FORT MYERS, Fla. – The first four pool-play games over the last three days went off without much of a hitch for 10 of the 60 teams competing this week in the Perfect Game 15u BCS Finals. Now it gets quite a bit trickier.
Ten teams – some expected to, some not so much – completed their initial three game pool-play schedule on Saturday and Sunday undefeated, and then won their openers in the next round-of-three pool-play games that began Monday.
The 10 teams that won their first four pool-play games here the last three days include the PG nationally ranked East Cobb Astros (No. 2), So Cal National Travel Team (No. 6) and Team Georgia (No. 16).
The other seven 4-0 teams heading into Tuesday’s round of pool-play double-headers are:
Georgia Academy TPX Dodgers; East Cobb Team Rawlings; Memphis Tigers 15u; Stixx Baseball 15u; Team Elite 15u Black; Team Elite 15u White, and Sandy Plains Wildcats.
Stixx Baseball 15u seems to have come out of nowhere. Head coach Doug Lee watched as his team won its first three pool-play games by combined scores of only 22-14, and then whipped the Florida Hardballers15u squad 8-0 at the Boston Red Sox Player Development 5-Plex Monday morning.
“We’ve actually played some shaky defense at times, but we’ve got some good pitching and good speed – we’ve ran the bases real well,” Lee said. “I’d like to see us play a little more consistently on offense and make a few more plays on defense, but we’re 4-0, so ….”
Stixx left-hander Corderias Dorsey pitched a seven-inning complete game two-hitter, allowing no earned runs with 13 strikeouts and five walks in the Stixx’ 2-1 15u BCS Finals opener against the South Florida Prospects on Saturday.
Stixx got another fine pitching performance against the Florida Hardballers 15u squad in oppressive heat and humidity Monday with right-handers Dylan Williams, Jake Withers and Cameron Williams combining on a five-inning one-hitter with five strikeouts and five walks.
East Cobb Baseball has two 4-0 teams entering Tuesday’s slate of pool-play doubleheaders – the powerful Astros and Team Rawlings. Team Rawlings head coach Jeff Guy, who helps operate the East Cobb Complex in Marietta, Ga., and coached alongside ECB founder Guerry Baldwin for 20 years, watched his squad outscore its first three opponents, 33-6, in the first round of pool-play.
“Our pitching has been really good and it’s been solid,” Guy said. “To compete in these kinds of tournaments you’ve got to have solid defense and good pitching. You can hit all you want to, but since they’ve changed the bats and all, you better be able to play solid defense and be able to pitch.”
East Cobb Team Rawlings seems to be well-stocked.
In a 14-0, four-inning win over the Potomac Valley Outlaws, right-hander Jared Stedman pitched a four-inning three-hitter, and in a five-inning 11-1 win over the Dallas Tigers-Fleming, right-hander Jacob Anthes and lefty Bo Tucker combined on a five-inning, nine-strikeout one-hitter.
Trying to keep pace, righties Rhett Harper and Lucas Cadalzo combined on a six-hitter in Monday’s 11-3 win over HEAT Baseball.
“We’re very fortunate in that we have 15 guys here and 12 of them can throw – and we have two guys who haven’t pitched yet,” Guy said Monday. “So if we’re fortunate to get to Wednesday, everybody who threw Saturday can start right back over. So we’re in pretty good shape pitching-wise.”
Team Rawlings scored 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to erase a 3-1 deficit and beat HEAT, 11-3. Bo Tucker – who pitched four innings of no-hit ball with nine strikeouts in an 11-1, five-inning win over the Dallas Tigers-Fleming – drove in three runs, and Weston McArthur and Bradley Schwartz two apiece.
The real challenges now lie ahead. All 10 of the 4-0 teams aspire to play six games over the next three days beginning Tuesday – that would mean a spot in Thursday’s championship game at City of Palms Park.
With two final pool-play games coming up on Tuesday, all anyone really knows is that the competition for a playoff berth with be stiff.
“I’ve been bringing teams to Perfect Game (tournaments) since ’05, and you see the best teams around, the best athletes around, the best players around,” Lee said. “It’s always fun to see teams come in from all over the country.”