CARTERSVILLE, Ga. – Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint opens its doors for the first time as the summer heats up with the PG/EC Invitational Tournament. Six age-group tournaments will be held this upcoming weekend from June 5-13.
Age groups ranging from 13u-18u make up the field for the first Perfect Game tournaments of the summer in the Atlanta-area. The hype surrounding the new complex at LakePoint will finally be shown off, as four of the 16 state-of-the-art turf fields are ready for use. Games will also be held at the East Cobb Baseball Complex, as well as a variety of other local high schools and sports complexes in the area.
This weekend will give baseball fans a preview of the remarkable progress being made at LakePoint. Only after stepping foot onto the grounds up in Emerson will people’s imaginations run wild with optimism for the future. Teams this weekend will have the opportunity to say they were the first to play at this incredible ‘Field of Dreams-esque’ park.
The PG/EC Invitational Tournament saw 193 teams compete last year. This year, over 300 teams are set to show off their talents in an effort to claim the tournaments' ultimate prize of a championship. The huge rise in number of teams adds to the excitement of the event.
This marks the fifth year Perfect Game has put on the PG/EC Invitational tournament, but this edition of the tournament will be a little bit different than that of years past. For the first time in the event’s history, 14u and 15u will be separated into their own tournaments. Also, the 17u and 18u age groups will do the same, allowing for more teams to enter into the tournament. Possibly the biggest change of them all is the fact that for the first time Perfect Game has made a 13u age group tournament. With all of these changes, the tournament looks to add more excitement with the addition of so many more teams, and it hopefully will continue to draw more exposure in the future for teams looking for competitive events at the beginning of the summer.
The 18u tournament will include 48 teams mostly from around the Southeastern states of Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. Teams from Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and even California will also be in attendance making this truly feel like a national event. In last year’s 17u/18u event the North Alabama Vipers and the East Cobb Longhorns shared the title.
A wide-range of attention will be on two of the premiere East Cobb teams at this age, who both happen to be among the top teams in the country: the East Cobb Astros 18u and the East Cobb Yankees. Both teams present star-studded talent and look to have a strong showing at this event.
The East Cobb Astros 18u come into the tournament with 14 players who have already committed to NCAA Division I universities, including three commitments to the Atlanta-based Georgia Tech. Leading the charge will be 2014 Georgia Tech commit Kel Johnson (ranked No. 47 nationally), followed by two outstanding 2015 class players in Daz Cameron (No. 1, Florida State commit) and Alonzo Jones (No. 30, Vanderbilt commit).
The East Cobb Yankees are just as impressive coming in with 11 players who have committed to NCAA Division I universities. They will be lead by a couple of highly rated 2015 prospects including Jonathan Hughes (No. 53, Georgia Tech commit), Shane Tucker (No. 60, University of Georgia commit), and Jake Higginbotham (No. 170, Clemson commit).
Team Elite 18u have their share of talent including eight players who are committed to play at Division I schools. They are led by four 2014-grad players in Isiah Gilliam (No. 135, Chipola College commit), Clarke Schmidt (No. 223, University of South Carolina commit), Alex Abbott (No. 258, University of Florida commit), and AJ Moore (No. 271, Kennesaw State commit).
Teams from out of state also look to fair well in this tournament. Sandlot, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, have a pair of Top 500 players in Josh Davis (2014, Pepperdine commit) and Nick Brown (2014, Missouri State commit) that look to help their team in this event. Also, the Upstate Mavericks, from Lyman, South Carolina, have two of their own Top 500 players that should have a close eye kept on them in Richard Jackson (2014, University of Tennessee commit) and Michael Campoamor (2014, Furman commit).
Marquis Grissom Baseball standout Chad Smith (No. 88, University of Georgia commit) is also a 2015-grad that scouts are sure to follow this weekend.
Last year’s co-winner of the 17u/18u event the North Alabama Vipers will also be in this year’s field.
The 17u tournament should also produce a great deal of excitement. 64 teams from Georgia, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina make up the field.
A team to watch closely is the Georgia Roadrunners 17u. They will show off their talent led by 2015 players Brandt Stallings (No. 80, Georgia Tech commit) and Blakely Brown (No. 159, University of Georgia commit). One of the top 2016 players in the country, Seth Beer (No. 4, uncommitted), will also be a player to keep an eye on.
HP Maldonado has talent in the 2015 class. Those players include Tristin English (No. 120, Georgia Tech commit), Cornelius Randolph (No. 196, Clemson commit), and Ben Baggett (No. 232, uncommitted).
Prospects National Team looks to make a deep run in the tournament with a talented roster which includes 2015 Colorado natives Nicholas Shumpert (No. 4, Kentucky commit) and Jordan Stephens (No. 181, uncommitted).
Other top prospects expected to be playing in this event include 2015s Tekwaan Whyte (No. 73, uncommitted) and Bakari Gayle (No.151, uncommitted) from the GBSA Blue Jays, Brock Love (No. 77, University of Alabama commit) from the East Cobb Astros 17, and Brooks Crawford (No. 164, Clemson commit) from the Team Elite Prime.
The 16u PG/EC Invitational will feature 77 teams from Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Missouri. Last year, the 64-team field saw the Home Plate Chili Dogs 16U and the East Cobb 16U Grey share the title in a rain-shortened final.
The Team Elite Roadrunners have elite talent on their roster. Their top 2015s include Jahmai Jones (No. 5, UNC commit), Michael Curry (No. 99, University of Georgia commit), and Kevin Strohschein (No. 178, uncommitted). Cam Shepherd (No. 33, uncommitted) and Jonathan Gettys (No. 34, uncommitted) are their top 2016-grad players.
Other top prospects in this tournament include two members of the Mizuno Team GA Baseball Academy 16U Blue: 2015-grad Casey Mize (No. 308, Auburn University commit) and 2016-grad Cory Campbell (No. 219, uncommitted).
Two out of state teams to keep a close watch on are the Excel Blue Wave from Oxford, AL and the Upstate Mavericks Black from Lyman, SC.
This weekend's 14u and 15u tournaments will showcase 50 teams and 53 teams respectively, up from 64 teams in the combined 14u/15u tournament from last year. The Georgia Roadrunners and the East Cobb Astros 14u split the combined tournament last year.
The inaugural year for the 13u PG/EC Invitational is set for 18 teams from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. One team to watch out for is the Ironpigs representing Port Charlotte, Florida.