Tournaments | Story | 7/29/2020

5 Star National rules roost at 15U Ws

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: 5 Star National 15U Dobbs (Perfect Game)

5 Star National Dobbs prevails once more in 15U WS  finale

SANFORD, Fla. – The guys who have been slipping on their 5 Star National 15U Dobbs uniforms throughout a 2020 summer season that has been so challenging in so many different ways, came into this week’s Perfect Game 15U World Series with very little left to prove.

But, what the hey, there’s really no fault to be found in going out and hammering your point home.

The 5 Star National 15U completed a 6-0-1 run through a stellar 30-team field with a 9-4 win over the Knights Baseball 15U Platinum in the championship game at the PG 15U World Series, played Wednesday afternoon at the BOOMBAH Sports Complex.

This PG national championship was the fourth of the summer for the 5 Star National 15U Dobbs and followed the same script as the titles they either shared or won outright. That included stops at the PG 15U National Elite Championship, the PG WWBA 15U National Championship and the PG BCS 15U National Championship.

“That’s kind of the cool part about it because these kids know that they have a huge target on their back and they’ve been through a long, grueling, hot summer,” 5 Star National 15U head coach Britt Dobbs said after being doused with a celebratory cooler of ice water which, considering the 90 degree-plus heat, probably felt pretty refreshing. “The fact that they just keep stepping up day after day after day, it’s just remarkable.”

And they certainly stepped up in championship fashion on Wednesday after earning the Gold Bracket playoffs’ No. 3 seed. The Warner Robins, Ga.-based 5 Star Nationals got past No. 6 Eagles Baseball, 2-0, in the quarterfinals and then tripped-up the No. 10 Florida Burn 2023 National, 3-1, in the semis.

That set-up the championship game matchup with the No. 4 Nashville, Tenn.-based Knights 15U Platinum (5-2-1), who had also won twice on Wednesday. The 5 Stars looked to have this one in the bag early by jumping to an 8-0 lead after four but the Knights made things a little uncomfortable with a four-run fifth to get right back into it.

5 Star National got on the board in the bottom of the first when Brady Neal stroked a lead-off double, moved to third on a groundout and then scored when Cam Collier delivered a sacrifice fly. It added another single run in the second when James Hays led-off with a double, and after a walk and hit-by-pitch, scored on a balk.

The National 15U Dobbs really got it rolling with a six-run fourth when Hays again led-off with a double that sparked an offensive avalanche. Cooper McMullen followed with an RBI single, Ethan Robinson answered with a single of his own and Connor Crisp drove in Hays with a fielder’s choice groundout.

After a couple more walks, Stone Russell belted a two-run, ground-rule double, Collier singled and Riley Jackson pushed Russell across with a fielder’s choice groundout of his own. 5 Star added another run in the bottom of the fifth, needing nothing more than five walks.

Hays, a 2023 right-hander/corner-infielder and a Georgia commit ranked No. 44 overall nationally in his class, held the Knights 15U Platinum in check over the first four innings until he just couldn’t any longer.

The Knights, on the verge of losing the game 8-0 by a five inning run-rule, scored four runs in the top of the fifth thanks to back-to-back-to-back doubles from Walter Ford, Tanner Lane and Stone Lawless to start the frame. They added a couple of more thanks to walks and a fielding error but it wasn’t enough.

5 Star’s Stone Russell, a 2023 shortstop/third baseman and a Florida commit ranked No. 37 overall nationally, was named the Most Valuable Player after hitting 9-for-24 (.375) with two doubles, seven RBI and seven runs scored.

The Knights’ Jack Brafa, a 2023 righthander/infielder, earned MV Pitcher honors after throwing 8 2/3 innings over two appearances without allowing a run and only one hit, and striking out 11 without issuing a walk.

“Really, the simple way to put it is that they come to the field every day expecting to win,” Dobbs said of this very special team that he oversees. “They understand the level of competition and how good these teams are but they just believe in themselves and believe that if they grind and go 1,000 miles-an-hour through seven innings they’re going to come out on top.”

The 5 Star National 15U Dobbs championship here Wednesday was truly historic. They went 6-0-1 while sharing the championship with the Top Tier Roos American at the PG 15U National Elite Championship in Hoover, Ala., in June, and the tie and co-championship were brought about because the championship game was washed-out by rain.

They went 10-0-0 while taking home the title at the PG WWBA 15U National Championship in Marietta, Ga., and 9-0-0 while winning the PG BCS 15U National Championship in Fort Myers, Fla., both held earlier this month.

In fact, this 5 Star National Dobbs team has not lost a game at a PG tournament since it dropped a 5-0 decision to the Top Tier Roos American 2023 in the championship game at the 2019 PG WWBA Freshman World Series. Put another way, this group is unbeaten at major PG tournaments in the 2020 calendar year, compiling a record of 32-0-2.

“It’s super hard to put into words,” Dobbs said of the things this team has accomplished. “To think that we won the Hoover Elite and then we won the BCS and won the WWBA and now won this, it’s hard to wrap your head around the whole thing, it really is. These kids have just been tremendous and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

EC Astros Texas Orange, US Elite National co-champs at 16U WS

SANFORD, Fla. – In what was shaping up to be a rollicking affair in the championship game at the PG 16U World Series late afternoon on Wednesday was never allowed to reach a rollicking conclusion thanks to yet another intervention from Mother Nature.

The No. 3-seeded US Elite 16U National and the No. 4 East Cobb Astros 16U Texas Orange were declared co-champions after first lightning and then a heavy rain brought play to a halt in the top of the fourth inning with East Cobb holding a 10-5 lead. PG officials waited nearly 3 hours before declaring the game a 0-0 tie and declaring co-champions at the prestigious 30-team PG national championship tournament.

The US Elite 16U Nationals officially finish with a 6-0-2 record while the East Cobb Astros 16U Texas Orange finished 6-1-1.

Astros 16U Texas Orange 2021 outfielder Thaddeus Ector, a newly minted 2020 PG All-American and a South Carolina commit ranked No. 51 overall in his class, was named the Most Valuable Player; Ector went 11-for-25 (.440) with six singles, four doubles, a triple, five walks (.531 OBP), eight RBI and nine runs scored.

Jackson Gaspard, the Astros’ 2022 righthander/catcher/infielder was named the MV Pitcher after throwing 9 2/3 innings over two appearances without giving up a run and allowing five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

The Astros Texas Orange won their pool with a 4-1-0 mark and outscored their opponents 37-7 to earn the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. They beat Slammers Holzemer 3-1 in Wednesday morning’s quarterfinals behind a complete game four-hit, five-strikeout outing from 2022 lefty Cade Fisher; Lleyton Lackey tripled and drove in two runs.

They absolutely throttled the No. 1-seeded Dulins Dodgers-McGarrh, 13-5, in the semifinals with Charlie Jones hitting a home run and single and driving in four runs while scoring three. Dylan Cupp went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, Ector doubled, singled and drove in two and Benjamin Hamacher had a pair of singles and a pair of RBI.

The US Elite National went through pool-play at 4-0-1, a run that included impressive wins over the Canes National 16U and the Top Tier Roos 2022 American.

They escaped the Tri State Arsenal 2022 Scout Team, 2-1, in the quarterfinals behind a 5 2/3 inning, four-hit, shutout performance from 2022 lefty Chase Horst; Mason Morris singled twice and drove in a run.

The Elite Nationals went up against the powerhouse 5 Star National 16u Burress in the semis and prevailed 3-2 in eight innings. Cohl Mercado hit a one-out single in the top of the eighth to get things going and eventually scored what proved to be the game-winner when Sabien Rivera delivered a two-out, RBI single.

2021 righthander Logan Musey and Mercado, a 2022 lefty, combined on a six-hitter with Musey throwing the first five innings.

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