FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jered Goodwin
brought his FTB Mizuno 17u squad here three weeks ago to try to steal
a championship at the Perfect Game WWBA Florida Qualifier. The young
team came up just short, finishing second to a loaded SWFL 18u squad.
But even before Goodwin took his team
into the championship game of the Florida Qualifier, he admitted that
his youthful squad was not really there to win the paid invitation to
the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla., Oct. 20-24. Goodwin had
this team at the Florida Qualifier to get it ready for this weekend’s
PG WWBA Underclass World Championship.
“I got to bring
a lot of young guys here and meet them and kind of groom them for the
PG Underclass here in a couple of weeks,” Goodwin said three weeks
ago. “Then this will be kind of my base team next summer, these
guys that we brought to this event.”
momentarily, and then continued.
“A big reason
for coming (to the Florida Qualifier) is to get reps,” he said.
“The underclass guys are trying to go and make a run at the
Underclass (World) tournament here in a couple of weeks and the older
guys are trying to get ready for Jupiter.”
The 2011 WWBA
Underclass World Championship begins Friday morning at no fewer than
15 Fort Myers-area venues. The 10th
annual WWBA Underclass Championship will utilize fields at Terry
Park, the Red Sox Player Development 5-Plex, the Cape Coral Sports
Complex, the Charlotte County Complex, City of Palms Park, Florida
Gulf Coast University, Hammond Stadium and the Lee County Sports
Complex, as well as seven area high schools.
One hundred and fourty-four
teams from 19 states and Puerto Rico with more than 2,000 players will vie for the WWBA Underclass
World Championship title, which concludes Monday with semifinal and
championship games at City of Palms. This is the grandest underclass
tournament in the nation every fall, showcasing the top junior and
sophomore – and in some cases, freshman – prospects in the
country in front of hundreds of college coaches and professional
If history tells
us anything, those scouts have been paying attention.
There are 24 WWBA
Underclass World Championship alumni who have already made it to the
major leagues. That list includes first round MLB draft selections
Jonathan Arencibia, Christopher Nelson, Justin Upton, Chris Volstad,
Andrew McCutchen, Jemile Weeks, Chris Marrero, Eric Hosmer and Mike
More than 90 WWBA
Underclass World Championship alumni from the 2009 tournament were
selected in the 2011 draft. They include first round (and first round
compensation) picks Tyler Beebe, Francisco Lindor, Kevin Matthews,
Brett Austin, Dante Bichette, Hudson Boyd, Kevin Comer and Trevor
field promises to produce even more standout teams and individuals.
FTB Mizuno Royal
features top prospects LHP Sean Brady (Florida), MIF Derek Deler
(Florida International) and LHP Ian McKinney (Central Florida), all
2013 guys who played on the runner-up Florida Qualifier team and who
have already committed to D-I colleges. It also includes D-I commits
catcher Chris Okey (Clemson), who is ranked No. 20 nationally (2013),
and right-hander Kyle Marsh (Central Florida) who is ranked No. 12 in
the class of 2014.
isn’t even the team to beat at this tournament. Marucci Elite, the
defending champion, is stacked once again, as is Orlando Scorpions
2013 Black, South Florida Elite Squad Black, Canes Baseball, Chet
Lemon’s Juice, Dirtbags, East Cobb Braves and East Cobb Astros
Texas Orange, along with a couple of dozen other elite teams.
national prospect expected to be in attendance as of mid-week is
Statham, Ga., 3B/RHP Travis Demeritte, ranked No. 6. He is a member
of the East Cobb Braves.
Other top guys
include No. 9 C/UT Zach Collins from Pembroke Pines, Fla. (South
Florida Elite Squad Black); No. 13 John Sternagel, a Central Florida
commit from Rockledge, Fla. (Orlando Scorpions 2013 Black); and No.
17 Matthew Vogel , a right-hander from Medford, N.Y., who has
committed to South Carolina (South Florida Banditos Seminoles).
There are at
least eight other prospects – including Okey – ranked Nos. 20
through 33 in the class of 2013 who are expected to be here this
The 2011 WWBA
Underclass World Championship sets the stage for the 2011 WWBA World
Championship which will be held in Jupiter two weeks from this