Tournaments | Story | 6/30/2018

California arms lead Blackhawks

Nate Schweers        
Photo: Wesley Scott (Perfect Game)

EMERSON, Ga. – Blackhawks National improved to 2-0 at the 17u WWBA National Championship on Saturday with a 7-3 win over USA Showcase Prime. On the mound, a pair of power arms from California in Wesley Scott (2019) and Spencer Jones (2019) led the way.

Wesley Scott is a righty from Riverside, California, and took the mound for the first time at a Perfect Game event since the National Showcase two weeks ago. While Scott didn't have all of his best stuff on Saturday, he was able to toss four hitless innings while striking out six USA Showcase batters.

“It’s obviously a lot different weather-wise here compared to California,” said Scott. It is a lot wetter and you sweat a lot, and the ball feels different, but we are really excited about the opportunity to come out here and play in front of all these scouts on these beautiful fields.”

Scott, along with Spencer Jones, is committed to playing his college baseball at Vanderbilt University. According to Perfect Game, Vanderbilt has the best recruiting class for 2019. After watching Scott and Jones play Saturday, this comes as no surprise.

“When they [Vanderbilt] won the College World Series, I was actually in Omaha for a tournament I was playing in. I got to sit right behind home plate and see the go-ahead home run and the dog-pile and everything. From that game on I pretty much fell in love with Vanderbilt,” said Scott. “I love Scott [Brown] and really all the coaches. I felt so comfortable there.”

Jones, who is a 6-foot-7, 205-pound lefty from the San Diego area, has always wanted to see a new part of the country and try something new. Living in Southern California comes with a certain lifestyle, and he wanted to branch out and learn something else.

“I remember watching Vanderbilt when I was in elementary school, and they were always one of the top programs in the country,” said Jones. “A winning tradition is definitely something I want to be a part of. It was an easy choice for me because once I visited I instantly fell in love with the coaches and facilities. It was the best place for me development-wise, and I am going to get to experience life in a way that I never have before.”

While Vanderbilt didn't make a trip back to the College World Series this season, they certainly have an impressive track record of developing pitchers in Nashville. Current pros such as David Price, Walker Buehler and Carson Fulmer all came through college wearing the Vanderbilt black and gold.

Blackhawks National played their second game of the tournament at LakePoint on Saturday, and you will see them here every day until the pool play round is over. By winning the St. Jude Giving Challenge at this year’s 17u WWBA National Championship, they have earned the right to play every pool play game at the complex.

Perfect Game has partnered with St. Jude Children’s Hospital to make this year’s national championship about something more than baseball. All teams were given an opportunity to raise money for St. Jude, with the winner getting an all-LakePoint schedule. Blackhawks National was the winning team of this year’s challenge raising $36,000 for cancer research.

“To know that we are helping other people is fantastic. I mean, you’re down here playing for the scouts and playing for your ranking and your draft stock, but when you look at something like that, it is pretty special,” said Scott. “Other people are benefiting just from our presence at this tournament, and being able to help out people that haven’t been as fortunate as we have is really cool and important.”

Each year at the Perfect Game All-American Classic, the players chosen get the chance to volunteer at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Jones has been to Rady Children’s Hospital before, so the chance to help out with St. Jude was an exciting opportunity.

“Living in San Diego, Rady Children’s Hospital has a big presence and everyone in the community is really involved,” said Jones. “People care a lot about each other, and being able to partner with an organization [Blackhawks] that donates that much money helps raise awareness and gives back. It shows that we are much more than just a baseball organization; we care about the community and reaching out.”

So Scott and Jones are beginning to see success both on and off the field. However, they both say they wouldn't be anywhere without their families.

“I have three older brothers and they used to really pick on me. Then I grew up and got bigger than all of them,” Jones said. “I’m really close to a lot of different family members all across the country. Some are the West Coast, some are on the East Coast, and some are in Florida, but I have a good relationship with all of them. Family has been a big part of it.”

For ballplayers that are constantly traveling and showcasing their skills all around the country, a supportive family can be extremely important. For Scott, his family’s support and closeness has never been in question.

“My family is very close. We all live together back home, and we’re around each other a lot,” said Scott. “We have been through a lot of things, and we are able to get through them together with our strength from God to comfort each other.”

While the stress and excitement of playing in front of countless scouts at LakePoint can be a lot, these two standout players are also trying to soak up their teenage years while they’re here.

“I’m from California so I love going to the beach. I like playing basketball with my friends and I really like playing old baseball video games,” said Jones. “It may not seem like it all the time, but we are just trying to be teenagers for as long as we possibly can. We are out here just to have fun and show off what we can from all the hard work we have put in back home.”

For two California kids with excellent heads on their shoulders, the sky is the limit for what they can accomplish on the field and beyond. If this week has been any indication for what is in store, this isn’t the last time you will read their names, no matter what they’re doing.

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