Tournaments : : Story
Sunday, September 25, 2016

NBS clinches spot in Jupiter

Vincent Cervino        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga. – Nelson Baseball School has punched their ticket to Jupiter after defeating the Home Plate Chili Dogs 2-1 in the championship final of the WWBA Southeast Qualifier #2. In an extra-inning affair that lasted 10 full frames, NBS was able to score on an error by the first baseman for a walkoff victory and a secured spot in Jupiter.

“Just win it, man,” said William Prater of the mentality of the team in the final innings. “We come in every game no matter who we’re playing like we are supposed to win every game. In the end we’ve just battled until we won and we found a way.”

The game was a 1-1 tie for the majority of the afternoon. NBS got on the board first in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI double from Bailey Campbell, a Young Harris College commit. Home Plate would strike back in the top of the second with an RBI single of their own to know the game at one apiece. From there the game was a pitcher’s duel.

Jamison Wilks, William Prater and Noah Turner combined to throw 10 innings of one-run baseball for NBS. Manager John Harris was very proud of his pitchers for their efforts all weekend long. Especially in extra innings of a championship game it is valuable to have players, who aren’t necessarily pitchers, hop on the rubber and toss quality innings to keep your team in the game. Wilks started the game and Noah Turner, the No. 64 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017, provided four strong innings of shutout baseball. William Prater, the No. 39 middle infielder in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and committed to Western Carolina, pitched only one inning but was credited with the win.

Home Plate’s pitching staff was just as effective as NBS’ and kept them in the game the entire way. The pitchers were able to keep NBS hitters off the base paths and only surrendered one earned run on the day. Unfortunately for Home Plate they surrendered an unearned run in the final inning which winded up costing them the game.

By clinching a spot in Jupiter and being crowned a champion of the Southeast, this game represents a signature win for NBS. Harris spoke to what this tournament win means for the program and what the opportunity to play in Jupiter could bring.

“Honestly for the program it really tells you about what Brian Nelson has been doing and doing it the right way,” said Harris. “This has really come together and for these guys they had the taste of success when they were 16 and had to battle through some adversity when they were 17. They had injuries and had to play through the summer basically hurt. Now as an 18u team they really put it together.

"We stress the importance of teamwork and they bonded together. You can’t say that one individual is going to get it done for you and we don’t really know who the hero is going to be. Hell, today we didn’t even know what the lineup was going to be in the instance of having Brady Jones throw the second game instead of the third like it was initially planned. It just goes to show when we face adversity and we needed someone to step up they did.”

With the size and talent pool that Jupiter will have, NBS has an opportunity to cement themselves as an elite national program. Harris wants to solidify NBS’ status in the upper echelon as well as continue to get exposure for his players who remain uncommitted.

“Jupiter is going to be great for our exposure, we still have a lot of quality uncommitted arms,” said Harris. “We have guys with some offers and some without. Ultimately we want to put NBS on the national stage. Obviously winning the regional helps with that but we want to be able to show that we are one of the best organizations in the nation, not just our region. We really want to showcase heading into Jupiter that we earned the spot and now we just have to do something with it.”

William Prater of NBS was named MVP of the tournament. As a leadoff hitter Prater was the catalyst for the NBS offense and collected five runs scored and hit .286 over the weekend. The MV-Pitcher for the tournament was Mason Frady, the No. 12 righthanded pitcher in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 and a Georgia State commit, for Home Plate. Frady tossed a complete game shutout in his only appearance and went 1-0 while only allowing three hits and striking out five.

“I was seeing it pretty good this week,” said Prater. “I’ve been working hard for the past couple of weeks to have this feeling and be able to go to Jupiter. I try to do the best for my team and I wish I could’ve done a little bit better in the championship game but for the most part I just want to help my team win.”

The coaches and players are very excited to be going to Jupiter. It is a goal of many teams and organizations to make it there and NBS will get a chance to make themselves known on a national level. One thing is for sure and that’s this championship game and NBS team won’t soon be forgotten.

“Oh man this is what we’ve been working toward for four years,” said Prater. “I’ve been with Nelson (Baseball School) since I was 15 and we’ve added players and the 2017 class is really good with some great people. We deserve this. We have been working hard and had comeback victories for both tournaments that we’ve played in."

2016 WWBA Southeast Qualifier #2 runner-up: HP Chili Dogs Maldonado

2016 WWBA Southeast Qualifier #2 MVP: William Prater

2016 WWBA Southeast Qualifier #2 MV-Pitcher: Mason Frady

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