2008 WWBA 18U National Championship
The Illinois Sparks, the tournament’s top offensive team, dropped 10 runs on the East Cobb Yankees in the first inning of their semi-final match up and made it stand up for a 10-4 win.
The Sparks were coming off back to back playoff wins where they had scored 12 and 13 runs, giving them a 3 game total of 35 runs. Their first inning against the Yankees was even more impressive considering that the Yankees had yet to allow a run in 3 playoff victories.
Illinois had 8 hits the first time through their 10 player batting order as 9 of the 10 players scored. CF John Reuttiger, the Sparks leadoff hitter, scored twice during the inning. They only managed 1 hit the rest of the game but didn’t need any more offense.
C Brandon Miller and SS Jason Stoltz hit home runs for the Yankees.
RHP Will Strack got the win for Illinois, allowing 3 runs in 4 2/3 innings of work. RHP Bobby Lyne worked the last 2 1/3 innings.
The Sparks become the first northern tier team to make the finals of a World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) or Baseball Championship Series (BCS) national championship event.
Just as with the 2008 College World Series, where it was a sure thing to guarantee a Bulldog victory, it was written in stone that the Bombers would advance to the championship game. The Florida version laid claim to the spot, jumping out to a 6-0 lead after 3 innings and coasting to a 10-3 win over the South Carolina Bombers.
The Florida Bombers have won 4 of the 6 previous WWBA 18U National Championships, taking the trophy in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. No other team in WWBA or BCS championship play has established that type of dominance over an event.
Florida knocked out 12 hits and took advantage of 7 South Carolina walks in scoring their highest run total of the event. DH Carlos Lopes had 2 doubles and drove in three runs, while teammates LF Jose Rodriguez, CF J.R. Murphy, SS Brent Zimmerman and C Anthony Angulo all had 2 hits apiece.
RHP Mike Tomasi worked 4 1/3 innings for Florida to get the win, allowing 3 hits and 1 run.
One of the big talking points among the scouts and Perfect Game staff throughout the course of the event has been the incredible number of 2010 and 2011 prospects who have made a major impact on the event. Remember, this is an 18U/2008 event and it would be hard to understate how much difference there is physically between your average 18 year old player and average 16 year old player.
Of course, these freshman and sophomores are nowhere close to average in their talent levels and the scary thing is that they are still just growing into their abilities and project so much physically.
Below are 10 such players who have really stood out and you are sure to hear more about in the coming years (alpha order):
RHP/3B Cam Bedrosian: Has the power arm and FB/SL combination like his father, but probably swings the bat better.
RHP/3B Yorby Cabrera (2010/LBA Crew): Threw up to 93 with outstanding movement at times and can swing the bat with power as well.
RHP/SS Kaleb Cowart (2010/East Cobb Astros): Two way prospect who throws low 90’s off the mound with minimal effort.
OF Delino DeShields (2010/Atlanta Blue Jays): Has his father’s speed but plenty of juice in his bat as well.
C Bryce Harper (2011/San Diego Show): A prodigy in every regard, he might be the best high school prospect in the country regardless of class.
3B Travis Harrison (2011/ABD): Lead off HR off a 91 mph Nathan Kilcrease (U. Alabama RHP) just one of many impressive at bats.
SS Jacoby Jones (2010/Mississippi Prospects): 6-3, 180 lb with graceful actions, present home run power and a plus arm.
SS Christian Lopes (2011/ABD): Potential 5-tool shortstop with all the actions, also 88 mph off the mound.
RHP DeAndre Smelter (2010/Tatnall): Extremely athletic right hander who pitched at 90-92 here for 7 innings, has been seen to 95 mph recently.
Four teams have claimed their place in the quarterfinals as of 4 pm.
The East Cobb Yankees are peaking at the right time, having won their 2 playoff games by a combined score of 15-0.
Chain Baseball Black has taken the opposite but equally effective tack, winning 2 one-run contests, 2-1 in extra innings and 5-4.
The 4-time champion Florida Bombers haven’t put many runs on the board in the playoffs, scoring 6 runs, but in typical Bomber fashion haven’t allowed many either, winning 4-1 and 2-0.
The Illinois Sparks unleashed the bats in their Round of 16 win, thumping the Syracuse Sports Zone Chiefs 12-1 after winning 2-1 in the first round.
Sometimes the result of a game isn’t as telling as the way the result was reached.
Such was the case when the ABD Bulldogs lost to Chain Baseball Black in their Play In game on Saturday by a score of 8-6. Chain scored 7 runs in the first inning and hung on for the win to earn a playoff spot in the game between two teams with 4-0 pool play records.
That ABD team is made up of the program’s top 2010 and 2011 players (i.e 15 and 16 year olds). The pitcher for Chain was Nathan Kilcrease, who threw a complete game. Kilcrease was a freshman at Alabama this year and went 3-0, 3.27 this spring pitching out of the Crimson Tide bullpen.
The youngsters certainly weren’t intimidated by an SEC pitcher throwing 90-91 mph with a 81-84 mph slider. ABD leadoff hitter 3B Travis Harrison (2011, Tustin HS, CA) led off the game with a home run and finished 2-4. SS Christian Lopes (2011, Valencia HS, CA), who has all the looks of a big time prospect, also went 2-4. 2010 C Jake Hernandez (Los Osos HS, CA), who played in the 2008 PG National Showcase in mid-June, went 2-3 with a couple of Rbi’s, as did 2011 1B Eric Cruz (Claremont HS, CA).
LHP Nolan Belcher of Line Drive Baseball was discussed on this Blog earlier in the week but he outdid himself in the first round of the playoffs in a 4-0 win over the Brevard Aces. The South Carolina signee threw a complete game no-hitter, striking out 13 hitters. He walked the second batter of the game, then proceeded to pick him off and go on to face the minimum 21 hitters. Belcher pitched at 86-87 mph and has a plus curveball that he carved up hitters with. He struck out the last 4 hitters to put a punctuation mark on the performance.
Weather in Atlanta area today but mostly staying south for now. Some of the southern fields that are hosting consolation games are in rain delay. The first time this week we’ve even had to really watch the radar.
Just after mentioning that Jackie Bradley (Richmond Braves) recorded the event’s first 6 Rbi game, a scoresheet makes its way through the system with another. SS Chet Zeise (Illinois Sparks) racked up 6 Rbi’s yesterday in the Sparks 11-5 win over Lefty’s Lightning. Zeise had a 2 run double in the first, duplicated that in the second and knocked in 2 more runs with a single in the 6th. He also was hit by a pitch, stole 2 bases and scored 2 runs.
Notable Playoff Performance: OF/LHP Kevin Brandt of the Carolina Cubs definitely was the star of the Cubs 1st round playoff win (2-0) over Team Elite. Brandt, a 2008 player from Fuquay Varina HS in NC, started on the mound and threw 6 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 4. With the game scoreless in the bottom of the 6th inning, Brandt delivered a bases loaded single to plate the game’s first run.
The Central Florida Renegades won their “Play In” game on Saturday evening with a 1-0 win over the FCA Mavericks in a classic pitching dual that the Perfect Game scout running the field called “the best game I’ve seen all tournament.” RHP Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Renegades lost his no hit attempt in the top of the 7th inning but complete the 1-hit shutout with 9 K’s. He out dueled LHP Demarius Johnson of FCA, who threw a 4 hitter.
First Round Playoff Results
Illinois Sparks 2, South Charlotte Panthers 1
(Wes Munson game winning HR)
Florida Bombers 4, Kentucky Baseball Club 1
(4-time champs in the hunt again)
Mississippi Prospects 6, Diamond Devils 2
(Top team from pool play remains impressive)
Chain Baseball Black 2, Dulins Dodgers 1
(Chain wins first playoff “overtime” game)
ABD Bulldogs ’09, East Cobb Saints 3
(ABD scores 2 in bottom of the 6th)
Connecticut Bombers 5, Team Connecticut Baseball 0
(Interstate Rivalry turns up Bombers)
Chet Lemon’s Juice 2, Team Connecticut Baseball Blue Jays 1
(Defending Champs narrowly win 1st round game)
Carolina Cubs 2, Team Elite 0
(1:20 pitcher’s dual, 2 runs in Bottom 6th)
The playoffs for some WWBA events are done by reseeding after pool play, whereas others are done on a pre-determined “Pool Winner vs. Pool Winner” basis. This event was done on the predetermined basis, with the winner of Pool A playing the winner of Pool B in the first round, and so forth.
A look at past events that have been done on a reseeding basis would show that there is almost no correlation between one’s seed entering the playoffs and the eventual results.
If this event had been done on a reseeding format, the top seeded team entering the playoffs would have been the Mississippi Prospects team, who finished pool play with a perfect 5-0 record and a 5/44 (runs allowed/runs scored) ratio.
Ten teams finished with 5-0 records. Their seeding would have been:
1. Mississippi Prospects (5-0, 5/44)
2. ABD Bulldogs '09 (5-0, 6/41)
3. Team Connecticut Baseball (5-0, 6/26)
4. Chain Baseball Black (5-0, 9/36)
5. Chet Lemon’s Juice (5-0, 10/50)
6. Dulins Dodgers (5-0, 10/39)
7. South Charlotte Panthers (5-0, 10/35)
8. East Cobb Saints (5-0, 12/27)
9. Diamond Devils (5-0, 13/36)
10. Illinois Sparks (5-0, 18/40)
Interestingly, of the top 10 “seeded” teams, there are 9 different states represented: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Mississippi, Connecticut, Tennessee and California.
My apologies for the lack of Blog work yesterday afternoon and evening. Pool play days (at least those without rain) are pretty smoothly flowing 16 hour cycles until the final day when playoff berths (and consolation games) are determined. Things get pretty hairy in the Tower the last day though, even under sunny skies with the machine running smoothly.
There are many reasons for this but the bottom line is that there are 186 teams in the tournament and as of the last day of pool play there is no schedule for the next day. Each team either is going to win their pool and advance to the playoffs or move into the one game consolation bracket. The amount of information that has to be processed, turned into a schedule, then communicated via phone and web site to the teams is pretty intimidating, or would be to the uninitiated.
I would conservatively say that I used my phone 300 times yesterday to get information on scores, whether teams wanted consolation games, when teams were playing today, etc.
Tip of the Hat to Taylor McCollough and Jason Gerst for taking all that information and translating it into a perfect schedule for today.
Daniel Fields is a very talented 2009 shortstop from Detroit Jesuit HS in Michigan. The 6-2, 190 lb left handed hitter is the son of Bruce Fields, an outfielder who played with the Tigers and Mariners and also served as the bench coach for the Tigers.
The overall talent level of the three teams from Michigan has been extremely impressive. Fields plays for A. Green Summer Baseball. Maroons-Diamonds and Michigan Concealed Security Systems are the other two teams. All three have 3-1 pool play records after Friday’s games.
SS Dante Bichette of the Knights Baseball team is one of the younger players at the 18U Championships (no need to introduce who his father is). He’s a 6-0, 190 lb 2011 prospect from Orangewood Christian HS in Orlando. Not surprisingly, Bichette’s tool is his bat, he’s squared up virtually every at bat thus far and had a two-run home run in Knight’s 6-5 win over the Akadema Indiana Yankees on Friday.
Two more teams clinched playoff berths during the 9 am time slot.
Team Connecticut Baseball finished Pool P play with a perfect 5-0 record by defeating Desperados in a winner take all game, 6-4. The Team Connecticut organization put both their teams into the playoffs, as Team Connecticut Blue Jays clinched their pool after 4 games.
Thoroughbred Baseball won Pool B with a 5-0 win over the Florida Bombers Blue Sox to finish with a 3-0-2 record. 6-4-3 DP Baseball finished second in the pool with a 2-0-3 record.
Only 1 additional team clinched a playoff berth during the 7 pm game slot Friday night, defending champion Chet Lemon’s Juice. The Juice edged A Green Summer Baseball 6-5 in a hard fought game that was one of the top contests of the event thus far to claim Pool G.
Only 11 of the 32 playoff spots are set as of 9 am Saturday morning. Those are:
Chet Lemon’s Juice
South Charlotte Panthers ‘09
ABD Bulldogs ‘09
Team Connecticut Baseball Blue Jays
West Florida Young Guns
East Cobb Saints
SE Texas Sun Devils
Among the “Winner Advances” games today are:
Team Connecticut vs. Desperados (9 am)
South Carolina Bombers vs. Team Elite (11:30 am)
Chain Baseball vs. ABD (2 pm)
Bandits Baseball vs. Treasure Coast Young Guns (2 pm)
We’ve been blogging about former Major Leaguers whose sons are participating in the 18U (and will continue to later today). There is another designation for former big leaguers here at this National Championship: Former Major Leaguer’s who are umpiring.
That’s a category of One: Larry Doby Johnson
Johnson played professional baseball for 15 years (1968-82) as a catcher/third baseman/outfielder, five of that in the Major Leagues, debuting with the Cleveland Indians in 1972. After his career ended, Johnson went back to get both an undergraduate degree (Business Administration) and Masters (Education), start a number of baseball related businesses, teach high school algebra (9 years) and umpire at all levels, including minor league.
He also found the time to be the father to Josh Johnson, the Kansas City Royals 3rd round draft pick in 2005 and currently the second baseman for the Royals Hi A Carolina League team.
Johnson is here in Marietta with the National Umpires Association, the umpires group that Perfect Game/World Wood Bat Association uses for all its National Championships.
Jim Stors, the NUA Director, has this to say about Johnson. “Larry’s love for the game is just truly special. To think that an ex-Major Leaguer would still have the passion that he has about being an umpire after all he has seen in baseball is great. Larry understands the game from both sides of the game and that carries over into his umpiring. He is considered one of the top umpires in the NUA and is respected by everyone he comes in contact with in this game.”
If your team is NOT going to be in the playoffs beginning on Sunday and you DO NOT plan on playing in a Consolation Game, please contact a Perfect Game Staff Member (Taylor McCollough, Jason Gerst, David Rawnsley, etc) immediately to pass on that information.
5 more teams clinched playoff spots during the 2 pm slot, moving the total to 9 thus far (see previous blogs today). Those 5 are:
Pool C: The East Cobb Saints have a 4-0 record and have defeated the only team in the pool with only 1 loss.
Pool D: The ABD Bulldogs ’09 are 4-0, the next team is 2-1-1.
Pool F: SE Texas Sun Devils are 4-0, they have defeated the only team in the pool with 1 loss.
Pool K: The South Charlotte Panthers are 4-0, the second place Knights Baseball have the unusual record of 1-0-3. Ties are the equivalent of .5W/.5L.
Pool L: The Illinois Sparks are 4-0 and have already defeated both teams in the pool who are 3-1.
Son of Former ML’er, con: Tyler Zupcic is the leadoff hitter for the South Charlotte Panthers, who sit atop Pool K with a perfect 3-0 record thru Thursday. The son of former Boston Red Sox outfielder and former first round pick (1987) Bob Zupcic, Tyler is having a very strong tournament. The 2009 outfielder from Waxhaw, NC, is 5-9 at the plate and has 4 stolen bases that have led to scoring 4 runs.
SOFM’er, part 2: Spotted at the East Cobb Complex yesterday: Kevin Brown, winner of 211 games with the Rangers, Dodgers, Marlins, Yankees, etc. Brown’s son, Ridge, is a big 6-4, 215 lb power hitting 2009 3B/1B for the Tatnall Trojans. Part of the irony of that is that Dad never distinguished himself with the bat, hitting only 2 home runs in 495 at bats (along with 187 K’s) in a hitting career “saved” many years by the DH rule. Of course, hitters had a similar lack of success against Brown when he was pitching.
NOTE: Please feel free to email (email@example.com) in other players at the 18U with family big league connections
Grand Slam: C Eric Nichols (Dugout Club Hurricanes) in 8-6 loss to Florida Bandits.
Grand Slam: EH Anthony Trevino (Boomtown Prospects) in a 5-3 victory over the Carney Pirates. The other Boomtown run was a solo home run by teammate Austin Rycroft. The 3 runs scored by the Pirates all came on solo home runs (Mike Snyder, George Pickerelli, Brett Bowers), meaning that all 8 runs in the game came on home runs. What is this, the American League?
It was blogged yesterday about the game where Tatnall Academy scored 7 runs in an inning started off by 4 consecutive HBP’s. In fact, the phrase “One of the most unusual innings you’ll ever see….” was used to describe rally.
I guess it isn’t that unusual. The first inning on Thursday for the Atlanta Blue Jays went BB, BB, 1B, HBP, HBP, HBP, (new pitcher), 1B, HBP, etc. 4 hit batters in a span of 6 hitters, mixed in with a couple of hits and walks. The Blue Jays went on to score 7 runs en route to a 12-0 win.
Through the 4:30 games on Thursday, the following 25 teams have perfect 3-0 records in Pool Play. Obviously with some Pools having multiple teams with undefeated records, that total will continue to shrink over the next 2 days.
East Cobb Saints (Pool C)
ABD Bulldogs ’09 (Pool D)
SE Texas Sun Devils (Pool F)
Team Connecticut Blue Jays (Pool H)
Miami Lakes Bombers (Pool I)
San Diego Gamers (Pool J)
South Charlotte Panthers (Pook K)
Illinois Sparks Black (Pool L)
San Diego Show (Pool N)
Team Connecticut Baseball (Pool P)
Slammers Blue and Next Level (both Pool Q)
West Florida Young Guns and Maroons-Diamonds (both Pool R)
South Carolina Bombers and Team Elite (both Pool S)
Columbus Cobras (Pool T)
Dulins Dodgers (Pool U)
ABD Bulldogs and Chain Baseball Black (both Pool V)
Bandits Baseball (Pool X)
Atlanta Blue Jays (Pool Y)
Michigan Concealed Security Dodgers (Pool Z)
Diamond Devils (Pool CC)
Mississippi Prospects (Pool DD)
Strangest Rally Award: The Tatnall Trojans had one of the most unusual innings you’ll likely ever see. But it resulted in the 7 runs they needed to defeat the Homeplate Chilidogs 7-4.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, with RHP David Buchanan on the mound for the Chilidogs throwing 90-91 mph, the rally went: HBP, HBP, HBP, HBP, 2B, (new pitcher), FC, 1B, 1B, 1-3, 2B, F7. That’s right, 4 straight hit batters forced in the first run and a bases clearing double by LF Tyler Heath brought in the next 3 runs.
The game also featured 2010 Tatnall RHP DeAndre Smelter on the mound. Smelter is a 6-3, 205 lb two-way prospect (he plays SS and bats third when not pitching) who pitched a complete game. Smelter sat at 90-92 mph for all 7 innings and throws hard easily. He didn’t throw a single breaking ball all game and bounced a couple of attempts at split finger changes, but the velo comes easily. He threw 94 mph a couple of weeks ago and there are unconfirmed reports of his throwing up to 97 mph during the high school season.
Cam Bedrosian Update: Yesterday we blogged about 2010 RHP Cam Bedrosian of the Homeplate Chilidogs, son of former ML pitcher Steve Bedrosian, who is already throwing in the 90’s. Young Bedrosian can evidently hit as well. He smoked two triples off DeAndre Smelter (see 90+mph above), one up the RCF gap, one up the LCF gap.
Former Major League Dept: The Dawg Pound is managed/run by former Major League outfielder Reggie Williams (Dodgers). Made up of underclass (2009/2010/2011) players from Tampa, scouts have been talking about the high level of talent on the team, although they have started the Championship with a 0-3 record. Making out the line up card is easy at two positions for Manager Williams, as he puts sons CF Reggie Jr. (2009) and 2B Jadamion (J.D./2010) in the leadoff and #3 holes respectively. Reggie Jr. is a athletic 6-4, 185 lb speedster with pure centerfield tools. Jadamion is more physical (6-0, 185) but very athletic at second base with some juice in his bat. Both youngsters are switch-hitters who have some top prospect tools.
Blue Chip Bulls RHP Jaren Sustar had quite a day Wednesday on both sides of the ball in the Bulls 4-0 win over the Minnesota Starz. Sustar, a 2009 prospect from T.L. Hanna HS in Anderson, SC, threw a complete game 5-hit shutout on the mound. Hitting in the clean up spot, Sustar went 3-4 with a triple and 2 Rbi’s to lead the Bulls offense.
Through the 11:30 games on Thursday, the following teams have perfect 3-0 records in Pool Play.
Walk Off Magic: The Texas Magic defeated the FCA Mavericks 4-1 Thursday morning on a walk off 3 run home run in the bottom of the 7th by SS Evan Frazier. Frazier, a 2009 prospect from St. Pius X HS in Houston, also singled and scored the Magic’s first run in the 2nd inning.Walk Off #2: The Thursday morning 9 am games seem to be walk off time. Not 5 minutes after Evan Frazier did the trick for the Texas Magic, 1B Nick Brennan hit a walk off Grand Slam to give McHenry Hurricanes a 9-8 win over the Florida Stars Grey.
Day 3 started quickly for the ABD ’09 team. Playing in the 9 am slot (6 am in California, where the team is based) at Pope HS, ABD took just 55 minutes to beat the Batters Up Trojans in a 4 inning run rule game. RHP’s Brooks Pounders (3 innings, 8 K’s) and Matt Harrison combined on a perfect game. SS Jiovanni Miers and 3B Matt Davidson hit home runs to lead the ABD offense. ABD moved its record to 3-0 in pool play.
2008 RHP Frank Szczepanik is hard not to notice, not only on the mound but walking around EC Complex with his teammates. At 7’1”, he’s believed to be the tallest player at a PG/WWBA event since former Notre Dame right hander and current Arizona Diamondback minor leaguer Ryan Doherty (also 7’1”) pitched in Jupiter and at the World Showcase. Szczepanik is from Linden HS in New Jersey and is signed with South Carolina-Buford. He showed some talent in throwing 2 scoreless innings in middle relief for Lefty’s Lightning in a 14-3 win over the Georgia Bats. Szczepanik pitched at 83-85 mph with a upper 60’s curveball and did a good job repeating his delivery and throwing downhill.
Two brother acts made an impact on adjoining fields in the 11:30 time slot at the East Cobb Complex. 2B Sean (2010) and SS Tommy (2009) Coyle share the middle infield for Bandits Baseball and Germantown Academy in Pennsylvania. After Sean reached base on an error to start the third inning against Boomtown Prospects, Tommy turned on an inside fastball for a 2-run home run that held up for a 3-1 Bandits win.
Matt and Mike Snyder are 6-5, 200 lb twins from Virginia who will be playing together next year at Ole Miss. Matt, a left handed hitting first baseman, slammed a solo home run to give the Carney Pirates a 1-0 lead in the first inning that they expanded into a 10-1 victory over the Dawg Pound. Mike, a right handed hitting third baseman, went 1-3 with a run scoring double and a walk.
It was noted earlier that 5-8 LHP Nolan Belcher had thrown a 14 K game, something not unusual for him in a WWBA tournament game, and that Belcher would likely continue with the same type of success at South Carolina. On the other end of the future South Carolina spectrum is LHP Adam Westmoreland, a 6-5, 275 lb southpaw. Westmoreland has thrown some of the most dominant games in WWBA play for as long as Belcher has, including a 17 K game last year in the 17U. Westmoreland, pitching for the South Carolina Bombers, threw 6 shutout innings Wednesday in a 5-0 win over Birmingham Baseball, striking out 10 and allowing only 3 hits. Westmoreland throws in the upper 80’s with an excellent change up and sweeping curveball.
A highlight matchup featuring two teams with championship aspirations lived up to its billing on East Cobb Field 1 Wednesday afternoon. The East Cobb Yankees scored 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning in a time limit game to pull off a 6-6 tie with Team Mizuno Florida. Aflac All American catcher Austin Maddox started on the mound for Team Mizuno, pitching at 90-94 mph for 3 innings but was more impressive at the plate with a 2 run home run and double. 1B Jake Davies went 3-3 with 2 doubles, including a key double in the 6th inning.
(By PG Staff)Setting in the tower at this year’s 18U WWBA Championship someone brought up the Fall WWBA Championship held in Jupiter each October. As we watch these WWBA tournaments there’s an obvious thing that comes to mind. That would be the fact that we are watching several future Big League players.
Someone asked the question, which WWBA tournament has had the most players that are now in the Major Leagues. Right away, one thinks back into the 90s simply based on the timing involved in making it all the way to the top. However, another staff member claimed year 2000 might have been the best ever. We didn’t have time to check every year, but we did check on 2000 and it is somewhat amazing. Among the 80 teams that played in Jupiter in 2000, the following players have already made their debut in Major League Baseball. Here’s the list that we came up with from that year, and we are sure there are several others we didn’t think of. Some of the players listed below played in two or more WWBA’s in Jupiter. They were actually underclassmen in high school in 2000.
Robert AndinoChad BillingsleyJeremy BondermanJonathan BroxtonBilly ButlerMatt CainMatt CappsJeff ClementKyle DaviesPrince FielderJeff FiorentinoZack GreinkeFreddie GuzmanJJ HardyKevin HartJeremy HermidaScott KazmirJames LoneyNick MarkakisBrian McCannEvan MeekLastings MilledgeJose MoralesMicah OwingsMike PelfreyJarrod SaltalamacchiaJeremy SowersRyan SweeneyClete ThomasBJ UptonJustin UptonDavid WrightDelmon Young
That is 33 Major League players and counting who all played in the same single WWBA tournament in 2000 and it includes some MLB All Stars along with several others who may become All Stars.
2008 LHP Brodie Leibrandt didn’t fall far from the Leibrandt (Charlie) family tree. The 6-4, 165 lb Leibrandt, pitching for the East Cobb Patriots, threw 5 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits, no walks and striking out 8 in a 8-0 victory over the Florida Bombers Bruins. Like his father, he doesn’t throw hard, pitching in the 79-81 mph range, but he has an excellent curveball/change up combination and pin point control. Leibrandt’s velocity projects well, so keep an eye on him.
After seeing 2008 2B Tyler Hanover play for the past 3 years with Dirtbags Baseball, it was almost double take time when the diminutive LSU signee appeared at the top of the line up with Team Carolina (the Dirtbags don’t have a team entered in the 18U). Hanover didn’t miss a beat, however. He went 3-3 with a walk on Tuesday, including a double and a home run, in the 4-0 Team Carolina victory over Team Georgia. LHP Zach White through a 3 hit complete game shutout for Team Carolina.
One day can make a big difference in baseball. Next Level was steam rolled by a quality Diamond Devils team 15-0 on Tuesday. They bounced back to win on Wednesday to run rule the New York Cardinals 10-2 behind 2B Austin Grisham’s 4-5, 2 Rbi performance.
RHP Chad Modomo, whose 7 inning perfect game was noted in a previous blog entry, continued right where he left off on Wednesday. Playing in the EH position and batting 3rd for Triple Threat, Modomo hit a 2 run inside the park home run in his first at bat. Triple Threat went on to defeat Pete Berrios Baseball 3-2 to run their record to 2-0.
The Maroons-Diamonds from Michigan have established themselves as one the hottest team early in the Championship and they definitely have the hottest player. The Maroons defeated Richmond Baseball Club 10-2 on Tuesday and thumped L.E.A.D Ambassadors 16-0 Wednesday morning. LF Tortson Boss, a 2009 prospect from Lowell HS, Lowell, MI, hits third in the team’s line up. He went 4-4 with a double in Maroons first win, then went 1-1 with a Sac Fly and a Grand Slam home run in the second win. There is unconfirmed speculation that the Maroon-Diamonds program is where the Yankees Derek Jeter played during his high school days.
OF Brennan May, the co-MVP of the 2007 WWBA 17U National Championship, graduated to the 18U National Championship level but switched teams from the East Cobb Astros to the Home Plate Chilidogs. May didn’t miss a beat, though, going 2-3 with a double and 3 Rbi’s in the Chilidogs 5-3 win over the Florida Hardballers. May will be playing for College World Series finalist U. Georgia next fall.
One of the top pitching duals on Tuesday featured a little edge to it. RHP Jon Reed, who was very impressive at the Perfect Game National Showcase in mid-June, started for the Georgia Roadrunners against Boomtown Prospects. Boomtown is made up of top prospects from Oklahoma. Reed is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and reportedly knows most of the Boomtown players. Reed was outstanding in a 1-1 tie, throwing a complete game 2-hitter with 13 K’s. Reed worked between 88-91 mph the entire game with a nasty upper 70’s curveball. He was matched by 2008 Boomtown RHP Anthony Trevino, who pitched in the upper 80’s himself and threw a 4-hitter.
There are plenty of no-hitters in a wood bat tournament of this size, but rarely does a team lose a no-hitter by a 3-2 score. That happened to the Texas Prospects Bandits Black team against the Cincinnati Riverbats. Bandits RHP Joseph Alaniz threw 6 innings, allowing no hits and only 2 walks but 3 unearned runs. Errors obviously played a big part in the 3 unearned runs that Alaniz allowed. Josh Rodriguez completed the no-hit game with a hitless 7th inning. Riverbats RHP Chris Seager threw a complete game 4-hitter to get the win.
2010 infielder Deline “Delmo” DeShields parental background isn’t hard to figure out. The 5-9, 185 lb third baseman attends Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia and plays for the Atlanta Blue Jays. He batted leadoff in the Blue Jays 11-0 first day win over the Houston Sox and went 3-3 with 2 doubles and a triple, collecting 3 Rbi’s and scoring a run. DeShields is bigger in the upper body than his dad ever was and has plus bat speed from the right side of the plate.
Looking at the Atlanta Blue Jays roster provides one of the interesting aspects of analyzing the teams before the tournament starts. Listed on the Blue Jays roster, wearing his customary #3, is Tim Beckham, who recently signed a $6.15M contract with the Tampa Bay Rays as the top pick in the 2008 draft.
I asked the SE Texas Sun Devils coach about what appeared to be an extra loaded roster he submitted before the event. “Is Brett Marshall here” “Nope, signed last week” “How about Trey Haley?” “Signed the week before that”, etc.
Teams are always optimistic about who might actually make it to early July before signing. At the first WWBA 18U National Championship in 2002, Royals RHP Zack Greinke pitched in one game, then signed a $2+M contract as the first round pick of the Royals before the events was finished.
“Walk Off Home Run” is one level of baseball excitement. “Walk Off Grand Slam is another level” “Walk Off Pinch Hit Grand Slam” is right there near the top of the baseball excitement list.
But there is a situation in tournament baseball when it doesn’t quite register a “10” on the excitement level (maybe a strong “9”). That’s when a pinch hit walk off grand slam gives a team a run rule victory in a game that was already well in hand.
That happened in Palmetto Sand Gnats 12-2 victory over the Huntington Hounds on Tuesday. Pinch hitter Derek Brooks came up with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 5th inning with Palmetto holding a 8-2 lead. One swing, game over by run rule. The player that Brooks, a 2010 prospect, hit for, CF Adam Matthews, had already done his share for the Sand Gnats, going 3-3 out of the leadoff hole.
The Championship high for strikeouts was established during the final game of the day at the East Cobb Complex. RHP T.J. Harbuck, a 2008 graduate of Seabreeze HS in Florida, struck out 15 in the Orlando Scorpions 5-4 victory over Slammers Black. Harbuck worked around some command problems that accounted for the 4 Slammers runs, featuring a very live 85-87 mph fastball and good upper 60’s curveball. He struck out the #1 and #2 hitters in the Slammers line up a total of 7 times.
First off, you can expect the blogs to come more frequently for the duration of this tournament. Day one's information, as mentioned earlier, is a little slower coming in as we do not receive the scoresheets until late in the day. The ABD Bulldogs ‘09’s are one of the tournament favorites, with a couple of key 2008 players on a roster of mostly 2009 players. SS Matt Harrison, a North Carolina signee from Las Vegas, has played with the Bulldogs for years. IF Anthony Rendon, a Rice signee and Atlanta Braves draft choice and one of the top high school hitters this spring in the Houston area, was a late addition to the Bulldogs roster.
Harrison and Rendon made an immediate impact in ABD’s 7-1 opening day victory over the PBI Eagles. Rendon, batting leadoff, went 3-3 with 3 doubles and scored twice. Harrison, batting 2nd, went 2-2 with a walk, a triple and a 2 run home run.
The two older players has created quite a talent glut in the middle of the infield for ABD. The team’s two other middle infielders, 2009 prospects David Nick and Jiovanni Mier, are both Aflac All-Americans.
ABD will get what will have to be one of their stiffest tests on Wednesday when they face one of the top left handed pitchers in the country in McHenry County Hurricanes LHP Ian Krol.
Another tournament favorite, the East Cobb Braves 17U, spun the first no-hitter of the event, defeating the New York Cardinals 9-0 in a 9 inning game. LHP Matt Lane (3 innings) and RHP’s Jake Montgomery and Blaine O’Brien (1 inning each) combined for the no-no (Note: For Perfect Game purposes, any game where there are no hits is considered a no-hitter….re: MLB/Los Angeles Angles)
The top 5 hitters in the Braves line up will match up with anyone at this level of baseball in terms of power: 2B Cooper Moseley, CF Donovan Tate (who had a home run against the Cardinals), 3B Miles Head, 1B Patrick Savage and RF Drew Steckenrider.
OF Chris Fabragas of Fat Cat Baseball hit the event’s first Grand Slam connecting against Elite Baseball Black in a 11-1 victory. Fabragas, hitting 5th in the Fat Cat lineup, drove in teammates Darnell Sweeney, Patrick Donahue and J.R. Pryor in the team’s 8 run first inning.
The big bats came out for the Syracuse Sports Zone Chiefs in a 7-4 win over the Hammond Chiefs. All 7 of the Chiefs runs scored on four home runs at the Sprayberry HS field. OF Jeremy Baltz, OF P.J. Niedzwiecki and SS Matt Wessinger hit 2-run shots and C Phil Pohl added a solo home run.
Line Drive Baseball LHP Nolan Belcher, a 2008 prospect signed with South Carolina, and Richmond Braves 2009 RHP Jacob Mayers hooked up in a top level pitching duel. Belcher, a 5-8 left hander who has been a staple at WWBA events for years, struck out 14 in a complete game 3 hitter to get the 2-1 win. Belcher pitches in the mid 80’s with a serious hammer curveball. Mayers only allowed 1 hit, a triple by SS Jacob Dalfonso, in 5 innings while pitching at 86-87 mph but Line Drive scratched out 2 runs.
As far as sustained fastball velocity goes, RHP Scotty Allen of the Florida Stars Grey was one of the most impressive pitchers of Day 1. Allen, a 6-2, 165 lb’er from Lyman HS in Orlando, Florida, touched 93 mph a number of times during 4 innings of work and threw a low 80’s slider that was a present plus pitch at times. Allen allowed only 1 hit and struck out 6 in a 8-0 Stars victory over the Batters Up Trojans.
There will likely be frequent mentions of sons of former Major Leaguers. The first one to leave a definite impression was 2010 RHP Cam Bedrosian, son of Steve Bedrosian. Bedrosian (East Coweta HS, Senioa, GA) threw 2 1/3 innings for the Home Plate Chilidogs and picked up a save in their 5-3 win over the Florida Hardballers. Bedrosian has a strong 6-1, 185 lb build and a very easy arm action. He threw 88-91 mph on his his fastball with a sharp low 80’s slider.
Things will be a bit slow in the blogging business for most of today due to the nature of the information flow at such a large event.
Tournament Central is the tower at the East Cobb Complex, with three fields surrounding the tower. Kell HS is right across the street, making it four fields within immediate distance of the PG Staff. But there are games being played at 18 other sites around the North Atlanta area.
When a game is finished, the score is immediately called into the tower and updated right away onto the www.worldwoodbat.com web site. But the game scoresheet, with all the scouting notes and game results, doesn’t make it back to hands of the PG Staff until late in the day or the next morning. So any outstanding individual performances can’t be reviewed and noted until the scoresheet physically reaches the tower. And the only scoresheets that immediately reach the tower are from the four surrounding fields.
That still doesn’t keep us from occasionally hearing about some highlights, like 2008 RHP Daniel Webb of the Southern Illinois Bullets throwing 92-94 mph this morning out at Sprayberry HS. But some of those highlights will be “time delayed”.
Of course, when after one day we’re sitting with 93 scoresheets in front of us when we get to the East Cobb Complex at 7 am tomorrow morning, there will be limitless material.
Player Highlight: 2010 C Greg Olenski (Holy Ghost Prep, Philadelphia, PA) of Bandits Baseball went 2-2 with two home runs in the Bandits opening game 8-3 victory over the Dawg Pound. Olenski, a 6-0, 190 lb right handed hitter, gave the Bandits a 4-3 lead with a 2 run blast in the bottom of the 4th inning, then added another 2-run bomb in the 6th.
Ironically enough, in an area under severe drought conditions and with cloudless skies, three fields were delayed at the start of the day because of wet field conditions. One field had a pipe break overnight that soaked the baselines, while two other fields were overwatered overnight leaving the infield soaked.
The 9 am game at Etowah HS between the St. Louis Pirates and FCA Mavericks was switched to 7 pm this evening, with the rest of the Etowah schedule remaining the same. Games at Cherokee HS and Kennesaw Mountain HS were delayed, but teams playing later today should report to the fields on time for their games.
The top performance of the 9 am time bracket was turned in by South Carolina Bombers RHP Gus White. White turned in a complete game 3 hit shutout over Winning Inning, walking none and striking out 10 in a 7-0 victory. White is a 2008 prospect who has signed with Wofford University. White outdueled top 2009 prospect RHP Keyvious Sampson, who gave up 1 run in 3 2/3 innings while striking out 7 hitters. Sampson sat between 90-92 mph with his fastball.
Defending 18U National Champion Chet Lemon’s Juice opened up their pool play schedule with a 9-1 victory over the East Cobb Twins. 4-time champion Florida Bombers registered a similar 9-1 win over the Minnesota Starz.