Tournaments | Story | 7/6/2018

17u WWBA crowns two

Nate Schweers        
Photo: Team GA/MBA Gold, CBA Marucci National (PG)

EMERSON, Ga. – After 392 teams combined to play 1,417 baseball games over the last eight days, two teams walked away as 2018 17u WWBA National Champions. CBA Marucci National and Team GA/MBA Gold made the decision to walk away co-national champions on Friday as rain poured down over LakePoint Sports Friday.

Both squads won Friday morning’s semifinal contests in thrilling fashion, and the championship game was poised to be a great one until Mother Nature decided to delay the action with Team GA/MBA leading 2-1 in just the third inning.

“Regardless of everything at the end of the day today, I am really proud of these guys and the way they fought all week,” said CBA head coach Jon Paino. “This tournament is not only a test of baseball and your ability to play the game, but it’s also a test of endurance. This is good for us and good for the program so we are pretty excited.”

CBA Marucci National earned their trip to the championship game after a thrilling journey through the tournament’s single elimination playoff bracket. After shutting out Premier Baseball Futures in the round of 32, CBA was able to complete a walk off suicide squeeze to beat Elite Squad 17u National to earn their way to the quarterfinal round.

After knocking off Viper Baseball Academy in the quarterfinals, CBA Marucci National defeated East Coast Sox Select 2-1 in Friday morning’s semifinals. CBA starter Joseph Naranjo turned in a gutsy performance on the mound, tossing seven strikeouts and minimizing six hits in the complete game effort. Naranjo is ranked as the 20th-best player in the state of California, and he will be playing his college baseball at Cal State Fullerton.

CBA Marucci National also had the MVP of this year’s 17u WWBA National Championship in Cameron Repetti. Repetti batted .419 with five doubles and 12 RBI over the course of the week as his aggressive approach at the plate paid dividends.

“Everybody here at this tournament has a great fastball, so I was just trying to sit on that and get it early in the count and drive it all week,” said Repetti, who is also committed to Cal State Fullerton. “Obviously we wish we could’ve won this thing for ourselves, but it’s still pretty special.”

While this California based team was able to turn heads in their first trip to Lakepoint this summer, the hometown Team GA/MBA Gold squad also played high-level baseball throughout the week.

After advancing out of Pool PP, Team GA/MBA made quick work of a solid USA Prime-Gowins team in the round of 32. After shutting out the San Diego Show in the round of 16, Team GA/MBA was able to prevail in a back-and-forth semifinal contest against the South Texas Sliders.

Tied in the bottom of the sixth inning of that quarterfinal matchup, Team GA/MBA was able to score Jerrion Ealy all the way from first on a ball to the gap to take the lead for good. Ealy, who is committed to Mississippi, showed great speed all weekend on his way to 15 stolen bases.

In the semifinal game, Team GA/MBA Gold found a way to overcome two errors and just two hits to take down Scorpions Founders Club 2019s by a score of 9-5. Team GA/MBA was able to work deep into counts, and they got great outings on the mound from starter Dalton Skinner and Michael Polk.

“Most importantly, this is such a great group of kids and families,” said Team GA/MBA head coach Chris McRaney. “If you look at these guys’ results over the last 18-24 months they have really earned it on the field. I think this WWBA event is the toughest age group to win, so just to be in the event and being around these families is an honor.

The MV-Pitcher of the tournament came from Team GA/MBA in Lane Watkins. Watkins, who is committed to playing his college baseball at Georgia, tossed 10 2/3 innings over the course of the week. He allowed just five hits and struck out 17 batters with no earned runs allowed.

2018 17u WWBA National Championship MVP: Cameron Repetti

2018 17u WWBA National Championship MV-Pitcher: Lane Watkins

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