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Tournaments | Story | 7/23/2021

Top Gun Is Tops at 15u WWBA East

Perfect Game Staff        
Photo: Top Gun - Team Alabama (Perfect Game)
HOOVER, Ala. – Ben Reiland walked, stole second, and subsequently came around to score on an error in the top of the seventh inning of the championship game of the 15u WWBA East Championship game on Thursday against VBA, giving his Top Gun – Team Alabama squad a 3-2 lead, which Chris Billingsley would protect on the mound in the bottom of the frame.
 
The Top Gun victory was the culmination of a great week of baseball at the 15u WWBA East, as 32 teams from across the Southeast, up to Maryland, and down to Puerto Rico competed in the event.
 
In their semifinal matchup, Top Gun Alabama squared off against Rawlings Prospects Scouts. The game started off as a defensive battle and included some exceptional fielding performances by both teams. On the mound, Carson Wiggins of Rawlings and Ross Clark of Top Gun also started hot, refusing to buckle and keeping the opposing offenses in check. The game would remain scoreless up until the bottom of the third when Cole Rasbury was hit by a pitch, bringing in Nathan Owen and putting Top Gun on the board.
 
Rawlings would respond in their next at bat when Aden Velasquez ripped a ball to center field, bringing in Braden Sprague and tying the game 1-1.
 
Owen wasn’t done at the plate, and gave his offense another run by hitting a line drive to right field for an RBI single, giving the lead back to Top Gun. In the bottom of the 6th, Top Gun loaded the bases and James Graphos would walk home Calden Combs to give Top Gun a 3-1 lead heading into the final inning.
 
Rawlings was determined to complete the comeback, however, and wasted no time getting into scoring position with runners on second and third. After a throwing error by Top Gun, Kyler Hoover reached home and cut the Top Gun lead to one run. With one out and runners on second and third, Brooks Ward stepped up to the plate and delivered a shot deep to right that John Robicheaux was waiting for, and made an incredible throw to second for the final out of the game, catapulting Top Gun Alabama to the finals with a spectacular double play.
 
In the title game, VBA got on the board first off a passed ball. Not long after, Peyton Steele would score off a sac fly from Nolan Jernigan.
 
From there, both defenses held their ground and did a good job keeping the opposing offenses in check. Braden Booth and Brody King both got on the mound for VBA and did a good job keeping the lead with their team. Kevin Jasinski got the start for Top Gun and kept the VBA offense under control long enough for Top Gun to get rolling at the plate.
 
In the top of the fourth, Top Gun got on the board when Robicheaux scored on a walk to end the scoring drought. Ty McGraw scored as well after James Graphos ripped a ball to left field for an RBI single.
 
Just like that, the score was tied 2-2. Both teams put on elite defensive performances, thanks in part to some great pitching. The offenses seemed to come to a standstill. However, just when it seemed like the game was heading to extra innings, James Graphos stepped up to the plate once more and hit a ground ball, giving Reiland time to score off the infield error to give Top Gun the lead for good.
 
Though his team fell short in the final game, Peyton Steele was rightfully declared the MVP for his performance at the plate. Top Gun pitcher Ross Clark received the MV-Pitcher for his excellent performance in the tournament.
 
-Maxwell Gault


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