Tournaments : : Championship
Monday, January 15, 2018

3 wear PG West MLK crowns

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

Las Vegas Recruits take title at West MLK-Upperclass

GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s a Nevada-based program that has proven time and again it can bring a team to the desert and win Perfect Game WWBA tournaments, first at the freshman level and then at the underclass level. On Monday at the Camelback Ranch spring training complex, it won at the upperclass level, as well.

The top-seeded Las Vegas Recruits (LVR) jumped on No. 2 North East Baseball National with two runs in each of the bottom of the second and fourth innings, and made that work on the way to a 4-2 victory and the championship at the PG West MLK Championships-Upperclass.

LVR (6-0-0) used seven hits from seven players to score its four runs. Jaret Godman tripled and drove in a run, Paul Myro doubled and drove in one, and Osvaldo Alex Sardina and Jaden Agassi both contributed RBIs.

2019 right-hander Brennan Holligan and 2021 righty Tyler Whitaker combined on a four-hitter, striking out four; all four of North East Baseball National’s hits were singles. NEB (5-1-0), based in Massachusetts, was the defending champion at the PG West MLK-Upper.

The Recruits claimed the No. 1 seed after outscoring their four pool-play opponents by a combined 24-2, but were definitely challenged in their 6-5 victory over the No. 5 Sticks Baseball Academy (4-1-1) out of Arkansas in a semifinal game Monday morning.

“It really started with the pitching,” head coach Brad Maloff said. “There aren’t really a lot of guys dialed-in and pitching a lot of games this time of year so you kind of got to piece it together and make sure you don’t over-throw guys. You have to keep the pitch-counts down but put yourself in a position to win baseball games.”

Godman, a 2018 infielder/outfielder/left-hander from Las Vegas who is ranked No. 421 nationally and has signed with Loyola Marymount, was outstanding all weekend. He went 7-for-16 (.625) with two triples, a home run, eight RBI and three stolen bases at the plate, and in one start on the mound threw six five-hit shutout innings with 10 strikeouts and one walk; he was named the Most Valuable Player.

North East Baseball National 2018 right-hander Tyrin Pacheco, playing in only his second PG event, earned Most Valuable Pitcher honors. In one start, the 6-foot, 190-pounder from Hobbs, New Mexico who is ranked No. 409 nationally and has signed with the University of New Mexico, threw five shutout innings, and allowed only two hits while striking out 12 with no walks.

At the end of the day, the Las Vegas Recruits – with a roster that features 12 NCAA Division-I recruits – were the last team standing.

“I told them that is basically the last really competitive tournament that they’re going to play in before their high school seasons,” Maloff said. “So, come out here, leave it on the field, let’s go have fun, and they really did that.

“It was really good competition, and I think three out of the last four games we played everybody on the field was committed to a Division-I school; you can’t ask for any better competition than that.

2018 Upperclass West PG MLK Championship runner-up: North East Baseball National

2018 Upperclass West PG MLK Championship MVP: Jaret Godman

2018 Upperclass West PG MLK Championship MV-Pitcher: Tyrin Pacheco

Sticks Baseball Academy claims championship at West MLK-Under

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Arkansas-based Sticks Baseball Academy advanced each of the three teams it sent down to the desert this weekend into the semifinal round in their respective age-divisions at the PG West MLK’s, and was able to grab glory from its middle child.

The No. 2-seeded Sticks BA (6-0-0) were locked in a 2-2 tie with the No. 5 Trosky Baseball USA (5-1-1) after 4 ½ innings, but pounced on TB USA for five runs in the bottom of the fifth and left the Camelback Ranch complex Monday afternoon with a 5-3 victory and the championship at the PG West MLK Championship-Underclass.

Jakob Berger broke the tie with a one-out solo home run, Jesse Pierce followed with a single, and then came in to score on another single off the bat of Wade Elliott; Elliott, in turn, was chased home when Blake Adams delivered a run-scoring, ground-rule double. That 2-2 knot was suddenly a 5-2 Sticks lead, which proved to be enough.

“It has basically been ‘championship or bust’ ever since we started a group message among the team,” Sticks Baseball Academy manager Chase Brewster told PG postgame. “The whole mood of coming out here was to try to bring home a championship and they were just incredible today. … They never lost focus; they were ready when it mattered.”

The Sticks totaled six hits in the win and Pierce and Elliott – batting 1-2 at the top of the order – were responsible for four of them; Pierce had a pair of singles and scored twice, and Elliot doubled, singled, drove in a run and scored a pair.

The right-handed Adams – a 2019 who is an Arkansas commit and ranked No. 42 nationally – and the left-handed Berger – a 2019 who is a Dallas Baptist commit and ranked No. 168 – combined on an eight-strikeout five-hitter. Kaleb Ybarra had two of Trosky’s five singles, drove in a run and scored another one.

The Sticks’ Cason Tollett, a 2019 catcher/first baseman from Little Rock, Ark., who is ranked No. 221 nationally and has committed to Arkansas, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player; he finished 7-for-16 (.438) with four doubles, eight RBI and two stolen bases.

Kale Davis, the Sticks’ 6-foot-4, 210-pound 2019 right-hander from Oklahoma City who is ranked No. 221 and committed to Oklahoma State, was the MV Pitcher. He threw seven, three-hit, shutout innings with nine strikeouts and one walk in Sticks BA’s 1-0 semifinal victory over the No. 3 Premier Baseball Futures (5-1-0) out of Texas.

“I’ve been to a bunch of big tournaments and I love Perfect Game, and I think this is one of their best tournaments,” Brewster said. “There’s not a ton of teams like some of their other tournaments, but there’s always such good top-end talent. …

“Just to be here in January and see that kind of talent, it makes the kids better for their (high school) season and it makes our program better; it’s well worth the trip.”

2018 Underclass West PG MLK Champions: Sticks Baseball Academy

2018 Underclass West PG MLK Championship runner-up: Trosky Baseball USA

2018 Underclass West PG MLK Championship MVP: Cason Tollett

2018 Underclass West PG MLK Championship MV-Pitcher: Kale Davis

Elite Squad TX-South 2021 survives to win West MLK-Freshman title

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Texas-based Elite Squad TX-South 2021 knew they were in for all they could handle when they went into the bottom of the sixth inning at the PG West MLK Championship-Freshman championship game tied with Arkansas-based Sticks Baseball Academy at 4 apiece.

It had been a fairly uneventful game, with the No. 2-seeded Elite Squad TX-South (5-0-0) and No. 5 Sticks BA (5-1-0) trading punches without either being able to achieve any sort of degree of separation. And then, the Squad delivered a thunderous blow with seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to take an 11-4 lead; in fact, they were one base-hit away from winning a 12-4 run-rule decision.

That didn’t happen, but at least the Texans could feel pretty comfortable with their seven-run lead and needing only three more outs to put the Sticks away. Instead, it turned into a gut-wrencher, with Sticks BA plating six runs to move within 11-10, before the Elite Squad finally extinguished the flames and claimed the Freshman championship.

The Elite Squad scored their 11 runs on 13 hits and three walks; Sticks plated their 10 on 12 hits and six walks.

“We came out early in this tournament and we struggled a little bit throwing strikes – our second pool game, our third pool game,” Elite Squad TX-South 2021 head coach Sergio Perez said. “In this game we kind of struggled to throw strikes again, but I’m proud of the way they came out hitting and executing the plays – the bunts, the hit-and-runs and everything.”

Matt King, Matthew Perez, Germain Castillo, Carlos A. Pena Jr. and Joshua Benitez each had two hits apiece for ES TX-South with King’s double the only extra-base hit among them; Perez drove in five runs and Diego Guevara had a single and three RBI.

Josh Pearson, Braylon Bishop, Rhett Jaggers and Gunner Branch each had two hits for Sticks, with Pearson and Bishop stroking doubles; Bishop drove in two runs, Branch one. The Sticks played three games Monday and totaled 26 runs; the Elite Squad totaled 15 in their two games.

The Sticks’ Reece Holbrook was named the event’s Most Valuable Player. A 2021 outfielder from Columbia, S.C., who is ranked No. 98 nationally, Holbrook went 7-for-15 (.467) with a double, triple, seven RBI and five stolen bases.

Most Valuable Pitcher honors went to Victor Loa, Elite Squad TX-South’s 2021 left-hander from Los Fresnos, Texas. Loa made two appearances over the weekend, working 7 2/3 innings of no-hit, shutout ball while striking out 13 and walking four.

“Coming here from Texas, we told the kids that, hey, we didn’t come all this way for nothing,” Perez said. “It’s either win it or bust, and we had to win it; we weren’t going to settle for second (place).”

2018 Freshman West PG MLK Champions: Elite Squad TX-South

2018 Freshman West PG MLK Championship runner-up: Sticks Baseball Academy

2018 Freshman West PG MLK Championship MVP: Reece Holbrook

2018 Freshman West PG MLK Championship MV-Pitcher: Victor Loa

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