Tournaments | Championship | 7/26/2016

3 champs crowned at PG EvoShield

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – The 13u Evoshield Classic came to a close as eXposure Baseball dominated Team Kado Elite to secure the championship 8-0. Thanks to solid pitching and an explosive offense, eXposure was able to build an early lead and maintain their level of play throughout the game.

Seth Coffelt did an excellent job at limiting the Team Kado offense on the mound for eXposure. Coffelt did not surrender a hit until the fourth inning and finished the game with a five inning complete game shutout and only allowed two hits and struck out one batter. He did a very good job at inducing weak contact as he efficiently limited his pitches to just 60 in five innings pitched.

The game was scoreless throughout the first inning and a half. eXposure broke through in the second inning as they pushed two runs across in the bottom of the inning. By getting runners aboard with no outs, eXposure was able to manipulate their out usage to the tune of two sacrifice flies for the early 2-0 advantage.

The offense kept coming for eXposure as they would pile on six runs in the final two innings. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Chase Roberts knocked in two more runs with a grounder through the left side. Coffelt would help his own cause as an RBI single later in the inning brought the lead to 5-0.

The game would be decided in the fifth as eXposure pushed across three runs to bring the mercy rule in effect. The defense and pitching seemed to fall apart for Team Kado as eXposure scored their runs on a bases loaded walk, a fielder’s choice, and the game winning run on a passed ball. Not realizing that the run rule was in effect, it took a few seconds for the players to realize that they had just won the PG EvoShield Classic.

“It starts with good work, they’re dedicated players and they work hard,” said manager Mark Roberts. “Another key to this group is that all but three of these guys have been together since they were nine. This is not some team we put together to come up here and pay but this is their team. They’re a family, we’ve been through the highs and lows together, and they believe in each other. I think that makes them different and that makes them special. That closeness gets through a game like we played last night, where we played seemingly all night. We went down 6-0 but they looked each other in the eye and told each other that we got this. The big key to this team is they’re togetherness.”

The PG EvoShield Classic, and the end of July, signifies the end of the summer baseball season for most teams, but Roberts and his staff are proud of the growth they saw out of their team. The players will move up to the 14u team in the eXposure organization, but the teachings and lessons learned from this coaching staff will resonate with them for the rest of their baseball careers.

“We did a really good job growing offensively this season,” said Roberts. “Our team, in general, has been centered on pitching and defense the past few years. Our goal coming into the season was to gain an offensive prowess, not necessarily hitting home runs, but to own the zone and putting offensive pressure consistently on the opposing team. We’re not a big thumper team, we don’t hit a lot of home runs, but our goal was to have a good at bat every single time, work the count deep, and get good pitching. We wanted to find out what the pitcher’s out pitch was and if we found out that they don’t have a pitch they can consistently get us out on, then we can really sink our teeth in.

“They did a marvelous job of buying into that whole idea and they really blossomed into their growth this year. We’ve been a major level team with pitching and defense over the last couple years, but what would happen sometimes is that offensively we couldn’t play at that elite level consistently. They figured it out and after the first game or two we made a decision to step back as coaches. After the thirteen year-old level we hand the guys over to our organizational director Brandon Turner so we wanted to see what we’ve taught them. We didn’t call pitches, give them a whole offensive strategy, but we let them decide when was the right time to call what they wanted. We really put the games in their hands this tournament and it was beautiful to watch. It was an accumulation of all they had learned over the past four or five years and we just let them play. They did an outstanding job and it was great to watch.”

The MV-Pitcher of the tournament was Seth Coffelt from eXposure. Coffelt pitched masterfully in the championship game and in two games pitched finished with no runs allowed and only three hits allowed. The MVP, also of eXposure, was Chase Roberts. He finished the tournament with an absurd .588 batting average to go along with nine RBI and ten runs allowed.

“It’s a big end to our season and it means a lot to us,” said Roberts on the significance of this victory.

Team Kado reached the championship game after defeating the Orlando Scorpions 11-9. In a high-scoring affair, the offense was led by catcher Aidan Berger. He finished the game going 3-3 with four runs scored and two RBI. In a back and forth game, Team Kado put the game away in the final two innings as they scored five runs total in the fifth and sixth innings to outlast the Scorpions.

The semifinals ended after a tumultuous affair between eXposure and ASBA Futures that saw eXposure come out on top 13-12. After a few rain delays and an early 6-0 deficit, eXposure was able to put multiple runs on the board in five of the final six innings. Down one run in the bottom of the sevelth, Kaleb Valdez rocketed a walk-off, two-run double to clinch a spot in the championship game.

2016 13u PG EvoShield Classic champions: eXposure Baseball

2016 13u PG EvoShield Classic runner-up: Team Kado Elite

2016 13u PG EvoShield Classic MVP: Chase Roberts

2016 13u PG EvoShield Classic MV-Pitcher: Seth Coffelt

EMERSON, Ga. – In a game that came down to the wire, the Georgia Bombers White were able to defeat 643 DP Tigers Bishop 9-7. The Bombers overcame a four-run Tigers lead to hold onto the victory in the 15u PG EvoShield Classic.

The first inning featured a lot of scoring, predominantly scoring from the Tigers. After grabbing the early one-run advantage, the Tigers put five runs on the board in the bottom half of the first.

Luke Boynton started the Tigers scoring with a two-run single to take the lead right back from the Bombers. Later in the inning, Kurtis Royalty brought in two runs of his own on a double to increase the lead. After a fielder’s choice netted another run, the Tigers headed into the second inning with a 5-1 lead.

The Bombers would start their comeback attempt in the middle innings and dug themselves out of the deficit incrementally. The top of the third saw the Bombers get two runs back. After getting a run back on an error, Drew Beiger brought in another to cut the lead to two after three innings.

The bats would stay hot for the Bombers as they tied the game and took the lead in the fourth inning. Carter Mullikin came through with a huge hit to clear the bases. His three-run double, arguably the biggest hit of the tournament, gave the Bombers the lead and the momentum heading into the late innings.

Walker Davis and Noah Mendlinger would put the game out of reach in the sixth innings. Davis added a two-run single and Medlinger added an RBI single to increase the lead to 9-5. The Tigers staged a comeback attempt in the seventh but could only muster two runs and ultimately fell to the Bombers.

The tournament victory was a fitting end to the remarkable summer season that the Bombers had. This victory sends the players into fall with their heads held high as well as an impressive summer resume.

“To be on top in this tournament was a big deal for us to finish the summer,” said manager Cody White. “We just finished up a 42-5-2 season so this was big for our guys. We’re going to keep battling with the 15u Georgia Bombers and keep pushing this organization along.”

The core of this Bombers team has been together since they were nine years old. Team chemistry and friendship can be two factors that transform a great team into a championship caliber team.

“We saw growth three years ago when Coach Ben had some of these guys starting up,” said White. “We carried on to the Georgia Bombers and decided to take this challenge on together. We brought in some local kids and taught them the game, taught them the game right, and worked on development. We showed them how to win, not only at the 15u level, but at any level and they showed that today.”

The offense was the big story for the Bombers in today’s action. After scoring ten runs in the semifinal round, they followed it up with nine in the championship game. The mentality and process that White and his staff has instilled has enabled the Bombers to bring their own brand of successful baseball on to the diamond.

“We started off the semifinal game with some runs and we decided to carry that over into the championship game,” said White. “The first inning was not our usual performance but this team can grind with anyone. We played our game and do what we’ve always done. We worked our process, held it together, and came out on top.”

The MV-Pitcher of the tournament was Brian Zeldin, the No. 8 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2019, of the Tigers. Zeldin finished the tournament with a 1-0 record, a team high ten innings pitched, and struck out seven batters while only allowing one run; his performance included an impressive complete game shutout in the semifinals. The MVP of the tournament was Justin Kirby of the Bombers. Kirby finished the tournament with a .421 average, two home runs, 10 RBI, seven runs scored, and went 2-5 with four runs scored in the championship game.

“It feels good to come out on top in the last game of the season,” said Kirby. “It was a great way to end the year and I’m glad I could help the team win. I just tried to stay short to the ball and didn’t try to do too much, especially because my coaches told me not to try and hit a homerun every time.”

The Tigers reached the championship game after downing Reality Baseball Academy 1-0 in the semifinals. Zeldin led the way for the Tigers as he finished the game with a complete game shutout while allowing only three hits and striking out five. The lone run of the game came in the fifth inning after a clutch, pinch-hit RBI triple for Joe Strickland. That was all the insurance Zeldin needed as his arm took the Tigers the rest of the way to the championship.

The Bombers defeated the Jackson 96ers 10-0 in the semifinals of the tournament. A close game for the majority of the day, the Bombers broke through with nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings combined. Hayden McIlwaine led on the mound as his complete game shutout kept the 96ers at bay and allowed his offense to come through. Eight hits and ten runs later, the Bombers found themselves in a lopsided victory and onto the championship game.

2016 15u PG EvoShield Classic champions: Georgia Bombers White

2016 15u PG EvoShield Classic runner-up: 643 DP Tigers Bishop

2016 15u PG EvoShield Classic MVP: Justin Kirby

2016 15u PG EvoShield Classic MV-Pitcher: Brian Zeldin

EMERSON, Ga. – 643 DP Cougars Pralgo was able to outlast the East Cobb Colt .45s to claim the 17u PG EvoShield Classic crown. In a contested game the entire afternoon, the Cougars were able to add some cushion to their lead late in order to hold on.

Both teams would score in the first inning as the game got off to some fireworks early. Drew Waters, the No. 17 overall prospect for the class of 2017 and a Perfect Game All-American, started the scoring with a rocket of a triple to bring home the first run of the ballgame. Steven Minter, the No. 14 middle-infielder in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and a Georgia commit, knocked in an RBI single to give the cougars the 2-0 lead early in the game.

The Colt .45s would respond with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. Logan Cerny, the No. 4 catcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2018 and a Troy commit, would have an RBI triple of his own to match the start the Cougars had. Noah Ledford, the No. 19 catcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2018, brought home a run on his RBI double to tie the game at two apiece.

The scoring would halt until the top of the third inning, where the Cougars were able to breakthrough in a big way. Ben Anderson, the no. 29 outfielder in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017, would bring home a run on an RBI single to break the tie. After Waters was credited with an RBI hit by pitch, Sean Mootrey, the no. 2 third baseman in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017, brought home two more runners with a single of his own. The Cougars now held a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third.

The Colt .45s would strike back in the bottom of the frame to try to chip away at the lead. Ledford would bring home a run on an RBI groundout to cut the lead to three with nearly half of the game remaining.

The game was put out of reach in the top of the seventh when the Cougars were able to tack on two insurance runs to seal the game. After an RBI double and a squeeze bunt, the Cougars would gain a 8-3 lead that they would never surrender.

This was the Cougars’ third tournament championship at Perfect Game events this summer and manager Danny Pralgo was extremely proud of his club. The tournament titles and trophies are great, but Pralgo is more pleased with his team’s development and how they sharpened their skills over the summer.

“Everything we talk about isn’t even about winning tournaments or trophies, it’s about getting better each day,” said Pralgo. “It takes every single one of those guys and in every tournament we’ve needed every kid in that dugout. If everybody does their job then it’s amazing that we can be in a position to win a baseball game. For a lot of that time we’ve been in that position. Tip of the cap to the pitchers they keep us in it every time, the defense has been lights out, and the hitters keep doing enough to win baseball games. Whether it’s great two strike approaches, getting the bunts down, or quality outs to move somebody, they’re doing that every game and it puts us in a great position to win.

“It’s not about whose playing, it’s about doing their job. They’re learning what it takes to be successful at the college level. They need to go in knowing that their job is to help their team win a weekend series. It’s not about going and being a showcase player it’s about being prepared to do whatever the coach asks them to do. These guys will be prepared to play college baseball because they get that side of the game.”

While development and winning are cornerstones of any elite organization, Pralgo wants to make sure that the kids enjoy their time playing. In a short time, a lot of these kids will be going off to play at different colleges and Pralgo wants them to remember the joy they experienced playing with some of their best friends.

“More than anything, to cherish these moments,” said Pralgo. “These guys are each other’s best friends and win or lose I’ve never seen a group of guys truly feed off each other and have fun and love each other. They’re going to be breaking off and leaving each other very soon and I know that to this day some of my best friends are the guys I played ball with at the 16, 17, and 18 year old levels. I want them to enjoy these moments so they can stay friends forever and have great memories looking back on it.”

The MV-Pitcher of the tournament was Zach Fordham, the No. 11 lefthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and a Georgia Southern commit, of the Colt .45s. Fordham finished with a 1-0 record over seven innings pitched while failing to allow a run and striking out twelve batters. The MVP of the tournament was Ben Anderson of the Cougars. Anderson finished the tournament with a .500 average that included three doubles, eight RBI, and seven runs scored.

“I was looking for fastballs up in the zone to hit hard,” said Anderson of his performance. “I wanted to drive the ball and try to put it in play with two strikes.”

The Colt .45s defeated Mission Team Baseball 2-0 in order to advance to the championship game. Will Shirah, the No. 3 lefthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2018 and a Georgia Tech commit, and Chase Patrick, the No. 4 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and a Georgia Tech commit, combined to shutout Mission while only allowing five combined hits. Thanks to some timely hitting along with dominant pitching, the Colt .45s clinched a berth in the championship game.

The Cougars advanced past the semifinals after downing Team Demarini 4-1. Brant Hurter turned in a solid outing for the Cougars as he allowed only one unearned run to cross the plate through six innings. Offensively, they saw contributions up and down the lineup, including two hits from Sean Mootrey, to soundly defeat Team Demarini and proceed to the championship game.

2016 17u PG EvoShield Classic champions: 643 DP Cougars Pralgo

2016 17u PG EvoShield Classic runner-up: East Cobb Colt .45s

2016 17u PG EvoShield Classic MVP: Ben Anderson

2016 17u PG EvoShield Classic MV-Pitcher: Zach Fordham

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