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PG Select Baseball Festival | General | 9/5/2021

East Comes Out On Top at 14u Select Fest

Blake Dowson     
Photo: Perfect Game
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The bats were on display all night long at the Perfect Game 14u Select Festival, as the East squad worked around a late rally from their West counterparts to take home the victory by an 8-6 final score.
 
The scoring got started from none other than Jacob Kendall, who singled and scored Michael Torres to give the East team a 1-0 lead. Kendall, an alum of last year’s 13u Select Festival as well, was named the 14u Player of the Year over the weekend.
 
In 2021 alone, Kendall has played in 70 Perfect Game tilts, hitting .420 over that span with 37 extra-base hits, including five home runs. His OPS this year was a staggering 1.314.
 
The West squad answered right back in the bottom of the first inning, as Arkansas native and Ole Miss commit Slade Caldwell led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch and later came around to score on a wild pitch.
 
The two squads traded putting zeros up on the scoreboard in the second and third innings, but the East squad laid the biggest body blow to the West in the top of the fourth inning with a crooked five-spot.
 
A number of grinded-out at-bats contributed to the big inning, and a total of five walks and two hit-by-pitches led to the damage. Madison, Ala. native Braden Booth added an RBI single in the inning on an elevated fastball he got his hands to and shot back up the middle.
 
The West answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth, scoring on a double steal of home to get the score to 6-2.
 
Omar Serna got the East right back on track in the top of the fifth frame, though, when he turned on a hanging breaking ball and slammed it off the top of the JetBlue Park green monster in left field. Aiden Harris then scored on a Noah Sheffield sacrifice fly to center field, and Serna scored on a Coy James RBI single to push the lead to 8-2.
 


“It was really fun,” Serna said of the Select Festival experience after the game on the PerfectGame.TV broadcast. “I got a curveball waist high and hit it well, it was a lot of fun.”
 
The West squad was far from done, however.
 
Camden Clewett, Caldwell, and Konnor Griffin reached base to begin their half of the fifth inning, and later all came around to score to bring the West within an 8-5 margin.
 
Zeros across the board for the next three and a half innings led to the West’s last at-bat in the bottom of the ninth.
 
Caldwell and Kayson Cunningham both singled with no outs to start the inning, Dean Moss walked to load the bases, Xavier Neyens walked to score Caldwell and bring the West within two runs at 8-6, but the rally stopped there.
 




As impressive as a number of the bats were in the game, the pitching was on display as well.
 
That begins with Samuel Cozart, the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2025 class. The 6-foot-7 right-handed pitcher tossed a scoreless second inning for the East squad, striking out one in the process.
 
David Shields, Carter Smith, and Torres also tossed scoreless innings for the East, as did Trey Morris, Cam Caminiti, Blake Ilitch, Noah Malone, Vaughn Neckar, and Griffin for the West.
 
Serna, a Pearland, Texas native, was named the MVP of the 14u Select Festival due in large part to the loud barrel he found with his double off the left field wall in the fifth inning.
 
Coinciding with the game action on Sunday night was a fundraising effort that the Select Festival players were all involved with in the weeks leading up to the event. In total, the event raised $131,831, which combined with the efforts of players at the 11u, 12u, and 13u Select Festivals, as well as the Perfect Game All-American Classic, totaled $487,815 raised for the Perfect Game Cares Grow The Game Fund, as well as a number of other charities including Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, the beneficiary of the 14u Select Festival.
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