Tournaments | Story | 6/5/2019

Simple formula fuels Bombers

Jack Nelson        
Photo: Cory Van Dyke

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – The Georgia Bombers 17u closed out pool play in the Perfect Game 17u East Cobb Invitational with a crisp 3-1 victory over the Home Plate Chilidogs 17u West. Propelled by a three-run first inning, the Bombers displayed great pitching and defense the rest of the way.

But the larger theme is that for yet another tournament, a Bombers team has won their pool. The program has become a stalwart of success. In this week’s PG-East Cobb Invitational, both the Bombers 16u and 17u teams won their pools and have advanced to the playoffs, and their rosters are replete with college commits. The Bombers 16u not only dominated their pool, but did not even concede one run against.

How did this happen? How did the Bombers carve out their niche and find their place in the hierarchy of travel ball programs in the country? The Bombers are a relatively new program, beginning play in 2015. With many other elite programs in the greater Atlanta area, such as East Cobb Baseball, Team Elite, 643 DP Athletics, Home Plate Chili Dogs and the Atlanta Blue Jays, it makes their rapid rise all the more impressive.

The formula for success, according to Bombers 17u coach Jordan Hill, is quite simple. With so much talent already in the area, the Bombers have simply tapped into the baseball hotbed of Georgia and then hammer home the fundamentals of the game.

“We’re a developmental program,” said Bombers 17u coach Jordan Hill. “ That is where I think the success comes from. We take local North Georgia guys and from the ages of 14, 15, 16, we just watch them mature as players. We like to retain our guys from an early age. They really learn how to play as a team, and that manifests itself in our success at these tournaments.”

With team success comes individual accolades, and the Bombers 17u currently boasts five Division I commits, including Anthony DiMola (Georgia Southern), Andrew Estes (Furman), Ryan Todd (Navy), Mark Tucker (Furman)and Casey Young (Gardner-Webb). College coaches know that when they recruit a Georgia Bomber they are going to play hard and respect the game. But more importantly, they know they are getting an intelligent baseball player.

“We train them to do the rights things,” Hill added. “I think because of that colleges know that in big situations our guys are going to perform.”

At the plate, the Bombers preach situational hitting and that gives players the confidence to rise to the occasion in big situations. They play with swagger, knowing they are prepared for anything thrown at them. “The big guys we have in the lineup, I know they’re going to perform in the clutch,” Hill said.

Against the Home Plate Chili Dogs, starting pitcher Jacob Lassiat spun five innings allowing just two hits, allowing just one earned run while striking out seven. Reliever Peyton Rawlins shut the door by firing two innings of perfect relief. Hill credits the Bombers pitching staff for success not just in this tournament, but in the history of the program.

“We stress pitching and defense,” Hill said. “If you come watch our arms throw, they are all strike throwers and that is really what colleges are looking for.”

Just as important, Bombers defense was immaculate, and the combination of shortstop Andrew Estes and second baseman Mark Tucker up the middle dazzled with defensive gems all game. When the Chilidogs loaded the bases in the second inning, Tucker made diving play on a sharply hit one-hop ground ball up the middle that saved two runs. 

As for the rest of the tournament, Hill is confident in his team. The Bombers 17u look primed to add another piece of hardware to their growing collection. The summer tournament season is just getting started and the Georgia Bombers are here to stay.

“We have the pitching lined up to go this weekend,” Hill said. “If we can get the bats going a little bit more, it should be fun to watch us go this weekend.”

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