“They’re really excited about it. In any event we enter, we are trying to do our best and win,” organization owner Matt Gerber said about his players. “We always talk about showcasing your individual talent through a team mentality. You play the team game and your individual talents will shine through that.”
The Perfect Game Super25 concept puts emphasis on ‘team’, limiting teams to rosters containing players from a specific geographic region and having to play the entire series with the rosters turned in before the first tournament game.
“All of our kids, for the most part, are from the state of Florida. Our rosters are set in January for the summer and they stay the same, so we’re not pulling kids in and making late changes to our rosters,” Gerber mentioned about some overlapping points his organization has with Super25.
“I really like the idea of competing against other like-minded organizations and really going to battle with the kids that you’re around all the time. It takes away from bringing kids from all over and making ‘super-teams’ and it really puts an emphasis on who the best team is. That’s definitely what drove us to Super25.”
The Super25 concept has similarities to the route teams take to get to the College World Series; you have to win a qualifying event and be named the champion of your region before getting a bid to the National Championship. Twenty-five teams will represent the national championship field for each age group, based on twenty regional tournaments and five super regional tournaments.
“It puts a premium on winning and if you want to compete for a national championship, the first thing you have to do is take care of business in your region,” Gerber said. “I like the idea of being able to potentially represent our region and have the best team go out and compete against the best teams from other regions.”
Gerber and the Orlando Scorpions organization certainly hold their teams to high expectations, especially after the recent string of success, with the organization goal to have a Scorpions team represent each of the three Florida regions at the national championship.
The organization recently expanded to have teams out of North Florida and South Florida, and also started the Orlando Stingers in order to have 10u through 14u teams for the events. One of the most recognizable travel ball organizations in the country continues to grow under the direction of Gerber.
The Scorpions organization has been around for nineteen years now, and Gerber played on the original team. He is now in his fourth year as the owner, after taking over for original owner Sal Lombardo. Since the organization’s founding, many notable alumni have worn the Scorpions uniform, including Chris Sale, Zack Greinke, Jonathan Lucroy, Nick Franklin, and Jonny Venters, to name a few.
The 2013 season proved to be quite a good time to be a Scorpion. The organization won numerous Perfect Game tournaments, including the PG WWBA Underclass World Championship in which the ’15 Prime team matched up and beat the younger ’16 Purple team. The Orlando Scorpions finished as the No. 1 ranked 16u travel ball team, the No. 2 ranked 17u team, and the No. 3 ranked 15u team after an incredible summer.
“Our calling card is that we really preach a team game. We develop kids, whether you’re a number one ranked player in the country or not ranked at all. There’s no one kid that’s bigger and better than the program,” said Gerber. “Whether you’re on the Prime, the Purple, or the Black (team), you’re going to compete at a national level. We expect all of our teams to be able to compete at the national level.”
With teams competing at the 10u through 17u levels, the organization expects 2014 to be just as generous as last year.
“This event will really crown a true national champion and our kids are excited about being able to compete for that and hopefully become that one true national champion.”