Tournaments | Story | 6/15/2021

Dust Settles on Battle of the Southeast

Matthew Arietta        
Photo: East Cobb Astros 17u (Perfect Game)
MARIETTA, Ga. -- The 17u East Cobb Astros took home the 2021 Battle of the Southeast Championship this weekend after a back-and-forth contest against Hawaii Elite, with the game stuck at 2-2 when Hawaii Elite had to pack up the dugout and head to the airport to catch their flight home.
“[The win] felt great,” said shortstop Termarr Johnson, who is currently uncommitted. “Our team was kind of tired, you know because we’ve been playing a lot of baseball, but I’m glad that we could still pull it out, and still do it through adversity.”
Offense in this game was sparse, and runs were at a premium in a match-up that produced only five total hits. 
Shaydan Lovediro started and pitched the entirety of the game for Hawaii Elite, allowing two earned runs, two hits, and two strikeouts over five innings of work. Lovediro worked efficiently, only throwing 71 pitches while on the mound.
Scoring in the game began in the bottom of the first inning, when Hawaii Elite pushed across two runs against East Cobb’s starter Sullivan Brackin. Keoni Painter began the half inning with a walk and scored on a double by Kodey Shojinaga. Levi Maddela’s subsequent double plated Shojinaga and gave Elite a two-run lead heading to the second. 
East Cobb turned the ball over to Dylan Lesko in the second inning, who was tasked with holding the opposition after Elite’s early-inning outburst. Lesko, the second-highest ranked player in the 2022 class, did just that. 
“I was on a pitch limit, so we had our starter, and planned for him to go a little longer, but it didn’t work out that way, so it was just my job to keep the team close in the game,” Lesko said. “And [my defense] was making the plays behind me, when we needed to bring it home.”
Through three scoreless innings, Lesko struck out five batters, and allowed only two baserunners, both of which reached on walks. Lesko’s fastball topped at 96 mph and set up an 82 mph breaking ball, in a combination that kept an otherwise aggressive Hawaii Elite offense off-balance. 
The Astros responded in the top of the third inning after cashing in two consecutive walks issued by Lovediro. The Elite starter battled back to set down the next two Astros in order, but Johnson singled home two runs on a single to right field. Johnson, the fourth-ranked player in his class, had registered two home runs in the earlier games of the tournament. 
“I was trying to think ‘left center,’ even though usually I think ‘back up the middle’, but he was throwing a little slower, so I had to try and stay on it a little bit more,” Johnson said. “I was trying to stay on the baseball to just help my team win.”
The game remained scoreless for the following two innings, and Lesko was ultimately relieved for the Astros, giving way to Ryder Moye, who worked another scoreless frame. 
The fifth inning ending was somewhat of an unjust finish to a weekend of baseball that provided some of the nation’s top teams with exciting on-field opportunities. The tournament saw both finalists post a 5-0-1 record, and regardless of the ending, both teams will take the game as momentum for the rest of their season.
“This is the start of something big,” Johnson said. “We just want to keep winning and just be the same team that we are regardless of whether we win or lose.”
Lesko, like his teammate, is hopeful of what lies in store for the Astros later this year, and thinks they have the ability to deliver a remarkable summer.
“I just want us to consistently keep growing, see the ball well at the plate, keep playing well, and win games like we are supposed to be doing,” Lesko said.

Hawaii Elite's Painter was named the MVP of the 17u division, hitting .500 for the tournament, with nine runs scored and six RBI. He also tossed four innings on the mound, not giving up a run and striking out six.

East Cobb's Cade Fisher was named MV-Pitcher for his performance against TG D-Backs 17u National, where he tossed six scoreless innings, striking out eight, giving up just two hits and zero walks.

2021 Perfect Game 18u Battle of the Southeast

The East Cobb Astros came from behind to beat Nelson Baseball, 5-3, in their bracket in the Battle of the Southeast, scoring two deciding runs in the top of the sixth inning. 
James (Jay) Dill started for the Astros and struck out four batter sin 4 2/3 innings, while allowing only one run and three walks. Dill consistently worked off a fastball that topped at 91 mph, complemented by a 77 mph breaking ball.
Michael Braswell relieved and went 2 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and four strikeouts in the final innings of the game. 
Bryce Knox went 2-for-4 in the game with two runs scored, Andrew Yu went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Dallas Deas went 1-for-3 in the tournament’s penultimate contest.

Nelson Baseball's David Bishop was the tournament's MVP, as he hit .714 (10-for-14) with a home run, five doubles, eight runs, and nine runs scored.

The MV-Pitcher was Jackson Brockett, who tossed eight innings over two outings for East Cobb, not allowing a single earned run and striking out 11, while only allowing two hits.

2021 Perfect Game 16u Battle of the Southeast

The 16u East Cobb Astros Colt .45s won in a thrilling eight inning walk-off win in their championship this weekend, edging the 16u TG D-Backs, 10-9.
Crispin Brockington singled home the winning run on his fourth hit of the day, which included two doubles and two RBI. Brockington is hitting .429 through his last seven games, and is listed on the ‘high follow’ list in the national rankings. 
Pedro Luciano started for the .45s and allowed seven hits and one walk through five innings, while striking out three. 
Another offensive standout was Davis Newman, who had a 3-for-4 game along with three runs driven in. Newman is also on the ‘high follow’ list for his graduating class.

2021 Perfect Game 15u Battle of the Southeast

Georgia Academy Power cruised to a 11-1 victory over the Georgia Bombers in the 15u bracket, with all 11 runs coming in the bottom of the third inning after responding to a one-run second from the Bombers.
Kody Clancy earned the win for his team, allowing three hits through five innings. Clancy also shined in the batter’s box, going 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. His fastball touched 85 mph in his championship effort.
Terrence Kiel also went 1-for-2 with a double and one run scored in the crooked third inning.

Clancy was given MVP honors for Georgia Academy for his do-everything weekend. He hit .368 with a home run, six runs, 14 RBI, and seven stolen bases in total, along with his work on the mound in the championship game.

Jack Young was the MV-Pitcher, having tossed seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts against Bullpen Redstitch 108 15u.

2021 Perfect Game 14u Battle of the Southeast

Sox Baseball 14u put together an eight-run championship effort to put away East Cobb Astros 14u Navy, 8-2, and claim a title at the 14u Battle of the Southeast.

Andrew Huffstetler and Lucas Martin combined to go seven innings for the Sox, each allowing one earned run. Huffstetler didn't allow a single hit in his three innings of work, and also contributed two RBI at the plate in the title game.

Ethan Garrett and Brady Bowman both doubled and drove in a run in the championship game, as well. Bowman was given MVP honors, as he hit .500 with a home run, and pair of doubles and triples, and eight RBI.

Matt Dill, pitching for East Cobb, was named the MV-Pitcher of the event. Over two appearances, Dill threw seven innings and struck out 10, allowing only one hit.

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