Tournaments : : Story
Monday, July 28, 2014

Team ECB Select executing well

Sam Brazenas        

EMERSON, Ga. - Team ECB Select secured their spot in the playoffs in their win over SBO Rockhounds 14u on Monday in the 14u/15u PG/EvoShield Classic.

Noah Turner spent five innings on the mound against the Rockhounds, walking two, striking out five and giving up only two hits. He spent three innings on the mound in Friday’s game striking out two batters and allowing no runs to be scored. Head coach of ECB Select Chris Haylard, said Turner is his No. 1 pitcher.

“He’s probably thrown about 80 innings this year,” explained Haylard. “His out pitch is his fastball, away, and he threw that about 90-percent of the time today and got groundball outs and we kinda stuck with that routine and it worked for us.”

Ethan Underwood took over the last two innings for Turner. He only allowed one hit during his time on the mound and struck out one.

“They have basically thrown flawless all year,” said Haylard about Turner and Underwood. “They throw strikes, pitch to contact, and do a great job.”

Team ECB Select also stepped up at the plate, racking up six runs. Duke Wodetzki and Dalton Halyard both went 1-for-2 with an RBI single. Sam Kuchinski also went 1-for-2 with a two-run triple.

Coming off a tough 1-0 loss on Saturday, they are determined to win the rest of their games, and most importantly come out on the top of their pool.

“So far this week, we’ve really pitched well, and we’re pitching to contact, and my defense is pretty much error free,” said Haylard about his team’s performance so far in the tournament. “We’re making the routine plays, we’re getting hits when we need to, and moving base runners over when we need to, and that’s basically how we are getting on top.

“We’ve basically had the same philosophy all tournament: we pitch to contact. We try to move base runners over, we don’t try to do too much and we try to get ahead early and we try to get aggressive on the base paths and that’s worked out for us all week long and we’ve got a pretty good record right now, I think we’re pretty much sitting on top, first or second seed right now.”

Team ECB is now 3-1 in pool play. After BFAST Baseball lost today, they are now tied for that No. 1 spot. They will face-off tomorrow morning at Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint. The winner will take the No. 1 spot. In the event of a tie, it will be the team who gave up the least runs in pool play who comes out on top.

“I’m going to stick with the same game plan: pitch to contact and try to get ahead early and try to be aggressive on the base paths and hopefully we can have more runs than they do at the end,” said Haylard about tomorrow’s game. “This is our last tournament and we just want to end on a good note and basically go into our 15u season on a positive high.”

Team ECB has played in two other Perfect Game events this summer, the 14u BCS Finals in Ft. Myers, and the 14u WWBA National Championship here in Emerson. Kuchinski, Wodetzki, and Matthew Mamatas made the All-Tournament team at the WWBA National Championship.

East Cobb is an organization based out of Marietta, Ga and has 64 teams ranging from ages 8-18. Haylard said that in order to develop the players at the 14u age, his team puts in a lot of time and practice.

“[We do] a lot of drill work, a lot of fielding work and just breaking down the game at a fundamental stand point. We take the infielders and have an infielders practice, and the outfielders and have an outfielders practice. Nothing but that one day, and nothing but hitting the next day and just flip flop on that while also doing bullpens with the pitchers making sure their arms are conditioned enough to throw six or seven innings if they can.”

Being from East Cobb, Haylard and his players have a lot of experience with Perfect Game. Over the years, Perfect Game has used East Cobb complex, but Haylard is impressed with the new complex at LakePoint.

“This complex is unbelievable. We had a tough time getting used to the turf on the ground balls so we try to get here early before our games to get a lot of ground balls and fly balls so we can see what the tracks like. We’re used to it now and we love playing up here now. It’s a lot different game on the turf vs. the grass. I think it slows it down a little bit but I think it’s an advantage for us,” explained Haylard. “Overall we love playing up here.”

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