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Tournaments | Story | 10/13/2019

Knights Ride Seesaw to Semis

Blake Dowson        
Photo: John "Alex" Walsh (Perfect Game)
2019 WWBA Freshman World Championship Event Page

Game 1 Recap: Louisiana Knights vs. Team Elite 14u

Game 2 Recap: Louisiana Knights vs. Baseball Performance Center

Game 3 Recap: Louisiana Knights vs. Sandlot Scout Team 2023


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Louisiana Knights cruised through pool play, winning both games with a run differential of 18-3.

It was smooth sailing into the playoff bracket, as they were deemed the No. 15 seed heading into moving day at the WWBA Freshman World Championship.

Then adversity struck in the first game of the day, which in an odd way, coach Russell Reynolds was glad to see.

“We got down in the first game [today], and we hadn’t been down in the first two pool games,” he said. “So I wanted to see how they would respond. Now, do I want to get punched in the mouth first? No. But we do enjoy to see these guys battle back and win in the face of adversity. They’re all on the fence, they want the bat in their hands. They go hard when they face adversity.”

It took extra innings for the Knights to knock off Team Elite 14u, but a bases loaded walk by John Pearson pushed them through to the second round by a 5-4 final score.

There wasn’t as much drama in the Knights’ second game of the day, as Damian Witty and Bryson Howard combined to shut out Baseball Performance Center and lead their squad to a 3-0 victory.

The performance from Witty and Howard followed a trend of great pitching for the team based out of Mandeville, La, the only team from the Pelican State in attendance this week at the Freshman Worlds.

It is a pitch-to-contact approach, which could be nicknamed the throw-strikes approach, a game plan not all teams in the tournament were able to execute.

“Our guys just trust our defense and try to make quality pitches at the right time,” Reynolds said. “You see a lot of these guys, they’re eighth graders. They’ve never called their own game or worked in this type of environment. With that being said, they came out here and dominated. They’re never going to shy away from the competition.”

Adversity struck again in the Knights’ quarterfinal matchup against Sandlot Scout Team 2023, who themselves had just won in walk-off fashion against Team Elite Prime, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win, 6-5.

Louisiana jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning before Sandlot answered with a crooked five runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a lead.

After trading a couple zeroes in the fifth inning, the Knights gave adversity a nice, swift uppercut to the jaw again with a four-run frame.

“I’m not just saying we have a great group of players, which we do, but we have a bunch of hard-nosed kids,” Reynolds said. “Everybody in the lineup, one through eleven, they want to bat in crunch time. The first three or four guys off the bench, they want the stick in their hand, too.”

Dylan Biddick, the team’s leadoff man and source of a lot of production, came through with the RBI single in the inning that put the Knights ahead, right after Miller Green laced a game-tying RBI double over the left fielder’s head that just kept on carrying.

Biddick is hitting .500 for the tournament after his performance on Sunday, with three doubles among four walks, five runs, and three RBI.

According to Reynolds, Biddick is the straw that stirs the drink.

“Biddick is a game-changer for us, because not only can he bunt, hit, and run, he can also hit with a little juice,” he said. “You want him on base, but it’s a lot better when he’s on second and we can stay away from the double play.”

As Nik Copenhaver settled under a fly ball in right field and closed his glove on the final out of the game, there were a lot of cheers from the Louisiana Knights dugout.

There were also some sighs of relief.

A lot of emotion goes into winning three games in one day at the biggest tournament of the year for these kids, especially when two of those games are 50/50 contests that the team found a way to win.

Back-to-back-to-back wins is something to be proud of.

“You could see toward the end, we started making a few mental mistakes, especially on defense,” Reynolds said. “The guys were mentally drained. Back-to-back-to-back games sounds like, ‘Oh my.’ These guys persevered through it, which is awesome…mental toughness does a world of difference."

The reward?

The Louisiana Knights are set to play in the semifinals on Monday morning against 5 Star National 2023 Dobbs, with a trip to the championship on the line.

Safe to say Reynolds and the rest of his team won’t need coffee in the morning.

“My arm hair is standing up,” he said. “I’m very excited…the best part for us is to see our guys continue to do it. They put the uni on, they cross the white line, and they get after it.”

5 Star National 2023 Dobbs Pitches Its Way to Semis

Five runs over three games is all the 5 Star National 2023 allowed on Sunday during bracket play, moving past FL Aces (Clubs), Resmondo FTB, and Indiana Bulls, in that order.

The tournament No. 3 seed flexed its muscle on Sunday, outscoring its opponents 15-5, and looks like one of the team’s to beat heading into championship Monday, it they will face the Louisiana Knights in the semifinals.

Top Tier Roos American 2023 Blast Their Way to Monday

The bats were alive and well for Top Tier Roos American 2023 on Sunday, as it rode two run-rule victories and another 6-1 win to Championship Monday.

An 11-0 win over Dirtbags Platinum 2023 moved it onto the second round, where its 6-1 win over Diamond Jacks Super 15 set up a showdown with Canes National 15u for a spot in the semifinals.

Top Tier Roos held a 2-0 lead through three innings, when Canes National responded with a run of its own to move the score to 2-1 in the top of the fourth. The Roos hung 11 runs in the bottom half of the inning to complete a run-rule 13-1 victory.

Tri State Arsenal Scout Team 2023 Earns Way Into Championship Monday

A pair of shutouts were the highlight of Tri State Arsenal Scout Team 2023’s day at the WWBA Freshman World Championship.

In its first round matchup against Florida Hurricanes 15u Platinum, the one run Tri State scored in the bottom of the first inning would be all it needed. Tri State ended up tacking on six more runs to win by a score of 7-0.

NCTB Prime hung four runs on Tri State in their second round matchup, but the bats saved Tri State on its way to a 6-4 victory.

An 8-0 beatdown of Team Georgia 2023 has Tri State looking like its ready to claim a tournament title on Monday.

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