Tournaments | Story | 5/27/2019

Southeast Memorial Day Champs

Cory Van Dyke        
Photo: 643 DP Cougars 17U Pralgo (Perfect Game)

643 battles back, cruises forward to capture 18u crown

MARIETTA, Ga. – In a battle of endurance, 6-4-3 DP Cougars 17u Pralgo outlasted the East Cobb Astros in a game that lasted nearly three hours, winning the 2019 PG 18U Southeast Memorial Day Classic by a score of 14-8.

The Astros jumped all over 6-4-3 from the get-go, putting up a five spot in the bottom of the first. However, 6-4-3 battled all the way back and broke through with a crooked number of their own, scoring six runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-5 lead.

The 6-4-3 DP Cougars never looked back at that point, scoring 14 runs over the final four innings at Aviation Sports Complex en route to the 14-8 triumph.

“Something we talk about all the time is just controlling what we can do,” head coach Danny Pralgo said. “It’s just one inning at a time. Let’s try to get one run. Let’s try to win one inning. When you get a group of kids like this who buy into team baseball, it’s do your job, have one good at bat, and pass it on. It keeps you in baseball games.”

It was Parks Harborand Brayden Broome who ignited the offense in the championship game on Monday for 6-4-3. Harbor, a Georgia commit, finished 3-for-4 at the dish with a double, triple, and four RBIs. Broome collected two hits and an RBI, going 2-for-4 with a double.

“The beauty of it was watching those guys with their two strike approaches,” Pralgo said. “Not everything came early in the count. It was when they were down in the count and they didn’t get big on us and try to hit a home run. They battled, fouled off balls, and then found a way. Watching them compete like that, all the other players fed off two strike approaches. That stuff becomes contagious.”

Broome concluded the tournament with six hits, five runs, four RBIs, three walks, and two stolen bases while patrolling centerfield. He was given the MVP award for his performance throughout the weekend.

“To represent all of our fellow veterans that have sacrificed their lives and their families to give us freedom in our country is pretty special,” Broome said. “I’m glad my teammates and I got to represent them well by playing good baseball today. I hope I keep just doing what I’m doing. I’m going to keep being myself and just playing my game.”

All in all, the 6-4-3 DP Cougars were fortunate to even be in the position to play on Memorial Day. Without a late inning comeback in the first game of pool play, 6-4-3 wouldn’t have even advanced to the gold round of playoffs. Grant Lackey laid down the squeeze bunt for the game-winning RBI as they scored two runs in the sixth to beat Sox Baseball 17u, 4-3.

“We got better as the weekend went on,” Pralgo said. “We had to squeak out a lot of games early. We almost didn’t advance, so that’s what’s funny. You just have to keep competing and find a way. If you get to that next game, some special things can happen.”

Indeed, some special things did happen for 6-4-3 DP Cougars on the way to the title.

The East Cobb Astros’ Blake Money was named MV-Pitcher of the tournament. The LSU commit pitched a no-hitter in the 3-0 semifinals win over Georgia Bombers 17U Gaines. Money fired all seven innings, surrendering no runs, no hits, and no walks while striking out nine. He was an error in the field away from a perfect game.

5 Star walks off for 16u title victory

MARIETTA, Ga. -- In a back-and-forth affair, 5 Star National 16u Burress rallied for two runs in the seventh to walk it off against 6-4-3 DP Tigers 16u Hawkins to win the 2019 PG 16u Southeast Memorial Day Classic, 8-7.

Trailing by a run with three outs left, Auston Brewer led off the inning with a triple to centerfield. He then scored with on a wild pitch to tie the game with no outs. With one out and runners on second a third, an errant throw to first base on an attempted double play turn allowed Ethan Campbell to score the game-winning run at KSU Marietta.

“These guys are a bunch of grinders,” head coach Andy Burress said. “That’s the guys that play for us. They’re tough they grind it out. We had guys on the mound who hadn’t pitched in months. They went out there and were competing and throwing 20 or 30 pitches to get us through a couple innings.”

Brodie Chestnut, a Florida State commit, started the game on the mound, and lasted four innings, while allowing two earned runs. Treyson Hughes, a West Virginia commit, earned the win, tossing the final 2 1/3 innings. He also added a hit and two RBIs at the plate in the game.

6-4-3 DP Tigers connected for three unearned runs and the lead in the top of the sixth when Simon Gersten blasted a bases clearing triple. It could have been a knockout punch to 5 Star National, but they exhibited resilience, winning a one-run game in both the semifinals against 5 Star National 15u Dobbs and in the championship.

Tyler Christmas stood out all weekend long for 5 Star National as an on base machine and a menace on the base paths. The second baseman garnered fours hits, four runs, six walks, four RBIs, and ten stolen bases.

“He comes out and does all the little things right,” Burress said. “He makes plays in the field. He had good at bats. Several big at bats. He’s comes out and plays everyday. He plays hard. To me, that’s the kind of guys you want in the organization.”

Christmas’ output on the field earned him MVP of the tournament.

“I was just going up there trying to hit the ball hard and not do too much,” Christmas said. “Just hit it hard and make something happen.”

Meanwhile, Dawson Hamilton shined for Burress and Co. on the mound throughout the weekend. He surrendered no runs and four hits over eight innings pitched, while striking out seven batters. Hamilton pitched six innings of shutout ball in the first round of the playoffs to set the course for 5 Star National’s championship run.

“Dawson is one of our main guys since 14u,” Burress said. “He comes in and throws strikes. He doesn’t have electric stuff, but he pitches. We know when we give him the ball, he’s going to give us three, four, five, six good innings. The guys playing behind him know that.”

As a result, Hamilton was named MV-Pitcher at the 16u level. It’s a promising start to the summer for the righthanded hurler.

“I was just filling up the zone and throwing strikes,” Hamilton said. “Having quick innings and getting us back in the dugout. It’s just confidence to set me up for the rest of the summer.”

It’s also the kind of start that 5 Star National expected going into the weekend. One that they intend to carry into the deeper summer months.

“Next weekend is going to be a little tougher,” Burress said. “Everybody wants to knock off the guys at the top. That’s the way it always has been. We set goals early, and we want to win in July.”

Titans Baseball completes convincing 15u title run

DUNWOODY, Ga – Titans Baseball 15u Blue put the finishing touches on a dominant tournament run by defeating Team Elite 15u Scout Team 6-1 to win the 2019 PG 15U Southeast Memorial Day Classic.

While the offense powered throughout most of the tournament with 56 runs over six games, it was the two stellar pitching performances on Monday that pushed Titans Baseball to the title at Brook Run.

In the semifinals against Team Elite 15u National, Aidan Moza threw a complete game shutout, giving up no runs, one hit, three walks, and eight strikeouts in the 2-0 victory. Trent Reddick followed suit in the championship with a complete game of his own, allowing just one run, four hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts.

“Today we had to grind it out a little bit,” head coach Chance Beam said. “We saw much better pitching than we did before today. We battled through and found a way to grind it out.

“Having Aidan Moza and Reddick going full games in the semifinal and final were huge. Those guys are incredible young men. I just can’t say enough. Both of those guys did a tremendous job.”

For his complete game in the championship, a game in which he got stronger as he went on after allowing the only run in the first inning, Reddick was named MV-Pitcher of the tournament.

“Today my off-speed really worked for me,” Reddick said. “I haven’t really thrown my changeup or curveball that much. I really commanded it today and hit my spots.”

For Reddick, though, it was a rare outing for him to start a game. Beam estimated that it’s probably the first start he had in three years. Reddick is usually a high velocity guy who can pump it up to 88-89 mph, but he was a total pitcher on Monday, using an array of pitches to keep the opposing team off balance.

“For us, he played short and he’s so good at shortstop it’s hard for us to take him off shortstop,” Beam said. “In the past he’s always been a thrower coming into the late innings, game on the line type situations. Throw it as hard as you can for about 10, 12 pitches.

“When I talked to him before the game and asked if he wanted to start, I said, ‘Go out and pitch.’ I have to tip my hat to him. He understood that and worked those changeups and curveballs.

Not to be forgotten was the destruction that Brody Hollingsworth did at the plate over the tournament. The first baseman hit an insane 11-for-14 (.786) with two home runs, six doubles, and 13 RBIs.

“He just had one of those special weekends where you just get locked in and everything looks like a beach ball,” Beam said. “He just had an incredible weekend. He was locked in and a tough out anywhere it goes.”

In the championship, Hollingsworth finished 2-for-2 with three RBIs, including an RBI double that put Titans Baseball ahead for good in the third inning. Hollingsworth took home MVP honors for his incredible weekend.

“It makes me feel special,” Hollingsworth said. “I feel like I earned it. My approach was just to be fastball ready and take curveballs early in the count. Just weight back and drive the ball.”

5 Star National goes perfect in 14u championship run

DUNWOODY, Ga. – 5 Star National 14u capped off a perfect weekend with a 7-3 win over Team Elite 14u National to take home the title at the 2019 PG 14U Southeast Memorial Day Classic.

The three runs allowed in the championship at Brook Run were the only three runs that 5 Star National allowed the entire tournament.

“Our pitching was superb from the first night out all the way down,” head coach Bernard Crawford said. “We gave up no runs all the way through until the championship round. That really wasn’t even accountable to the pitching. We made a couple mishaps, and that’s how we gave up the three runs. Pitching was definitely what we rolled in on and finished strong.”

As a result, 5 Star National outscored opponents 33-3. The best pitching performance of the weekend occurred in the semifinals round when Daniel Parris fired a perfect game, needing just 57 pitches to complete six perfect innings while striking out five batters.

“My off-speed was working,” Parris said. “Whenever I was throwing it across the plate they were hitting it, but everybody was making plays, especially the third baseman [James] Hays.”

For his outing to advance 5 Star National to the championship with the 8-0 win over Georgia Bombers 14u Hill, Parris was named MV-Pitcher at the conclusion of the tournament.

Daniel Parris has a live arm with a lot of movement,” Crawford said. “There’s a lot of movement to his ball. You’re definitely going to read about that kid as he gets a little bigger and stronger.”

Earning MVP honors for the tournament was catcher Riley Jackson. Jackson finished the weekend with three hits, including one home run, three RBIs, and three stolen bases.

“I was just trying to get base hits up the middle,” Jackson said. It worked out sometimes, and others it didn’t. That’s just baseball”

Perhaps his biggest contribution was working with the pitchers behind the plate every game as the catcher and limiting any action on the basepaths.

“Riley I can’t say enough about because he caught all weekend,” Crawford said. “It was all on Riley, and he didn’t let us down.”

In the championship game, 5 Star National jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. Drew Burress finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a double, a triple, and two RBIs. Meanwhile, Connor Crisp was on base every plate appearance, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a walk.

Jackson McKenzie earned the win on the bump, tossing four innings and allowing just one unearned run. He gave up one hit, walked four, and struck out five batters.

“This sets the tone for us for the next two months,” Crawford said.

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