Tournaments : : Story
Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Twelve ‘disappointed to be leaving’

Sam Brazenas        
Photo: Perfect Game

MARIETTA, Ga. – Twelve had a good run for a still up-and-coming program at the WWBA 16u National Championship. Although they weren’t able to make it past pool play, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a team full of talent.

We’re 4-1-2 so we’ve had a couple of ties that hurt us,” said head coach Dave Miles. “We’ve played good baseball just not quite good enough. If we won one more game, we’re right there in it.”

Luken Baker pitched 11 innings for Twelve over two games. He only gave up four hits and four while striking out 18. He also did well at the plate, averaging .571 with three doubles, two triples and a home run.

He threw two games exceptionally, (and) won both games,” said Miles. “He was on fire with the bat (and played well) all around.”

It would have been nice to win more games and move on to bracket play, but overall we had a better tournament than we started out as,” added Baker.

Baker is a hulking, 6-foot-4, 240-pound right-handed pitcher and third baseman from Spring, Texas. He is ranked No. 39 on Perfect Game’s High School Class of 2015 National Rankings, and is ranked No. 9 overall in Texas.

I’m just trying to improve that rank every day, and keep working at it,” added Baker. “I don’t really pay too much attention to the rankings. It is what it is I guess.”

Although Baker has been talking to a few colleges, he is uncommitted and undecided on where he wants to continue his baseball career. Baker’s teammate, Ryan Johnson, has a little more idea on where he hopes to be after he graduates.

I’ve been talking to TCU, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt,” explained Johnson. “As of right now, (A&M is) my top choice but it has nothing to do with distance from home. It’s just a great program. All the schools I’m talking to have a great program, great education, and great opportunities so it’s going to be a tough choice.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound outfielder from College Station, Texas, is ranked No. 14 on Perfect Game’s High School Class of 2015 National Rankings, and is No. 5 overall in Texas.

It’s a great honor to be ranked that high,” added Johnson. “I try not pay attention to the rankings too much, I just try to come out and play baseball.”

The WWBA 16u National Championship is Johnson’s very first Perfect Game event. He racked up two singles, a double, a triple and two RBI over the last week.

It was fun,” said Johnson about his first Perfect Game experience. “It’s disappointing to be leaving this early. Overall, it was a fun event. I didn’t play like I wanted to, (but) I came out here and I felt like I played hard.”

He’s a great five-tool player,” added Miles. “(He has) a big bat, great speed, big arm, (and) just a great all around baseball player.”

Johnson has been selected to play for the 2013 Texas Area Code Games. The roster typically consists of players who have already completed their junior year of high school; however, Johnson gets the honor of playing before his junior year. More than 350 players tried out for the Texas Rangers team by invite-only, and only 22 made the cut.

It’s another great honor,” added Johnson. “(It was) a very humbling experience going out and trying out. There’s tons of talent it’s ridiculous. It’s just an honor to be chosen and I’m looking forward to it.”

Johnson said baseball is “a pretty big part of (his) life.” Along with going to college, he has even higher hopes for his future in baseball.

The ultimate goal is to be a Major Leaguer and be the best player I can be,” explained Johnson. “I just try to come out and play as hard as I can every day and impress as many people as I can to help me get as far as I can. It would be cool to play for the Astros because I was born in Houston and I grew up rooting for them and I’m still an Astros fan.”

Johnson has been playing with the Twelve Baseball program since he was nine years old, and was a part of the very first Twelve team.

The coaching staff is awesome,” added Johnson. “We’ve had a bunch of great coaches that have helped me improve throughout the years. It’s been great playing for them; they’ve given me every opportunity I can ask for.”

Twelve Baseball Academy was founded in 2006 by Gregg Bennett. It is a non-profit organization that works on building the players character and their baseball skills. According to their website they have been recognized as one of the top baseball academies in the country.

We’re based around competitive baseball,” added Miles. “We coach good baseball and we are trying to (build) our program around college recruiting. It’s a young growing program. We’re trying to get them to the next level. We’ve got teams of all ages but everything is geared around getting them to this age here (16s) and getting them into college.”

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