Tournaments : : Story
Thursday, July 05, 2012

2012 WWBA 17u Nat'l Championship

Kira Olsen        
Photo: Perfect Game

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (July 5, 2012) – On July 6th 260 summer travel baseball teams will make their way to northwest Atlanta to compete in the 2012 Perfect Game WWBA 17u National Championship. The tournament is the fourth in a series of five WWBA tournaments being held consecutively. Almost 500 of the nation’s top-ranked high school baseball players will be in attendance to show off for fans, scouts and college coaches and to help their teams fight to the championship title.

The event is going into its 10th year and has racked up an impressive list of alumni. 44 current Major League players attended this event at some point in their high school careers. Georgia native and Cedar Grove High School graduate Xavier Avery played for the 2007 champion East Cobb Braves 17u and went on to be drafted in 2008 by the Baltimore Orioles. Avery made his debut for the Orioles in May of this year. 64 alumni of the 2011 WWBA 17u Championship were drafted in June. Overall, 1,642 of the event’s alumni have gone on to be drafted in the first 10 rounds of the Major League draft.

The East Cobb Braves 17u have a long history with the event, taking home the championship in 2003 and 2007, as well as being the reigning champs. The Braves always come with a talent-packed roster. Right-handed pitcher Cameron Varga played at the 2011 17u tourney, this year he’ll join the defending champion Braves. The Florida commit is ranked sixth overall for the class of 2014. Georgia native Cletis Avery is among the top-ranked second-basemen in the country and will be lending his talents to help the Braves secure another title. Left-handed pitcher and Clemson commit Matthew Crownover will represent the draft class of 2012 and is ranked 62nd
 overall. Third baseman Travis Demeritte from Statham, Ga. has earned the No. 18 ranking for the class 2013.

The WWBA 17u National Championship has grown from hosting primarily southern teams to including some of the top teams from all over the country.  Plenty of West Coast teams will be bringing some of their homegrown talent to the tournament. San Diego Show, ABD Bulldogs, San Gabriel Arsenal, So Cal Elite, So Cal Bombers, CCB 2013 Elite and Yak Baseball West are among the top travel teams in California. San Diego Show has had success in other age divisions in past WWBA. This year they’re bringing a loaded roster geared to make a run at the 17u title. Left-handed pitcher Stephen Gonsalves has impressed scouts at previous Perfect Game events, earning the No. 32 ranking for the class of 2013.  Nationally ranked catcher Alex Jackson (57th for the class of 2014) will also be helping the Show.  
Left-handed pitcher and UCLA commit Brady Aiken (ranked 36th for the class of 2014) is expected to pitch for the Show. Gosuke Katoh is a player that improved his rankings after a good spring and summer, including a good showing at the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase. The UCLA commit has jumped up to No. 66 for the class of 2013.

Four players from Yak Baseball West come into the tournament ranked in the top 20 nationally for the class of 2013. USC commits Dominic Smith and John Paul Crawford, ranked second
 and 16th respectively, will provide some power to Yak’s offense. Christopher Rivera (ninth) and Kevin Franklin (19th) also showed off impressive hitting ability at the National Showcase. Rivera shows plenty of skill on the mound as well with is fastball reaching 92 mph.  Right-handed pitcher Denz’l Chapman will come in as the 32nd ranked player for the class of 2014.

Marucci Elite will come into the tournament with a roster loaded with talent. Justin Williams comes in as one of the highest ranked players in the tournament, ranked third nationally for the class of 2013. Williams has already committed to Louisiana State and will be looking to improve his draft stock with a strong performance. Shortstop Oscar Mercado joins Williams at the top of the 2013 rankings at No. 7. UCLA commit Dustin Driver comes in as one of the top ranked pitchers in the country for the class of 2013 and is ranked 20th
 overall. Alex Lange and Anfernee Grier will add even more to the roster, ranked 34th for 2014 and 57th for 2013 respectively.

FTB Chandler Bats is another team looking for a shot at the championship title. Two pitchers committed to the University of Central Florida will be helping lead the Bats towards the title. Kyle Marsh comes in ranked 12th
 overall for the class of 2014 and lefty Ian Mckinney comes in ranked 75th for the class of 2013. A pair of highly ranked catchers will join the pitchers. Clemson commit Chris Okey comes in ranked 20th for the class of 2013 and USC commit Jeremy Martinez is ranked 33th.

Houston Banditos-Black come into the tournament with a very real shot at going far in the tournament. Pitcher Kohl Stewart is the top ranked player in the state of Texas and comes in at No. 11 on the class of 2013 rankings. Outfielder Nicholas Banks joins fellow Texas A&M commit Stewart on the Banditos and is ranked 35th
 overall for 2013. Texas-commit Jake Jarvis, ranked seventh for the class of 2014, will also take the mound for the Banditos. Stone Garrett (ranked 11th for 2014) and teammate Nick Buckner (ranked 15th for 2013) impressed scouts at the 2012 Perfect Game National Showcase in June. They’ll be looking to bring some of that power to the Bandito’s offense.

Orlando Scorpions 17u Purple will make their way up to Marietta from Florida with a roster packed with talent. Two top pitchers, Florida State commit Carson Sands and Florida commit Brett Morales, will take the mound for the Scorpions. Tate Blackman comes to the 17u WWBA ranked 31st
 for the class of 2014. Two top catchers from the class of 2014 will also be assisting the Scorpions on their path to the playoffs. John Jones comes in ranked 33rd and Jonah Girand comes in 35th.

Other teams bringing top-notch talent include Team Elite Black, the Evoshield Canes, FTB Mizuno, Houston Heat Silver, Dirtbags, East Cobb Astros 16u, Alabama Seminoles and Tri-State Arsenal Blue.

The event has been enormously beneficial to northwest Atlanta communities. Last year 10,673 nights were booked during the 17u WWBA Championship. Total economic benefit from all of the Perfect Game WWBA Championships is estimated at $33,433,450. The number of teams attending the event has increased from 216 to 260. This increase should result even larger economic benefits to the area.

The tournament begins July 6
th and runs through July 13th. Every team will play seven pool games in the first six days of the tournament. Playoffs will begin July 11th with the 32 teams battling to move forward in the championship. Rounds of 16 and 8 will begin at 9 am on July 12th. Semifinals and championship games will take place on July 13th, with the Championship game beginning at 11:30 am. The East Cobb Complex in Marietta, Ga. will host the bulk of the games on its three fields, with several area high schools picking up the rest of the games.

Specific information about the event, including schedule and game locations, will be available on the WWBA 17u National Championship event page. Game scores and blogs will available on the website as the tournament progresses. For fans interested in attending, a tournament pass will cost $55. The cost per day (good for all games on one day) will be $10. Programs will be available for $5.

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