Tournaments : : Story
Thursday, November 01, 2018

2018 PG tourney highlights

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Cameron Repetti

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Perfect Game World Wood Bat Association (WWBA) closed the door on its 2018 tournament schedule on a warm and breezy late October Monday afternoon at two MLB spring training sites in close proximity to one another along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

The last pitch that secured a victory for the Florida Burn Platinum at the PG WWBA World Championship in Jupiter was delivered only hours after the one that allowed the South Charlotte Panthers 2022 to take home the title at the PG WWBA Freshman World Championship, 20 miles to the south in West Palm Beach.

With those last two prominent, national championships decided, PG officials could look back on another record-breaking calendar year during which thousands of players performed on thousands of teams from across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

They did so in front of college coaches and recruiters of every stripe, Major League Baseball’s incumbent scouting community and, of course, members of PG’s ever-present and all-encompassing scouting department.

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Many of the most respected travel team organizations took care of business between the Memorial Day Weekend right up until the first week of August at PG WWBA, PG Baseball Championship Series (BCS) and PG Super25 tournaments and climbed into the top-20 in PG’s final 14u-18u age-group Summer Travel Team Rankings.

Several of those same programs – joined by many others – solidified their standing by accumulating wins and championships during PG’s two-month fall season, which ran from the Labor Day Weekend through the end of October. Those October events included the WWBA World, Underclass World, Sophomore World and Freshman World championships.


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THE VENERABLE EAST COBB ASTROS (GA)
rose to No. 1 in the PG Final 18u Travel Team Rankings by winning the 18u WWBA National Championship. The were led to the title by 2018 right-hander Luke Bartnicki, a 2017 PG All-American (class of 2018) who was named the event’s Most Valuable Pitcher, and 2019 catcher Nathan Hickey, who was named the MV Player.

The Midland Redskins (Ohio) won the championship at the Connie Mack World Series and finished in the No. 2 slot in the final 18u rankings. The 18u No. 3 Slammers Martin (Colo.) took home the title at the 18u PG World Series thanks in part to the efforts of 2018 left-hander and MV Pitcher Kasey Koppelmaa.

The No. 7 Chi Town Cream (Ill.) lost to the Slammers in the 18u PGWS final and reached the championship game behind the play of 2018 corner-infielder and event MV Player Anthony Herron. Top Tier 18u Hoffman (Ill.) won the 18u BCS National Championship behind the play of MV Pitcher Nick Laxner and landed in the final rankings’ No. 4 position.

CBA Marucci National (Calif.), NorCal 2019 (Calif.), Team GA/MBA Gold (Ga.), Elite Squad 17u American (Fla.) and the East Coast Sox Select (Tenn.) were ranked 1 through 5 in the 17u Summer Travel Team Rankings.

CBA Marucci and Team GA/MBA were co-champs at the 17u WWBA National Championship, led by 2019 third baseman and MV Player Cameron Repetti (CBA) and 2019 right-hander/catcher and MV Pitcher Lane Watkins (TGA/MBA).

CBA Marucci, the No. 1 playoff seed at the 17u PGWS, went on to win the PG Upperclass Fall National Championship Protected by G-Form in September where Repetti was again named the MV Player; 2019 left-hander/first baseman Joseph Naranjo was the MV Pitcher.

Another championship came CBA’s way at the Ways to Play West Powered by MLB & PG in early October. It advanced to the semifinals at the WWBA World Championship late last month and 2020 catcher Kevin Parada was named co-MV Player.

Team GA National won the WWBA Southeast Qualifier #2, was the co-champion at the WWBA National Qualifier where 2020 lefty Sam Stratton won MV Pitcher honors and was the runner-up at the 17u WWBA National Qualifier where 2019 lefty Davis Rokose was the MV Pitcher.

2018 PG All-Americans Jerrion Ealy and Logan Tanner played with Team GA/MBA during the summer but were not rostered with Team GA National in Jupiter, where it advanced to the playoffs.

NorCal 2019 won the championship at the 17u PG World Series led by co-MV Player Ethan Cloyd, a 2019 catcher, and MV Pitcher Peter Hansen, a 2019 lefty.

Elite Squad 17u American with MV Pitcher Steven Schissler won the 17u BCS National Championship and the WWBA East Memorial Day Classic and reached the round-of-16 at the 17u WWBA National Championship.

The East Coast Sox Select with PG All-Americans Hayden Dunhurst, Maurice Hampton Jr., Rece Hinds and Bobby Witt Jr., reached the semis at the 17u WWBA National Championship, the Ways to Play East Powered by MLB & PG and at the WWBA World Championship.

The Scorpions 2019 Founders Club, a semifinalist at the 17u WWBA National Championship, featured PG All-Americans Joseph Charles, Judson Fabian, Connor Walsh and Kendall Williams, and finished No. 6 in the final summer rankings.

The Canes National (Va.), with PG All-Americans Matthew Allan, Corbin Carroll, Cade Doughty, Matthew Thompson and Anthony Volpe rostered throughout the seasons, were ranked No. 8 at the end of the summer.

They should see their stock rise in the year’s final rankings, however, after winning the Ways to Play East and finishing as runner-up at Jupiter, where 2019 righty Tyler Nesbitt was named the MV Pitcher.

The same can be said for the Florida Burn Platinum (Fla.), who were ranked right behind the Canes National (No. 9) at summer’s end. They caught fire in the fall, reaching the final-four at the WWBA Florida Qualifier before winning the whole shebang at the WWBA World; 2019 infielder Joshua Rivera was the co-MVP in Jupiter.


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TEAM ELITE PRIME (GA.), WITH A ROSTER THAT AT TIMES FEATURED 10
class of 2020 prospects ranked in the top-50 nationally, held down the No. 1 spot in the 16u Summer Travel Team Rankings heading into the fall. The Elite Prime took the 16u WWBA National Championship title with a big boost from sensational 2020 outfielder and event MV Player Trejyn Fletcher.

The East Cobb Astros (Ga.), MWE Bombers (Texas), FTB Tucci-Berryhill (Fla.), MWE 16u (Texas) and GBG Marucci 2020 (Calif.) rounded out the top-6  in the summer rankings.

The Astros won the 16u PG World Series with 2019 infielder Spencer Keefe earning MV Players honors and 2020 righty Blake Money earning co-MV Pitcher recognition. They also won the 16u PG Super25 National Championship and reached the playoffs at both the 16u WWBA and 16u BCS national championships.

The MWE Bombers 16u won the 16u BCS National Championship title behind tournament MV Player Daniel Garcia and were semifinalists at the 16u PGWS. FTB Tucci-Berryhill was runner-up to the East Cobb Astros at the 16u PGWS – 2020 right-hander Blake Money was the MV Pitcher – and MWE 16u was the runner-up at the 16u WWBA National Championship; 2020 righty Trevor Martin was the MV Pitcher.

GBG Marucci advanced to the semifinals at the 16u WWBA which was good enough for it to settle-in at the No. 6 spot in the end-of-summer 16u rankings. GBG Marucci 2020 Navy then won the PG Underclass Fall National Championship Protected by G-Form, led by MV Player Kevin Parada; Parada was also named co-MVP at the WWBA World Championship after GBG made a run into the semifinals.

It should be noted here again that the final results at the PG WWBA Sophomore World and PG WWBA Freshman World were not taken into account when the final summer rankings were compiled.

The Elite Squad (Fla.), with event MV Player Marcus Franco, won the Sophomore World and the South Charlotte Panthers 2022 (N.C.), with MV Player Xavier Isaac and MV Pitcher Cameron Padgett, won the Freshman World. Neither team was in the top-15 of the 16u or 15u summer rankings.

The Dulins Dodgers (Tenn.) organization fielded the No. 1-ranked teams in both the 15u and 14u PG Summer National Travel Team Rankings.

The Louisiana Knights Black (La.), Sheets Baseball 15u (La.), the CBA Bulldogs 15u (Calif.), the Molina Stars (Va.) and the San Diego Show (Calif.) rounded out the top-6 in the 15u rankings.

The player most associated with the Dodgers’ program the last three years is 2021 corner-infielder Blaze Jordan, the No. 1-ranked national prospect in his class. Jordan was named to four all-tournament teams at the 15u, 16u and 17u levels in 2018; a high school sophomore, he has already played at the WWBA World in Jupiter three times.

The Dodgers 15u Prime won the 15u PG World Series championship with MV Player David Jeon and reached the semifinals at the 15u WWBA PG-EC Invitational and the playoffs at the 15u WWBA National Championship.

The two Louisiana-based outfits, Knights Black and Sheets Baseball 15u, finished first and second, respectively, at the 15u WWBA National Championship; Sheets’ 2020 outfielder Brody Drost was named the MV Player and Knights’ 2021 lefty Hunter Elliott was the MV Pitcher. Knights Black also reached the playoffs at the 16u WWBA National Championship and the 15u PGWS. (Ben Sheets’ older team, playing under the Team Louisiana name, was a semifinalist at the WWBA Underclass World Championship).

The Bulldogs 15u were the runners-up at the 15u PGWS where 2021 lefty Nick Zellers was the MV Pitcher. The Molina Stars’ 2020 outfielder Dan Merkel and 2021 right-hander Nathan Knowles were named MV Player and MV Pitcher, respectively, after helping the Stars win the 15u BCS National Championship title.

The San Diego Show reached the final-four at both the 15u PGWS and the PG Freshman Fall National Championship, and many of the 15u players were part of the Show team that finished as runner-up at the PG Fall Underclass; 2020 right-hander Dante Schmid was the MV Pitcher at the Under.

The Canes National 14u (Va.), 5 Star National (Fla.), the East Cobb Astros 14u (Ga.), the Georgia Bombers-Hill (Ga.) and the Banditos Scout Team 14u (Texas) followed the Dulins Dodgers-Wright in the 2 through 6 positions in the 14u summer rankings.

The Dodgers-Wright won both the 14u PG World Series and 14u PG Summer Showdown Protected by G-Form and the runner-up at the 14u WWBA National Championship. 2021 infielder Jonah Sutton was the MV Player at the 14u PGWS and 2021 right-hander Trent Hodgdon was the MV Pitcher at the 14u WWBA.

The Canes National 14u topped the Dodgers-Wright in the championship game at the 14u WWBA and 2022 outfielder Nathan Fink took home MV Player honors; Canes National 2022 reached the semis at the WWBA Freshman World Championship.

2022 catcher Nick Wrubluski was named MV Player after helping 5 Star National capture the 14u BCS National Championship crown. 2022 right-hander Dylan Lesko – the No. 2-ranked national prospect in his class – from the runner-up East Cobb Astros 14u was the MV Pitcher at the event. The Astros 14u were also the champions at the 14u PG-EC Invite and reached the round-of-8 at the 14u WWBA.

The Bombers-Hill produced an impressive resume which included a 14u PG Super25 national championship and an appearance in the semifinals at the 14u WWBA. The Banditos Scout Team 14u was the runner-up at the 14u PG South Championship and a semifinalist at the 14u PGWS and reached the round-of-16 in the 14u WWBA playoffs.

The Illinois-based Cangelosi Sparks organization didn’t have a team ranked in the top-15 in any age-group at summer’s end but certainly made a big impression at tournaments in September and October.

The Sparks 2021 Black finished first and the Sparks 2020 Black second at the WWBA Midwest Underclass Qualifier and the 2021 Black went to finish as runner-up at WWBA Sophomore World Championship.

The Sparks 2022 Black claimed the title at the WWBA Midwest Freshman Championship and the Cangelosi Sparks upperclass squad won its second straight title at the WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship, a Jupiter-qualifier event.

Bobby Atkinson with 2021 Black and Alberto Lamas with the 2020 Black were the MV Player and MV Pitcher, respectively, at the Under Q; Jayden Comia and Tyler Pritchard with the 2022 Black received those respective awards at the MW Freshman Championship and Dylan Post was the MV Player at the Kernels Championship.



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