Tournaments : : Story
Monday, October 26, 2009

Braves Scout Team Wins WWBA World Championship

Perfect Game Staff        
The Braves Scout Team defeated the Orange County Boxers 7-1 Monday afternoon in Jupiter, Florida, to claim the 2009 World Wood Bat Association World Championship.

The championship game was the culmination of 5 days of outstanding baseball by 85 teams and over 1,500 of the top high school age players in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. It was also one of, if not the most, heavily scouted such events in history.

The title was the second in three years for the Braves Scout Team, although under very different circumstances. The team was organized by former Atlanta Braves scouting supervisor Tom Battista and is made up of a core of players from ABD’s top junior team. The 2007 WWBA World Champion Braves Scout Team was organized and run by Battista around of core of players from the Midland Redskins organization.

It was the first time that a team made up of underclassman, in this case 2011 and 2012 graduates, has ever won the WWBA World Championship

With Battista no longer working for the Braves organization, there is no telling what the 2010 edition of the team will be called.

The Orange County Boxers also have a tie-in to the ABD organization, which is based out of Southern California. Many of their players play for the Temecula Boxers, ABD’s #2 senior team. The ABD Bulldogs, the top ABD senior team and the defending WWBA World Champions, were eliminated from this year’s tournament during pool play.

Both teams had won their semifinal matchups earlier Monday in convincing fashion and were playing their 8th game in four days.

The Braves defeated the Diamond Devils 3-0 behind a dominating pitching performance by LHP Daniel Camarena. Camarena threw a two-hit complete game shutout, striking out 12 hitters.

The Boxers reached the championship game by downing the Orlando Scorpions 6-1 behind six solid innings from LHP Robert Kraft. The Scorpions were seeking a WWBA double, as their junior team won the WWBA Underclass World Championship two weeks ago.

The Boxers took an early lead in the championship game, played under sunny skies and near record temperatures for late October in Florida. LF Callen Dawson stroked a one out double to left field in the top of the second inning and scored on a single by SS Steven Pallares.

The Braves came right back in the bottom of the second inning with two runs of their own. 1B Rouric Bridgewater reached base on an error and moved to second on a walk to SS Brett Harrison. A single by RF Jean Ramirez scored Bridgewater and Harrison later scored on a ground ball out.

More runs could have scored except for one of the stranger plays you will ever see, perhaps the result of fatigue on the part of everyone involved. With Ramirez on third base and C Bryce Mosier on second and one out, EH Johnny Drown hit a one hopper to 3B Luke White. White threw home to C Vinny Ponce to try to get Ramirez but Ponce appeared to forget that it wasn’t a force play and didn’t attempt to tag the sliding Ramirez. However, the home plate umpire also appeared to forget that it wasn’t a force play and gave a casual out signal. Then no one in the Braves dugout seemed to recognize what went on and there wasn’t a whisper raised in protest. The game continued with few seemingly the wiser.

The Braves broke open the game with a 4 run rally in the 4th inning, again keyed by the same part of the lineup. Bridgewater, Harrison, Ramirez, Mosier and CF Josh Guerra strung together 5 consecutive hits off tiring Boxers starter Brandon Trinkwon.

Braves starter RHP David Longville threw the first five innings, consistently pounding the strike zone to get ahead of the Boxer hitters. LHP Henry Owens finished up the last two innings.

Owens, a 6-5, 185 lb southpaw from Huntington Beach (CA) and a member of the 2011 class, was named the championship’s Most Valuable Pitcher. Owens threw 9 shutout innings during the week, striking out 12 hitters while only allowing 4 hits.

Camarena was named the Most Valuable Player after one of the most impressive performances in WWBA World Championship history. The 6-1, 185 lb 2011 grad from Bonita (CA) threw 11 2/3 innings of shutout ball, going 2-0 with a save, including the dominant performance in the semifinals. Camarena also was a key contributor with the bat, going 8-17 at the plate, including a 3-4, 2 Rbi showing in the Braves quarterfinal victory over the White Sox Scout Team/Florida Legends.
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