Tournaments | Story | 7/8/2017

US Elite out-energizes opponents

Tiffany Seal        
Photo: Perfect Game

EMERSON, Ga.—With a team spanning the Northeast and Mid Atlantic, US Elite is well represented with top East Coast talent.The team
 got off to a hot start, opening the 16u WWBA National Championship tournament with a 2-0 win against Prospects National Team at the LakePoint complex.

Pitching and defense were the ingredients for success, with starter Kristopher Artis tossing 4 1/3 hitless innings with one walk and six strikeouts to hand the game over to righty Will GlockGlock gave up just one hit over 2 2/3 innings, with two walks and two strikeouts to earn the save.

US Elite has nine players in the top 500, and two of the top 200 ranked for the 2019 class.

“Development and winning go hand in hand, I don’t think you can have one without the other,” said head coach Jason Ferber. “I don’t think you can say you have true development if you don’t win, to know what it feels like. We represent eight different states. We got guys from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware.”

Both No. 80 Will Carlone and No. 135 Adam Cecere are among the top nation-wide, showing both the success of the program and player development.

“It’s nothing too too crazy,” said Cecere about the differences between tournaments in the North versus the South. “A lot of teams from the Northeast and actually the West we don’t get to see, and then we come down here, we get to see them. But a lot of times with travel ball now, they are taking kids from everywhere, so it’s not necessarily like you are playing a team just from the Northeast. We have a couple kids from Virginia, and we are making our way down here. So there’s not a huge difference, but you see some different cultures and meet people that have different styles.”

Although talent on US Elite and in some parts up North might be comparable to the Sunbelt, the weather is one outlier greatly affecting play during the spring months.

“I think [Perfect Game] does help,” said Carlone. “You get to see some different stuff, different teams from the South. Obviously they play down here in the warm weather and we have to play inside in 40 degree, 30-degree weather, but you have to come prepared here.”

US Elite is based out of Brooklyn, New York, but has a roster spanning from West Seneca, New York down to Norfolk, Virginia.

“When I came to this program, I was playing up,” said Carlone, who is going into his third year with the program. “As they got older and started getting good looks I said, ‘you know what, maybe I should play with the 2019s,’ and coach Ferber has done a wonderful job.”

Cecere echoed the same feelings, while going into his second summer with the program.

“[Playing with US Elite] has basically changed my life, considering the fact that I already had a scholarship offer before I played one single game with US Elite. So that was pretty crazy, they do a great job with exposure.”

Although Cecere has yet to announce where he will play his three to four years of college ball, he is getting close to making the decision.

“I’ve had a lot of interests that I’ve started narrowing down. [US Elite coaches] have done a good job of guiding me through it, talking coaches, talking campuses.”

With most of the top-ranked talent coming from the Sunbelt and West Coast, the northern part of the East Coast tends to get left out of the top-talent talk, without traveling to some of the southern tournaments.

“At the local events we are at, it’s a mixture of talent, there are solid local programs,” said Ferber. “It’s just that with the college scouts, they have to be efficient with their time, so it’s going to be a lot easier for them to come to a place like LakePoint and be able to see a bunch of guys that are projectable at that level, than it is to pick out [players] at little events.”

With a slew of scouts in attendance this week, US Elite will have plenty more opportunities to show off the attributes that make them a dominant program.

“The energy is key,” said Ferber. “Energy for me is always key. In my dugout, I don’t like to have just spectators, I like the guys that come out here and act like we are playing a Wiffle Ball game. It’s no different no matter where you are. The game stays the same, the faces might change, but the game stays the same. If we can just outclass, out-energize and out-hustle every team and win those three categories, I’m good.”

And although US Elite is no stranger to the East Cobb area, each time is a special opportunity.

“It’s a privilege to be down here, its not like this is always handed out to some people,” said Carlone. “To be at this beautiful facility and play good teams, it's very eye-opening.”

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