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Tournaments | Story | 7/24/2015

East Cobb Astros win 15u title

Chris Garcia     
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – The 2015 15u WWBA National Championship came to a storybook ending, with the East Cobb Astros claiming the event title with a 9-0 win over Chain National in the championship game. However, before the championship final was played there were two semifinal games. Over the course of this summer, there have been some exciting games, but these two semifinal matchups could be the most memorable.

The suspense in both of these games brought fans to their feet on every single pitch, and by the time the games were over, there were two clear-cut teams that had earned their shot at the championship title.

The East Cobb Astros and the Phenom Signature team squared off in a low scoring, back-and-forth duel that went to extra innings. This game was very even throughout most of the contest, with the score being 1-1 until the fifth inning. In the fifth, Phenom Signature put together a multitude of hits and pulled out in front of the Astros by a score of 3-1. Given their pitching prowess all week, Phenom Signature was confident they could hold this lead, but the Astros showed great resolve and would come back the very next inning.

They scored runs to tie the game, thanks to some great hitting with runners in scoring position and a wild throw down to second base. The game would continue in extra innings with the score locked at 3-3, and there would be little action until the top of the ninth inning. In the ninth, the Astros would manufacture one run after a leadoff double, a steal of third base and a wild throw down to third. The Astros would eventually close the extra-innings thriller out with a 4-3 victory and head to the championship.

The other semifinal game between the Houston Banditos and Chain National was one for the ages, and almost featured a no-hitter from the gutsy starting pitcher for Chain National, Boyce Kobleur. Chain National got all of their offense off of the Banditos in two separate innings; the third and the fourth. Chain National’s Jonathan Alonso was big for their offense in this game, and he finished with three hits.

After scoring five runs after four, Chain National liked their chances of winning this game, seeing as Kobleuer was mowing down the Banditos hitters. He held his no-hit bid for six innings with the help of pinpoint command and keeping the ball low. He was not extremely over-powering with his upper-70s fastball, but he was effective.

Even though Kobleur was rolling, the Banditos would put his scoreless inning streak to a halt in their final at-bat of the game. In the top of the seventh the Banditos mounted a comeback that no one could have seen coming. All throughout the game they flashed power arms, switching from one 85 mph-plus arm to the next, but it was their bats that they needed most at that point.

Slowly but surely the Banditos racked up baserunners in the seventh until they scraped away one run and then loaded to the bases to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Right before the next at-bat, Banditos’ Coach Ray Deleon walked over to the stands and warned the crowd that something special was about to happen. He called it. Leonel Perez stepped up to the plate after being called in to pinch hit and did the unthinkable; he belted a deep drive to left field that left the park for a grand slam to tie the game. The Banditos would then take the lead two batters later, 6-5.

The Chain National headed into the bottom of the seventh inning down in the game for the first time. However, it would not be a problem for them, as they quickly scored the tying run with a string of base hits. They would later scored the winning run on a bases-loaded walk propelling Chain National to a 6-5 win and setting up the championship matchup with the East Cobb Astros.

The championship game started off a little bit slow offensively, as both starting pitchers were deadling. Chain National’s starting pitcher, Chase Wilkerson, had great stuff and was sitting in the mid-80s, topping out at 87 mph. He would cruise through this game until the fourth inning.

The Astros’ starter, Anthony Seigler, was even more impressive, considering he just threw four innings in their semifinal victory and was now called on to start the championship final. Seigler is ambidextrous, and threw the semifinal game with his right hand, but threw this championship game with both. He was phenomenal in doing so, providing an amazing double threat attack from the plate and the mound.

The East Cobb Astros' offense came aliver in the fourth inning. Seigler hit a huge two-run double to get the offense going for them, scoring four runs in the frame before Seigler would go back out for another quick inning. In the fifth, the Astros would tear this game open with a gigantic grand slam off the bat of Ryan Glass. The Astros now held a commanding lead of 9-0, with the run rule now in play. Seigler returned to the mound to secure the 9-0 victory, the shutout and the 15u WWBA National Championship, as the game ended on a smooth double play which was followed by a celebratory dogpile by the Astros players.

Seigler did it all in this tournament and fittingly was named the event's MVP award. He played a huge role in both the semifinal and championship games, and finished the tournament with a batting average of .414 with one home run, nine RBI and six runs scored. He also tossed 14 scoreless innings on the mound, striking out 11.

When I was handed the ball for the championship game, my mindset was to just throw strikes, help my team win,” Seigler said of the honor after the game. “I wanted to minimize my pitch count as well. After that extra inning game, it was tough to keep the energy up, but I pushed through it and focused. I had a good mentality this week, and was able to throw strikes. My team really helped behind me defensively.

At the plate, I just wanted to go oppo, and if they gave me one I like, I was going to crush it. It was tough to get the offense going against Chain, but we made up our mind we were going to start taking hacks, and we were able to put runners on and executed real well.”

Aside from Seigler's amazing performance in the playoffs, Chain National had themselves some shining stars from their playoff run as well. William Bowdoin was fantastic on the mound this week and as a result was honored as the Most Valuable Pitcher of the tournament. He threw a gem in the second round of the playoffs on Thursday, and also threw very well in his start during pool play.

His stat line for the week included 15 strikeouts over 11 scoreless innings. The honor was Bowdoin's second this summer, as he was also named the MV-Pitcher at the 15u BCS Finals held in late June, where Chain National beat the East Cobb Astros to claim the championship.

It’s been a fun week, and we played well as a team,” Bowdoin said. “We did the things we do well; we just couldn’t win this game. We left some pitches up and they swung it well. My coaches have done a great job with me, keeping me positive and confident. I know my team is going to get the job behind me too. When I come into my starts, I try to throw strikes and do what I do best. We won our last tournament in Fort Myers, so finishing second in this one definitely puts us on the map.”

The series of WWBA National Championships has now come to a close, and so has the summer for a lot of travel teams after this tournament. The East Cobb Astros cap their successful summer with a National Championship title.

Astros Head Coach Dennis Jordan had some kind words regarding his team after the game, and is proud of the way that everyone battled, including MVP Anthony Seigler. He applauded the way his team fought through these long playoff rounds and believes that there is a bright future in store for the young players on this talented Astros ball club.

Seigler’s performance was big for us today,” Jordan said after the championship game. “If I have one way to explain him, he is a gritty gym rat. He does everything really well, throws and hits both ways, and just competes. That’s what he’s done all his life, and he’s a kid that loves to be outside. He’s not a tech guy, he plays and he loves to play. We don’t have a large squad, but it’s never tough to keep their energy up. They know what it takes to get here, and when you have guys like Seigler, Bliss, (Jarrett) Ford and (Jared) Hart, they call for their teammates to play to a higher level, and they do.

This to be our last tournament; especially after playing Chain National down in the BCS and losing to them in the championship, means a lot. To end like this is special, especially for the kids. It’s a big deal for them and a big deal for our program.”

2015 15u WWBA National Championship runner-up: Chain National

2015 15u WWBA National Championship MVP: Anthony Seigler

2015 15u WWBA National Championship MV-Pitcher: William Bowdoin

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