Tournaments : : Championship
Thursday, July 12, 2012

WWBA 16u National Championship

Nick Kappel        
Photo: Perfect Game

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (July 11, 2012) – On July 13, 240 summer travel baseball teams will make their way to northwest Atlanta to compete in the 2012 Perfect Game WWBA 16u National Championship. The tournament is the fifth and final WWBA tournament 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 ninth year and has racked up an impressive list of alumni. 13 current Major League players attended this event at some point in their high school careers, including Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, both of whom recently participated in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. Harper played for the San Diego Show in 2009 and was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010 by the Washington Nationals. Trout was a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2009 after playing for Tri-State Arsenal in 2008.

Overall, 660 of the event’s alumni have been drafted in the first 10 rounds of the Major League draft.

South Florida Elite Black won the 16u tournament in 2011 with tournament MVP Zack Collins, who is now the No. 13 ranked player in the 2013 class. The organization will send two teams to compete in this year’s event: South Florida Elite Red and South Florida Elite White.

The EvoShield Canes have a long history in the tournament, taking home the championship in 2009 and 2010. The Canes will return with another championship-caliber roster this year. Left-handed pitcher Justin Bellinger played in the 18u and 17u tournaments as well as the Junior National Showcase last month in Minneapolis. The Vanderbilt commit is the No. 13 ranked player in the 2014 class. Outfielders Joseph Jae Roberts (South Carolina recruit) and Jake Fraley (Louisiana State) of the 2013 class will lend their talents to the Canes’ tournament run as well.

The WWBA 16u 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. Team California, San Diego Show
and Norcal Valley are among the top travel teams in California.

Norcal Valley is bringing a loaded roster geared to make a run at the 16u title, led by Catcher Brett Cumberland, who has impressed scouts at previous Perfect Game events, earning the No. 100 ranking for the class of 2014.

Marucci Elite will come into the tournament with a talent-heavy roster. Age eligible 2013 grad Justin Williams, ranked No. 3 nationally in his class has been added to the roster.  Right-handed pitchers Alex Lange and Keith Weisenberg are ranked No. 34 and 45 in the 2014 class, respectively. Shortstop Kirvin Moesquit is among the top infielders in the 2014 class and is ranked No. 49 overall. Third baseman John Thomas Mauldin rounds out the top-ranked group, checking in at No. 51 on the 2014 rankings.

Two-way standout Ryder Ryan comes in as one of the highest ranked players in the tournament, ranked No. 5 nationally in the class of 2014. Ryan will look to impress college coaches and scouts as he leads the South Charlotte Panthers in their pursuit of a National Championship.

Rawlings St. Louis Prospects will be coached by Andy Benes, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1988 MLB draft who played 14 years in the majors. His son, shortstop Shane Benes, will lead the team in their tournament run.

Other teams bringing top-notch talent include: Team Elite Grey, Tri-State Arsenal Blue, East Cobb Longhorns, East Cobb Astros 15u, Dirtbags Camo, Georgia Roadrunners Blue 15u, Kentucky Baseball Club Blue, Orlando Scorpions, Palm Beach PAL and South Texas Sliders.

The event has been enormously beneficial to northwest Atlanta communities. Last year, 5,727 nights were booked during the 16u 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 204 to 240, which should result in even larger economic benefits to the area this year.

The tournament begins July 13 and runs through July 20. Every team will play seven pool games in the first six days of the tournament. Playoffs will begin July 18 with the top 32 teams — 30 pool winners and two wild cards — battling to move forward towards the championship. Rounds of 16 and 8 will begin at 9 am on July 19. Semifinals and championship games will take place on July 20, 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, are available on the 2012 WWBA 16u National Championship official 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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