Tournaments | Story | 7/6/2015

CBA Marucci on a streak at 17u

Chris Garcia        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – Four days into the 2015 17u WWBA National Championship and many teams are picking up steam heading into the final half of pool play. There are multiple pools that look to be suited for a close finish, including Pool U, which featured a head-to-head matchup between two undefeated teams that both have a very good shot of advancing to the playoffs. CBA Marucci and Lids Indiana Bulls Grey had proven to be evenly matched going into this game, and are well aware of the implications of what a win on Monday could do for their club moving forward.

Just by comparing rosters, you wouldn’t think that these two teams would be neck-and-neck fighting for the top spot in their pool, but the Bulls have shown that they can hold their own in an elite tournament like this and hoped to gain the edge against CBA Marucci. CBA is carrying an unbelievable 14 Division I commits to mostly Pac-12 schools, but they refused to take the Bulls lightly, seeing as they are right on their heels. One slip up could mean the difference between advancing and not advancing, and CBA would bring out all the stops in Monday's game.

Even though the Bulls are undefeated, they had only been able to muster up a total of eight runs. They had won some close games, and were really going to need step up the offensive production if they wanted to stay in this game. CBA on the other hand had put up 18 runs, but behind the arm of big lefty Jack Dashwood, they would not need very many runs at all to walk away with a win.

From the very first pitch of the game, Dashwood was completely dominant. The Bulls had trouble even putting the ball in play, and his mid- to upper-80s fastball carried him to a winning decision. He racked up six strikeouts and only allowed one hit in four innings of work, and was mixing and matching very well with his location and pitch variation. His fastball had tremendous zip on it, and he kept hitters off balance with a changeup that’s equally as devastating as his breaking ball.

I wanted to have good intensity in this game,” Dashwood said after the game. “I go out there and just try to do my best, and I know I have a good team behind my back. I came into the game telling myself I was going to do well, and each pitch I was reminding myself that. Mainly, I just wanted to keep good focus.”

At the plate and on the basepaths, CBA Marucci showed that they are extremely aggressive. By the end of the game, they put up eight hard earned runs and showed fantastic energy throughout the entire game. A big part in their 8-2 win was their ability to manufacture runs, and Head Coach Daylon Monette was very impressed with his guys energy on the field today, despite the fact they played such a late game the night before, an intense 5-3 win over Chandler World Gold.

Today we were gritty and tough,” Coach Monette said. “We had a long game last night and didn’t get done 'til past midnight, and it was really about these guys being mature and making sure they weren’t flat. They made some mistakes and gave us some chances, and we were able to capitalize.

Jack Dashwood allowed only one hit and struck out six in four innings in CBA Marucci's win on Monday.

The pitching staff has been so strong for us this tournament and we have guys that just do a great job of flat out pitching. As far as aggressiveness on the base paths, we try to exploit holes or mistakes the other teams make. All these little things play into us winning games.”

A big component of the success that CBA Marucci is the superb young talent they have on their team, and young Dominic Fletcher is a prime example of the type of special players that this team has. Fletcher is fresh off a magnificent showing at the Perfect Game National showcase, and feels very satisfied with the way he performed there.

I went out there, and it was the best 300 to 400 players in the country,” Fletcher said of his experience in Fort Myers, Fla. “I had worked real hard getting stronger and staying in shape, and I went out there and played as hard as I could. I tried to do everything I could, and I think they got what they needed to see.”

Fletcher, an Arkansas commit, is ready to tear it up in the SEC and is very happy to say that he will be a Razorback. He will have big shoes to fill, as he looks to replace star Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi in the next couple of years. Benintendi was recently named the 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award winner, and one day, Fletcher hopes that he might be able to follow in his footsteps.

I always wanted to be in the SEC, so I went out and visited a lot of those schools out there, and I went to Arkansas and loved the coaches and facilities,” Fletcher said of his choice. “It was just the right place for me.”

Coach Monette has known Fletcher since he was very young, and he is extremely honored to have played a part in his development as a man and ballplayer.

I’ve known Fletcher since he was nine, and he left our team for a little bit but it was a natural fit for him to come back,” Monette said of his star outfielder. “Even when he was playing against us, he was fun to compete against, and he’s the heart and soul of our team. I’m lucky to be a part of some of his important formative years, and the kid just loves the game. He’s always smiling, and he’s a big intricate part of our team. No ego either, and he can do anything with the bat and with the glove.”

CBA Marucci certainly has a swagger that not many other teams possess, and they should be an intriguing team to watch as the 2015 17u WWBA National Championship continues. Now 4-0 in pool play, Coach Monette wants to see his guys be locked in on every pitch of the game, and feels that will be very important for them moving forward.

We need to come to play every single inning of every single game,” Monette added. “The intensity needs to stay up, and it’s hard to do that sometimes. Our leaders in the middle of the infield have to keep us up and going and these guys gotta make sure they don’t play too lax.”


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