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Tournaments | Story | 5/29/2017

3 on top at Memorial Day LP

Steven Walters     
Photo: Perfect Game

Tigers hold on for wild finish

EMERSON, Ga. - The No. 16 seed Louisiana Tigers knocked off the No. 6 seed Dirtbags Black by a one run margin to secure the championship trophy in the 14u WWBA Memorial Day at LakePoint.

The Tigers went 2-1 in pool play, and were tasked with facing the No. 1 seed Team Halo in game one of the playoffs. They dominated Team Halo, winning 7-2. That win seemed to be the theme of the tournament for the Tigers; anything can happen.

“What I told them is you know when the best of your age group are playing the best of your age group, anything can happen, there’s 25 teams that could win this tournament,” said Leo McClure, the head coach for the Louisiana Tigers.

The Tigers came out swinging in the championship game, posting six runs within the game’s first four innings. The Dirtbags responded with offense of their own, scoring five times in the game’s first five frames. The Tigers would add onto their lead in the top of the sixth inning, pushing the score to 7-5 in favor of the Tigers.

Things would become interesting in the bottom of the seventh. The Dirtbags had the bases loaded, with no outs and one run already home. Tigers pitcher Mason Zambo picked the runner off third, forcing him into a run down. The runner would be tagged out at third, and the Tigers would throw to second to get the other runner who was caught in-between bases. This made the game a lot less stressful for the Zambo, who would retire the next batter on a fielder’s choice to end the ball game.

“This team has hit well all year. We can hit, we can bunt, we run. Our question mark when we came was would we have enough pitchers to throw enough strikes to endure a four-game tournament,” McClure said.

“We pitched a little better than we thought we might,” McClure said.

The pitching was solid for the Tigers in the tournament. They were led by a 4 1/3 inning performance by Ethan Prescott, in which he gave up only two earned runs. The Dirtbags starter Quinn Allen was roughed up early, surrendering four earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings.

Even though the Tigers gave up 32 runs in the tournament, it was the offense that really carried the team. At the plate Colin Husser and Tristin D’amico led the charge, both adding two RBIs to the offensive efforts.

McClure said that he thought this tournament provided a great learning experience for his players, something that they could take with them to the next levels in their baseball careers.

“Grit, it’s not easy, there’s lulls there’s times when you don’t believe in yourself and you just keep fighting, so I think they learned that it ain’t over. Just keep fighting, get to the next thing.”

This win for the Tigers was one that meant a lot to the organization, who has won on the big stage in other tournaments, but never in a Perfect Game tournament with this squad.

“All the hard work has paid off [knowing we were] going through a lot of stressful games to get to that game,” said MV-Pitcher Brock Van Hoy of the Louisiana Tigers.

“I tell my parents, it costs a lot of money for them to come, this is where the best players in America come play, we’ve got to go find out where we stack up, so it means an awful lot,” McClure said.

Brock Van Hoy of the Louisiana Tigers took home MV-Pitcher honors for the tournament. Van Hoy went eight innings, giving up only five hits and one earned run, while striking out eight hitters.

Joshua Hartle of the Dirtbags Black was awarded MV-Player honors, going 11-for-19 (.579) with two doubles, two triples, one home run, nine RBIs and a stolen base. Hartle is ranked as the No. 3 overall player in North Carolina for the class of 2021.

2017 14u WWBA Memorial Day at LP champions: Louisiana Tigers

2017 14u WWBA Memorial Day at LP runner-ups: Dirtbags

2017 14u WWBA Memorial Day at LP MVP: Joshua Hartle

2017 14u WWBA Memorial Day at LP MV-Pitcher: Brock Van Hoy

Bombers weather the storm, Colt .45s

EMERSON, Ga. - The Georgia Bombers 16u defeated the East Cobb Colt .45’s 16u by a score of 4-2 to capture the title in the 16u WWBA Memorial Day at LakePoint.

“Toughness.” That is the word that head coach Wes Rynders used to describe what he saw out of his team all weekend as they rolled to a 6-0 record.

“It’s a new group, and it’s the first real tournament of the season and we showed a lot of toughness and grit in times that were tough. I thought we did a great job of that,” Rynders said.

The Bombers beat a hot Colt .45’s team that had outscored their opponents 42-2 coming into the championship game. The .45’s even run-ruled Roadrunners Baseball 12-0 in the semifinals, so the Bombers knew that they would be up for a challenge. Wes Rynders, the head coach of the Bombers,

The Bombers started the scoring in the second inning, putting up two runs after the first three baserunners reached safely. They would add on two more insurance runs, one coming in the bottom of the fourth inning, and the other in the bottom of the sixth.

“I thought we competed at the plate. We had some tough at-bats, but we did a good job of competing and making it tough on them,” Rynders said. “That’s what I asked my guys to do, and I thought we did a good job of that.”

Steele Chambers, Justin Kirby and Bobby Spencer all contributed to the win with two hits apiece. Chambers would be named the MV-Player of the tournament, but he put the focus on his team’s accomplishment.

“I’m just happy that our team got the win,” Chambers said. “We were able to come out here and do our best and win a championship.”

Luc Scudellari was brilliant for the Bombers on the mound, hurling five innings, striking out seven hitters, while only giving up one earned run. The team was dominant on the mound in the tournament, giving up a total of five runs over six games. Three of their six tournament wins were shutouts. He was opposed by Dalton Rhadans who gave up two earned runs over 4 2/3 innings.

“Our pitchers did great the entire tournament,” Rynders said. “We’re predicated on our defense and our pitching, and hopefully we’ll hit too, but the pitchers did an outstanding job the entire weekend.”

The Georgia Bombers are a relatively new organization, but have already made a splash on the summer circuit, with the Georgia Bombers 13u team winning the Perfect Game Super 25 Regional, and the 15u team winning the Perfect Game Evoshield World Series last summer. Rynders saw this win as a great way to continue the success that the organization has already had.

“It’s big. We had a really good year in Perfect Game last year in a few different age groups, and we’re building on that success,” Rynders said. “Were very proud of this team.”

The MV-Player was Steele Chambers of the Georgia Bombers. Chambers hit .666 (6-for-9) with a double, a triple, five stolen bases and four RBIs.

The MV-Pitcher was Zach McManus of the East Cobb Colt .45’s who threw a six-inning no-hitter against the BigStix Gamers 16u, while racking up 14 strikeouts. 

2017 16u WWBA Memorial Day at LP champions: Georgia Bombers

2017 16u WWBA Memorial Day at LP runner-ups: East Cobb Colt .45s

2017 16u WWBA Memorial Day at LP MVP: Steele Chambers

2017 16u WWBA Memorial Day at LP MV-Pitcher: Zach McManus

Harris and defense lead the way for Cougars

EMERSON, Ga. - The 643 DP Cougars Pralgo beat the Triton Rays 3-0 in the final game of the 18u WWBA Memorial Day at LakePoint.

The Cougars got on the board early against Rays starter Julian Jackson, scoring three first inning runs, the only runs that would cross the plate in the entire game. Jackson threw six innings for the Rays, surrendering three runs on six hits, while striking out five. Danny Pralgo, the head coach of the Cougars and founder of 643 DP Athletics, complemented Jackson on his stuff and knew he would be a tough opponent if not scored upon early.

“I love how we came out with energy, put up a couple early, because we knew we needed to,” said Danny Pralgo, the head coach of the Cougars. “We knew that we needed to get something early on him, because once he settled in, it was going to be tough to score.”

On the mound for the Cougars was Ben Harris who went three innings, allowing one hit and two walks, while striking out three. Scott Lesieur came into relief, throwing four shutout innings and pitching his way around five hits. With two outs and runners on first and third in the top of the fifth inning, Lesieur was able to induce an inning ending flyout to end one of the only offensive threats by the Rays. Pralgo said that the key to success for both pitchers was staying around the zone.

“More than anything it’s just throwing strikes early,” Pralgo said. “Benny filled it up. Lot of strikes, couple changeups, and then he had his bender working also.”

“This whole weekend was about just making sure that everybody got to [throw] it, 11 different guys threw, and everybody stayed within their pitch counts based on the innings that they were going.”

Offensively, the Cougars were led by Tyler Tolve, who went 2-for-2 with a run scored in the game in route to winning the MV-Player for the tournament. Drew Hamrock, Ryan Miller and Carson Taylor each added an RBI to the winning effort.

Tolve, a Kennesaw State Commit and the No. 156 overall player in Georgia, credited his teammates when asked about his success at the plate.

“It only happened with our team,” Tolve said. “A few of my hits were all hit-and-runs, and it only happened with the team.”

Pralgo emphasized the same team mindset, saying that he was pleased to see how each player was focused on the team rather than themselves.

“A lot of these guys come off of hitting two, three and four in their high school lineups, and when you get together on a real strong academy team, a lot of these guys then had to hit in the seven, eight, nine, 10, 11-hole spots, and [we’re] just so unselfish, and they were all up for wherever they were need,” Pralgo said. “[They showed me that] they just love playing this game and that they’re open to whatever it takes.”

Pralgo said that the win for 643 was even sweeter knowing that this was only the beginning of the season for them and that they were a short a few players. He saw it as a step in the right direction to starting the season off right.

“It only gets tougher when you start playing against everybody’s best squads as they continue getting their pieces back, so we’re just excited about the opportunity,” Pralgo said.

The MV-Player went to Tyler Tolve, who hit .533 (8-for-15) with three doubles, three RBIs and two stolen bases.

The MV-Pitcher was awarded to Louis Davenport III of the Triton Rays. The Pensacola State commit threw 10 innings with 15 strikeouts, while surrendering no runs and only two hits across two appearances.

2017 18u WWBA Memorial Day at LP runner-ups: Triton Rays/GBSA

2017 18u WWBA Memorial Day at LP MVP: Tyler Tolve

2017 18u WWBA Memorial Day at LP MV-Pitcher: Louis Davenport III

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