Behind the arm of right-hander Timothy Shaw, Home Plate didn’t need much offense to pull out a close, low-scoring affair and come to even with Fat Cat Thunder and the Mayo Sports RedHawks for first place in the pool with two games remaining before the playoffs begin.
“It was a good defensive and good, clean game,” said head coach Ryan Childs. “Tim Shaw did a great job on the mound, we got hits when we needed to, and executed on defense. A lot of those kids played together when they were 12 and 13-years-old because they’re from the same area, so it was fun for them.”
Shaw threw five shutout innings in the winning effort, giving up just five hits and a walk while striking out three. He threw an impressive eighty-percent of his pitches for strikes.
“I think he got a first-pitch strike on about every hitter and that’s key for him,” Childs said. “He was able to get ahead, he trusts his defense, and he wasn’t afraid to pitch to contact and that’s why he was successful.”
Home Plate also has the No. 149 ranked player in the 2016 class in catcher Cole Jackson, who brings tremendous talent and leadership traits to a young club.
“We have a team full of 15-year-olds,” said Childs. “About half of them are 2017 grads so it’s their first experience on this kind of stage. He [Jackson] brings a little leadership. He’s been around for a while and he’s been on a bigger stage and he’s played in front of a lot of people, so that experience he can pass down and keep the younger ones in check and make sure they don’t get too down on themselves.”
“I’m a really big competitor,” said Jackson. “I’m always gonna give one hundred-percent all the time. I won’t stop until I reach my goal for where I want to be in life.”
Jackson’s had the influence of his older brother, Jared “Clay” Jackson, who will soon play ball at Gordon State College.
“He’s a really big influence in my life,” Jackson said. “He’s always giving me tips on how to be a better catcher; how to be a better player.”
The big brother’s advice has had a great impact on Jackson as a ballplayer. He is in a position now where a lot of high-quality college baseball programs would love to have him. Some of the colleges he’s interested in playing for include Clemson University, the University of Georgia, and the University of South Carolina.
Jackson is a toolsy-player who can help the team in a lot more ways than just his wisdom and experience. He can hit, he can catch, and he can throw.
“I love catching. That’s one of my strengths,” said Jackson. “I average a 1.90-second pop time and throw about 87 mph (miles per hour) across the infield from shortstop.”
He is 3-for-7 (.429 batting average) with a double and an RBI to this point in the tournament. He’s sporting an excellent on-base percentage of .556.
The Home Plate Chilidogs have shown their competitive side through three games so far, winning 4-2 and 2-1 contests, with their only loss a 1-0 game to the Mayo Sports RedHawks.
“We’ve been doing a good job of throwing strikes and playing defense,” said Childs. “We’re an athletic team. We’ve got good team speed. A lot of these kids have been playing together since they were 10, 11, 12-years-old, so as far as chemistry goes, that part was easy.”
“I love the atmosphere. I love everybody at Home Plate. I love the coaches and players,” added Jackson. “We have a really good pitching staff and everybody can play. We’re just all-around players.”
What makes this team unique, at least in Jackson’s eyes is their ability to battle back in the late innings when they’re down.
The Home Plate Chilidogs Bedrosian/Childs are confident that they can win their pool heading into the last two pool play contests. Why shouldn’t they be? Behind a pitching staff that’s given up less than two runs per game and the leadership of one of the best high school catchers in the country, they prove to be a tough team to beat.