Tournaments | Story | 6/10/2016

PG/East Cobb champs named

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

Team Elite takes 13u Championship

EMERSON, Ga. – Team Elite Prospects were declared the 13u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational champions after it was ruled that Chain National’s starting pitcher was an illegal pitcher. The starter was supposed to have three days of rest following his outing on Tuesday and today would have been his third day of rest. He did not have his third day of rest and instead started on the mound, thus making him an illegal pitcher.

Brady House of Team Elite was named the MVP. House was 6-for-11 on the tournament with one home run, one triple, four RBI and nine runs scored. House’s inside-the-park grand slam in the semifinals helped send Team Elite to the championship game. Dakota Britt of Chain National was named the MV-Pitcher. He went 2-0 on the tournament and struck out seven batters over six innings pitched.

Team Elite Prospects were declared the 13u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational Champions after it was found that Chain National was in violation of the new MLB PitchSmart guidelines with their starting pitcher.

2016 13u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational champions: Team Elite Prospects

2016 13u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational MVP: Brady House

East Cobb Astros ride pitching to 15u Championship

EMERSON, Ga. – In a game that was never really in doubt, the East Cobb Astros defeated the West Cobb A’s 7-0 in the championship of the 15u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational. The Astros were led by both their starting pitching and their offense to soundly defeat the A’s.

Mason Kearney, the No. 5 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2019, had a dominant effort on the mound for the Astros. He tossed a complete game, two-hit shutout while striking out one batter. Kearney was able to limit hard contact and allow his defense to make plays behind him to defeat the A’s.

Kearney credited his success to hit defense and, perhaps most importantly, the entire team as winning the championship was not an individual accolade, but a team victory.

“First of all, I’d like to congratulate my team,” said Kearney. “It take a team to win a ball game and it takes a team to lose a ball game. If not for my teammates, I wouldn’t be in this situation.”

The game was tightly contested through the first five innings. The Astros had built a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the sixth inning when they were able to score more runs and pull away. They added five runs in the final two innings of play and were able to clinch the victory.

Coach Dennis Jordan was not surprised by the outcome of the game. He is extremely confident in his team’s ability to perform on the biggest stage thanks to countless hours of offseason practice and preparation.

“We prepare really hard early,” said Jordan. “We have a couple camp days where we get everyone together and we go over our philosophy about being aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths and pounding strikes on the mound to make the other team beat us. That’s what we did this tournament. We don’t walk a lot of people which helps us because we don’t have guys who are going to knock it over the fence. We’re aggressive on the bases and we run the bases very well and we’re very consistent with our overall game.”

This is the second tournament in a row that a team from the East Cobb program has claimed a Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational tournament title. Jordan notes this title as a great way to kick off the summer season for his team, but he understands how much is expected of his team and the heights that they can reach if they keep working hard.

“For us it’s a great way to start our season,” said Jordan. “This is the first full tournament we’ve played this season as a team. Big programs have a lot of individual players, we’re not like that. We’re team oriented and we understand we represent a great organization. We’re going to come out and represent the organization the best we can to move progressively as a team to where we want to go. We still have to get to the BCS and WWBA. Staying at 15u, this is my ninth or tenth year, we have a reputation to carry. I tell the players that ‘you’re upholding what the guys in front of you have done.”

There is an element of defending your home turf that is attached to this tournament victory. Jordan instills organizational pride in his players and reminds them that they these June tournaments are just the beginning stages of a long, competitive summer baseball endeavor.

“This is not the huge national tournament,” said Jordan in regards to the upcoming WWBA National Championships and BCS Finals tournaments. “But you have to handle your backyard. If you can be consistent and beat the teams in your backyard, and once we go to Fort Myers and play in the WWBA and BCS, now we’re playing a lot of teams we haven’t played yet. We know if we can take our strides here and beat the people we’re supposed to beat and raise our standards to the teams that are going to challenge us, then that’s what we need to do.”

The East Cobb Astros advanced to the championship after defeating the 643 Tigers in the semifinal round 7-3. The Astros had yet another stellar pitching effort, this time from Brady Simpson who struck out five batters and only allowed one earned run over 5 1/3 innings. Offensively, they scored multiple runs in three separate innings, including three RBI from the no. 13 shortstop in the state of Georgia for the class of 2018 Gavin Lee, to hold off the Tigers and advance.

The West Cobb A’s defeated Team Elite Nation 4-3 in eight innings after some late game rallying by the A’s. Down one run in the bottom of the ninth, the A’s tied the game with a bases loaded walk. In the following inning, they were able to bring the winning run across to score on a walk-off error from Team Elite.

The MVP of the tournament was Gavin Lee of the Astros. Lee went 10-21 on the tournament with six RBI, six runs scored, and two triples. Lee helped lead the offense with three RBI in the semifinal game and with a run scored in the championship. The MV-Pitcher was Ian Inaba of the West Cobb A’s. Inaba had a complete game shutout during the tournament and finished 1-0 with four strikeouts and only two hits allowed in seven innings.

2016 15u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational champions: East Cobb Astros

2016 15u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational runner-up: West Cobb A's

2016 15u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational MVP: Gavin Lee

2016 15u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational MV-Pitcher: Ian Inaba


643 DP Cougars Pralgo outlast Georgia Jackets for 17u championship

EMERSON, Ga. – The championship game for the 17u Perfect Game-East/Cobb Invitational was a one-run game that came down to the wire. The Cougars were able to plate a run in the top of the sixth inning to give them the decisive 2-1 victory in the championship.

Trevor Austin, the no. 31 shortstop in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017, put together a gutsy performance on the mound for the Cougars. He scattered nine hits across seven innings while striking out four batters. He was in and out of trouble all game but he, along with the stellar defense, was able to limit the damage to only allow the Jackets to score one run.

Both teams were tied at one in the top of the sixth inning. The Tigers had a runner on second base with two outs when the Jackets went to the bullpen. The Jackets were unable to extend the tie as Jack Ferguson, the no. 14 left-handed pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017, knocked in the go-ahead run to secure the victory for the Cougars.

Manager Danny Pralgo had no problems getting his team ready for a doubleheader on the day of the championship. The Cougars always bring an excitement and energy to the game and the championship game was no different.

“It’s such a fun group of guys,” said Pralgo. “I think they naturally get themselves amped up. They all come from different high school teams and they all look forward to coming together. They believe in playing the game right so we practice a lot and we’re able to do a lot of the little things right. They bring a lot of good energy and they feed off each other. That Georgia Jackets program, to me, is one of the best in the country bar none. We’ve been playing against those guys since they were nine years old, and Fred Hill is one of the best, we’ve been playing these one-run games against each other back at his field eight years ago so it was fun getting back together with such a classy organization.”

It can be tough for an elite team to assemble all of their players this early into the summer baseball season. Some players are still playing high school baseball and some players are just taking some time for rest. Even at less than full strength, when a program is as structured and well-run as the 643 program, the players will end up on the same page by the time tournaments begin.

“Some of the players are still playing highs school playoffs,” said Pralgo. “So the guys that finish early we start practicing with them. Then as the guys finish the high school playoffs it’s almost like an accelerated spring training where we have to go over everything like first and third situations, bunt coverages, pick plays. We like to do a lot of the little things like hit and runs and bunting. We believe in practicing because unless we practice it, I can’t expect them to do it in games. This part of the year all of these games are almost like a practice, the games will keep helping us get better and maybe we’ll peak at the right time. If we’re playing our best baseball come July and we don’t win games, that’s fine, I’ll live with that. It’s really about preparing these guys to play the game at the collegiate level.”

Pralgo is proud of his team’s ability to win close games this early in the season. He feels that by winning these contested games early on, it prepares the team to be able to win when the competition is at its very best.

“They believe in each other,” said Pralgo. “What we keep talking about is that if we throw strikes and play defense then we will be in baseball games come the sixth and seventh innings. So far that’s worked out and they truly live for being in those tight moments. We’re not afraid to call on whichever guy is next in line. It’s not about who comes up with the big hit or the big pitch, it’s whoever is next in line it’s their time to do it. Next man up, next man up. It’s really great playing in tight games this early because it’s going to prepare them. We just have to keep working on the little things.”

The MVP of the tournament was Owen Lovell, No. 5 overall in the state of Alabama for the class of 2017, of the Georgia Jackets. Lovell is committed to the University of Alabama and absolutely mashed during the tournament. He went 9-for-18 with three home runs, eight RBI, and seven runs scored. The MV-Pitcher of the tournament was Brant Hurter, the no. 8 lefthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017, for the Cougars. Hurter is committed to Georgia Tech and struck out ten batters without allowing a run in 5 2/3 innings pitched. 

2016 17u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational champions: 643 DP Cougars Pralgo

2016 17u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational runner-up: Georgia Jackets

2016 17u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational MVP: Owen Lovell

2016 17u Perfect Game/East Cobb Invitational MV-Pitcher: Brant Hurter


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