Tournaments | Story | 7/10/2015

CBA Marucci claims 17u title

Chris Garcia        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – After a long week that was filled with rain, hundred degree temperatures and intense competition, the day to crown a national champion had finally arrived. After losing a few games due to rainouts and re-scheduling complications, it was nice to see that this tournament finished on the right note; an all out battle for the 2015 17u WWBA National championship.

After a storybook run to the semifinals that included two walkoff wins off the bat of this tournament’s co-Most Valuable Player Rylan Thomas, Elite Squad Prime faced the undefeated CBA Marucci on Friday morning in the semifinals. Elite Prime's run would come to an end at the hands of CBA, who would eventually advance to the championship game on a 3-1 victory.

The Dallas Patriots also made an undefeated run to the championship game, but they were truly tested in the semis by the Team Citius Warriors. The Patriots narrowly escaped with a 2-1 win that included an amazing pitching performance from Jonathan Heasley.

This title game was sure to be an exciting one, considering the talent on both of these teams. CBA Marucci has a whopping 15 college commitments, but as always, these games aren't won on paper. The Dallas Patriots also carry a respectable amount of players committed to D-I schools, with six already pledged to play ball at their college of choice.

This championship game would get started with Cameron Jabara dicing it up in the first inning, and that would be his theme for the day, as he would not allow a hit until the sixth inning. The Patriots would not receive the same kind of performance from their starting pitcher, as the CBA Marucci offense chipped away with three consecutive one-run innings that included a towering home run courtesy of Griffen Herrera. Herrera was the main source of offense in this game for CBA Marucci, going 2-for-2 on the day with that bomb and a single.

Jabara was cruising until the sixth inning, as he dropped in velocity a little bit near the end and the Patriots capitalized. They would finally get on the board this inning, starting it off with a clutch double off the bat of Jordan Wiley. This inning featured some incredibly competitive at-bats from the Patriots. In fact, Zack Chastain had a 13 pitch at-bat against Jabara which eventually ended with him getting on base by way of fielder’s choice to load them up.

The Patriots were very aggressive at the plate and put good swings on almost every pitch late in the game. With their backs against the wall, they fought off every pitch they could in order to put runners on base. Even when behind in the count, they would foul off countless balls until they found a pitch they could hit. Their approach really paid off in this inning. A sac fly would eventually score Wiley and bring the game to a score of 3-1.

Jabara came out for the seventh inning to finish what he started. His poise and composure were fantastic to watch, and he got three quick outs to give CBA Marucci the 2015 17u WWBA National Championship. Jabara finished with seven strikeouts through seven innings in a memorable championship game performance on the mound. A dogpile ensued, as the boys from California were completely elated to be champs.

Their Head Coach, Daylon Monette, was just as ecstatic to win the championship as the boys were, if not more. His journey with these kids has been long, and he has been their coach since they were just 10-years old. To see them play like this brings him the utmost joy.

I hate to be cliché, but this is like the most amazing feeling,” said a very excited Coach Monette after the game. “I’ve never been in a tournament this big and had success and won it. Last year we were close, but this time we had one goal, and this is my last go around with these guys, so we just weren’t going to take no for an answer. Every single pitch, every out, even when we were up, the intensity in here was crazy. I feel like I’m about to sleep for a week after this tournament.”

Coach Monette believes that the pitching he saw from his staff this weekend was some of the best he has ever seen, and really was the key factor in winning this tournament.

Honestly, that pitching staff; I’ve never seen anything like it,” Monette continued. “We knew we were gonna run into great arms out here, but we have complete pitchers. The offense is great and makes things happen but the pitching staff absolutely carried us. I don’t know if we even let up more than ten runs the whole tournament. We had a great, great run at it.”

Although the pitching staff was very important for CBA Marucci this week, you can’t win games without scoring runs, and the tournament MVP, Nicholas Kahle, was a huge component of their offense. Kahle’s stats speak for themselves when it comes to why he was honored with the other half of the event's MVP award, as he batted .448 with 11 RBI, a .897 slugging percentage, .500 on-base percentage and one home run.

Well this tournament was really fun,” Kahle said. “That’s the best part, you know, with all the teammates and stuff. You really get to bond. I just worked hard and got pitches up, and tried to play my game and didn’t do too much. My approach at the plate was to just get a pitch in the zone and go for it. They’re a good team, so I knew we had to play our best game to win. I had our confidence in Cam pitching and we got it done. This tournament had a lot of good teams, and it’s always fun winning. I’m glad we got it done.”

As good as CBA Marucci’s staff was, the Dallas Patriots had an ace of their own. The Most Valuable Pitcher award was handed to Heasley, who as noted above was just absolutely dominant in their semifinal victory, throwing a complete game and finishing with 13 strikeouts. Heasley’s stat line for the week included only one earned run allowed through 13 innings of work, striking out 18 in total.

I think we knew we had been playing well all week, and we had been crushing the ball,” Heasley said. “I knew I had a great defense behind me, so I just wanted throw strikes and give them a chance to make plays. We were all really confident going into that game. Focus is a big thing for me, and I think I was locked in this week. Good defense really helps my mindset.

I think being able to spot up my off-speed early in the count helped my fastball. I was able to blow it by them and put it away. This tournament is a grind, and it’s long, but we’re going to Arizona next week for another tournament so this loss gives us motivation to go out and get it next week.”

The 2015 17u WWBA National Championship had it all, from walkoffs to Cinderella stories, and it is only right that it ends with a close game between two great teams. CBA Marucci couldn’t have played a better tournament, and in the end, they were the best complete team on the field this week. They hope to continue the success with their last two tournaments to finish out the summer, as these two teams could face another another once again at the 17u Perfect Game World Series in Goodyear, Ariz.

2015 17u WWBA National Championship runner-up: Dallas Patriots Stout

2015 17u WWBA National Championship co-MVP: Nicholas Kahle

2015 17u WWBA National Championship MV-Pitcher: Jonathan Heasley

 Give us your feedback
Copyright 1994-2021 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.