General | General | 10/16/2018

20 Years of Memories from Jupiter

Alex Dry        

As we approach the 20th
 Annual PG WWBA World Championship, we have put together a collection of stories shared by the Perfect Game community to recount the countless memories from the past 19 years. We reached out and asked many of our past participants, coaches, and families to share what made the WWBA World Championship special to them. The following is a thread of stories, handpicked to share with the PG Community.

If you have a story or memory from the WWBA World Championships, please follow the link at the bottom of the page, and share it with our staff!

"The greatest memory for the East Coast Baseball Organization came in the 2011 World Wood Bat World Championships on field RED #3 of Roger Dean Complex.  Being a baseball ministry, we shared a style of hitting called "Hitting on the Cross" where the batter draws a cross in the box to build a base of mechanics to keep our hitters square and balanced over the cross, but also, to allow them to know if they do their best then God will take care of the rest.

Sophomore and uncommitted, Pete Alonso comes to the plate and he draws his cross for the 1st time ever.  On the mound for the Red Sox Scout Team/Elite Squad was Miami commit Nic Travieso.  Nick, who went on to be the 14th overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Cincinnati Reds, throws a 94 mph fastball and Pete barreled it up for a solo shot 400 plus feet into left center field.  Pete rounds the bases and jumps on home with a huge smile on his face, but then he makes a beeline for third base coach Joe Caruso.  Pete gets to coach Caruso, and says, "That's the first time I ever drew my cross."  That was the greatest moment for East Coast because we aspire to serve Christ through baseball, but for young Pete Alonso that was a also a great moment and the turning point in his recruitment and MLB exposure as well.  

One month later, Pete committed to the University of Florida after his performance in Jupiter, and if it was not for this amazing event and opportunity, who knows where Pete would have landed.  Five years later in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, Pete was taken 64th pick in the 2nd round by the New York Mets. 

Amazing the opportunities, the World Wood Bat World Championships provide, and for Pete Alonso and the East Coast Baseball Organization we will always remember this great moment and day on field RED #3 of Roger Dean Complex where Pete stayed on his cross."

-Joe Caruso, East Coast Sox

"Perfect Game means a lot to our family because the opportunity it has given my sons. Our most memorable moment was the year of Hurricane Sandy. My wife did not think we should travel to Florida with the storm (Hurricane Sandy) coming, but I knew it would just take one good thing to happen at the Jupiter tournament, to change my son’s life. It was well worth the drive from New Jersey to Florida. It changed his life. He received a scholarship to Dothan College, in Alabama. Thanks PG!"

-Siddiq Harris

"Out of the many blessings I’ve enjoyed during my life, attending all the PG Events with my son, ranks among the best of our blessings!! Something from that season of our lives is still talked about weekly! 

The most impressive performance I witnessed was from Touki Toussaint. During the 2013 Jupiter event, he struck out 9 of the first 10 Marucci batters he saw. I remember thinking, “He could’ve pitched in the Big Leagues tonight!” 

GOD Bless you all!"

-Terry Shumpert

"So many great memories have been created through the WWBA World Championships for us as a family! As a Jupiter resident, Shane was fortunate enough to participate in the event 3 times! He played with Palm Beach Select, our local showcase team, Host Team in 2014, and with the Evoshield Canes 2017 Prime in 2015. They played against the Evoshield Canes National team in the championship in Roger Dean in 2015. There was a tremendous amount of talent, scouts everywhere, and playing on Major League fields. All with some future Major Leaguers & Draft Picks, it’s Baseball Paradise!!   

Thank you Guys for everything you do."

-Shane Roberts

"I am parent of two kids that both played at this event with SGV of CA in 2009 Derek Goodwin and 2011 Dylan Goodwin, both catchers.

First favorite memory, was our first time there in 2009 and being featured in the first night game with Dylan Covey (white sox) and our other ace Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays), facing a Florida team with their hyped future first rounder. The electricity and seeing this unreal up front and personal with the rows and rows of golf carts filled with not just scouts, but scouting directors, colleges and players was awesome!!!!!!

Next, and this is by far the most special moment was in 2011, we stayed to watch the championship featuring ABD that had some friends on the team. It was a great game!!! On the way to the airport we dropped off our rental car and were taking the shuttle to our flight.  On our shuttle was Steve Garvey and his son, and myself with my son. And true story, Steve Garvey (alumni of MSU) sees my hat (Michigan State) and asks if I went there, and I said yes, and then introduced myself and son. I reminded him that he signed a hat for me way back when. Steve Garvey then says we should sing the Spartan fight song for our kids, and right there on the shuttle we launch into singing the Michigan State Fight song, and I mean the entire song!  The kids were so embarrassed, but we were not. We both said so cool and on our way to the flights we went. How crazy is that!?

Thanks for the memories, and I often have thought about just going back for the heck of it one year!!

Thank you!"

-Wayne Goodwin

"In 2016 in Jupiter at the WWBA World Championship, my two sons, Christian and Kyler Fedko, played in the greatest travel baseball game I've ever seen in my 15 years of watching travel baseball. NorthEastBaseball, led by famed directors Scott Patterson and Jeff Sullivan, took on a loaded Evoshield Canes team in front of 300 scouts, including multiple scouts from every MLB team.  The pitching matchup of Matt Tabor vs. Andrew Abbott, who had to face some of the best hitters in travel baseball all day, was incredible.

My son, Christian, who was named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year for hitters, called it the most exciting travel baseball event he ever played in.  He is sure it helped prepare him for the incredible pitching he has seen in the NCAA.  Both Christian and Kyler are at UCONN, a team I believe will compete for a National Championship this upcoming NCAA season.  Thanks in part to Perfect Game, they were blessed to be recruited by a UCONN baseball program that is second to none and is led by one of the most successful coaching staffs in NCAA baseball.

 The NEB -Canes game in 2016 was as good as any minor league game and I believe featured as many as 24 players who will eventually play pro ball or are already playing it.

Thanks for all you do for baseball."

-John Fedko

"My son attended the WWBA World Championships in 2017 as a pitcher for the San Diego Padres Scout Team. The experience was an opportunity of a lifetime and one neither my son nor my family has soon forgotten. The level of talent, professionalism and competition was thrilling and surreal. To see the “business” side of professional baseball and to respect it with a competition of this scale was an honor to be a part of and to learn from. 

My husband is a quiet man but yet, was a talented athlete. He was drafted out of high school and has raised both of my sons with a love and knowledge for the game. As a Dad he is maybe a bit more reserved in his show of emotion towards our boys, even though the love and pride has always been there. While at the Championship games, I saw my husband share and open up in his love for his sons. He was able to share, through the experiences of the event, all the special things that baseball has done and meant to him as a man. 

It was yes, a showcase for my son, but it was more than that. It was the coming together of our family to support my son and pass on to our next generation the importance and significance of honoring what sports and baseball can do for a young man’s life and direction. We were so grateful and as I said, honored to have had this wonderful memory and to have been a part of this remarkable event. Thank you and congratulations on 20 years of excellence on a job and program well done and run! I hope you are able to continue to offer this event to many more talented kids, and the families that support them, for many years to come.

My son is still playing baseball, now in a D1 program, and he treasures all the connections and contacts he gathered from participating in the WWBA World Championship games. I am hoping his path leads to playing baseball beyond college, and maybe he will have a banner up along the fences there at Jupiter someday :) That is what the Jupiter experience shows you: what it takes, how to present yourself amongst professionals in the business, and how to compete at a higher level.

Thank you for this opportunity to express our fondness for the PG WWBA World Championship games!"

-A parent from the 2017 WWBA World Championship

"I was playing in this event in 2011. One of my teammates decided not to go to FSU anymore, and every scout in the event wanted to watch him play. I looked at this as an opportunity for me as well, and I took advantage of it. I went 2-3 with a double and diving play at short stop. Shortly after this event, I got an email from Coastal Carolina. I never had heard of them, since I am from Miami, Fl. They were telling me to attend a camp, because they saw me play at the WWBA and they were interested. Long story short, I ended up committing to Coastal. I went on to win the NCAA National Championship in 2016 and was then drafted in the 4th Round by the New York Mets. I am currently still playing for them, but I want to say thank you. If it wasn’t for this event, I do not know where my future in this game would of ended up."

-Michael Paez

"My special memory is when I went to Jupiter and saw all of the golf carts roll around to see me pitch. It was just amazing seeing so many scouts. I loved being able to be pitch against the best competition, and see all the scouts watch a big game."

-Louis Davenport

"I first came to Jupiter during my Sophomore year of high school with Team Elite Prime, from Winder, Georgia. We had a tremendous run in the tournament all the way to the championship game and that was so much fun with all the professional scouts lined up behind the backstop of every game. I was able to pitch a very good game against the Indians Scout Team and had a blast. My coach Brad Boras and the other coaches kept us loose and most of our team had been playing with each other for years. The conversations that were held away from the field with the scouts and umpires were very valuable. Jupiter is a beautiful place and we stayed on the beach and had some fun out on the beach that we will never forget. Some of my teammates already had baseball cards through the National Showcase, and I witnessed some of my teammates giving Autographs before and after games to grown men.  Just getting the opportunity to pitch in the stadium and on the minor league fields and playing against the best competition was memories I will never forget. My second year last year was also with Team Elite Prime. Also another great experience that my family was there rooting us on and we had a great time. Many of the faces on the teams we have been playing with and against each other since we started travel baseball at 9-10 years old. Perfect Game always puts out great tournaments and showcases that give us great exposure to college coaches and professional scouts. My scholarship offers have almost all came from my performance in Perfect Game Events. This year I am playing with the Canes National Team and are looking forward to the competition at the event. It’s kind of a who’s who in travel baseball and college and professional scouts are everywhere to see the players. Along with East Coast Pro Team USA and the Area Code Games, Perfect Game Jupiter is right up there with the best event in the world, year in and year out."

-Nolan Crisp

My son Zac Houck was one of the lucky ones to compete at 2009 WWBA during his high school years, on a very good team!  This tournament is a HUGE scouting platform. The exposure and energy at this venue is like no other. The scouts there were from anywhere from D1 NCAA World Series winners to smaller universities. My son had the opportunity to compete against some of the best of the best. I am a proud mom. My son went on to play at the D1 level.  The NCAA has done several articles on him. Thank you to the WWBA World Championship for continuing to provide excellence to the future generations. 

-Tracy Houck

The one thing that makes Jupiter special is the friendships that are made. Personally, for me the friendships that I made with the people that we brought in to work the event and the friendship I made with coaches, scouts and former big-league players.

-Jim Arp

I have attended The WWBA on several occasions over the years. My most memorable moment from the tournament came in 2012. The Ohio Warhawks, as always, had a loaded roster. It was the last game scheduled on Saturday night. The Warhawks were playing a team out of Texas. The Hawks had a stellar rotation set to go: Justus Sheffield (Yankees 1st Rounder), Trevor Clifton (Cubs 12th Rounder), Jordan Sheffield (Dodgers 1st Rounder) and Akeem Bostic (Astros 2nd Rounder). All four lived up to the billing. The velocity ranged from 92-98 that night, and they threw a combined no-hitter, but lost 2-0. This was the best performance on the mound from the first to last pitch I ever saw in Jupiter.

Couple side notes from that game. Taylor Widener, (Yankees 12th Rounder) the Baseball America AA Pitcher of the Year this season, won his game earlier in the day for The Warhawks. He came into pinch hit in the 6th and just missed hitting a HR just barely foul which would have tied the game. Also, Andy Petite was watching the game as his son was on the team out of Texas.

Another great memory came in 2001. Jonathan Broxton played for me that year with The Hoosier Bat sponsored team. Jonathan started a game on Friday afternoon. While we prepared to play our game, there was a crowd of scouts gathered around the field next to us. They were there to watch a LHP from Texas, some kid named Scott Kazmir. He was blowing up 95 mph fastballs one after another.

Broxton was virtually unknown at this time, as he began to warm up. A couple scouts ventured over and took notice. We took the field, Broxton stepped up on the mound. First pitch fastball, and a couple more guys came over. By the end of the first inning the cavalry watching Kazmir, had migrated over. They were now watching Broxton lighting up one 95 after another. They didn't even have to move their golf carts to watch two future big leaguers!

The Hoosier Bat team went on to upset The Baseball America Squad the next game, eventually making it to Monday. They ended up losing to The Florida Bombers who won the tournament.

-George Blackburn

These stories have been lightly edited to keep the authenticity of each story. Please share your special memory of the WWBA World Championships with us below!
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