Tournaments : : Story
Monday, October 03, 2011

Reds MW Scout Team claims Kernels

Patrick Ebert        
Photo: Perfect Game

The Reds Midwest Scout Team won the 2011 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship by beating the Chicago land 2012's team 8-2. The Reds are no strangers to this tournament, winning it in 2009 while finishing as the runner-ups last year as well as 2006-2008.

“We've been here a lot, so it made it easier because we knew what to expect,” Reds Midwest Scout Team Head Coach Andy Stack said. “The first couple of times we were pretty nervous. But this time we took (the Championship) as just another game, we came out and swung the bats when we needed to and played a pretty good game.”

The Reds went 2-1 in pool play, out-scoring their opponents 21 to 6 in those games. They defeated Top Tier 18U 5-4 in the quarterfinals, and KC Express 3-1 in the semifinals to advance to the title game.

“Our guys competed,” Stack said of his pitching staff. “We don't have a bunch of guys that throw 90, mostly upper-80s, but they move it around, spin the breaking ball and did a good job. For the most part we played good defense behind them.”

With the win, the Reds Midwest Scout Team has received a paid invitation to participate in the 2011 WWBA World Championship to be conducted October 20-24 at the Roger Dean Complex in Jupiter, Florida.

“Jupiter is a grind, the best tournament in the nation, or the world, for amateur players,” Stack said. “We'll go down there with no expectations, to play the best we can. We'll run our guys out there, who will be seen by a thousand scouts and give it our best.”

Reds Midwest slugger Nathan Mikolas was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player by going 7-for-15 (.467) with a double, two triples a home run, six RBI and eight runs scored. He went 2-for-2 in the final game with two runs scored and one driven in.

“It feels great,” Mikolas said of his winning the WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship and MVP honors. “We had a great time, we played hard and we played really great as a team.

“I've been at this tournament for four years now, so to win it is a great honor.”

Mikolas is no stranger to Perfect Game events, participating in both the WWBA 18u and 17u National Championships playing for the East Cobb Braves, the Wisconsin Spring Wood Bat League and the 2011 National Showcase. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound left-handed hitting outfielder is currently ranked the 216
th best high school player in the 2012 class, and has committed to play for Louisville.

“Great kid,” Coach Stack said of his star slugger. “Not only a great baseball player, but one of the best kids I've ever had. He's been with us for five years since he was an eighth-grader, and he's just gotten better every year.

“I don't think you're going to find another guy in the country that swings the bat better than him. Everything hits is on the button, hard, and he takes a great approach. He's going to be a pretty good one some day.”

Minnesota Blizzard Blue's Logan Shore was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. The 2013 right-handed pitcher shut down the Reds Midwest Scout Team on Saturday, throwing a 1-hit shutout and striking out 13 hitters with a fastball that peaked at 91.

“I haven't seen a guy like that throw in a very long time,” Stack said of Shore's performance. “He reminded me of Jeremy Hellickson at this age when we faced him down here a couple of years ago. (Shore) located everything and threw three pitches for strikes at 88 to 91.”

The second-place Chicago land 2012's team made it to the Championship game in dramatic fashion, as Jake Hanson hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Chicago land a 4-3 win over the DTA Wildcats in the semifinals.

In the Championship game, Parker Meek put Chicago land on the board first in the second inning by hitting a booming RBI double to deep left field that just missed clearing the fence. Meek then scored from third when Jack Troike drove him in with a sacrifice fly.

While that was the end of the scoring for the Chicago land 2012's team, Meek went 3-for-3 in the Championship game. He also hit .500 and struck out 6 batters in 5.2 innings of work over the weekend tournament.

Hanson also enjoyed a big weekend at the plate, going 7-for-17 (.412) with six RBI and seven runs scored. His team went 3-0 in pool play to advance to the playoffs, out-scoring their opponents 21 to 3.

Please visit the 2011 WWBA Kernels Foundation Championship scouting blogs for detailed game and player reports from all of the action from the four-day tournament.

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