Tournaments : : Story
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

BPA sprints into playoffs

Nate Schweers        
Photo: Jared Jones (Perfect Game)

EMERSON, Ga. – BPA improved to 6-1 at the 16u WWBA National Championship on Wednesday with a 7-1 win over Team Nike New England 16u. With the victory, BPA has won Pool NN and earned a spot in the single elimination bracket that begins Wednesday evening.

BPA received a great start from righthander Joshua Nam on Tuesday. Nam tossed four strong innings in the victory, striking out five Team Nike hitters and allowing just three hits.

“I was really locating my fastball well today and I could get my curveball over for strikes today,” said Nam, who threw only 42 pitches on Tuesday. “My changeup was also working well for me today and I was able to get a lot of weak contact with that.”

Nam, who is originally from Singapore, moved to the United States to enjoy a tougher level of competition in baseball. Nam has family that live in southern California, and that how is how he originally connected with the BPA program.

“I was born and raised in Singapore, and I went to the Groton School which is a boarding school in eighth grade. I went there because I really wanted to play baseball at a higher level, and I America can give you that opportunity. Coming from Singapore the level of competition is much higher, but you kind of get used to it and it has been a really good experience so far.”

At the plate, BPA was lead by stand out members of the 2020 class in Petey Haplin and Jared Jones. Haplin, who went 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of runs scored on Tuesday, has been swinging a hot bat all tournament long.

“I feel like my key to success this week has just been not trying to do too much,” said Haplin. “Sometimes I do open up and try to do too much, but really when I get the most hits I am working the other way and trying to get hits however I can.”

Haplin, who is ranked as the 67th-best player in the class of 2020, will be playing his college baseball at UCLA. He is a member of a UCLA recruiting class that ranks as the eighth best in the country.

“Seeing a lot of colleges and visits and stuff there was just something different about UCLA. The vibe there and the way people treated you was great and I just felt like I really fit in well.”

As mentioned earlier, Jared Jones also had a strong performance at the plate for BPA on Wednesday. Jones recorded only one hit on the day, but it was a long two-run homerun that traveled deep over the wall in left. The ball left Jones’ bat at 98, and gave BPA a commanding lead early on.

While Jones has an impressive swing at the plate, many people are impressed with his presence on the mound. Jones is ranked as the best righthanded pitcher in the class of 2020, and he has shown an electric fastball up to 96.

Like Haplin, Jones also knows where he will be playing his college baseball in the future. Jones is committed to Southern California, and he will join a lineage of USC baseball players in his family. Jones has a pair of cousins that have played at USC, making it an easy choice.

Jones is a long-time Perfect Game alum, and he is always excited to make trips out east to play in events like the WWBA.

“I love Perfect Game stuff because its always fun to go out and compete against the best guys in the country,” said Jones, who noted that hitting and pitching would be the key to continued success the rest of the way. “Our defense is there, so we just need to hit and have some good starts.”

BPA head coach Jared Sandler recognizes that players like Jones and Haplin are keys to his team’s success, but has constantly reminded every guy on the roster that it takes an entire team effort to walk out of here with a championship.

This BPA squad has a total of eight college commitments on his team including: Kemp Alderman (Mississippi), Harrison Owen (Auburn), Blake Pivaroff (Arizona State), Peyton Puckett (Mississippi State), Alberto Rios (Stanford), and Cooper Vest (Brigham Young).

“I thin that we try to get across to the guys is that every guy has a different role on the team,” said Coach Sandler. “This is our favorite tournament that we come to every year, and it is a great accomplishment to get into bracket play.”

Indeed, it is a great accomplishment to get into bracket play in a tournament with nearly 400 teams. BPA will look to stay hot, and with a roster with this much talent they just may be able to go all the way.

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