GLENDALE, Ariz. -- San Diego Show manager Brian Cain brought his San Diego Show 18u team to the Martin Luther King Holiday Weekend 18u Perfect Game MLK Championship with a bit of trepidation. He wasn't coming to the desert with a fully stocked arsenal, and never likes being out-numbered.
"We came in a little light in terms of numbers and we didn't have a lot of depth like we usually have," he said. "We just dug deep, and these guys scrap; they just get after it. I always try to tell them to play for the name on the front of the uniform and not the name on the back, and then everybody will (eventually) recognize the name on the back."
The name on the front of the uniform still reads "The Show". The full name, San Diego Show, is now on the nameplate of the 2013 18u PG MLK Championship first-place trophy after the Show won a pair of playoff games Monday on the Chicago White Sox side of the Camelback Ranch spring training complex.
Josh Adams (2013, Elk Grove, Calif.), the only high school senior on the depleted roster Cain brought to the event, ripped a one-out triple to deep centerfield that scored D.J. Lewis with the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and lifted the Show to a 7-6 win over the So Cal Cavs in the championship game of the 18u PG MLK.
The Show (4-0-1) were never truly dominant over the four days they spent here, but in the end they were the ones carting championship gold home to Southern California.
The So Cal Cavs (2-1-2), led by 2012 Perfect Game All-American Dominic Smith, jumped to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Show scored three in the bottom of the second, two in the bottom of the fourth and one in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at six (So Cal went up 6-5 with a run in the top of the sixth).
Lewis singled with one out and up stepped Adams, who crushed a ball over the head of the Cavs' center-fielder, driving in the winning run. Adams is a UC Santa Barbara signee.
"Josh Adams ... really did a good job of getting the guys to go and leading the team with good hustle and just getting after it," Cain said. "He's a really talented player and he's going to play this game for a long time."
David Hensley (2014, San Diego) led the Show in hitting at the tournament, batting .571 (8-for-14) with two doubles, a triple, seven runs scored and a 1.482 OPS.
The real difference-maker, however, might have been Andy Rios, a 5-6, 150-pound 2014 primary shortstop from Chula Vista, Calif. Rios was 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored in the championship game victory, but it was what he did from the mound that stood out.
In two appearances that covered seven innings, Rios allowed no runs on five hits and struck out 12, and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Pitcher.
"It was a good experience, especially playing 18u as a junior, a 16u," Rios said. "There are a lot of good guys on this team and I really wasn't expecting this Most Valuable (Pitcher) award. I play this game because I love it, and this is just something that happened."
Another player that loves the game is the Cavs' Smith, who ended his prolific PG career in typically prolific fashion.
Smith, a 6-foot, 200-pound hitting machine from Los Angeles, was almost unstoppable here. He finished 10-for-13 (.769) with five RBI and four runs, to go with a .789 OBP and a 1.636 OPS. A championship eluded his team, but Smith was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
"I had a blast over here," he said "I wanted to get the win but we lost to a great Show team. We fought to the end and our boys played our butts off and we played our hearts out, but we just came up short today. It's baseball; we're going to win some and we're going to lose some, but I'm proud of my team and my team's performance.
"I'm just happy for everything that Perfect Game has done for me; I've been with them for four years," he continued. "It's kind of bittersweet and sad that this is the last one. Actually, I thought Jupiter (the 2012 PG WWBA World Championship) would be my last tournament, so I'm happy and sad at the same time. I'm going to miss travel ball."
The weather is usually pretty nice the year around in San Diego, but Cain loved bringing his team over here for this four-day event. A championship trophy really just provided a cherry on top of the overall experience.
"I saw a lot of cross-checkers and a lot of scouts," Cain said. "I think anytime you can get out and get exposure for yourself, that's a good thing and I don't care what time of the year it is. ... You have to go out and seek out the places to be exposed, and Perfect Game, obviously, does a great job of that.
"We've totally enjoyed this and the weather's been great -- you can't beat coming to the middle of the desert and having it be 75 degrees instead of 110 like it usually is when we're out here."
The Show broke open a 1-1 tie with three runs in top of the fourth and made that hold-up in a 5-2 semifinal win over the Salem, Ore.-based Capital City Select Monday morning. Hensley was 3-for-3, doubled, drove in a run and scored two, and Andrew Wright contributed a pair of singles to lead the Show.
Gunner Pollman (2013, Wilsonville, Ore.) had three hits, including a double, and drove in a run for Capital City (2-1-1).
The Show were involved in three pitching duals during pool-play, outscoring its three opponents by a combined 6-3. They beat CBA 17u and the Illinois Indians TRIBE by shutout, 1-0 and 2-0, then tied the Minnesota Blizzard Red, 3-3.
Capital City smoked the So Cal Bombers, 13-0 in its opener and got by the Bluegrass Stars, 7-4, in its second game. It had already clinched the pool championship before taking on the So Cal Cavs in the pool-play finale, the two teams settled for a 1-1 tie.
The Cavs reached the championship game on the strength of a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Blizzard Blue (3-1-0) in Monday morning's semifinal round, and the championship berth didn't come without a fight. The Cavs led 5-4 after 3 1/2 innings, but the Blizzard Blue struck for three in the bottom of the sixth and one more in the bottom of the seventh before finally being subdued.
Duncan McKinnon (2015, Manhattan Beach, Calif.) was 2-for-4 with a double and drove in a pair of runs and Smith was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored to lead the Cavs. Anthony Mrosla (2013, Coon Rapids, Minn.) doubled and drove in two to lead the Blizzard Blue.
The So Cal Cavs snuck into the final four by capturing the lone at-large berth with a 1-0-2 record during pool play. After smothering the Bluegrass Stars, 13-1, in their tournament opener, the Cavs settled for a pair of 1-1 ties with the So Cal Bombers and the Capital City Select, and the Select won the pool championship.
The Minnesota Blizzard Blue used terrific pitching to beat the So Cal Diplomats, 3-0, and the Pilots 18u Red, 7-1, in their first two pool-play games. In their third game on Sunday they faced Garciaparra Baseball Group, which was 1-0-1 at the time, for the pool championship and emerged with a 7-4 victory.
2013 18u Perfect Game MLK Championship runner-up: So Cal Cavs
2013 18u Perfect Game MLK Championship MVP: Dominic Smith, So Cal Cavs
2013 18u Perfect Game MLK Championship MV-Pitcher: Andy Rios, San Diego Show
T-Rex Baseball Club cruises to 14u PG MLK title
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A team from the East Valley cruised over to the West Valley and gave the state of Arizona its only championship at the three age-group Perfect Game MLK Championships that concluded Monday afternoon at the Camelback Ranch Complex.
The T-Rex Baseball Club, based in beautiful Scottsdale over in the eastern part of the expansive Valley of the Sun, rolled to the title at the PG MLK 14u Championship by blasting the Florida-based MBA Prospects, 16-3, in the championship game Monday on the L.A. Dodgers side of the Camelback Complex.
T-Rex (5-0-0) used a grand-slam and six total RBI from Mitchell Allen (2016, Phoenix) and a three-hit, two RBI, two-run performance from Zach Baptist (2017, Phoenix) to put MBA (4-1-0) away once and for all.
At the conclusion of the 14u tournament, T-Rex's Tyler Stokes (2017, Chandler, Ariz.) was named the Most Valuable Player after batting 7-for-14 (.500) with a double, two triples, eight RBI and eight runs, with a 1.524 OPS. He was 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBI and four runs in the championship game.
T-Rexer left-hander Kyle McCormick (2017, Chandler, Ariz.) was named the Most Valuable Pitcher after throwing a seven-inning no-hitter against the San Diego Show 14u on Saturday, striking out six and walking three.
T-Rex pushed across two runs in the bottom of the first, two more in the third and three in fourth, and skated to an impressive 9-1 win over the So Cal Outlaws HSP (3-1) in a 14u PG MLK semifinal played Monday morning on the Dodgers' side of the Camelback Ranch Complex.
The T-Rexers totaled by eight hits, three off the bat of McCormick, who doubled and drove in a pair of runs. Baptist and Blake Paugh (2017, Scottsdale, Ariz.) also drove in two runs apiece.
Right-hander Allen pitched a complete-game, five-inning 1 hitter for T-Rex, striking out three and walking three.
The T-Rex Baseball Club made its presence know right off the bat by winning its first two games against the So Cal Classics and the San Diego Show 14u by a combined count of 12-0. T-Rex completed pool-play with a 3-0 record after bouncing the So Cal Bombers, 8-2, in its pool finale.
The So Cal Outlaws HSP beat its three pool foes, 25-7, including a 16-0 beat-down of the Rawlings Prospects 14u in its second game.
Alex Sanchez (2017, Jacksonville, Fla.) smacked a two-run single, and Jose Ciccarello (2016, Tampa, Fla.) and Charlie "Kobe" Lopez produced runs when they were hit by a pitch and walked, respectively, and MBA scored runs in the top of the sixth to beat NorCal Baseball, 4-3, in Monday morning's other 14u semifinal.
Those four runs gave MBA a 4-1 lead at the time, but NorCal threatened with two in the bottom of the seventh before falling just short.
The MBA Prospects didn't get into the Valley from their base in South Florida until late Friday and played their three pool games in two days on Saturday Sunday. Showing no signs of jet-lag, they squeaked past the EJ Sports Titans, 1-0, in their opener and the Arizona Blaze 14u, 4-3, in the their second game, both on Saturday. The completed their 3-0 pool-play run with a 7-1 win over Team CALIFORNIA Baseball on Sunday.
NorCal Baseball showed the height of consistency in winning its three pool-play games by a combined 23-10. It beat the So Cal Cavs, 7-2, and Predator USA Black, 8-2, in its first two games before wrapping up the pool championship with an 8-6 win over the North County Padres in their third game.
2013 14u Perfect Game MLK Champions: T-Rex Baseball Club
2013 14u Perfect Game MLK Championship runner-up: MBA Prospects
2013 14u Perfect Game MLK Championship MVP: Tyler Stokes, T-Rex Baseball Club
2013 14u Perfect Game MLK Championship MV-Pitcher: Kyle McCormick, T-Rex Baseball Club