The Diamond Devils 17U Blue won the largest age group tournament in baseball history Monday afternoon at the East Cobb Complex in Marietta, Georgia, defeating FTB Mizuno 2-1 in the championship game of the World Wood Bat Association 17U National Championship.
The South Carolina based Diamond Devils went a perfect 11-0 over the 7 day tournament, which featured 216 teams from across the United States.
Most observers anticipated a high scoring final game between two powerful offensive teams but that didn’t come to pass. Both teams scored a single run in the first inning and had plenty of scoring opportunities the rest of the game, as the Diamond Devils left 9 runners on base and Mizuno left 7, plus had 2 runners thrown out at home plate.
RHP Patrick Andrews (2011, Hilton Head Christian HS, SC) was outstanding on the mound for the Diamond Devils, throwing a complete game 7 hitter to get the win. The 6-3, 180 lb. Andrews works in the 88-91 mph range with his fastball and mixed in a solid low 80’s slider and occasional change up. He had significant help from his defense throughout the contest.
The biggest defensive play of the game bailed out Andrews and the Diamond Devils in the top of the 7th inning. With Mizuno 3B/RHP Dante Bichette on first base and 2 outs, 2B Vincente Conde hit a slicing foul ball down the right field line that RF Tanner English dove for but couldn’t catch while sliding across the foul line. But English popped up quickly and threw a strike to catcher Brett Austin to nail Bichette at the plate to prevent the go ahead run from scoring.
Pinch hitter Austin Gambrell, taking the place of English, who injured his non-throwing arm on the dive the previous inning, doubled to left field to start the bottom of the 7th off Mizuno reliever Blake Mitchell. The speedy English reentered to replace Gambrell. A walk and a strikeout left put runners on first and second with Diamond Devils 3B Hunter Cole at the plate.
Cole didn’t get a chance, though, as English stole third base and came home easily when Mizuno catcher Tyler Marlette’s throw bounced into left field.
Andrews, who had gone 1-0 with a 2 inning hold earlier in the championship, was the obvious choice for the event’s Most Valuable Pitcher after his championship game win.
Despite not getting the opportunity to play the hero in the 7th inning, Cole (2011, Dorman HS, Moore, SC) was named the event’s Most Valuable Player. The U. Georgia commit went 13-27 during the week, hitting 3 home runs, scoring 11 times and driving in 11 runs. Cole keyed the Diamond Devils comeback from a 4-0 deficit to the New Jersey Super 17’s in the quarterfinals with a home run and 2 run double and drove in the Diamond Devils first inning run in the championship game with a single.
Two other players deserve special mention as runner ups in the Most Valuable Player consideration.
1B/DH Dan Vogelbach (Bishop Verot HS, North Fort Myers, FL) was an offensive force all week for Mizuno, going 13-23 at the plate with 3 home runs, 11 runs scored and 9 Rbi’s. He hit a home run in the semifinals, quarterfinals and Round of 16 while going 6-7 with 8 Rbi’s in those 3 must win games.
OF Shon Carson (2011, Lake City HS, Scranton, SC) of the Diamond Devils finished the week 13-32 (after going 0-6 the first games) and electrified observers with his combination of strength and speed. Eight of his 13 hits went for extra bases, which kept his stolen base total to “only” 6 bags, and he drove in 12 runs while scoring 10 times. He was at his best in the playoffs against the best pitching, going 10-17.
4 pitchers combined on a 3 hit shutout for the Orioles ScoutTeam. Shawn Morimando(2011 –Virginia Beach, VA), Evan Perez(2011 - Moreno Valley, CA), Matt Lees(2011 –Richmond, VA), and Sean Pico(2012 – Glen Allen, VA). Morimando sat in the 84-87 MPH range with his fastball andshowed a live loose arm. He alsothrew a sharp 1/7 CB for strikes.
Ryan Burr(2012 – Highlands Ranch, CO) looked good in hisfirst game action in 2 ½ months. He was on a 20 pitch limit today and sat in the 85-87 MPH range. He projects well and will be a good armin the 2012 class.
Andrew Russo(2011 – West Chester, PA) and Shea Rosadino(2011– Devon, PA) each had big games for All Star Baseball Academy 17U. Russo went 2-4 with a double and 5RBI. He showed good bat speed atthe plate and squared the ball up well. Rosadino was 3-3 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. He made consistent solid contact andshowed the ability to pull the ball.
Christian Sleeper(2011 – Arlington, MA) swung the bat wellfor the North East Rays. He went2-4 with a run and 3 RBI. Heshowed a nice line drive swing path and drove in runs when there were RBIopportunities.
The Houston Heat and New York Gothams finished in a tie atAlpharetta Legion Field. The Heattook the early 4-0 lead and could not hold on to it. The Heat trotted out 4 pitchers who all were 6-2 or tallerand all topped out at 87 MPH or higher. Bryan Brickhouse(2011 – The Woodlands, TX) was most impressive strikingout 2 of the 3 hitters he faced while sitting at 90-92 with a tight sharpslider. Riley Ferrell(2012 –College Station, TX) was also impressive showing an 88-91 MPH fastball withprojectable stuff.
Aflac All-American Daniel Mengden (2011 – Houston, TX) had agood day at the plate going 2-3 with 2 RBI. He keeps his hands inside the ball well and showed very goodbat speed.
The Gothams Nestor Bautista(2010, New York, NY) was verygood in relief. He pitched 2innings allowing 0 hits, 0 runs with 1 strikeout and 1 walk. He sat at 83-85 MPH with his fastballand threw strikes.
The Mavericks 17U Orange defeated the South Bergen Mets by ascore of 10-5. They were led byRanz Bodison(2011 – Mauldin, SC) and Cody Spence(2011 – BHP, SC). Bodison was 2-3 with 2 runs and 2RBI. He has a good line driveswing and made solid middle of the field contact. Spence went 2-4 with 2 doubles, a run, and a RBI. He has some strength in his swing andhit the ball hard all day.
Mets pitchers Rock Rucker(2012 – Marrieta, GA) and NickJones(2011 – Woodstock, GA) showed good arm strength on the mound topping outat 85 and 87 respectively. Ruckeris a big 6-5/205 lb projectable player who could end up throwing very hardsomeday. He has a low effort deliveryand a loose arm. Jones has more ofa deceptive delivery and gets armside run on his fastball.
Rio Ruiz(2012 – Covina, CA) was great in relief for the ABDBulldogs. He went 3 innings,allowed 1 hit, no runs, with 6 strikeouts and a hit batsman. His fastball was steady at 90-93MPH. Ruiz has a loose fast arm andthe ball jumps out of his hand. Heshowed some feel for a 73 MPH CB and a developing 78 MPH CH. He also had a very good day at theplate going 2-3 with a double and a RBI. He showed a smooth swing from the left side with good bat speed. He is a legit two-way guy and one ofthe top players in the 2012 class.
Max Homick(2011 – San Diego, CA) also had a very good day atthe plate. He was 2-3 with 2doubles, a run, and 4 RBI. He hasa good swing and has a knack for getting the barrel to the baseball. Rouric Bridgewater(2011 – Pomona, CA)was also 2-3 with a run and RBI for ABD.
Michael Taylor(2012 – Urbanna, VA) looked very good on themound for the North Cubs. The tall6-6/200 lb projectable right hander was steady in the 87-90 MPH range with hisfastball all game. He pitches witha good down plane with occasional armside run on his fastball. Taylor also showed sharp break and feelfor his breaking ball. His arm isloose and works well. Taylor is asolid pitching prospect in the 2012 class.
Chad Funkhouser had a real good game for the Cubs going 3-3with a run. He put a good swing ona Ruiz fastball for a line drive up the middle in the 7thinning. AJ Farris(2011 –Lawrenceville, GA) showed good bat speed and juice on his triple off the centerfield fence. It looks easy when heruns the bases and he can move quickly!
Dalton Rentz(2012 – Moblie, AL) threw a 3 hit shutout forStrike Zone 17U. The 6-4/178 lbright hander was steady at 79-82 and touched 85 MPH once with hisfastball. He has a goodprojectable build and his arm works too. Rentz threw his slider for strikes and it has some tilt to it.
At the plate, Mike White(2012 – Hoover, AL) led the way forStrike Zone. He was 3-3 at theplate with a double and a run. Heshowed a nice short swing path to the ball and really squared the ball uptoday. He also showed bat speed.
Cody Cooper(2011 - Grafton, OH) hit a game winning double inthe bottom of the 6th inning to defeat the Burkburnett Blacksox. Cooperdrove the ball over the outstretched glove of the right fielder scoring runnersfrom 1st and 2nd base. The 6th inning also had clutch hits from JarrodMoss(2011 - Gahanna, OH) and Zach Ratcliff(2012 - Blacklick, OH). Moss isa strong compactish MIF who is aggressive at the plate and plays the gamehard. Ratcliff has a taller leaner projectable build and showed good batspeed and a good swing at the plate.
Wynston McMartin(2012 - New Albany, OH) went the distance for Ohio allowing 5hits, 3 runs, and 1 earned run with 5 strikeouts, 3 walks, and 1 hitbatsman. He was in control the entire game except for the sixth inningwhen the Blacksox strung together a few hits and put 3 runs on the board. He settled back down in the 7th inning to get the complete game. McMartinsat in the 80-83 MPH range with his fastball and threw his slider for strikesall game. He throws with lower effort and his arm works.
Ben Smith(2011 - Wichita Falls, TX) pitched well for the Blacksox going 5innings allowing just 2 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out 8 with 2walks. He sat in the 79-82 MPH range with his fastball and kept hittersoff balance with his 1/7 CB.
Cameron Allen(2011 - Burkburnett, TX) showed a nice swing at the plate withgood bat speed.
Miami Snappers pitcher Mike Zinn(2011 – Miami, FL) threw acomplete game 1 hitter to defeat the Dirtbags 17’s. He mixed a 78-81 MPH fastball with some down plane with an11/5 curveball to keep hitters off balance. He threw both pitches for strikes as he only had one walkall game. The one run he allowedwas unearned.
At the plate, Mario Amaral had a very good game for theSnappers going 2-4 with two doubles and two runs. He has a strong athletic build and made consistent hardcontact all game. He showed powerpotential and has juice in his bat presently. Oscar Aguirre(2011 – Miami, FL) also had a very good gamegoing 2-3 with 3 runs and 2 stolen bases. He took his hands to the ball well and stayed inside the ball well onboth his hits.
Lukas LaSalle(2011 – Taylorville, NC) let the way for the 2011 CBC Diamond Rats Army with a good day at the plate. LaSalle went 2-4 with 2 doubles, 1 run, 2 RBI, and a stolen base. LaSalle has a strong athletic build and showed some bat speed at the plate. The ball jumped off his bat well on a ground rule double he hit to left field.
Craig Missigman(2011 – Charlotte, NC) got the win for CBC going 6 innings allowing 3 hits, 4 runs, 4 earned, with 6 strikeouts, 6 walks, and 2 hit batsmen. He showed a loose quick arm action that produced a fastball at 85-88 MPH. He also showed some feel at times for an 11/5 breaking ball. His velocity projects some and is a good follow.
Nick Sinay(2012 – East Syracuse, NY) had a good day at the plate for Syracuse going 1-2 with a double, run, and walk. He showed a short swing path to the baseball with some bat speed.
Pony Express 17U pounded out 12 hits against the Midwest Bulls in route to a 10-2 run rule victory. Leading the way for Pony Express as Alex Simpson(2011 – Indianapolis, IN) who went 2-3 with 2 doubles, 2 runs, and an RBI. He showed a compact line drive swing at the plate and made solid contact. Jake Toneges(2011 – Greenfield, IN) also had 2 hits for Pony Express and scored 2 runs with an RBI.
Express starter Shane Bryant(2011 – Lafayette, IN) went 6 innings allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned, while striking out 2, walking 4, and hitting one batter. He was steady at 79-81 MPH with a downhill delivery. He gets some downer action on his breaking ball and threw it for strikes.
Scott McMahon(2011 – Mattawan, MI) and Ryan Vitale(2010 – Coloma, MI) each had 2 hits for the Bulls.
The Scorpions pushed a pair of early runs across against the East Coast Greys and held on for the win on Wednesday morning at Centennial HS.
They faced a formidable starter in the Greys' Joel Seddon (2011/St. Clair/St. Clair, MI) who work from 85-87 on his fastball, touching 88. Seddon allowed just two hits over his four innings of work, but was hurt by a pair of walks and shaky defense. He allowed three runs, all unearned. Seddon is a slender athletic RHP with room to go on his frame. His arm works free and easy, and he shows a high degree of pitchability on the mound, using his curveball and a changeup to keep hitters off balance. He struck out seven while walking two.
The Scorpion offense was lead by Jalen Phillips (2012/Dr. Phillips/Ocoee, FL) a premium athlete that can play multiple positions - he participated as an EH today. Phillips was 1-2 with a walk and a run scored. Cleanup hitter Nick Gallipeau was 1-2 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Gallipeau has a big strong frame and shows good batspeed, his power projects well as he continues to develop.
Scorpion starter Gavin Peters (2011) was solid in his outing, hurt only by his walks over 4 1/3 innings of work. He allowed five hits, striking out one and walking two with three earned runs. He has a good pitchers build and worked his fastball from 83-86, and showing occasional cutting action to his fastball. He also utilizes a 10-4 curveball that shows some feel and could develop into a strikeout pitch in the future.
The EC offense was lead by Victor Cole (2012/Memphis University School/Cordova, TN) hwo was 3-3 and reached on a walk. He is a good athlete and has an aggressive approach offensively. His swing produces hard line drive contact.
Richie Lacell (2013/Cypress Lake/Ft. Myers, FL) pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to close out the win for the Scorpions.
Gm 357 Dirtbags vs Huntington Hounds Lassiter HS 9AM Y
Gm 369 Dirtbags 17’s vs. Windward Braves Walton HS 10AM JJ