Tournaments | Championship | 6/30/2020

Canes National Claim Title in Hoover

Colton Olinger        
Photo: Canes National 17u (Perfect Game)
"Elite" is defined as “a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities”. By the very definition East Cobb Astros 17U and Canes National 17U are every bit of the word elite. With a combined 44 division 1 commits on their rosters and finishing last year ranked third and fourth respectively in Perfect Game’s travel ball rankings, it is no surprise that these two found their way to the second ever 17U National Elite Championship, championship game.

East Cobb made it to the championship game by virtue of a 6-1 victory over a talented Thrive Baseball. East Cobb starter Austin Wainer, a Bryant University commit, was lights out going 6 1/3 innings allowing no runs, while scattering five hits, and striking out seven. Kaelen Culpepper, a Kansas State commit, came in to close the game out recording the final two outs and running his fastball up to 89 mph. Offensively a balanced Astros lineup put 10 hits on the board and took advantage of some free bases. Harry Ford a Georgia Tech commit had two of those hits one of which went for a triple to right field. Ford finished the game 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Canes National squared off with Dulin Dodgers in their semi-final game that saw Dulin jump out to an early 3-0 lead with base hits from four of the top seven hitters in their lineup. Canes National would answer with two runs of their own courtesy of a two-run home run off the bat of Cody Schrier, the tournament MVP and UCLA commit. Canes starter Karl Hartman, a Florida commit, would then settle in giving up no runs in his last two innings of work. The Canes offense took advantage of the zero’s Hartman put up as they would proceed to score in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings to put up ten runs total. Cody Schrier finished game one with three hits, eight total bases and five RBI including a triple to left center field. The Canes offense also saw big games from Reece Holbrook out of the lead off spot going 2-3 and Cole Messina a South Carolina commit who went 2-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. After Carson McKinney went three-and-third innings Canes turned the ball over to young 2022 uncommitted left hander Trey Wheeler who threw nothing but strikes recording the last two outs on just four pitches.

In the championship game Canes National would give the ball right back to Trey Wheeler rolling him over from his relief appearance in the semi-finals. Wheeler picked up right where he left off in the semis pounding the zone going five innings, allowing two runs, on three hits, and striking out seven. Offensively the Canes lineup was firing on all cylinders as all nine hitters recorded a hit. Reece Holbrook, a North Carolina commit, continued to set the table at the top of the lineup going 2 for 3 and driving in three runs, bring his daily totals to 4 for 6 with three RBI and two runs scored. The Canes would take advantage of some walks and put together some timely hitting to put up five runs in the fifth inning to push their lead to 7-0. Kade Grundy was then called upon to get the final six out of the game. The Louisville commit ran his fastball up to 90 mph and closed the book on the Canes National 17U National Elite Championship title. 

MVPitcher Christian Okerholm, a Georgia Tech commit, went six total innings at the tournament registering 13 strikeouts and giving up no runs with a WHIP of .67. He ran his fastball up to 89 mph and pounded the zone in both of his appearances showing command to both sides of the plate. 
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