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Photo: Perfect Game

Tournaments : : Story
Team Tennessee hits a bump
Matthew Stokes        
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CUMMING, Ga. – In a battle of unbeatens, Team Tennessee Baseball (5-1) came up short on Tuesday afternoon, losing 6-2 to the East Cobb Tigers (6-0) in a Pool F matchup of the 2012 15u WWBA National Championship.

Team Tennessee had won its first fives games of the tournament by a combined 38-12 margin, including two shutout victories. Leading up to Tuesday’s game, the team played lights out offensively.

Gosh, we’ve hit the ball incredibly this tournament,” said Tennessee Baseball head coach Brad Fullington. “We’ve just been taking incredible hacks, squaring the ball up, hitting the ball all over the yard and running the bases like crazy.”

Then the team lost its groove against the Tigers.

For some reason, our approach at the plate left us today,” Fullington said. “Our leadoff guy got on base and gets picked off. It was the first time he’s gotten picked off all year. It kind of set the tempo.

I thought we hit the other guy’s pitch a lot as opposed to hitting our pitch, and we hadn’t done that the whole tournament.”

Fullington, who also serves as an associate scout for the New York Mets, said he founded the organization in Nov. 2011 as a 501(c)3 non-profit.

We were the 14u Knoxville Stars last year,” Fullington said. “I’ve been with some of these players since they were eight years old.”

The shift in direction came about in part because of the need to attract players from outside of the Volunteer State, Fullington said.

It started because we were the Knoxville Stars, and we just couldn’t draw players from all over the country by having such a local name,” Fullington said. “We expanded to make it Team Tennessee. Now I’m working with the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association, and they feed me kids from across the state of Tennessee. And then I work with Mets scouts, who feed me kids from around the country, to help grow the organization down the road.”

The team, which played in the 2012 16u Perfect Game-East Cobb Invitational a few weeks back, looks to be in good shape in spite of the loss to the Tigers.

Up and down our lineup, we’ve got maybe one guy who’s struggling right now, but I honestly think the guys are going to get a hit every time,” Fullington said. “I think our strengths are really just fundamentals. We play good defense and hit the ball well.”

Team Tennessee will conclude its pool play schedule on Wednesday against the Dallas Patriots 15u FTW-Ramirez at South Cobb High School in Marietta, Ga.

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