Tournaments | Story | 1/20/2020

3 champs reign at West MLK

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: MidSouth Prospects 2020 (Perfect Game)

MidSouth Prospects 2020 outlast NEB National for Upper title

GLENDALE, Ariz. – In a championship game that featured more back-and-forth and hit-and-miss than a tennis match, it finally became time for someone to hold serve. Take a bow at center stage, MidSouth Prospects 2020.

With runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Tyler Ruhl hit a hard groundball to short that ended up being an RBI fielder’s choice, and the MidSouth Prospects 2020 edged the North East Baseball National, 6-5, in the championship game at the Perfect Game WWBA West MLK Upperclass Championship Monday afternoon.

“Their effort was absolutely unbelievable,” MidSouth head coach Andy Menard told PG before he and his players hurriedly left the Camelback Ranch complex to catch their flights home. “It was a makeshift group of guys that are extremely talented but we were really shorthanded. A lot of guys stepped up and I couldn’t be any prouder of them.”

The game was tied at five when the MS Prospects 2020 came to bat in the bottom of the eighth. Walker Williams was hit by a pitch to leadoff the inning and one out later Marcus Brown came through with a single that left runners on first and second. In stepped Ruhl who hit a 1-2 fastball to the left side that was slightly misplayed, and that enabled Williams to sprint home with the winning run.

The No. 5-seeded MidSouth Prospect (6-0-0) scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to open the scoring but No. 6 NEB National (5-1-0) answered with a four-run fifth to take a 4-2 lead. The Prospects 2020 came right back with a single run in the bottom half of the frame and then took a 5-4 lead by pushing across a pair in their half of the sixth.

Never content to go down quietly, NEB tied the game in the top of the seventh. MidSouth had no answer in the bottom half and the game went into an extra frame.

Brown singled twice, drove in a run and scored one and Williams doubled, drove in two and scored the game-winner to lead MidSouth at the plate; Gavin Glasgow added a single and two RBI and Connor Throneberry singled, drove in a run and scored. MidSouth starter Cj Fleeman, a 2021 lefty, threw well out of the gate, working four scoreless, two-hit innings and striking out four without a walk.

Ethan Long paced NEB with a pair of singles and an RBI, Elijah Nunez singled, drove in two and scored one and Dustin Crenshaw singled and drove in a run.

The MidSouth Prospects 2020’s Jaden Woolbright enjoyed an excellent overall weekend, hitting 8-for-18 (.444) with five doubles, a triple, 10 RBI and five runs scored at the plate. He also pitched three shutout, one-hit innings, striking out four and walking one and was named the MV Player.

MV Pitcher honors went to NEB’s Blake Mahmood, a 2020 right-hander and Tulane signee who threw six three-hit shutout innings over two appearances, striking out nine and walking one.

“This was a phenomenal experience,” Menard concluded. “I’d recommend it to anybody.”

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Upperclass champions: MidSouth Prospects 2020

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Upperclass Championship runner-up: North East Baseball

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Upperclass Championship MVP: Jaden Woolbright

CCB Under White romps, wears WMLK Under crown

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Playoff seedings at Perfect Game tournaments can be fickle, with a run given up here or one not scored there having a lot of say in who is No. 1 and who is, oh, let's say, No. 18.

That said, the championship game pairing at the WMLK Underclass Championship was kind of intriguing with the No. 17 CCB Underclass White taking on the No. 19 AZ Desert Cats for all the marbles Monday afternoon at the Camelback Ranch Complex. As it turned out, there’s a heck of a lot of difference between No. 17 and No. 19, at least on this day anyway.

The CCB Underclass White tallied 14 runs on the strength of 16 hits and completely overwhelmed the AZ Desert Cats, 14-5, in a championship game that was ended by run-rule after five innings.

The California-based CCB Underclass finished the four-day tournament with a 6-0-1 mark while the Desert Cats, based just up the Loop 101 in Peoria, wound up 5-1-1.

“This was all-team,” CCB head coach Amador Delgado said of the Underclass White’s championship effort. “We had a few pitchers that weren’t able to make it so guys that haven’t pitched in a couple of years said hey, you know what coach, we’ll grind it out and that’s what they did.”

Pitching had very little to do with this outcome, although three hurlers did limit the Desert Cats to three hits. They also walked eight batters which led to all five of the Cats’ runs. CCB scored a single run in the bottom of the first and then added two runs in each of second, third and fourth innings before putting up a seven-spot in the fifth to end it.

Seven CCB batters had two hits apiece, including doubles from Justin Cavagnaro, Logan Johnstone and Aaron Parker. Cavagnaro used his two hits to drive in three runs and score two while Johnstone also had three RBI with one run scored. Parker had an RBI and scored twice and Zander Darby doubled and drove in a pair.

Cavagnaro, a 2021 right-hander, also threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits while walking two. The Desert Cats’ Michael Blount had one of his team’s three singles and also drove in a run.

Parker, a 2021 catcher, hit .500 for the tournament (12-for-24) and finished with four doubles, five RBI and six runs scored, good enough to earn MV Player honors. The Desert Cats’ 2023 right-hander Charles Heil pitched six scoreless, six-hit innings in two appearances, striking out five and walking two, and was named the MV Pitcher.

“I’ve had them for about two years since they were freshman and now they’re all just grown young men that play for each other,” Delgado said. “I love being a part of this organization because that’s kind of like what we do. … I love these boys because what they did this weekend was unbelievable.”

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass champions: CCB Underclass White

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship runner-up: AZ Desert Cats

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Underclass Championship MVP: Aaron Parker

LVR cruises to WMLK Freshman title

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Teams representing the Las Vegas Recruits’ program have long enjoyed coming down to the west Phoenix suburbs to shake-off the mid-January doldrums, win some ballgames and maybe even take home a title or two. It all came together once again on Monday on the Dodgers’ side of the Camelback Ranch complex.

Nevada-based LVR spread-out 10 hits over five innings, scoring runs in the final three, and strolled past the Washington-based PNW Freshman Navy, 10-0, in the championship game at the Perfect Game WWBA West MLK Freshman Championship.

No. 2-seeded LVR completed a 6-0-0 run through the tournament and won the WMLK Freshman championship for the second time since 2017; the No. 4 PNW Freshman Navy finished 4-1-1.

“The weather’s great here, and they’re excited because this is our last event before we shut down for the high school season,” LVR head coach Shawn West said of his team’s outlook coming into the event. “They get excited and it’s like, I get to play one more tournament with LVR and then I get to go into high school; they’re just feeling good about themselves at this time of year.”

The championship game was scoreless after two innings but LVR pushed across three runs in both the bottom of the third and fourth and ended it by run-rule with two more in the fifth.

Kody Bialas and Lauren Binney each doubled and singled twice, with Bialas driving in three runs and Binney two. Leighton Mercurius delivered two singles and two RBI, and the 2023 right-hander also pitched five, four-hit shutout innings, striking out three and walking one.

LVR 2023 infielder/utility William Scaldeferri reached base and scored a run in the championship game to cap a tournaments in which he finished 6-for-18 (.333) with two doubles, nine RBI and six runs scored; he was named the MV Player.

Carson Ohland rapped a double to highlight PNW Freshman Navy’s offensive output against LVR. PNW Navy 2023 left-hander Paul Wilson, playing in his first PG event, pitched six shutout innings of one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts and three walks over two appearances and was named the MV Pitcher.

West noted that LVR has had the core of this team together for three years now and the coaches have enjoyed watching their collective growth. He recalled how they reached the championship game at last year’s PG WWBA West Memorial Classic only to get drubbed by 3D Gold, 25-0.

“It was a learning experience for them and their whole demeanor and attitude over the last nine or 10 months has just changed,” he said. “They’ve matured and you saw that in their play today. They just play baseball the right way with a lot fun and that’s all it was.”

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman champions: LVR

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship runner-up: PNW Freshman Navy

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship MVP: William Scaldeferri

2020 Perfect Game West MLK Freshman Championship MV-Pitcher: Paul Wilson

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