Tournaments | Story | 1/16/2017

3 grab gold at PG West MLK

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

Show-stealers: San Diego Show go back-to-back at Underclass

GLENDALE, Ariz. – It began in January of 2013 and has continued now for five years, this strange phenomenon of the San Diego Show laying claim to the three main stages at the Perfect Game MLK Championships as their own. And that has become especially true in the Underclass (formerly 16u) division.

Cade Brown pitched 4 1/3 innings of no-hit, no-walk, shutout ball and delivered a run-scoring single in the fourth inning, and the No. 2-seeded San Diego Show fought their way past the No. 1 San Diego Padres Scout Team, 2-0, in the PG West MLK Underclass Championship title game played Monday afternoon on the Chicago White Sox side of the Camelback Ranch spring training complex.

The championship was the second straight for the Show organization at the PG West MLK Underclass Championship; it is its third PG MLK tournament championship overall to go with the titles won at the 2013 Upperclass and last year’s Underclass. San Diego Show teams also played in PG West MLK championship games at the 2014 Freshman, 2014 Under, 2014 Upper and 2015 Under tournaments.

“I’m really proud that we’ve been in (at least one) of the championship games at this tournament for five straight years, and to win it three of the five is pretty cool,” San Diego Show owner/manager Brian Cain said after Monday’s championship game victory.

“It’s kind of crazy, but I think some of these guys have played in (two or three PG MLK) championship games … and we always want to come down here and play good baseball,” he said. “This is always a good time to play in Arizona … and it gives our guys a good opportunity to see some quality pitching going into the high school season; it’s a really good atmosphere.”

The Show (6-0-0) got the upper-hand on the Padres’ Scout Team (5-1-0) with two runs in the fourth inning, thanks to a pair of run-scoring singles from Brown and Daniel Becerra; they out-hit the Padres Scout Team, 10-2. The two runs proved to be enough, as 2019 right-hander Thomas Carter came-in in relief of Brown and threw 2 2/3 two-hit, shutout innings, striking out five and walking two.

Brown is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound, 2018 first baseman/right-hander from Cardiff, Calif., a PG top-500 prospect who has yet to make this college choice. He was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2016 PG West MLK Underclass Championship and was a repeat recipient this weekend.

He was simply special all weekend, both at the plate and on the mound. In the batter’s box, he went 9-for-16 (.563) with four doubles, nine RBI and four runs scored while compiling a 1.462 OPS. In two pitching appearances, including the championship game, Brown allowed only two hits and didn’t walk a batter in 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out eight.

“It’s kind of cool that not only did we win the Underclass last year and were able to go back-to-back this year, but the same kid won the MVP last year,” Cain said. “Cade Brown won back-to-back MVPs and we won back-to-back championships; that’s pretty special and I’m really happy for him.”

The San Diego Padres Scout Team didn’t have much to crow about in their championship game loss, but they obviously did some really good things on their way to becoming the playoffs’ No. 1 seed. Individually, 2019 catcher Jared Thomas, a University of Miami commit from Lakewood, Calif., ranked No. 44 nationally, went 8-for-15 (.533) with a home run, triple, double, seven RBI and five runs scored.

2018 left-hander Leonardo Palacios, an uncommitted prospect from Phoenix, was named the Most Valuable Pitcher after working 5 innings in two appearances, and allowing one earned run (1.40 ERA) on one hit with 12 strikeouts and two walks.

The San Diego Show organization is making a solid case to one day be included on some sort of PG MLK Championship Mount Rushmore monument. And this underclass team of elite 2018s and 2019s has already figured prominently into that success.

“These guys are on cruise control,” Cain said. “We’ve got a great group of guys and we’re really looking forward to a really good summer and fall; this kind of kicks it off. They’ll get back to high school ball and then they’ll be ready to get out to (PG) World Wood Bat and the different (PG) World Series, and we’ll go through the year and run at it again just like we always do.”

The quarterfinal seeding held true in the semifinals with each of the top-four seeds advancing. The No. 1 San Diego Padres Scout Team out-lasted No. 8 Sticks Baseball Academy, 8-7; the No. 2 San Diego Show got past No. 7 Wilson Sandlot, 4-3; No. 3 LVR routed the No. 6 CBA Bruins, 14-0; and No. 4 Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball Underclass whipped No. 5 AZ T-Rex Rawlings, 8-0.

The Padres Scout Team blanked PNWRB Under, 6-0, and the Show shutout LVR, 3-0, in the two semifinal games to set up the championship pairing.

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship runner-up: San Diego Padres Scout Team

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship MVP: Cade Brown

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship MV-Pitcher: Leonardo Palacios

North East Baseball National dominates at Upperclass

PHOENIX – Just two days into the four-day Perfect Game West MLK Upperclass Championship, the writing was already on the wall. The feeling of invincibility surrounding the Hudson, Mass.-based North East Baseball National squad developed after only two games that totaled only eight innings. The final scores: 16-0 and 12-0. What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing, as it turned out. North East Baseball National easily earned the Upper’s No. 1 seed by outscoring its three pool-play opponents by a combined 32-2. It then whipped three playoff opponents by a combined 13-3 in action Monday at the Maryvale Baseball Park MLB spring training complex, and that included a 5-1 victory over No. 6 All-Star Baseball Academy in the championship game late Monday afternoon.

The Nationals (6-0-0) scored single runs in each of the third, fifth and sixth innings and put-up a two-spot in the fourth on their way to the championship game win; All-Star Baseball Academy (5-1-0) put up its only run in the top of the fifth.

“We just had a great roster,” North East Baseball general manager Jeff Sullivan said after Monday’s championship game victory. “We’ve had some good rosters in the past and they were all great kids, but with this one they just knew from the start that they were going to win it. You never know, especially with a team that is so talented, but they knew from the start, and when you play knowing you’re going to win, good things happen.”

2017 right-hander Trey Dillard gave up one earned run on four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in five innings on the mound in the championship game, and 2018 righty Dexter Jordan Jr. finished-up with two innings of no-hit, shutout work, striking out one and walking one.

NEB National totaled six hits in the win, led by Christian Fedko and Jose Gonzalez: Fedko was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and run scored and Gonzalez one-upped him with a double, a single, an RBI and a run scored. All-Star Baseball Academy, which totaled four hits, scored in the fifth when a Chase Hamilton ground-out chased a run home.

North East Baseball National hit an impressive .359 as a team in its six games, and 20 of its 55 hits went for extra-bases; thanks to their 28 runs in their first two games, the Nationals averaged just over seven runs per game.

The pitching really stood out, with the coaching staff using 10 pitchers to work 36 innings, and they allowed only five earned runs (0.97 ERA) on 17 hits with 53 strikeouts and 13 walks. Only three of those 10 pitchers worked as many as five innings.

“These kids, they just played together from the start of this whole thing,” Sullivan said. “It was really our pitching that put us in a good spot every game; we weren’t down a run the whole entire tournament. Our bats were so good, our defense was so good, but it was really our arms that put us in a good spot every time.”

The Nationals’ Kyler Fedko, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound No. 381-ranked 2018 middle-infielder from Gibsonia, Pa., who has committed to the University of Connecticut, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. He went 11-for-16 (.688) at the plate, with a home run, triple and a double, eight RBI and seven runs scored while posting a 1.729 OPS.

The All-Stars’ Jose Aldaz, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound uncommitted 2017 right-hander from Phoenix, was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. Aldaz pitched a complete-game six-hitter, allowing one earned run while striking out five and walking two in his team’s 2-1 win over No. 2 Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball 2017 Royal in the semifinals. He had pitched previously in the tournament and finished with a line of 7 2/3 innings, one earned run (0.91 ERA), six hits, six strikeouts and two walks.

“It’s tough when kids don’t know each other but a lot of these kids had played together before and they knew coming in that they had a good chance to take this one; I’m just really proud of these kids,” Sullivan said. “Every single one of these kids has a chance to play pro ball, and I know that’s a goal for all of them. So, whether it’s through the draft after high school or after college, everyone has a chance. And they’re all great kids.”

While No. 1 North East Baseball advanced out of the quarterfinals and into the semifinals with a 2-0 win over No. 9 Prospects National Team, and No. 2 Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball 2017 Royal did the same thing with a 4-1 win over No. 7 Aggies Baseball, there were a couple of upsets in the quarters.

No. 6 All-Star Baseball Academy 18u dumped No. 3 Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball 2017 Navy, 7-2, in one of the upsets, and the No. 5 CAB Soldiers Upperclass topped the No. 4 San Diego Padres Scout Team, 11-5, in the other.

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Upperclass Championship champion: North East Baseball National

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Upperclass Championship runner-up: All Star Baseball Academy 18u

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship MVP: Kyler Fedko

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship MV-Pitcher: Jesus Aldaz

LVR 2020 fights to Freshman title

GLENDALE, Ariz. – LVR (Las Vegas Recruits) 2020 won the 2016 Perfect Game West Memorial Day Classic and the 2016 PG/EvoShield Freshman National Championship here in the Valley of Sun in late May and mid-September, respectively, and in two short years it has made a decided impact on PG’s national underclass tournament circuit. Just listen to how co-manager Evan Greusel describes it:

“This group is special; any tournament that we go to, they do know how to turn that light on when they want to,” he said Monday after the team had won the title at the PG West MLK Freshman Championship. “This is really the first tournament where we’re coming in and play at our own age; when they were 13 we were playing 14s, when they were eighth-graders we were playing freshman. …

“It’s kind of funny because all the parents made the comment, ‘Everybody doesn’t look so big against us anymore’ because now we’re the bigger team,” he continued. “They know what they need to do, everybody knows their role and everybody’s OK with their role and nobody’s selfish about it.”

That was the recipe for success this weekend when No. 4-seeded LVR 2020 further cemented its reputation as one of the top freshman travel ball teams in the country. On Monday afternoon on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ side of the Camelback Ranch MLB spring training complex, the lads from Las Vegas jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, withstood a seventh-inning charge, and topped No. 2 Wilson Sandlot, 5-4, in the championship game.

LVR 2020 (6-0-0) totaled 12 hits in the win, with Josiah Cromwick, Jaden Agassi, Logan Breazard and Zachary Rodriguez collecting two apiece; one of Cromwick’s was a double. 2021 left-hander Shane Stafford and 2021 righty Tyler Whitaker combined on a seven-inning eight-hitter, giving up two earned runs while striking out seven and walking three.

Wilson Sandlot (5-1-0) got three of its eight hits from Bobby Koch, and Carson Tucker was 2-for-4 with a double. Koch, a 6-foot, 160-pound 2020 first baseman/outfielder from Scottsdale, Ariz., was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after hitting 9-for-16 (.563) with four RBI and four runs scored; all nine of his hits for singles.

Agassi, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound third baseman/right-hander from Las Vegas, added to his trophy case by being named the Most Valuable Pitcher – he was also the MV Pitcher at the 2016 PG/EvoShield Freshman National Championship and was the MV Player at the 2016 14u PG West Memorial Day Classic.

This weekend, he made two appearances on the mound and worked nine shutout innings, allowing all of four hits while striking out 10 and walking four; he was 3-for-13 (.231) with four RBI and four runs scored at the plate.

This team seems to click because the two managers – Greusel and Brad Maloff – work so well together. Greusel had roughly half of these guys as 8-year-olds and Maloff had the other half at the same age, the two brought them together as 12-year-olds. It’s made for a very successful mix.

“We’re always on the same page and there’s never any difference of opinion, and we just always seem to roll with it. I think the kids take that on; they really like each other and they get along,” Greusel said. “They know their role, they’re OK with their role … and they just really buy-in. Whatever we ask them to do they’re willing to do it.”

The top-four seeds all moved into the semifinals after wins in the quarterfinals, with No. 1 Pacific NW Regional Baseball Mix escaping the No. 8 San Diego Padres Scout Team, 1-0; No. 2 Wilson Sandlot topping No. 7 Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball 2020, 4-1; the No. 3 North Texas Longhorns getting past the No. 6 Minn4esota Starters; and No. 4 LVR 2020 beating No. 5 Team Halo, 6-1.

Once in the semis, LVR 2020 got more terrific pitching in a 5-0 upset of PNWRB Mix, and Sandlot slipped past the Longhorns, 4-2, to reach the championship game.

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship champion: LVR 2020

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship runner-up: Wilson Sandlot

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship MVP: Bobby Koch

2017 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship MV-Pitcher: Jaden Agassi

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