Tournaments : : Championship
Monday, May 27, 2013

West Memorial Day Champs Crowned

Todd Gold        
Photo: Perfect Game
GOODYEAR, AZ-- It was an incredible comeback that derailed what looked to be one of the more impressive and improbable runs in WWBA history.

Southern California based BPA Team Demarini is a talented group. In fact, it may just be one of the most talented teams at the 14u age level in the nation. They are so good that they decided they were ready to play up a level in competition and entered the 16u division of the 2013 WWBA Memorial Day Classic. They not only held their own against the older competition, they went undefeated in pool play and claimed the number one seed in the 16u playoffs. The playoff opponents in the quarterfinals and semifinals were also unable to stop the upstart group from Orange County, as they advanced to the 16u championship game to face the nearby So Cal Sox.

And for 6 2/3 innings, BPA looked like they would come away from the older division with a championship. But that final out proved to be elusive, as the So Cal Sox scraped together a four run two-out rally in the seventh inning that began with a six pitch at-bat by 2015 IF Conor McCollum (Huntington Beach, CA). McCollum fought off a couple of quality changeups from 2017 LHP Nick Pratto (Huntington Beach, CA), before lifting a single into shallow left field. Leadoff hitter 2015 SS JT Navarro (Huntington Beach, CA) followed with a game tying single to right to tie the game at 5-5, before a single by tournament MVP 2016 IF Logan Poulesen (Huntington Beach, CA) was followed by an error to allow the go-ahead run to score. By the time the dust settled the So Cal Sox held a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the 7th, and would ultimately hold on to win by that same score.

It was a tough way to lose for Pratto, who tossed a gem in the semifinals against All-Star Baseball Academy 15u to punch BPA's ticket to the finals, and had a three up-three down sixth inning of work before getting to within a strike of locking down the two inning save in the championship. But he showed a lot of promise for the future and is a player that will be followed by not only the Perfect Game staff throughout his high school career, but he'll also be a player that college coaches keep an eye on as well as he begins his career at Mater Dei high school next year.

The So Cal Sox are certainly an interesting story in their own right, as it is a team that played together at the younger age groups for a few years before splitting up last year as several of their players went in a few different directions in terms of which travel team they competed with. But they found an opportunity to get back together to compete again this summer and opened up their journey in 2013 with a championship run that included an opening round playoff win over the back-to-back defending champion AZ Prowlers.

Poulesen was named tournament MVP after going 9-for-21 with four doubles and a triple to finish with a line of .429/.429/.714. His teammate at Huntington Beach HS 2015 RHP Noah Davis (Huntington Beach, CA) was named Most Valuable Pitcher after throwing 11 shutout innings, as an encore to grabbing headlines by knocking off then-No.1 nationally ranked Mater Dei HS in the opening round of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.

While the 18u division's championship game didn't have the same kind of late inning drama that the 16u bracket saw, the final run by the Arizona Athletics 18u Black squad was an impressive one.

They capped off a 6-0 run through the 18u division with a shutout of All-Star Baseball Academy 18u with a 5-0 win in the championship game. 2014 OF/RHP Anthony Race (Thunderbird HS, Phoenix, AZ) threw six shutout innings before Arizona State bound 2013 RHP Seth Martinez (Sunrise Mountain HS, Peoria, AZ) finished it off with a scoreless seventh.

Two-way standout 2013 OF/RHP Brick Paskiewicz (Sunrise Mountain HS, Peora, AZ) capped off a strong run with a 2-for-4 game that included a Run and an RBI double, before being named Most Valuable Pitcher after striking out six and walking just one while allowing only one run over four innings and earning a win. He was also a strong MVP candidate for the tournament, but ultimately that honor went to teammate 2013 1B Royal Love (Sunnyslope HS, Phoenix, AZ) who went 8-for-17 (.471/.444/.588).

2013 C/1B Nick Day (Agua Fria HS, Goodyear, AZ) would hit the team's only homer of the tournament with a towering shot into the bullpen behind Goodyear Ballpark's left field fence in the third inning.

The 14u division saw the first Perfect Game appearance by the East Bay Bombers, a team that entered the tournament with lofty expectations. The Bombers were one of the most dominant teams at the 12u and 13u levels the past two years, so there were built-in expectations for them as they moved up to the 14u division this year, and so far they've lived up to them.

Based out of the Oakland area, the Bombers went 6-0 and knocked off previously undefeated Lasorda University 4-0 in the championship game.

2017 RHP Emilio Vasquez (Hayward, CA) threw five shutout innings, allowing just a pair of hits to earn the win in the championship game. Leadoff hitting 2017 OF Alex Chalco (Pleasant Hill, CA) went 3-for-4 with three runs, while three hole hitting 2017 C Garrett Cichella (Tracy, CA) went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.

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