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Tournaments | Championship | 7/3/2020

Knights Crowned 14U National Elite Champs

Colton Olinger        
Photo: Louisiana Knights (Perfect Game)
The Elite just keep on coming. After seeing what the 2021 high school draft class had to offer in the 17U National Elite Championships last week, it was time to see what next year’s incoming high school freshman had to offer this week. The 14U National Elite Championships kicked off Monday afternoon as the 17U National Elite Championships finished up in the Hoover MET Stadium that morning. All 35 teams came to battle against some of the best competition at their age group. In the end it was Easley Baseball Club 14U Mungle and Louisiana Knights 14 Black that survived the gauntlet and made it to the championship game. 

Easley Baseball Club 14U Mungle made their way to the championship after defeating a stout East Coast Sox Founders Club team. Easley was led by tournament MV Pitcher Cayden Baker who gave his club five innings of scoreless baseball while striking out five and allowing just two hits. Baker ran his fastball up to 84 mph while mixing in a breaking ball in the mid 60’s. The Easley bats wasted no time getting going. In the first inning lead-off hitter Easton Fesmire roped a single back up the middle on the second pitch he saw and would later come around to score on an Ethan Barnes ground out. Easley would add on another in the first as Tyler Sullivan drove in Reid Kent who walked earlier in the inning with a single to left field making it 2-0. After Cayden Baker’s five innings Easley turned the ball over to Tyler Sullivan who gave his team one and one-third innings before Reid Kent came on to finish the deal and secure Easley’s spot in the championship game with a 3-1 victory. 

Similar to the first semi-final game the Louisiana Knights got a stellar performance out of their starting pitcher Jordan Luna. Luna went four and two-thirds innings allowing no runs, on four hits, while striking out four, and running his fastball up to 84 mph. After Luna’s work was done the Knights handed the ball to John Pearson who made quick work of his two and one-third innings. Pearson touched 85 mph with his fastball while showing a breaking ball with tight spin and good depth as he allowed no runs, on no hits, and struck out five. Offensively Ethan Surowiec continued what he had done all tournament. Hitting out of the third spot in the Knights line-up Surowiec, the tournament MVP, finished the tournament hitting .647 with 11 hits, three of which went for extra bases. In the top of the third inning Surowiec would drive in a run with a single stretching the Knight lead to 2-0. They had taken a 1-0 lead in the first on a Walter Hawsey double deep down the left field line. Those two runs proved to be enough as the Knights would advance to the championship with a 2-0 lead over 5 Star National 14U Gold. 

In the Championship game the potent Louisiana Knight 14 Black line-up that had scored 39 runs in six games prior came on strong. Heading into the finals the Knights were averaging just over eight runs a game with a team batting average of .396. Those numbers would soon be increased by the show they put on from the plate. Led by multi-hit games from right-fielder Dylan Bell, left-fielder John Pearson, and catcher Zachary White the Knights would score in each inning to total 10 runs and hit .400 as a team with 12 knocks. On the mound Wilton Taylor looked as fresh as ever coming off his short relief appearance from day two of the tournament. Taylor gave his club six strong innings of work with a fastball that reached 85 mph and created weak contact for his fielders behind him to make plays. In the fifth inning Easley Baseball Club 14U Mungle would attempt to mount a comeback as they loaded the bases and pushed two runs across. The first run scored on a Bennett Stutts single, and the second would be driven in by Easton Fesmire on a fielder’s choice. Wilton Taylor would work his way out of the jam limiting the damage to two runs before going back out for the sixth inning. In the sixth Taylor would retire Easley in order putting a cap on the Louisiana Knight 14 Black 14U National Elite Championships championship.
 

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