FORT MYERS, Fla. – Destination: City of Palms Park.
That’s where all of the 100 teams that are taking part in this week’s Perfect Game 17u and 18u BCS Finals hope to be playing in championship games Friday afternoon when the two tournaments conclude their concurrent six-day runs.
The two BCS Finals begin those runs Sunday at nine venues in the area, including Terry Park, the Boston Red Sox Player Development 5-Plex, the Lee County Sports Complex, City of Palms and the Charlotte County Complex in Port Charlotte, Fla.
An overflow contingent of professional scouts and college coaches and recruiters are expected to be in attendance over the course of the two events. The college coaches will be especially interested in seeing how all the top prospects that fill teams’ rosters swing the BBCOR bat, which teams are required to use to both tournaments.
Fifty-six teams will compete for the championship in the 17u BCS Finals, which the East Cobb Astros have won the last two years and three of the last four years. The nationally ranked (No. 3) East Cobb Astros 16u squad is in this year’s field.
Other top teams expected to contend include No. 1-ranked Marucci Elite, No. 10 Tampa Bay Warriors, No. 12 Palm Beach PAL 17u, No. 13 Orlando Scorpions 17u Purple, No. 19 Texas Sun Devils and No. 24 All-American Prospects.
The scouts and college coaches will get an opportunity to watch five of the nation’s top right-handed pitching prospects in the class of 2012 perform in the 17u tournament.
The Tampa Bay Warriors’ Lance McCullers (the nation’s No. 1-ranked prospect overall) from Tampa, Fla., and Kayden Porter (No. 47) from Spanish Fork, Utah; Orlando Scorpions 17u Purple’s Walker Weickel (No. 7) from Orlando and Carson Fulmer (No. 47) from Lakeland, Fla.; and Team Gwinnett’s Lucas Sims (No. 12) from Lawrenceville, Ga., are all expected to pitch
All five have been selected to perform in next month’s Perfect Game All-American Classic in San Diego.
The 44-team field in the 18u BCS Finals is highlighted by the appearance of the top two teams in the Perfect Game 18u Travel Team National Rankings. The No. 1-ranked Florida Bombers and No. 2 East Cobb Braves 17u will be joined by No. 9 Team Mizuno Puerto Rico, No. 10 Dulins Dodgers and No. 13 Upstate Mavericks Black.
The East Cobb Braves 17u are just two days removed from winning the championship at the PG WWBA 17u National Championship on their home turf in Marietta, Ga., last week. A different East Cobb Braves team won last year’s 17u BCS Finals championship.
Perfect Game All-American Classic selections expected to play in the 18u BCS Finals include Team Mizuno Puerto Rico shortstop Carlos Correa (ranked No. 11 nationally) from Santa Isabel, P.R., Team Citius catcher Nelson Rodriguez (No. 37) from New York and Braves 17u left-hander Matthew Crownover (No. 46) from Ringgold, Ga.