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Tournaments | Story | 12/21/2020

2020 Year in Review: PG Events

Drew Wesolowski        
Photo: GBG (Perfect Game)
In a year that started with such uncertainties, Perfect Game unexpectedly saw some of the best baseball we have ever seen in the last 25 years. The game seemed to be replenished with that nostalgic feeling of just being able to get out of the house and play again. In some ways, the novel virus helped put things into perspective and made us all realize that baseball is a privilege. Nothing is guaranteed in this lifetime and that very life lesson propelled baseball in the biggest way this year.

Although some parts of the country got a head start on others in the summer, we saw incredible moments happen throughout the year. Almost all were stripped of a high school season and many used that time to grind to really produce in the summer. Noted work was on full display as we saw record-high fastballs, young talent proving to be the new wave of youth baseball, and a West Coast organization take home the most coveted trophy in all of prep baseball.

Another solid High School Showdown

Just before the virus shut down the entire world, the top high school teams around the southeast all met in Hoover, Alabama for the eighth annual High School Showdown. Although we see plenty of super teams in the summer who hail from all around the country, this event is more of a hometown pride type of deal and it was great to watch the nation’s best compete for bragging rights.

Many made big statements, including Brady House, who hit .625 in 17 plate appearances while tallying a triple and home run to his name. The Winder-Barrow team member helped propel his team to bracket play and further proved his status as one of the top prospects in the entire country.

DeSoto Central, who knocked out Winder-Barrow in bracket play, has recently become a powerhouse with big names coming out of the area. They went on to win their bracket as they were led by Mississippi State commit Brock Tapper. The left-hander tallied nine punchouts and walked just two in 7 1/3 innings as he picked up a couple of wins. Blaze Jordan also made a huge statement as he belted three extra-base knocks, including a home run. In 16 plate appearances, he hit .462 with an OPS of 1.639. He later went on to be drafted by the Red Sox in the third round, further proving how strong the event was this year.

In other brackets, big name schools like Loganville High School & IMG battled it out in what lived up to the hype in a clash of giants.

Heston Tole, an Arkansas commit, was absolutely dominant on the mound for IMG, as he ran the fastball up to 90 mph while punching out 11 while throwing a no-hit complete game shutout. IMG was led offensively by Virginia commit Jake Gelof. The big right-handed bat hit .571 with three doubles to his name. He also had one of the best OBPs of the week with an astounding percentage of .769.

Loganville ended up beating IMG in bracket play. Walters State commit Brocker Way swung a hot stick during the event, as he boasted an average of .571 and an OPS of 1.299. A young name in Riley Cruce also made a statement on the bump as the left-hander carved up opposing bats. Cruce struck out six in 5 innings as he proved to have big time upside going forward.

In the last bracket, the Buford Wolves took on the Mountain Brook Spartans, as the Spartans snuck by the Wolves by just one run, which is all it took to win it. The Buford Wolves claim one of the best prep arms in Dylan Lesko and is a once-in-a-decade type talent. The right-hander ran the fastball up to 94 mph with ease while striking out 10 and not giving up a single hit in a complete game shutout.

Mountain Brook, which is local to the Hoover area, took home the hardware and couldn’t have been prouder to do so as the talent pool was immense. The Spartans saw one of the biggest performances in school history as Porter Phelan threw an absolute gem. He ran the fastball up to 86 mph while striking out seven and giving up just two hits in a complete game shutout of his own.

The High School Showdown, year in and year out proves to be one of the best, if not the best, early high school season tournaments of the year and we look forward to seeing what next year brings. For all the stats, content, and top performers, you can find that here.


WWBA Nat’l Championships take over Atlanta for 4 weeks straight once again

With so much uncertainty in the spring, it was a breath of fresh air entering the summer knowing that the WWBA National Championships would go on. As always, the competition was nothing short of elite as we crowned four new champions.

In the 18u bracket, VBA took on 643 DP Cougars in what was an exciting matchup between two well-coached teams. Of the two rosters combined, they boasted nearly 50 college commits.

VBA was led offensively by Alabama commit Dylan Ray, who sported an easy .444 batting average on the weekend while knocking in three runs with a couple of doubles as well. Wallace State commit Jayce Guyette also played a big role as he threw 5 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in the championship game while racking up three punchouts as VBA took home the hardware.

We also saw big time arms on the bump as Tennessee commit Blade Tidwell ran it up to 98 mph for the best fastball velo of the event. On the opposite side of the ball, Liam Pollock had a week to remember at the dish as the Oakland commit boasted 12 hits while knocking in six runs and scoring eight himself.

You can find more information on the 18u tournament, including stats and top performers, here.

In the 17u bracket, we had the talk of the summer as Florida commit Chase Petty accomplished something very few can ever say they have. With dozens of scouts in attendance, Petty ran the fastball up to 100 mph on the radar gun and had the baseball world buzzing. We didn’t see a fastball under 94 mph as he threw 4 innings while striking out seven and walking none. He later would go on to be announced as a PG All-American and pitched in Oklahoma City.

In the championship game, we had an unlikely meeting of Canes American taking on a very strong East Coast Sox club. It was a high-scoring affair that ended with fireworks with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh, as Canes American took home their first WWBA National Championship title.

Canes American was led offensively by Bryan Arendt and Lonnie White as they both batted over .400 while knocking in a combined 12 runs on the week. On the bump they had College of Charleston commit Daniel Brooks put in a huge performances as he went 6 combined innings and tallied 12 strikeouts while giving up just three hits. He also ran the fastball up to 93 mph and didn’t drop below 90 mph.

For further information on one of the most exciting 17u WWBA National Championships of all time, click here.

In the 16u bracket, we had another clash of titans as Canes National took on Dirtbags Tap Out in what was a battle between two coastal region squads. Between the two rosters, there were 43 D-1 commits.

Canes National title run was led offensively on the week by Duke commit Cole Young, as he knocked in six runs on 12 hits including a home run. He hit .462 on the week as he cemented himself as one of the top bats in the event. On the hill, they had standout performances by Matthew Matthijs, who threw 6 innings of scoreless baseball while striking out five and ran the fastball up to 89 mph. Power arm Kyle Larsen also took the mound and ran the fastball up to 91 mph while tallying five punch outs in 3 innings.

Dirtbags Tap Out is right around the corner from a championship of their own, as they fell just short. They had big weeks from UNC commit Austin Hawke and Duke commit Tyler Albright as they both averaged over .400 with a combined 30 hits on the week. They also rolled out some big arms in UNC commit Kerry Herndon-Brown and ECU commit Cade Miller as both ran it up into the upper-80s and accounted for 15 strikeouts combined.

For further information on the 16u event and some of the best upcoming young prep prospects, you can find it here.

In the young 15u bracket, we finally got to see some of the prospects we have all been hearing about around the country. We had a West Coast squad in BPA squaring up against the young juggernaut in 5 Star National Dobbs. Although BPA fell just short and 5 Star took home the hardware, we got a really good look at the next incoming talent pool and it was mighty impressive.

BPA had big-time performances offensively by the uncommitted Walker Sanders as he hit a staggering .417 in 30 plate appearances. He racked up 10 base knocks and knocked in nine RBI while scoring 10 runs himself. On the mound, Ole Miss commit Cooper Pratt handled the opposing bats as he threw 11 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He punched out eight and was dominant on the mound.

Although BPA put up one hell of a fight, 5 Star Dobbs was just too strong as they cruised into another Championship. Louisville commit Cam Collier led the team offensively, as the big left-handed bat punished baseballs. He had a dozen hits on the week and averaged over .570 while knocking in eight runs and belting a home run as well. On the mound, the uncommitted Kaleb Johnson threw a combined 7 2/3 innings as he struck out seven and only gave up a single hit. Recent Georgia commit Ryker Chavis also had a stellar week as he threw 11 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball while striking out 18 and walking none.

The 5 Star Dobbs squad had a year to remember as they won a National Championship and had a closing record of 44-2-3. For more information on the 15u event, click here.

West Coast GBG takes home WWBA Worlds trophy & a two-time MVP make headlines

The WWBA World Championships, known more commonly as “Jupiter” in the baseball world, were held for the first time in Fort Myers in over a decade. Not only were we in another city, we also had a West Coast team take home the title for the first time since 2013, when another California team won it.

GBG wasn’t necessarily an underdog but more of a squad that was overlooked. They played with a gritty-type passion that was appreciated by baseball enthusiasts around the country. No matter the opposition, they showed up ready to play. With some timely hitting, stellar defense, and dominant pitching, they claimed the most coveted trophy in all of prep baseball.

GBG was led by Air Force commit Aaron Reyes, as he sported a .471 batting average in 20 plate appearances. He went on to knock in four runs and score four runs himself. They were also led by Vanderbilt commit Davis Diaz as the big right-handed bat tallied seven hits on the weekend including three doubles and home run. He knocked in six RBI and hit .444 on the week. They also had two more bats hit over .400 on the week - Carson Williams, who is a Cal commit and UCLA commit Owen Egan.

On the bump they had stellar performances by fellow Cal commit Ian May, who threw 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball while striking out six and gave up just two hits. Texas Tech commit Jack Snyder was also a big piece of the puzzle, as he accounted for 4 1/3 innings and only gave up two hits himself, shutting down one of the best offensive lineups in the country. Yavapai college commit Cayden Collins also played a big role as he threw a combined 4 innings and struck out two while not giving up a run.

The WWBA World Championship is consistently one the strongest events of the entire year for prep baseball. We see top prep draft picks and big-time college commits come down to Florida every year to battle it out. Just this year alone, we had over 350 guys throw 90-plus mph. The sheer number itself is a true testament to where the game is going and that WWBA Worlds is the event that guys want to perform the best at every year.

You can find more content & stats from the WWBA World Championships here.

An unlikely story unfolded in the younger divisions as the Top Tier Roos American 2023 took home the title in the Sophomore World Championship and made it all the way to the semifinals of the Underclass World Championship. Even more impressive was Steven Milam, who ended up taking home the MVP in both divisions. The feat itself may never happen again as Milam helped propel his Top Tier Roos team to a dominant two-week run.

Milam averaged a .524 batting average in the two events combined as he tallied 17 singles, six doubles, and a home run over 34 at-bats. He scored 26 runs himself as he led his Top Tier squad to one of the most impressive runs in recent WWBA Worlds history.

The Roos steamrolled the competition in the Sophomore World Championship as they went a perfect 8-0. They were led offensively by uncommitted Wesley Mendes and Florida commit Cade Kurland as they both batted over .500 on the week. Of course, Milam was a huge piece of that puzzle as well. Top Tier also had standout performances by Miami commit Kodi Deskins as he threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball while punching out 10. Uncommitted Tommy Haggerty also had a stellar week as he accounted for 4 1/3 innings while striking out five and picking up a win for his ball club.

Top Tier Roos were the top team in the event and they further proved that by almost winning the Underclass World Championship the following week against older competition, as they just fell short in the semis.

The WWBA Underclass World Championship was plagued by some bad weather, but make no mistake, the competition was elite. For the first time in tournament history, we crowned two World Champions on the final day as players needed to catch flights to make it home for school the following day.

Texas Twelve Maroon & Canes American ended up splitting the hardware as they both deserved to be crowned champions.

Canes American had a standout week by UNC-Greensboro commit Blain Simonich, as he boasted a .438 batting average while knocking in three runs and stealing four bags. Uncommitted Brad Gregory also swung a hot stick as he accounted for three RBI and hit a solid .400 on the week.

On the bump, uncommitted Jack Smith out of California was dominant as he struck out four and only gave up two hits in 7 innings of work. Maryland commit Zach Stichweh also had a huge impact as he threw 5 innings of scoreless ball.

Texas Twelve Maroon's championship run was shocking to watch unfold as they grinded out runs and got some timely pitching from position players when the bullpen ran thin. Let it be known that they beat Top Tier Roos 2023 in the semifinals, who won the Sophomore, with eight players on the roster.

Texas Twelve Maroon was led offensively by TCU commit Nolan Traeger, as he tallied two doubles and had a batting average of .500. They also had help from uncommitted Marshall Hale as he hit .364 on the week and knocked in six runs. As mentioned before, they had position players contribute on the bump as Ronald Benavidez threw 7 innings of shutout baseball while striking out five and giving up just two hits. Right-hander Jax Traeger was dominant on the hill as he ran the fastball up to 91 mph while striking out 12 in 6 2/3 innings.

Texas Twelve Maroon refused to back down and played with a chip on their shoulder as it battled out its first Underclass World Championship in program history.

For more info on the historic Texas Twelve run and a shared Championship with Canes American, you can click here.

Inaugural 12u PG Select Festival hosted at the beautiful newly renovated East Cobb

The first-ever 12u PG Select Festival took place this year at the newly-turfed East Cobb Complex, as the top 12-year-old prospects from around the country took the field and raised money for a good cause.

Not only did we have a weekend of fun with great baseball being played, we raised $41,882 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta & America’s underserved communities. Some of the Top Fundraisers were Carson Quillen out of Tennessee, Justice Dejong out of New York, and Ethan Trahan from Arizona.

The game itself and the surrounding events on the field exceeded expectations, and you can find coverage of the game here.

We look forward to the 2021 12u Select Festival game, as we'll come together again to raise money for those in need while at the same time identifying some of the top talent in the 12u pool.

Individual Rankings & Organization Rankings

As the year comes to an end, we have updated rankings both on an individual level and organization-wise. With all of the baseball being played, we have ranked them accordingly over the events of this year.

You can find the updated individual class rankings here.

You can find organization rankings both on a national and regional level here.

As always, thank you for playing Perfect Game and we look forward to seeing you all next year!

 

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