Tournaments | Story | 7/26/2021

Georgia Power Proving Its Staying Power

Blake Dowson        
Photo: Players Pictured: Jack Young (left), Kody Clancy (right)
MARIETTA, Ga. -- Georgia Academy Power 15u Myers took down Team Dynasty on Sunday in a matchup of unbeaten Pool C opponents, moving to 3-0 so far at the 15u WWBA National Championship and thus, grabbing control of their own destiny in the pool.
It was a classic Georgia Power performance, one that people have come to expect from this group that has now run their Perfect Game record this year to 27-4. Power scratched two runs across in the bottom of the first inning, thanks in part to a Kody Clancy RBI single, and two more runs in the third frame to move the score to 4-0. Ryan Gold and Ryan Johnson combined for six innings on the mound, allowing just one earned run and three hits.
That, head coach Jeff Myers said, is what this team is all about. Put runs up early, and force the other team to try to play catch-up by putting the ball in play.
“The strength of our team is our pitching, and pitching to contact, making guys swing the bat,” Myers said. “We try to limit walks and put some pressure on them. It helps that I have eight or nine guys who throw 80 mph at 15 [years old], so that’s a good thing too. But I wouldn’t say we have anybody who’s overpowering. I don’t have a 90 mph guy. We pitch to contact and we play defense.”
The team has leaned heavily on Jack Young on the mound this season, as the Lawrenceville, Ga. native has been steadily putting together a resume to remember this summer.
Through his first four appearances across three tournaments in 2021 for Georgia Power, Young didn’t allow a single earned run over 23 innings. A complete game, three-hit shutout against the Mill Creek Hawks in the North Atlanta Open and a similar complete game, four-hit, nine-strikeout shutout during his next appearance at the Battle of the Southeast earned him MV-Pitcher honors at both of those events, both events that Georgia Power went on to be crowned champions.
Young added another complete game shutout at his next PG event, the Southeast World Series, throwing seven innings, striking out 13, and allowing just two hits.
Myers grew up in Atlanta during the days of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. He said the way Young goes about his business on the mound is very Maddux-like.
“[Jack] throws two or three different kinds of fastballs and he stays six to eight inches off the ground,” Myers said. “He doesn’t give in on a spot. We can work a corner and later on in the game stretch the corner out, and he’s good enough to put it there…You let Jack Young start a game and then 50 minutes later, you’re sitting in the fifth inning. It’s crazy. That’s how good he’s been.
“We almost have to be careful with him on 0-2 counts to make sure he’s six inches off the plate just to mix in some balls.”
Young and the rest of the pitching staff haven’t needed much run support this year, but have gotten plenty of it.
Georgia Power has 11 prospects on the roster who have played at least five games this year and have a batting average of at least .300. Myers has seven guys who have played at least 12 games hitting over .300, with the vast majority of them also slugging at least .500.
That group includes Ryan Gold, who last year was named the 14u Player of the Year by Perfect Game for his staggering two-way exploits. Gold led his age circuit with five home runs in 2020 and added 16 doubles, all in 99 at-bats. He also struck out 71 hitters in 39 innings on the mound.
All of that added up to 17 All-Tournament selections, which also led his age division. At this point, Gold is a top-100 player in the 2023 class and an alum of the 2020 14u Perfect Game Select Festival.
Gold is a local Atlanta-area kid, from Smyrna, which can be said of most the players on the Georgia Power roster. This team hasn’t been built like most of the top prospect teams out there.
It’s relational more than it is a business. The players and parents all know each other. Myers recently got the team tickets to go see Tim Tebow speak, and a large group all got together to go. The core nucleus started as a Dizzy Dean youth team when the players were 8 years old, and it’s transformed from there.
“Our team base is within 25 miles of each other,” Myers said. “Most of our kids are either playing at neighboring high schools or the same high schools. The Canton, Woodstock, Cartersville area probably houses 80 percent of our players.”
From Dizzy Dean to the 15u WWBA National Championship, the players on the team are starting the journey into the next chapter of their baseball lives.
Recruiting has picked up quite a bit for the guys on the team, as is the case when you have as much success as Power has had. College coaches love winners, and not many teams have done more winning than this group in the past couple years.
“Ryan [Gold] was the first one and now we’re starting to get interest in four, five, six other kids,” Myers said. “I would assume with the record we have, as soon as we get into the fall and we turn into 16u, we’ll see that even more. The success breeds that, because people hear about you.”
For now, Myers and the team are focusing on the task at hand – the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox, who they play Monday night for a chance to get to 4-0 in pool play.
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