Tournaments : : Story
Sunday, July 12, 2009

Youth is served at WWBA tournament

Jim Ecker        
MARIETTA, Ga. -- Tucker Simpson and Matthew Crownover respect their elders. That's good, because all of their teammates on the East Cobb Astros are older than these two talented young pitchers.

Simpson and Crownover were freshmen in high school this past year, but that hasn't stopped them from excelling at the WWBA 17U National Championships. Most of the players in this tournament will be entering their senior year in high school this fall. A bunch of others, including 17 of their teammates on the Astros, will be juniors this year. And then there are Simpson and Crownover, the only sophs-to-be on the ballclub.

Youth is being served.

Simpson, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound righthander from Oxford, Ala., tossed a complete game as the Astros topped the Indiana Bulls, 9-1, in the opening round of the 32-team playoffs Saturday night at the East Cobb Complex. Crownover, a 5-10, 180-pound lefthander from Ringgold, Ga., also pitched a complete game as the Astros blanked the Marruci Elite, 8-0, in the Round of 16 to reach the quarterfinals.

Both games were stopped after five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule, but Simpson and Crownover showed no mercy toward their opponents. Simpson pitched a two-hitter and was nicked for an unearned run against Indiana, then Crownover matched him with another two-hitter while tossing the shutout against Marruci.

Both players crave the competition and the opportunity to play against older guys. "It's a great experience," said Crownover. "You want to be pushed when you're playing baseball, and that's obviously what we get here."

Simpson and Crownover both turned 16 in recent months, but Simpson was young enough last year to play against 14-and-under teams. That's scary, considering he's now 6-foot-6 and throws the ball 90 mph, but he's had to adjust this summer against older, more experienced hitters.

"I've had to learn how to actually pitch, not being able to throw it by everybody," said Simpson. "It's been good for me, not being as predictable as I was last year, playing against 14-year-olds."

Crownover was too old to face 14-and-under teams last year. He's been facing older kids for several years, but continues to make adjustments in his game. He's hit 91 on the radar gun, but threw 88 when he pitched earlier in the tournament and sat at 85 and 86 mph on Sunday against Marruci. He was plenty fast enough and did a good job of mixing his pitches.

"It's been a learning curve, knowing you can't just throw the ball down the middle," said Crownover. "You have to hit your spots and trust what he's calling."

Crownover threw just as hard in the fifth inning on Sunday as he did in the first, which apparently is not unusual. "I throw better at the end of the game than I do at the start of the game," he said.

Simpson and Crownover both pitched for their high school varsity teams this past year as freshmen. Simpson had a 6-2 record and helped Oxford High School place second in the Alabama Class 6A state tournament. Crownover also pitched well as a freshman, but his team at Ringgold High School was in a tough regional and did not make the state tournament.

John Magliozzi, a junior-to-be, tossed a one-hitter for the Astros as they defeated the Dirtbags, 12-0, in the quarterfinals on Sunday. The tournament ends today with the semifinals and finals.
Most Viewed Related Articles
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 
Handicapping top Jupiter teams
Extremely talented two-way player Joseph Charles hopes to lead the Central Florida Gators to a championship at the 2017 WWBA ... READ 
Underclass World Day 1 Notes
Jack Washburn, son of former big league lefty Jarrod, enjoyed a strong showing to open the 2017 WWBA Underclass World Champio... READ 
Recent Related Articles
Freshman World on deck
The 5th annual WWBA Freshman World Championship starts on Friday in West Palm Beach, Fla., boasting some of the nation’s top ... READ 
WWBA World keeps rolling on
2017 PG All-American and No. 12-ranked 2018 national prospect Kendall Simmons will lead the East Cobb Yankees into play this ... READ 
Sophomore World All-Tourney
The All-Tournament Team from the 2017 WWBA Sophomore World Championship, held Oct. 13-16 in Fort Myers, Fla., and includes ev... READ 
Ways To Play All-Tournament
The All-Tournament Team from the Ways To Play Powered by MLB & PG event is now available and includes event MVP Anthony Seigl... READ 
Jupiter College Standouts
Clemson outfielder Seth Beer shined on the fields in Jupiter at the 2015 WWBA World Championship just a few months prior to d... READ 
Handicapping top Jupiter teams
Extremely talented two-way player Joseph Charles hopes to lead the Central Florida Gators to a championship at the 2017 WWBA ... 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.