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Photo: Perfect Game

Tournaments : : Story
East Cobb Yankees win WWBA 18u
Nick Kappel        
Published: Friday, July 06, 2012

MARIETTA, Ga. — Keyed by their red hot bats and dominant pitching, the No. 7 seed East Cobb Yankees 18u (12-0) emerged 10-2 winners over the No. 18 seed Marlins Scout Team (10-2) to claim the 2012 PG/WWBA 18u National Championship on Friday at the East Cobb Complex.

After jumping out to an early 2-1 lead, the Yankees scored two in the fourth on a double by Austin Norrell (2012, Calhoun HS, Ga.). They added a six-spot in the fifth thanks to run-scoring hits from Dansby Swanson (2012, Marietta HS, Ga.), Douglas Miller (2012, Darlington HS, Ga.), Eric Knox (2013, Effingham County HS, Ga.) and Norrell to seal the title.

Following Knox’s game-ending RBI single to right field, the Yankees’ dugout erupted, prompting a joyous dog pile near first base.

Jared Jillson (2012, St. Edward’s HS, Fla.) pitched all five innings for the Yankees, striking out four while topping out at 91 mph.

We swung the bats well all week long and pitched well again today,” Head Coach James Beavers — who’s in his 34th year as the Yankees’ coach — said after the game. “This is a great tournament and it means a lot to win it. When you look at championship banners every year and you see yourself up there — it’s just great to be part of this program.”

In one of the semifinals matchups at 9:00, the Marlins Scout Team pounded out 13 hits in a 5-2 victory over the No. 6 seed NVTBL Stars 17u. The Yankees then defeated the No. 32 seed Dulin Dodgers in the other semifinals matchup. After falling behind 3-0, the Yankees scored 10 unanswered runs to advance to the finals.

The Yankees outscored their opponents 115-27 in 12 tournament games. They scored 10 or more runs seven times, including their last four playoff contests. Their pitching was equally good, holding the opposition to three runs or fewer in all but two games.

Right-handed pitcher Lucas Brown (2012, Allatoona HS, Ga.) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Pitcher. In 16 innings, Brown yielded just two earned runs (1.13 ERA) on seven hits and no walks, striking out 17 and peaking at 89 mph.

I just went out there with confidence every day knowing I had run support, so I was just trying to throw strikes,” Brown said after the game with his MVPitcher trophy in hand. “This is probably the best experience I’ve ever had. I’ve never been involved in a National Championship, so I’m happy.”

This is the East Cobb Yankees’ fifth National Championship. Former East Cobb Yankees turned major leaguers include: Stephen Drew, Gordon Beckham, Dexter Fowler and Matt Capps.

NOTES: Marlins Scout Team’s Grant Diede (2012, Acalanes HS, Calif.) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. In 12 games, Diede went 16-for-28 (.571) with two doubles, three home runs, three stolen bases, 17 runs and 11 RBI. He also walked 10 times, giving him a .684 on-base percentage.

The Marlins Scout Team’s loss in the championship game ended an incredible tournament run in which they went 10-2 and outscored their opponents 80-36.

2012 WWBA 18u National Championship runner-up: Marlins Scout Team/Storm

2012 WWBA 18u National Championship MVP: Grant Diede

2012 WWBA 18u National Championship MVPitcher: Lucas Brown

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