FORT MYERS, Fla. – Nos. 2, 3 and 4 are gone. No. 1 escaped by the skin of its teeth. With several notable exceptions, the teams left standing in the quarterfinal round of the 15u BCS Finals weren't necessarily pre-tournament picks to be among the final eight.
No. 2-seed Team Georgia, No. 3 East Cobb Team Rawlings and No. 4 Team Elite 15u White all went down in Wednesday’s first round of the Finals’ playoffs, while the No. 1-seeded East Cobb Astros survived with a 5-4, eight-inning win over the 16th-seeded Atlanta Blue Jays 15u in games at Terry Park.
The first round playoff games all started at least three hours after their scheduled starting times due to another early afternoon downpour in north Fort Myers. The last of the eight games that originally had a 2 p.m. (EDT) starting time finished at nearly 9 p.m.
The quarterfinals are scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at the four fields at Terry Park. The semifinals are scheduled at 11:30 a.m. at the two fields at City of Palms Park, and the 15u BCS Finals championship game is slated for 2 p.m. at the main stadium at City of Palms – weather permitting.
After the fields at Terry Park, the Boston Red Sox Player Development 5-Plex and the Lee County Sports Complex were made playable after Wednesday’s downpour, upset after upset became norm.
Second-seeded Team Georgia (6-1) fell to the No. 15 East Cobb Longhorns (6-1), 12-0; No. 3 East Cobb Team Rawlings (6-1) went by the wayside at the hands of the No. 14 Orlando Scorpions 2014 (4-2-1), 3-0; and No. 4 Team Elite 15u White (6-1) fell to the SBA Canes 15u Black (4-2-1), 6-3.
That wasn’t the end of the upsets. No. 6-seed So Cal National Travel Team (5-1-1) fell to the No. 11 Georgia Academy TPX Dodgers, 12-6, and No. 8 All-American Prospects Gray (5-2) were beaten by No. 9 Team Elite 15u Black, 7-1.
The highest seeds to advance to the quarters other than the East Cobb Astros were the No. 5 Dulins Dodgers (6-0-1) and the No. 7 Dallas Mets (6-1).
Team Elite 15u White breezed through pool-play 6-0 while earning its No. 4 seed, but fell to 13th-seeded SBA Canes 15u Black on Mack Field at Terry Park. Coach Brooke Richards’ second team – ninth-seeded Team Elite 15u Black (6-1) – upset No. 8 seed All-American Prospects Gray (5-2), 7-1, to keep championship hopes alive for one of the Team Elite squads.
Richards, in his own words, manages “the parents and the players on both squads.”
“It’s fun because I get to work with all types of different kids and athletes,” Richards said before his 15u White squad was beaten Wednesday night. “At the same time, you don’t want to neglect one or the other because they’re both very good teams. We have a good shot of winning it with both squads, so it keeps me busy.”
When dawn breaks on Thursday, that hope lies entirely with Team Elite 15u Black, whose only loss in the tournament was a 5-3 setback to Knoxville Thunder 15u in its fifth pool-play game on Tuesday.
“Our program at Team Elite, we look at it as one program and not individual teams,” Richards said. “We love coming down here and winning at these Perfect Game events, but our biggest thing is player development and getting these kids in college one day. That’s what we take pride in. It’s about college exposure and player development and the wins are a bonus for us.”
Here are the quarterfinal-round playoff pairings, with all games scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Terry Park:
No. 9 Team Elite 15u Black (6-1) vs. No. 1 East Cobb Astros (7-0), at Stadium.
No. 15 East Cobb Longhorns (6-1) vs. No. 7 Dallas Mets (6-1), at Brett.
No. 14 Orlando Scorpions 2014 (4-2-1) vs. No. 11 Georgia Academy TPX Dodgers (6-1), at Clemente.
No. 13 SBA Canes 15u Black (4-2-1) vs. No. 5 Dulins Dodgers (6-0-1), at Mack.