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Photo: Perfect Game

Tournaments : : Story
Mt. West Wins PG/EvoShield Nat'l Under
David Rawnsley        
Published: Monday, September 26, 2011

Also see: San Diego Show win Perfect Game/EvoShield National Upperclass Championships

PEORIA, Ariz. - Mt. West 2013 held off a young and determined So Cal Bombers 2014 Red team 7-6 to win the 2011 Perfect Game/EvoShield National Underclass Championship at the Peoria Sports Complex Monday afternoon.

Comprised of players from Utah, the Mt. West team featured very strong pitching all week, but ran short of arms in the championship game and had to use primary infielders for five of the game's seven innings. Because of this, the team's hitters stepped to the forefront, especially the middle of the order.

Catcher Jake Druce (2013, Bingham High School, Utah) went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Catcher/left-fielder Bronson Larson (2013, Davis High School, Fruit Heights, Utah) also went 3-for-3 with two runs scored, driving in four of the team's seven runs, including one when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Right-handed pitcher/second baseman Tanner Draper (2013, Riverton High School, Utah) went 2-for-4 with two run scoring singles.

Larson had a big day overall, driving in a total of six runs between the semi-finals and finals.

Mt. West also got clutch pitching in the form of shortstop Brody Rich (2013, Fremont High School, Utah) who came in to close off the Bombers four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning and retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win.

The entire So Cal Bombers organization gained the respect of the Perfect Game staff for their style of play and talent, as three Bombers teams made the playoffs at the Underclass event, including the So Cal Bombers 2013 Red, who lost to Team California/Arizona in the quarter-finals, and the So Cal Bombers 2013 Black, who lost to Mt. West in the semi-finals.

The 2014 Red team had a group of outstanding hitters that were also very aggressive bunting and running the bases. Third baseman/shortstop Mitch Kemp (2014, Temecula Valley High School, Calif.), outfielder A.J. Sawyer (2014, Temecula Valley High School, Calif.), middle infielder Josh Sabajan (2014, Downey High School, Calif.), catcher Ryan Lillie (2014, Vista Murrieta High School, Calif.) and outfielder Arturo Sanchez (2014, Pete Knight High School, Calif.) all showed prospect-level tools during the tournament, and should form the foundation of more outstanding So Cal Bomber teams in the future.

The left-handed hitting Sanchez had a double and triple in the championship game, while Kemp hit the ball hard during the entire tournament, finishing 9-for-16 at the plate with five extra-base hits. Sawyer collected eight hits, including four for extra bases, and could have collected tournament MVP honors and a championship trophy for the Bombers had his hard line drive to right field with two runners on hadn't been caught in the fifth inning of the championship game.

The Most Valuable Player honor for the tournament went to Mt. West's Draper, who was simply outstanding both on the mound and at the plate during the entire event. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound right-hander also threw a seven inning no-hitter in Pool Play, striking out 15 hitters, and followed that up with six shutout innings in the semi-finals. Draper worked in the 84-87 mph range with his fastball and spotted both his fastball and upper-60's curveball with mature precision.

The Most Valuable Pitcher honor went to Draper's teammate, 6-foot-6, 185-pound right-handed pitcher Brett Snyder (2013, Alta High School, Utah), who threw a two-hit shutout in Mt. West's 3-0 win over the Arizona Sabercats in the quarterfinals.

Be sure to visit Perfect Game's event blogs for all of the action leading up to the 2011 Perfect Game/EvoShield National Underclass Championships.

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