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Tournaments | Story | 7/2/2019

MVP Hustle 12u PGWS Champs

Cory Van Dyke        
Photo: MVP Hustle 12u Rodriguez (Perfect Game)

MARIETTA, Ga. – In the first annual 2019 PG 12u World Series, MVP Hustle 12u Rodriguez outlasted the field of 30 teams in the strict invite-only event to capture the title by defeating the SGSA Sharks, 10-7, in the championship. 

“It was a great event,” head coach Jason Rodriguez said. “Just a lot of good teams here. That’s what stuck out to me.”

MVP Hustle, an elite organization from California, finished the week with a record of 8-1. Rodriguez and Co. won three straight games on Tuesday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and concluding after 5:30 p.m. The long day in the hot, humid Georgia sun was a far stretch from what the team is used to in Los Angeles, but it was all worth it once those boys got a look at their World Series rings.

Five, 10, even 20 years down the road, all the players, coaches and parents of MVP Hustle can look back at this last week and remember those joyful memories made on a baseball field.

“I’ll never forget it,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll never forget the memories of watching these guys play while watching them grow and get better each and every game out here.”

MVP Hustle arrived in the championship with a 6-1 win over East Cobb Astros 12u Orange. Paul Dominguez-Walker was dominant on the mound, allowing just two hits, one walk, and one run over six innings pitched. He fanned 13 batters in his complete game performance and finished the tournament with 10 innings pitched and 22 strikeouts to earn MV-Pitcher honors. 

“He’s a dude,” Rodriguez said. “In my opinion, biased, but he’s the best 12u player in the nation from a five tool standpoint and he proved it again. He shut down some of the best teams in the country. Hats off to him for what he does.”

In the championship, MVP Hustle let the bats do the talking with every hitter in the lineup tallying at least one hit for 14 hits total. Trailing 6-2, MVP Hustle struck for three runs in both the third and fourth inning to take the lead. Using a total team effort, seven different players recorded an RBI in the championship.

Dominick Prieto sparked the offense with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. Dominguez-Walker and Diego Villa each added two hits of their own in the championship. Three-hole hitter Cole Bernstein led the entire tournament with 24 RBIs while Ezekiel Lara collected the most hits over the course of the week with 19. 

Parents were chanting ‘back-to-back’ at the conclusion of Tuesday’s championship. MVP Hustle had won the International World Series in California the week earlier before making the cross country trip.

“To see these guys come back and do it a week and a half later is just amazing,” Rodriguez said. “I’m beyond proud of these guys.”

Mission accomplished in Georgia for MVP Hustle. The players, coaches, and parents will now make the trip back to Los Angeles still riding high off the jubilation from the title.

“It makes [the return trip] a lot easier,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been on the other end to where we’ve had a long trip and didn’t get it done and we had to go home. This makes it sweet.”

The SGSA Sharks had a strong run of their own and should keep their heads held high for the exciting brand of baseball they played all week despite the final result. 

In the semifinals, the Sharks found themselves trailing Elite Squad National 17u 12-9 heading into the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, No. 3 hitter Carson Page smacked a two-run home run, making it a one-run game. After a walk, Jacarre' Fleming stepped to the plate. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, he connected on the fastball and deposited it over the wall in right field for the walk-off home run in one of the most exciting moments of the week.

“It just shows you what a special group of young men that we have,” head coach Ryan Page said. “The walk-off home run and the competitiveness our kids showed this week was a lot of fun.”

Fleming had a monster week at the plate with 13 hits, a staggering seven home runs, and 19 RBIs to be named MVP of the World Series.

“The kid is just special,” Page said. “He’s a special player and I’ll tell you what else, he’s a special person. He’s just as humble and as good a person as you can ever possibly meet. He’s just an awesome kid.”

This certainly won’t be the last time we’ll be hearing from the team based out of Valdosta, Georgia. At the end of this tournament, though, Page could not be more proud of the way his boys fought the entire World Series.

“We had a couple games where we had a little adversity slap us, and they kept battling and kept working,” Page said. “Our kids had to battle their tails off a little bit. They had to pitch and they had to compete, so that’s what I’m proud of.”

2019 12u PG World Series runner-up: SGSA Sharks

2019 12u PG World Series MVP: Jacarre Fleming

2019 12u PG World Series MV-Pitcher: Paul Dominguez-Walker

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