CARTERSVILLE, GA. – Texas has become well known for producing some of the best amateur talent in the Country, and this past weekend at the North Texas PG Super25 Regional, that talent was on display, as 76 teams competed in the 15u, 16u and 17u age groups. While having 76 teams in a tournament would usually imply that some teams would flat out dominate others, that wasn’t the case, as the PG Super25 series brought both balanced and competitive teams together for the regional.
While the Super25 Regionals only brings one winner from each age group to the national tournament, the Super Regionals will give every team that didn’t win a chance to stay alive. The Super Regionals will be especially important in Texas, as multiple teams that fell short this weekend had the talent to win it all, and could be dangerous with their second opportunity. Super25 North Texas Regional Tournament director Nick Heitz stated as much, saying: “the competition was pretty good throughout, there weren’t a whole lot of weak teams, it should create a pretty strong Super Regional.”
Because the field was so strong, the winners from this weekend stood out as truly exceptional teams.
The Dallas Tigers – Woods made it clear that they were the best team at the 15u level with their performance. They combined great pitching with strong play in close games. They tossed two shutouts in the middle of the tournament, but also won two 1-run ballgames, including a tight 5-4 victory in the semifinal game against the North Texas Longhorns – Boddie.
In the 16u age group, the Dallas Tigers – Arias won the championship relying on their exceptional pitching and timely hitting. After tying the first game of the tournament 4-4, they went on a run of 5 straight wins on their way to the title, which included complete games from Ray Gaither, Patrick Shore, MD Johnson and Charles King, with King pitching in the championship game.
Myles Paschall and Zachary Humphreys led the Tigers offense with timely hits throughout the tournament. Paschall had the big hit in the title game, hitting a grand slam to put the game of reach for their opponent TCA Findley.
The Dallas Mustangs – Carpenter epitomized an ideal team on their way to the 17u Regional Championship. They crushed their way through the qualifying rounds to get to the Super25 regional using their great collection of talent, and continued to do so through their first three games of the regional, winning by 9 or more runs in each contest. However, during their final three games of the regional, they faced teams as talent-laden as their own. That didn’t matter, as they came together as a unit and won close game after close game, capping their run to the title with a 1-0 extra-inning victory in the championship game.
The 1-0 battle came against the Sandlot 17u team that had also battled their way to the championship. The only run came when Steele Walker hit a huge triple, followed by big middle-of-the-order hitter Grant Reuben knocking him in with a single.
The Dallas Mustangs program has been around for 28 years, and through their assembling of elite talent they have helped mold intelligent, all-around ballplayers. Along with being good at the game, they are also benefitted by their passion for it. Mustangs coach Sam Carpenter explained how his team is composed of, “a pretty special group of kids in the sense that they enjoy the game, they enjoy competing, and they enjoy the challenge, along with being physically talented as well.”
While the Mustangs are talented, they lack any of the top 25 players in Perfect Game’s rankings of Texas amateurs. Their highest ranked player is Layne Looney (No. 26) and William Hollis (No. 28), while they also have talented players in Peyton Grassanovits (No. 46), Grant Reuben (No. 70) and Brendan Venter (No. 76). With a balanced roster full of talent rather than one loaded with a few stars and not much else, the Mustangs successfully have a complete team composed of players with elite skill throughout their roster. The PG Super25 series is designed to give teams that play well together as a unit an advantage, and the Mustangs embody this principle.
Coach Carpenter stated how he believes his team’s pride and unity will give them an advantage once they start competing nationally: “These kids would like to prove themselves, that would be the most important thing to them, not individually but as a group. This would be their third year together as a group, and they have a lot of pride playing together.” The 17u Mustangs have grown as men and as ballplayers together, and being close as a team will only help their talent shine once they start competing against the rest of the country.
The Mustangs join the champions from North Texas in their path to the Super25 National Championship for their age group. Texas is known for its state pride and amateur baseball talent, and with the young ballplayers heading to the Super25 National Championship, the teams should represent their states well against the best of the rest of the country.