Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, July 19, 2014

Golden Spikes gaining recognition

Sam Brazenas        

EMERSON, Ga. - After pulling out a last minute victory against USA Elite Baseball 14u Blue on Friday morning, the Golden Spikes Baseball Club were able to out-shine the Bronx Bombers on Saturday afternoon at the Perfect Game WWBA 14u National Championship beating them 9-4. This allowed them to keep up their winning streak moving into Sunday’s games.

Noah Brock pitched a complete seven-inning game for the Golden Spikes. He struck out four batters and only giving up four hits. He allowed four runs over the first four innings, but gave up none in the last three.

“He struggled with command the first couple of innings but you could tell over the last 4-5 innings he found the strike zone,” said head coach Wayne Rainer about Brock’s work on the mound. “They scored all of their runs early and we were able to [play defense.]”

Brock threw over fifty-percent of his pitches for strikes and out of 30 batters, threw 17 first pitch strikes. On top of his solid work on the mound, Brock was included in the lineup and was able to make it on base and score a run for his team.

Offensively, the Golden Spikes were able to keep the ball in play and move runners around the bases. They succeeded in getting hits with runners in scoring position. 2018 grads Chance Denson and Chase Tilghman were clutch in keeping the Bombers from maintaining a lead. Denson went two-for-three with two singles and three RBI. Tilghman went one-for-three with two RBI.

“[Our offense] was situational,” explained Rainer. “We advanced runners, hit behind them and scored them. All around offensively and defensively we played good.”

The Golden Spikes Baseball Club is known as “Mississippi’s premier showcase teams.” They are based out of Meridian, Miss. They are the largest showcase organization in Miss. and have 10 baseball teams of different age groups ranging 8-17.

“This is the fourth year of the program. We’ve had three state championships between the age groups. This particular group (14u) won the Miss. State Championship two years ago, so we’ve had a lot of success,” explained Rainer.

They have sent players to many SEC schools including Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Rainer said the majority of their players move on to four year schools after high school.

A quote on their website from University of Southern Mississippi baseball player, Michael Sterling, reads:

"Golden Spikes played a major role when I signed with USM. I honestly do not believe USM would have seen me play if it wasn't for the Golden Spikes giving me the opportunity to play in front of many Division 1 college coaches. The Spikes also helped prepare me the summer before my freshman year by playing games against high quality players that would make it to the college and maybe professional level. I'd give the Spikes most of the credit for me getting the opportunity to play at Southern Miss."

Like most baseball programs, their goal is to help prepare the kids for the next level as well as giving them the opportunities to get to that next level and getting them as much exposure as possible.

“Everybody here wants to continue, wants to advance as far as playing beyond high school ball,” said Rainer about the program’s goals. “We just try to put them in situations where they get to play the best baseball possible and seen by as many people as possible. We’re going to give them as many opportunities as we can to do whatever they want to do in their baseball career.”

The Golden Spikes hosted the Perfect Game Super25 Deep South Qualifier for 14u, 15u and 17u. However, this is the program’s first time coming to Ga. for the Perfect Game WWBA tournaments. Rainer is hoping to prepare his players for the future.

“This age group, as 14-year-olds, it’s their first time where they’re playing in front of people, and scouts.

“In this particular tournament we want to have a good showing, and have them in this situation so when they come back at 15 and 16, and are starting to be recruited a little bit, the comfort level of playing in this type of environment will be old news to them,” said Rainer. “We want them to be as comfortable as they can so they can perform their best when they’re here once we get into the recruiting age.”

The Golden Spikes are starting to gain recognition with winning their first two pool games. They are now in good shape to make it to playoff rounds as they are at the top of their pool. Denson and Easton Rainer are leading the team offensively, both four-for-seven at the plate.

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