JetBlue Park, the brand new Spring Training home of the Boston Red Sox, will be the host site for the FHSAA Finals for all eight classifications for three years, through the 2015 Finals.
"City of Palms Park was considered, but we decided to put our best foot forward with JetBlue," said Gary Ewen of the Lee County Sports Authority. "There are eight or nine criteria to grade the proposal and we scored very high in a couple of criteria over the other proposals."
Ewen said there is a meeting on June 18 with the FHSAA after which the contract will be negotiated within 60 days.
FHSAA indicated all the new hosts are expected to sign contracts by Aug. 1.
Green Wave coach
Shawn French has been hired as head baseball coach at Fort Myers High School to replace Mike Christensen, who will remain in his teaching position, the school reported Tuesday via email.
"I stepped down because my family is growing," said Christensen. "My kids are now at that age where I want to spend more time with them. I just couldn't balance the time around summer ball, fall ball and the season anymore."
French spent this past season at Cypress Lake where his responsibilities were overseeing hitters and catchers. The Panthers hit .331 as a team under his supervision.
Fort Myers will be his first head coaching position.
"I've always wanted to be involved in baseball through coaching," said French. "It finally is time for me to give back to the game that has given me so much."
French began his coaching career in 2008 at North Port High school as the catching coordinator. In the 2009-10 season, he moved to Charlotte as catching coordinator.
"I learned a lot at North Port and learned even more of my development from Josh Corr at Cypress Lake about systems," said French. "It is very necessary and critical for me to start giving back at this time."
French and his fiance Elise Newberry live in Cape Coral .
French was born and raised in Walnut Creek, Calif., where he played catcher and graduated from Clayton Valley High School in 1997. He was elected first team all-district three consecutive years and voted MVP and most inspirational player and team captain.
His career continued at Los Medanos College and the college of San Mateo where his batting average was .426.
French was recruited by Louisiana State University in 2000 where he played under the legendary Skip Bertman.
"Baseball is baseball," said French. "I don't know my hitters or pitchers yet, but I will bring an exciting brand of baseball to Fort Myers High and a lot of energy. We will be compete and be very fundamentally sound pitching and defensively."