Ga. – The Dulin Dodgers decided this was their year to dominate the
WWBA National Championships. The Dodger’s 15u team won the WWBA 15u
National Championship two weeks ago, and their 18u team won the WWBA
18u National Championship that took place last week. Now the 17u team
is on the path to bring home a third championship in a row for the
Dulin Dodgers organization.
Dodger’s came out victorious in their game against SBA Canes on
Thursday morning, advancing them to the next round of playoffs along
with seven other teams.
the core group (of this team) has been together since the 14s,”
explained head coach for the Dodgers Mike Fitzsimmons. “In Perfect
Game events they’ve been to the last five national championships
either at the BCS or World Wood (Bat Association), and won final
four. We’re here trying to represent and take care of business.
We’ve knocked on this door enough times we’re looking to go at it
and give our best effort.”
pitcher Ethan Small was able to hold the Canes at four runs during
his 3 2/3 innings on the mound and struck out five. John Spoon
relieved Small in the fourth inning. The Canes were able to scractch
one more run across against him, but he didn’t give up any hits and
struck out one.
pitching’s been solid,” added Fitzsimmons. “We’ve got plenty
of arms and guys who will go in there and compete. In the World Wood
Bat the only thing that can really kill you is walks and free stuff.
So we play tight defensively and we throw strikes.”
McCord pitched a six-inning shutout against Team Citrus Red on
Wednesday. He racked up nine strikeouts and only allowed four hits.
just pound the zone, keep them off balance and let the defense work,”
said McCord about his outing.
teammate, Austin Riley also acquired nine strikeouts in six innings
against Baseline Baseball on Tuesday. He didn’t allow any hits, and
only walked one.
day when I go out there I think, ‘you gotta pound the strike zone,
be able to locate the fastball, and throw off-speed for a strike,’”
explained Riley. “I was able to do that and was able to get the
only does Riley do solid work on the mound, he is also on fire at the
plate. He is 8-for-12 this tournament with five singles, three
doubles and is leading the team with eight RBI. A parent in the
stands referred to him as “king of clutch” because of the way
Riley has been hitting the ball to the gaps when his team needs him
dad always says ‘jump on the first fastball’ and that’s what
I’ve been doing. I’ve been getting a lot of early fastballs and I
was able to jump on them,” said Riley of his success at the plate.
is) a physically gifted specimen,” added Fitzsimmons. “He’s a
heck of a player and has a bright future at hand.”
he does. Riley has verbally committed to play baseball at Mississippi
State, and said he’s very excited about it and that the coaches
“treat (him) like (he’s) already on the team.”
isn’t the only Dulin Dodger to be on fire at the plate this week
though. The team as a whole has a batting average of .317. Clay Casey
has hit two home runs this week, including a three-run shot against
the CBA Canes, collecting seven RBI for the tournament. Both McCord
and Cody Henry put themselves in scoring position in two of their
three at-bats in Thursday morning's game. Rob Perteet is also doing
well this tournament with a batting average of .450.
got a little thump and we got some bump to go with it,” said
Fitzsimmons. “We feel offensively we can compete with anyone here.
There’s a lot of good pitchers out there, so we respect everyone
and we know we have to earn it every day we come here. We kind of
have a workman’s like mentality in the dugout, (and) that’s where
we punch the clock and go to work.”
pressure is on now as the Dodgers continue to advance. Especially
after the 15u and 18u Dulin Dodgers teams took home championships in
the previous two WWBA tournaments.
think if we just do what we do, hit the ball and throw strikes like
we’re capable then we will have no problem getting it done,”
can do it definitely, (we) just got to work hard,” added McCord.
tell my guys, ‘pressure goes in tires’ there is no pressure,
we’ve been here before and honest efforts, we’ve been through
this grind we know it’s a mental process,” explained Fitzsimmons.
“Tough times don’t last, (but) tough people do and my bunch is
here and they show up ready to play every day.”
has been coaching this team since they started as 14s, and said his
team is full of top prospects and that there are no weak links on his
coached this bunch since we started at 14s and they’ve taken me on
a heck of a ride,” said Fitzsimmons. “I’ve been blessed and
lucky to coach these groups (and) they’ve been in every
said he can’t think of a better baseball program than the Dulin
Dodgers in the southern and tri-state area.
had a lot of prospects in and out of the organization throughout the
years,” added Fitzsimmons. “Not only do we have quality players,
we make a point to get the right kids. We’re not going to take
anybody with bad attitudes. We’re going to take kids that we
identify do it the right way with the right attitude.”
Dulin Dodgers organization was founded by Tim Dulin (former College
All-American, Team USA member and professional ballplayer) in 1990.
They pride themselves on teaching developing athletes and
underprivileged children “discipline, sportsmanship, pride, ethics
and integrity.” According to the website, 52 professional players,
325 college players, 22 All Americans, 6 National Runners-Up and 31
All SEC, ACC or Conference USA champions have been a part of the
Dulin Dodgers organization.
a great organization, (with) great coaches and all. We just fight and
go out every day and give it our best,” said Riley about the Dulin
got to work hard, (and) can’t just goof around like some teams,”
added McCord. “They keep you going (and) keep you on track.”
with another win on Thursday afternoon, Dulin Dodgers have advanced
to the semi-finals on Friday, one step closer to yet another trophy
at the WWBA National Championships.