Tournaments | Story | 7/17/2016

Witt leads D-BAT to victory

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – D-BAT Elite improved to 2-1 in the 15u WWBA National Championship after a 9-1 victory against SCORE International on Sunday. Blake Mayfield and Jakob Berger, a 2019 Dallas Baptist commit, were outstanding on the mound as the two combined for six shutout innings while only allowing one hit and striking out seven batters.

D-BAT dropped their first game of the tournament 4-1 to the EC Sox Prime but have bounced back and won their last two games. After losing the opener, manager Brandon Gowins is happy with the response the team has shown on the field, most notably the offensive production.

“We knew the game for us in our pool was going to be the first one,” said Gowins. “We’ve played against Snopek (East Coast Sox) in the past and we had our chances in that game. We didn’t come through and they made one or two more plays than we did. Yesterday was a little better and then today, I think coming out to LakePoint gave them a little shot in the arm. We have a lot of kids committed but we also have a lot who aren’t so coming out here seeing all the scouts gave them a little adrenaline.”

The cornerstone of this D-BAT team is their impressive team defense and shortstop Bobby Witt has spearheaded this defensive juggernaut. Witt is an excellent defensive shortstop who oozes tools on defense and at the plate. He is currently ranked No. 12 overall for the class of 2019 and committed to play baseball at Oklahoma. Scouts are in awe when they see Witt play as his defense at shortstop, feel for hitting, and pure speed and athleticism scream projectable and high draft pick.

“It’s been our defense and our pitching for the most part,” said Gowin. “To start off the year we were really hitting the ball and then we lost Caeden Trenkle, our leadoff hitter committed to Oklahoma State. That set us back a little bit but today we finally saw them relax and get the barrels going. When we hit with the talent that we have then we usually give ourselves a pretty good chance.”

Witt was also one of the lead men on offense on Sunday. He carried an impressive approach at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Both hits were for extra-bases and were smoked off the bat as he had a 98 mph triple off the left field wall and a double down the left field line that was had an exit velocity of 100 mph.

It isn’t rare for Witt and some of his talented teammates to be committed this early in the recruiting process, but Gowins isn’t too concerned that there are some players without commitments. Being 2019 graduates, it is still very early in the recruiting process and Gowins knows that his guys are going to get noticed. Gowins and his staff also have experience coaching some of the best players to ever pass through Perfect Game events. Most recently 2015 first-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers and 2014 PG All-American Trent Clark was a member of the D-BAT organization.

“The good news is that they are 15,” said Gowins. “The (recruiting and scouting) process starts earlier than it used to. Our starter today (Blake) Mayfield was touching 85 and he can spin it and he’s going to be a monster. He’s still got three years to go out and earn a scholarship so there’s no pressure right now. We’re playing with house money when it comes to recruiting. We’ve had success and we’ve been lucky enough to coach some PG All-Americans like Trent Clark, Doak Dozier and Luke Wakamatsu. We’ve been through the process and they’ve seen it so that experience keeps these guys calm.”

Witt has the added benefit of coming from a baseball family. His father, Bobby Witt Sr., had a very decorated MLB career. He was a 1985 first-round draft pick by the Texas Rangers and pitched for 15 years in the big leagues. Witt Sr. was a member of the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s unfair to compare such a young player to a MLB player with a 15-year career, but it is important to note that everyone who sees Witt play knows that he’s going to be something special.

“Bobby is a coach’s dream,” said Gowins. “The best way to define him is that he’s obsessed with being great. He’s a true five tool player already and we have 20-30 pounds and a couple inches to go. He’ll keep his speed and there’s not one thing that he lacks. We thought Trent Clark was going to be the best position player we ever coached but Bobby is going to give him a run; and that worked out pretty well for him.”

Anytime you draw comparisons to a first round draft pick you know that you have a special player on your hands. Witt is committed to play baseball at Oklahoma and that was his dream school. Oklahoma was the alma mater of his father and looks to be getting an elite player.

“Oklahoma was my dream school and when I was talking to Coach Hughes, dreams start coming to reality and everything,” said Witt.

In order to make it to bracket play, D-BAT has to hope that the EC Sox Prime will lose a game. They certainly have the talent to win out as they currently have six players on their roster committed to Division I schools (one Texas commit, two Oklahoma commits, two Oklahoma State commits and a Dallas Baptist commit) and four players ranked in the top 100. The remaining pool play games shouldn’t be empty for D-BAT as with Witt and the rest of their talented team, scouts and college coaches are sure to be watching very closely.

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