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Tournaments | Story | 7/4/2019

Dallas Patriots march into semis

Cory Van Dyke     
Photo: Jonathan Long (Perfect Game)

EMERSON, Ga. – The long, grueling day for the Dallas Patriots 17u Stout commenced at 10 a.m. and ended shortly before 9 p.m. Three wins later, the team advanced to the semifinals at the 2019 WWBA 17u National Championship.

With a field that once began last Friday with 376 teams, the Dallas Patriots are now one of four squads remaining.

“It’s such an amazing tournament, and it’s humbling,” head coach Logan Stout said. “It’s very humbling to be in the final four of such a prestigious tournament and such a prestigious event with such unbelievable talent.”

In the quarterfinals, Jonathan Long tossed a complete game gem to beat US Elite 2020 International Scout Team, 7-2. Long scattered just two runs, five hits, and one walk while striking out four.

“My fastball was working,” Long said. “I just had to come in and dominate and focus on hitting my spots. It paid off for me.”

Over those seven innings, Long painted the corners and located all three of his pitches, frustrating the US Elite team in the process. US Elite came into the game with a perfect 9-0 record, outscoring its opponents 45-11. 

“You have a guy throwing 79-81, and 81 is being generous,” said Stout with a grin when talking about Long. “But he threw all three pitches for strikes, and he competed. He didn’t let anything faze him. I’m just proud of him… His number was finally called and he stepped up there and threw a CG against an incredible team.”

Reed Thomas bolstered the offense with two hits in the game and four RBIs. His bases clearing double sliced towards the opposite field and landed just inside the left field line in the top of the seventh to give the Patriots some breathing room.

“I was just keeping my front foot down to stay on time because I’ve been facing faster pitching,” Thomas said. “Keeping my foot down just really made me see the ball better.”

Jaxon Osterberg, Travis Gober, and Saxon Swain all added RBIs in the triumph. 

The day began with a five-inning run-rule win over DRB Elite, 10-2. Grant Golomb pitched all five innings, striking out four along the way. With 16 teams remaining, the Dallas Patriots defeated Team Elite Scout Team 17u, 5-4. Trailing by two heading into the bottom of the seventh, Cade Manning tied the game with an RBI single, and Gober knocked in the winning run for the walk-off. 

With the win over US Elite in the quarterfinals, the Dallas Patriots are now 9-0-1 over the course of the week in Georgia. Dallas Patriots 2020 Stout, the other team in the organization competing this week, didn’t advance from their pool, but went 4-0-3, making it a run of 17 games without a loss for the Dallas Patriots program. In a tournament that’s filled with players committed to play at the next level, Golomb (Baylor University) is the only player across both Patriots’ rosters committed to a college. 

“It’s unbelievable,” Long said. “I know a lot of people haven’t expected us to come this far versus everybody else we play who have multiple commits on their teams. I think we can hang with anybody.”

On Thursday night, Long was the epitome of the player who Stout has come to cherish on his team. His roster isn’t loaded with guys who throw in the 90s, but instead, he prides himself on the gritty players who want to wear the Patriots' name on their chest. It’s a tried and true method that has produced players like Trevor Story and Josh Bell in the Dallas Patriots program.

“Velocity is the most overrated thing in baseball,” Stout said. “Every kid nowadays can hit a 90 mph fastball. I just think it’s hysterical that that’s what people recruit. Jamie Moyer would not be recruited in today’s game. 

“I think guys that know how to pitch, guys who know how to compete, guys who have grit. That’s what I look for. I look for kids who want to get coached, who want to raise the level of play, and when we assemble a roster, kids who don’t want to be where they are, but become who they’re capable of becoming.”

Now two teams from Texas will compete against each other in the semifinals of the 17u WWBA in Georgia. South Texas Sliders 17u Mayer awaits the Dallas Patriots, as both teams will be riding high off three victories the day before. The ultimate prize is now just two wins away.

“Bottom line is there’s a reason the rearview mirror is small and the front of your car window is gigantic,” Stout said. “You can learn from the past, you can have fun from the past, but focus on where you’re going. That’s the big thing I tell these kids.”

In the other matchup, Canes National 17u will battle Ostingers Baseball Academy 2020. It makes for a day of high stakes baseball. One where the Dallas Patriots hope to continue their underdog story all the way to the title.

“I love all of my teammates,” Thomas said. “Most of us are uncommitted, so people don’t expect us to go this far. We’re doing it. We’re proving everyone wrong.”

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