Tournaments : : Story
Thursday, August 28, 2014

Labor Day tourneys highlight week

Matt Rodriguez        
FORT MYERS, Fla. – For the first time since wrapping up a busy summer tournament circuit at the end of July, Perfect Game tournaments are ready to take center stage once again. Seven Labor Day weekend tournaments will be played in three different cities, including Fort Myers, Fla., Emerson, Ga., and Des Moines, Iowa, while the first WWBA Qualifier tournament will be held in Vineland, N.J. over the weekend as well.

The action-packed weekend kicks off with the fourth annual WWBA 16u Labor Day Classic and WWBA 18u Labor Day Classic tournaments. Held in Fort Myers, the two tournaments begin play Friday, August 29th and will conclude with championship game on Monday, September 1st.

The 16u tournament will consist of 16 teams, with 15 representing the state of Florida and the lone non-Florida program, the Team Avenue Aces 16u, hailing from Fresno, Calif. Games will be played at various facilities around the Fort Myers area, including JetBlue Player Development Complex, 5-Plex Player Development Complex, City of Palms Park, Terry Park, and Dunbar High School.

Forty teams will battle it out in the 18u tournament and will play at the same facilities as the 16u. Florida, North Carolina, New York, and California will each be represented in the field. Future Stars Baseball will travel from the Virgin Islands to compete in the tournament as well.

Bullets Baseball will boast outfielder Christopher Chatfield, a recent participant in the nationally televised Perfect Game All-American Classic. Chatfield is ranked No. 19 in the 2015 high school class and is committed to the University of South Florida. He is the highest ranked player in the tournament.

Sarasota Baseball Club has three players ranked in the Top 500. They are Cody Brickhouse (Class of 2015 No. 478), Nick Long (Class of 2016 No. 289), and Jordan Gubelman (Class of 2015 No. 248).

South Florida Storm Blue also possesses a highly talented roster with five High Follow, two ranked in the Top 1,000, and Gary Mattis (Class of 2016 No. 341).

The new Perfect Game Park South at LakePoint will host the inaugural 14u, 16u, and 18u WWBA Labor Day at LakePoint tournaments in Emerson, Ga. starting August 30th and concluding September 1st. Games will also be played at the East Cobb Complex and various high school ballparks in the area.

The WWBA 14u Labor Day at LakePoint tournament will consist of eight teams vying for the title. Five of the eight competing clubs hail from Georgia, while two come from North Carolina, and another from Florida. The early favorite for the 14u tournament has to be the reputable Evoshield Canes South team, which performs at a consistently high level at each age group. However, the field is wide open for anyone’s taking.

The 16u age division is representing with 24 teams from six different states, including Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas. Of the 24 teams that make up a competitive 16u age division, a few teams to watch for are the East Cobb Braves 16u, RBI Knoxville Stars, Nelson Baseball School 16’s, and the Upstate Mavericks.

The 18u tournament will be the largest of the three LakePoint tournaments this weekend, with a field of 32 teams representing Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, California, Alabama, and South Carolina. The San Diego Scorpions, based out of El Cajon, Calif., are the lone West Coast representative.

The HP Chili Dogs Maldonado boast the most talented roster in the tournament if you’re going off of Perfect Game’s player rankings. The Chili Dogs have three players ranked in the Top 100 in the 2015 high school class, including a pair of Perfect Game All-American Classic participants Cornelius Randolph (No.17) and Tristin English (No. 37), as well as Bryant Harris (No. 72). Class of 2015’s Ethan Gillis (No. 395) and Ben Baggett (No. 320) and class of 2016 Cole Jackson (No. 218) also highlight the Chili Dogs roster.

The GBSA Blue Rays also bring a talented roster to the tournament, with 2015’s Tekwaan Whyte (No. 78) and Bakari Gayle (No. 244) and 2016 Jaquez Williams (No. 324) highlighting the roster.

Other highly ranked players in attendance will be Erikson Lanning (Class of 2015 No. 192) with D-BAT Tompkins, Alex Webb (Class of 2015 No. 182) and Brody Wofford (Class of 2015 No. 325) of the Doubleday Rockies, and John Michael Boswell (Class of 2015 No. 373) and Curtis Terry (Class of 2015 No. 177) of Tiger USA Baseball.

The inaugural Central Labor Day Classic (Underclass) will kick off August 30th and conclude on September 1st, along with the inaugural Central Labor Day Classic (Upperclass). Both tournaments will be played at Des Moines Roosevelt, Nite Hawk Field, and various high schools.

The Underclass tournament will consist of six teams representing Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Illinois. Iowa Select Navy boasts the deepest roster, talent-wise, with six 2016’s in the Top 500. Those players are Joey Polak (No. 32), Spencer Van Scoyoc (No. 173), Kace Massner (No. 275), Kyle Crowl (No. 288), Bryce Ball (No. 304), and Grant Judkins (No. 318). The Iowa Select Navy team is surely a team to watch closely this weekend.

Meanwhile, the Upperclass tournament will feature ten teams from Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri. Iowa Select Black’s roster looks to be competitive, featuring five players who are in the Top 500.

The roster of the Reds Midwest Scout team will make anyone’s eyes pop, with 15 players in the Top 500 and four in the Top 200. Those four players include Perfect Game All-American Classic participant Ke’Bryan Hayes (No. 52), Cal Coughlin (No. 133), Joshua Stowers (No. 134), and Cole Daily (No. 168).

Amongst all of the Labor Day tournaments is the 2014 WWBA Northeast Qualifier, which will take place at various ballparks in the Vineland, New Jersey area August 29th through September 1st. Fifty-eight teams will compete for an automatic bid to the WWBA World Championship, held at the end of October in Jupiter, Fla.

The qualifier will feature several highly ranked players, including seven in the Top 100. Baseball U Tucci Lumber will bring a pair of overwhelming arms in Max Kranick (Class of 2016, No. 36) and Jeff Belge (Class of 2016, No. 16). The SACSN National Team will bring a pair of elite players in Perfect Game All-American Classic participant Triston McKenzie (Class of 2015 No. 40) and Antonio Santillan (Class of 2015 No. 63).

Other highly ranked players on rosters include Wesley Rodriguez (Class of 2015 No. 75) of the Bronx Bombers 17u, Zach Attianese (Class of 2016 No. 47) of Gallagher Team Mizuno, and Jason Groome (Class of 2016 No. 14) of the Tri-State Arsenal 17u Showcase Fonseca.

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