EMERSON, Ga. – The 6-4-3 DP organization has not been a stranger to success at Perfect Game events in the past. Especially this summer, 6-4-3 has a Perfect Game tournament title in the 14u PG/EC Invitational, a runner-up finish in the 14u WWBA National Championship, and many teams making it to the playoff brackets in both the WWBA and BCS tournaments. So, it is no surprise that another one of their teams is making noise in the 14u/15u PG/Evoshield Classic.
The 6-4-3 DP Cougars Montgomery, a 15u team, came into Tuesday with an unblemished 4-0 record. They had impressive wins over the Atlanta Blue Jays 15u, the Georgia Elite Yankees, and the Minnesota Rebels Baseball Club, while also winning a one-run ballgame over Home Plate-Boyd 15u. Their final pool matchup was against the Georgia Baseball Titans who had a respectable 3-1 record. This made their game a winner-take-all situation for the pool and a chance at a top three seed into the playoffs.
On the mound for 6-4-3 was a tall, lanky southpaw Ryan Webb. His 6 foot 1 frame was something that he used to his advantage at his young age of 15. He pitched all five innings and earned the win. He allowed only one earned run and four hits, while striking out an impressive 10 batters and walking only one. His fastball was electric for a lefty at his age sitting between 83 and 85 mph, while topping out at 86 mph. Mixed in with his fastball was a nice curveball that consistently swept into the corners for strikes.
“It’s great to have him,” head coach Nick Montgomery said of Webb. “It’s always great to have a guy like that to rely on. He has good stuff, and he knows how to pitch. He uses all three pitches, so it’s always good for the team to have him on the mound. There is a lot of confidence when he is out there, and they all get up for it.”
The team only had five hits in the game, but they found other ways to bring runs in. They used a few past balls with runners on third and some station-to-station baseball by hitting behind runners to prevail 9-1. Drake Murray was the catalyst behind the offense going 2-2 with an RBI and a run scored.
“It’s awesome,” Montgomery said of his team’s ability to score in a variety of ways. “This team is awesome. They have speed. We have a lot of talent all the way through the lineup even on the bench. It’s not just the starting nine or ten. It’s all the way through. This team is great. They can play small ball. We have speed, and we have guys that can bunt and run and do different things. And, we have some power too and some guys who can hit doubles, triples, and bombs. So, it’s been exciting to watch.”
Skylar McPhee added a hit, an RBI, and two runs scored to continue his dominant run at the plate in the tournament. Through pool play he had a batting average of .462 (6-13) and has been the leader of the team. He has been a major reason why they have played the way they have. Montgomery was not only impressed with his numbers but also his ability to move runners over and help his team.
“It’s been great,” Montgomery said. “He’s really been great this tournament. He’s having good at-bats; even when he is getting out he is still having good at-bats. He’s still doing something for the team, moving a guy, and getting him over. It’s a fly-out, but it’s deep enough to get the guys over and get them in scoring position.”
Having finished at 5-0, the team received the number two seed and a berth into Wednesday’s semi-finals.
After a long, grueling summer, Wednesday will serve as the last chance for this team to earn a Perfect Game title. The dominant way this team has played throughout the week shows that they have not been affected mentally or physically by the intensity of their summer schedule.
“I think it says a lot about the kids,” Montgomery said. “It says a whole lot about them. It says what kind of athletes they are. When they cross that lines, it doesn’t matter really. They are going to play 100 percent. And, that’s what we look for in the kids, and we’re glad that they are still doing it for us.”
Having made it to the playoff round served as an important step in itself. Any time a team can continue on in a tournament it is a good thing, and it also gives the team more opportunities to show off their talent. Montgomery explained how his players have a leg up on next year because of how well they are playing in this tournament.
“It’s good for these kids,” Montgomery said. “It’s a great way to end the year, so it’s good for them going into next year. They have a big year ahead of them, so it gives them a little bit of confidence. They’re going into a big year, 16 years old, and starting to get recruited. They have some scouts out here watching them, so it’s great for them to get used to it and get ahead of the game a little bit. Not all of the teams are out here playing still, so it’s good for them.”
They will face the winner of a game between Team ECB Select and the same Georgia Baseball Titans they beat Tuesday. For some teams, making it this far would only make them want to think exclusively about winning, but that is not the case with this team. Montgomery obviously wants his guys to play the way they know how to, but he also wants them to just enjoy their last day together and have a good time.
“It’s our last day with this team, so I just want them to have fun, relax, play the game like they have been doing all summer, and don’t change a thing,” Montgomery said. “They’ve put in the work, and they’ve put in the time. I think that we have practiced more than anybody out there, so just play the game and have fun.”