Tournaments : : Story
Thursday, July 09, 2009

Watching the WWBA: You've got to love it

Jim Ecker        
MARIETTA, Ga. -- If you've ever run a baseball tournament with 16 teams, you know what a logistical nightmare it can be with fields, umpires, teams, rosters, concessions, gatekeepers, cleanup crews and unruly weather. Now imagine trying it with 192 teams.

That's how many teams are currently playing in the World Wood Bat Association 17U National Championships in Georgia, a massive event that began on Tuesday and will continue through Monday with the fianls. This comes on the heels of the 192 teams that entered the 18U National Championships here from June 30 through July 6, and it precedes the 174 clubs that are expected for the 16U tournament on July 14-20.

All told, Perfect Game USA anticipated having nearly 700 teams and approximately 10,000 players in the five age groups in the WWBA this year over a busy six-week period from June 18 through July 26, with competition in 14U, 15U, 16U, 17U and 18U.

It's mind-boggling.

The 17U tournament is being played at 25 fields in Georgia, with locations in Marietta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Smyrna, Canton, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Austell and Atlanta. The hub is the impressive East Cobb Baseball Complex in Marietta, with its three regulation diamonds that feature 15 games per day. There are a total of eight fields at the East Cobb Complex, including five fields for younger players, making East Cobb the envy of many.

It's hard to know exactly how many college coaches and pro scouts are attending the 17U tournament this week, because not everybody signs in, but there probably are more than 500 in attendance. Most of the top college programs in the country have people here, but so do a whole bunch of D-2, D-3, NAIA and junior college teams. Everybody is looking for players, and there are lots of good ones here -- along with many great ones. The Savannah College of Art and Design is here, along with Ivy League schools, the Air Force Academy and Army.

They could play a mini-Aflac All-American game in Georgia this week with all the Aflac stars in the tournament, but they aren't the only superior players. There are players from 37 states in the tournament, including an entire team from Hawaii, along with players from Canada, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

Last week at the 18U tournament, a pitcher named Dalton Acord had an impressive outing and was immediately signed to a pro contract by the Atlanta Braves. He's now practicing with the Braves' Rookie League team in the Gulf Coast League and expects to make his pro debut next week. One day, he's playing in an amateur 18U tournament. The next day, he's a professional baseball player.

If you're wondering about the logistics of a 192-team tournament, here's how it works: There are 32 pools with six teams apiece, and everybody plays five pool games with one game apiece on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The 32 pool champs will advance to the championship round on Saturday night, and there will be 16 teams in the picture when everyone wakes up Sunday. They'll play the Round of 16 and the quarterfinals on Sunday, followed by the semifinals and finals on Monday. The two teams that reach the championship game on Monday will have played 10 games in seven days, which puts a premium on a deep and talented pitching staff.

It's a lot of baseball, but it's more than that. The East Cobb Complex features an array of vendors with bats, caps, gloves, jerseys, T-shirts and many other baseball products for sale. There was even a jewelry stand today, featuring objects with a baseball theme.

You've got to love it.
Most Viewed Related Articles
Weather Update - Jupiter
Update for playing conditions at the WWBA World Championship. READ 
World Championship Pool Preview
Pool-by-pool the teams, and talent, of the 2017 WWBA World Championship are previewed, as Will Banfield will look to emerge a... READ 
2017 Underclass World Bracket
Bracket READ 
WWBA World Championship Bracket
Bracket READ 
Recent Related Articles
2018 Tournament Schedule
Click here to view the PG tournament schedule for the 2018 season, starting with the MLK events in January and continuing thr... READ 
13u Fall World Series All-Tourney
The All-Tournament Team for the 2017 PG 13u Fall World Series, held November 4-5 in Emerson, Ga., is now available and includ... READ 
14u Fall World Series All-Tourney
The All-Tournament Team from the 2017 PG 14u Fall World Series, held November 3-5 in Emerson, Georgia, is now available. READ 
Fall World Series titles claimed
Elite Squad Prime 2022 (p) and the Kangaroo Court Roos claimed the championships at the inaugural 14u and 13u PG Fall World S... READ 
2017 PG tournament recap
PG All-American Xavier Edwards was named the MVP after helping the Canes 17u capture the title at the 17u PG WWBA National Ch... READ 
13U Fall World Series Bracket
Bracket READ 

About Perfect Game :: Contact us :: Terms of Use :: Privacy Policy :: Site Map :: Testimonials
Copyright 1994-2017 by Perfect Game. All rights reserved. No portion of this information may be reprinted or reproduced without the written consent of Perfect Game.