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Tournaments : : Story
Labor Day at LakePoint champs
       
Published: Monday, September 01, 2014

BY: ZACH HAILE

EMERSON, Ga. – The Upstate Mavericks and Triton Rays clashed in the largest division of the WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint tournaments. The 18u division featured 32 teams and was the only championship game that didn’t feature a team from Georgia.

The Upstate Mavericks, from South Carolina, narrowly made it out of their pool, going 2-1 and edging out the Knoxville Reds for the top spot in the pool standings. Meanwhile, the Triton Rays 17u, from Alabama, went 3-0 to advance from pool play.

The Rays continued their hot play picking up a 6-3 win in the quarterfinals followed by a 3-0 win in the semifinals to advance to Monday’s championship. Brady Greene picked up the semifinal win on the hill after tossing 6 1/3 innings while allowing just three hits and no runs. Greene also threw six innings in the Rays opening game win and earned MV-Pitcher honors for his two performances and finished with a line of 12 1/3 innings pitched with a 0.00 ERA and two wins. He struck out nine combined batters in the two outings while only allowing four hits.

The Mavericks continued to heat up as the tournament progressed. The team picked up a 5-1 win in the quarterfinals on Sunday night before coming back on Monday and rolling to a 9-3 win over another powerhouse in the HomePlate Chili Dogs to secure a spot in the championship.

The Upstate Mavericks continued the offensive outbreak against the Rays. After falling behind 1-0 early, the Mavericks scored in three consecutive innings to pull away en route to an 8-2 victory and the 18u championship.

Benjamin Peden led the Mavericks offense all weekend. Peden batted .333 and sported a .533 slugging percentage with three doubles and six RBI, which earned him 18u MVP honors.

I didn’t expect to get this award,” said Peden. “I’m surprised and honored, it’s great.”

Peden got some help from teammates in the championship game. Kip Brandenburg went 2-for-3 at the plate with a two RBI double and two runs scored. Nicholas Gatewood also added two hits and two RBIs including a home run in the fifth.

Our program is build on playing the game hard and the right way,” said Upstate Mavericks coach Zach Brown. “We’re an organization that you’re expected to do the right things and play the game the right way and in that you’ll showcase your talent.”

On the bump, Phillip Ganter went six innings and struck out nine to pick up the win for the Upstate Mavericks in the championship contest.

I’m happy for our guys and they had fun out here, which is what it’s all about,” added Brown.


2014 18u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint runner-up: Triton Rays 17u



2014 18u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint MVP: Benjamin Peden, Upstate Mavericks



2014 18u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint MV-Pitcher: Brady Greene, Triton Rays 17u




The inaugural 16u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint championship featured a battle of unbeatens with Nelson Baseball School 16’s taking on the Triton Rays 16u. The two teams were the last of the 24 teams that hailed from six different states that remained undefeated.

Both teams cruised through pool play while featuring solid defenses and overpowering offenses. Nelson Baseball School coasted to three wins in pool play, outscoring opponents 35-7. NBS scored double digit runs in all three games while never allowing more than three. Similarly, the Triton Rays 16u squad outscored their pool play opponents 38-3 in their first three matchups of the weekend.

Stephen Cullen, who earned the 16u MVP award for his performance at the plate, led the Rays’ offense all weekend. Cullen batted .643 (9-for-14) on the weekend, including three doubles, six RBI and nine runs scored.

Games got a bit closer for both teams come playoff time, beginning on Sunday night as Nelson Baseball School faced Palmetto Xpress in the first round of bracket play. Ethan Jones of Palmetto Xpress and Tristan Dobbs of NBS clashed in a pitcher’s duel for the ages. Dobbs tossed a complete game no-hitter to pick up the win while Jones suffered the hard luck loss giving up a walk off single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh by Jamison Wilks to help Nelson Baseball School advance 1-0 to the semifinals. The performance earned Dobbs MV-Pitcher honors for the tournament.

I felt great out there and just had all my pitches working,” said Dobbs of his no-hit performance. “This was the first no-no of my life.”

NBS followed that performance with a 5-2 victory in the semifinals on Monday to advance to the championship. Meanwhile, the Rays edged out Stars Baseball 8-4 in the semifinals to earn a spot in the championship contest.

The championship game continued the run of close contests for the teams. With Nelson Baseball School leading by one in the bottom of the seventh, the Rays had the bases loaded and none out.

Threatening with a walk-off, Rays’ leadoff man Hunter Mercer drove a fly ball to right field. NSB right fielder Alex Prosser made the catch and made a perfect throw to catcher Alec Scott to catch the runner tagging up from third for the final out and secure the championship for NSB.

The Rays played a great game,” commented Koch. “Every time we scored they seemed to have an answer for it. I’m proud of our guys and how they battled.”

Tyler Stevens, Prosser and Wilks combined for five hits and three RBI in the game for NSB. NSB also used five pitchers in the game to combine for the win.

This whole tournament, especially in the playoffs, we played a lot of close games,” said Nelson Baseball School 16’s coach Evan Koch. “I’m proud of how we fought and got contributions from everyone.”

The win clinched a perfect 6-0 Labor Day weekend for Nelson Baseball School.

I’d say it was a very successful holiday weekend,” said Koch.


2014 16u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint champions: Nelson Baseball School 16's



2014 16u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint runner-up: Triton Rays 16u



2014 16u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint MVP: Stephen Cullen, Triton Rays 16u



2014 16u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint MV-Pitcher: Tristan Dobbs, Nelson Baseball School 16's





The CBA Copperheads Elite 14u and EvoShield Canes South took different paths to reach Monday’s inaugural 14u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint championship game.

The EvoShield Canes South raced through pool play with a 3-0 mark while outscoring opponents 34-3. The team tossed two shutouts in three games while displaying an explosive offense led by Hunter Gray, who hit .357 on the weekend with four RBI and four runs scored.

The Canes continued to roll on Monday as the team threw yet another shutout in the semifinals to move into the championship bout. Stan King threw the first five innings of the game to pick up the win. King, who was named the 14u MV-Pitcher, struck out nine before giving way to Gray, who closed out the shutout with two hitless innings.

Meanwhile, the CBA Copperheads Elite 14U faced an uphill climb after dropping its opening game of the tournament 5-2 to Team Carolina on Saturday. CBA showed great resilience as the team battled back and rattled off back-to-back victories to finish 2-1 and atop the Pool A standings.

We seemed a little nervous our first game out,” said CBA coach Jeff Halstead. “This was this group of guys first time playing in a Perfect Game event and I think they had heard so much that they were a bit nervous that first time out.

We were able to talk about some of the mistakes we made after our first game. We bounced back that second game and got it rolling from there and were able to keep that momentum.”

CBA’s offense, which scored 22 runs in its final two pool play games, was paced by Mason Davis. Davis, who was named MVP of the 14u tournament, started the weekend 7-for-7 before closing out the tournament hitting .529 at the plate with five RBI and four runs scored.

To have all these great teams out here and to win the MVP award is amazing,” commented Davis. “It was an amazing experience all weekend.”

CBA continued its great play in the playoff bracket as the team had an offensive outburst, outscoring the NLSC Noles 11-3 in the semifinals to advance to the championship to face the Canes.

After staking the Canes to an early 3-0 lead, CBA once again showed its fight. Trailing 4-2 going into the fifth inning, CBA plated three runs to take its first lead of the day, 5-4, thank to a two-run triple to deep center field by Caleb Johnson followed by an RBI ground-rule double by Jerry Bowman. Johnson finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored while Bowman picked up a pair of doubles and three RBI.

CBA tacked on two more insurance runs, plating a run in both the top of the sixth and seventh to close out the 7-4 win in the championship game. The seven runs that CBA was able to score in the championship was more than EvoShield had given up in its first four games combined.

Colby Brabston came in relief for the CBA Copperheads Elite 14u and tossed two scoreless innings to pick up the win on the mound.

Our program believes high energy leads to good things happening as a team,” explained Halstead. “This team can struggle with energy and we didn’t have that energy in our first game. I would say that’s the number one factor with our team; the talent is there but the energy also has to be there and a credit to our team who responded well after that first game.”

Needless to say, this group of players for CBA Copperheads Elite 14u will not forget their first Perfect Game experience. The team from Columbus, Ga. leaves LakePoint with not only memories but also the hardware from the inaugural 14u WWBA Labor Day at Lake Point tournament.

Absolutely a successful weekend,” said Halstead. “It was great and much more than we could have expected.”


2014 14u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint champions: CBA Copperheads Elite 14u



2014 14u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint runner-up: EvoShield Canes South



2014 14u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint MVP: Mason Davis, CBA Copperheads Elite 14u



2014 14u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint MV-Pitcher: Stan King, EvoShield Canes South






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