Tournaments : : Story
Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chain Dirtdawgs a lot to handle

Sam Brazenas        

EMERSON, Ga. - It was a good day at Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint for Zack Brockman and the Chain Dirtdawgs in the 14u/15u PG/EvoShield Classic on Saturday. A slow start turned into a big finish for the Dirtdawgs who beat the 6-4-3 DP Tigers, 6-1.

After being down 1-0 in the bottom of the third, the Dirtdawgs began to heat up at the plate. Mason Robertson and Jacob Rhodes both got singles that put them in scoring position. Cole Brannen had an RBI single and Bryce Griggs racked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice. Rhodes stole home on a passed ball to score the third run giving them a slightly more comfortable lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Zack Brockman hit a three-run triple that secured their lead for the last inning.

“I just started hitting in this tournament actually,” explained Brockman, who is 3-for-7 so far this tournament. “He was throwing a lot of breaking balls, so I just stayed on it and hit it to right field.”

Brockman also was the Dirtdawgs' pitcher for the day. He only allowed one run, walked two, and struck out five in his six innings of work on the mound.

“His command was off a little bit today, but it seemed he bared down with runners on base and got some key outs,” said Dirtdawgs' head coach and Zack’s father, Clark Brockman. “He got in a groove as the game went along.”

Zack wasn’t as thrilled with his performance, although he still go the job done giving up only one run, saying he “didn’t have very good command but grinded through the game.”

Zack has been playing in Perfect Game events since last year and has had much success throughout his short career. Clark said Zack is now 6-0 on the mound in Perfect Game events.

“One thing that makes Zack stand out is his poise on the mound,” explained Clark. “He’s been pitching since he was eight, so he’s comfortable up there. He’s one of those kids who performs well under pressure.”

Last October, Zack competed in the first ever Perfect Game WWBA Freshman World Championship in Ft. Myers, Fla. His team won the Championship and he made it on the all-tournament team.

“I got to pitch in jetBlue Park and my favorite team is the Red Sox,” said Zack.

This is Zack’s third tournament at the new complex at LakePoint. He competed in the 15u and 16u WWBA National Championships this summer. He made all-tournament team at both events, and helped lead his team to the final eight in the 16u tournament last week.

“He was actually No. 1 on the list,” said Clark about Zack making all-tournament at the 16u WWBA. “He had 13 innings pitched and one hit allowed and nine strikeouts. He had a no-hitter and a one-hitter to get into the final eight.”

“This is my third tournament here,” said Zack about playing at LakePoint. “I like playing on the good fields and it’s a good experience.”

Zack was a starting pitcher for his high school, Savannah Christian Prep, as a freshman, and will continue to be a big part of the pitching line-up throughout his next three years there. This year, he helped lead his team to the playoffs.

“Our high school team made the final eight and I was one of the top pitchers there,” explained Zack.

Since he is not graduating until 2017, he is uncommitted and unsure of where he wants to play after high school, however, he said he’s been talking to Florida State and Georgia Southern, but would really like to go to the Uiversity of South Carolina.

Zack has been playing baseball nearly his whole life, and has been with Chain since he was eight. He said to this day, his most memorable moment in baseball is when he and his team turned a triple play as eight-year-olds.

“This group here has been together since they were eight years old,” explained Clark. “They’ve played high level travel ball since they were eight, [it’s been] pretty much the same group all along. They’ve stuck together and worked really hard. These kids have played 100 games a year since they were eight and nine so they love to play baseball, love their summers, and it’s like a vacation when they go to tournaments with all their buddies and they have a great time.”

The Dirtdawgs are park of the Chain Baseball Academy whose motto is “Helping to produce SCHOLARSHIPS for GENTLEMAN playing BASEBALL.” They’ve been around since 1984. According to the website, since 1993, 341 players have received scholarships and 56 were drafted by the MLB. In 2013, five players were drafted and in 2012, seven players were drafted.

The Dirtdawgs compete in many high level tournaments to prepare their players for the next level. Clark said his goal is “to beat the best competition we can find and get these boys in front of people who want to see them play, and get them into good colleges.”

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