Tournaments : : Story
Friday, July 20, 2012

Team Georgia comes out on top

Matthew Stokes        
Photo: Perfect Game
ATLANTA, Ga. – In a tight ballgame, number 28 seed Team Georgia 16u Blue (10-1-1) pushed across the game’s only run late to secure a 1-0 victory over the number three seed South Charlotte Panthers 2014 (10-1) in the 2012 WWBA 16u National Championship finale on Friday afternoon.

Before the two teams matched up at noon, there were two 9 a.m. semifinal games. At Southern Poly, Team Georgia used a seven-run first to knock off the number eight seed South Florida Elite Squad 16u Red (10-1) by a final score of 9-0 in five innings. At Georgia Tech, the Panthers scored four early runs and held on for a 6-3 win over the number two seed FTB Chandler (10-1).

In the championship pairing, neither team’s offense did much to mount a serious scoring threat through six innings. Between Panthers left-hander Corey Sikes (2014, Piedmont H.S., N.C.) and Team Georgia righty Patrick Stone (2013, Greater Atlanta Christian School, Ga.), the two starting pitchers combined for six 1-2-3 innings through the first six frames. Panthers third baseman Ryder Ryan (2014, North Mecklenburg H.S., N.C.) accounted for the game’s only extra-base hit, a double grounded just inside the left field foul line in the bottom of the first.

The seventh and final inning provided by far the most excitement in this low-scoring affair. With the score still knotted up at 0-0, Danny Edgeworth (2013, Lambert H.S., Ga.) grounded a ball sharply to shortstop Nick Owens (2014, Charlotte Christian School, N.C.) who could not field it cleanly, allowing Edgeworth to reach safely on the error.

Edgeworth proceeded to steal second and advanced to third on catcher Bradley Brown’s (2014, Richmond, N.C.) errant throwdown. On the seventh pitch of his at bat, Grey Davis (2014, Milton H.S., Ga.) stroked a line drive RBI single to right-center to drive home Edgeworth, setting off a series of loud cheers from Team Georgia parents and also ending Sikes’ outing on the mound. The left-handed pitcher tossed six-plus frames of three-hit ball, allowing that one unearned run in addition to striking out five and walking none.

After Pathers reliever Andrew Loepprich (2014, Charlotte Country Day School, N.C.) set the final three Team Georgia batters in order, Stone trotted back out to the hill to finish what he started. After Ryan singled to right on Stone’s first pitch in the bottom of the seventh, the right-hander set down Alex Destino (2014, North Buncombe H.S., N.C.) on the next pitch on a flyout to right field, setting up a dramatic finish. On Stone’s 66th pitch of the game, Logan Sherer (2013, East Mecklenburg H.S., N.C.) grounded out into a 6-4-3 double play, ending the game and resulting in a team dogpile near the mound.

Our guys battled all tournament long, and this is the greatest group of competitors that I’ve been around,” said head coach Jim Butler, in his fifth year with Team Georgia. “This is huge. This means a lot to the players.”

Following the game’s conclusion, Team Georgia first baseman Jack Thompson (2014, Milton H.S., Ga.) earned Most Valuable Player after batting .364 with four doubles, five home runs, 22 RBIs and 11 runs scored
. Stone took home the Most Valuable Pitcher award after pitching 13 and two-third scoreless innings, including his complete game three-hit shutout on Friday.

2012 WWBA 16u National Championship runner-up: South Charlotte Panthers 2014

2012 WWBA 16u National Championship MVP: Jack Thompson

2012 WWBA 16u National Championship MVPitcher: Patrick Stone

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