Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summer Champs

The biggest tournaments of the summer produced some exciting baseball and the winners deserve some additional recognition aside from the tournament organizers websites. Here are our favorite tournaments and the champs of each…

The WWBA in East Cobb, GA

WWBA 18U Championships
The Florida Bombers won their unprecedented 5th World Wood Bat Association National Championship with a 3-2 win over the Illinois Sparks Monday afternoon at the East Cobb Complex in Marietta, Georgia.

The Bombers, who also claimed the championship in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006, did it in normal Bomber fashion, with outstanding defense in the middle of the field, timely hitting and a deep staff of pitchers who pound the strike zone.

RHP Brent Zimmerman was the star of the championship game, throwing a complete game 4 hitter, walking none and striking out 4. Zimmerman, a 2009 prospect, pitched in the upper 80’s with a sharp curveball and excellent change up that kept the powerful Sparks lineup off balance.

The Bombers scored 3 runs in the third inning, with the key blow being a run scoring double by SS Carlos Lopez.

The Illinois Sparks became the first team from the northern tier of the country in WWBA and BCS history to make a National Championship final. They were a dominant offensive team and had scored 13, 12 and 10 runs in their previous 3 playoff games.

WWBA 17U Championships
The Diamond Devils defeated the ABD Bulldogs 13-6 to win the 2008 World Wood Bat Association National Championship Monday night in Marietta, Georgia.

The 192 team championship is the largest such event in baseball history.

The sluggers from South Carolina were an offensive powerhouse all week, scoring 93 in 10 games and earning most of them with extra base hits, including 9 home runs. They scored 32 runs in one pool play game and totaled 30 in 16 innings in the last 3 playoff games.

Their 7-run 4th inning in the championship game was the defining moment in a game that looked like it was going to be high scoring from the outset, as both teams pitching staffs were running on fumes. 1B Daniel Palka led off the inning with a home run and RF Daniel Aldrich punctuated the inning with a 3-run blast.

Both ABD and the Diamond Devils were forced to play 27 innings of baseball on the event’s final day due to the heavy rain that plagued the entire tournament and virtually canceled play entirely on Sunday.

The Bulldogs defeated Tri-State Arsenal/Cust D-Jacks 6-0 in one semifinal behind a combined no hit effort by RHP’s Ethan Miller (3 innings) and Nolan Arenado (2 innings). 3B Matt Davidson hit his 4th home run of the championship, a 2-run shot in the 3rd inning, to key the offense.

WWBA 16U Championships
The 16u WWBA Championship game came right down to the wire on Sunday. A back and forth game between the Jack Cust Diamond Jacks and Richmond Braves that had four lead changes was ultimately decided in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out and the bases loaded, a single to left field by Patrick Harrington was all the Richmond Braves needed to overcome a 3-2 deficit to walk off the field with a 4-3 victory. Congratulations to the Richmond Braves who are the 2008 16u WWBA Champions!

The Co-Most Valuable Players of the 136 team 16u WWBA Championship are Mitchell Shifflett of the Richmond Braves and Thomas Zengel of the Jack Cust Diamond Jacks. The Most Valuable Pitcher for the tournament was Hobbs Johnson. Shifflett went 11-25 with 12 runs and 6 steals as the spark plug for the Richmond Braves offense

WWBA 15U Championships
The #1 overall seed in the 15u WWBA tournament bracket did not disappoint as they capped off an undefeated tournament with a 16-4 win over the #2 seeded Kentucky Baseball Club. NorCal fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first inning but took a 5-3 lead in their half of the first and scored in every inning thereafter to win the game. NorCal’s offense came from the whole lineup as every member of their lineup scored a run. NorCal’s pitcher Kyle Moses worked three shutout innings to earn the win. NorCal advanced to the championship by defeating the East Cobb Astros 14u, while Kentucky Baseball Club advanced to the finals by defeating the Dallas Yankees.

The tournament MVP was NorCal’s shortstop Alex Blandino who finished the tournament with thirteen hits, including two in the championship game, and eight runs, including two in the championship game, as he was the spark plug for the NorCal offense.

USA BASEBALL Championships (The tourney formerly known as the Junior Olympics)

This tourney is no longer called the Junior Olympics because baseball will not be an Olympic Sport in the 2012 games. And, the way the Olympic teams have been faring, that may be a good thing.

USA Baseball 16U Championship WEST
The San Diego Show defeated OC Baseball in the gold medal game to win the 2008 USA Baseball 16U Championships -- West. In the bronze medal game, ABD Bulldogs Navy beat the Temecula Boxers. Congratulations to all the teams for a great week in Peoria and Surprise.

USA Baseball 16U Championship EAST
The 23rd seeded Orlando Scorpions won the 2008 USA Baseball 16U Championships -- East with a 1-0 win over their cross-city rival, the Orlando Reds. 16U Trials invite AJ Cole recorded a two-inning save without allowing a hit, and Orlando Reds starter Preston Cronk pitched a tremendous game in a losing effort, going the distance, scattering 7 hits, and giving up the lone run in the 4th.

USA Baseball Tournament of Stars
500 fans were in attendance as the Dixie team, consisting of players through the Southeast, won a close battle and beat the NABF National team 3-2 to win the pro and college scout heavy TOS.

LeVon Washington and Waxahachie, Tx star Colton Cain had two hits a piece. Anthony Figliolia got the win and Patrick Schuster the save.

Palomino World Series
Michael Goodnight had a namesake kind of night and fired his final 95 mph fastball past a stunned Chinese Taipei player to end the 2008 PONY Palomino World Series with Houston Kyle Chapman Red winning by a run-rule shortened score of 14-3. Robbie Grossman set the tone for the afternoon when he hammered the very first pitch of the game far over the San Jose Municipal Stadium right field fence to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

Great offense, terrific pitching, rock solid defense, excellent coaching, and a mature, disciplined, respectful approach to the game of baseball. To quote the coach of one of the teams that K.C. defeated, "they play the game the way it was meant to be played." What an amazing compliment for the coaches, players, and families that make up the Kyle Chapman family.

Outside of the East Cobb, Ga complex, the nicest sports facility in the nation has to be the Disney Wide World of Sports baseball complex in Orlando. It's also home to the Atlanta Braves during spring training.

The BL Bombers of the great state of Alabama went to the finals and with the help of David Dahl, Tourney MVP and Charles Masonia, Offensive Tourney MVP, they blasted the Central Texas Raiders 6-0. The Bombers capped off an unbelievable season with an outstanding record of 45-4.

Game summaries were provided by Perfect Game, Houston 5A Baseball, USSSA and USA Baseball.

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