The East Cobb Baseball Complex was in high gear Saturday as the pool play took place for 11U and 12U Travelball National Championships presented by Travelballselect.com. Teams from across the country made their way to the East Cobb Baseball Complex to compete throughout the month for a national championship, and many of the players suiting up will go on to play in college or in the professional ranks.
One travelballselect.com representative estimated that at least 70-percent of the players competing this weekend will play at the next level.
The action started Saturday morning as the MCBC (Michigan) Hit Dogs faced RBI (Ga.) in 11U action. MCBC trailed RBI 4-0 after a four-run first inning. RBI scattered five hits and took advantage of several MCBC errors to build the lead. MCBC began its comeback with an RBI triple in the third and would tack on another in the fourth. A two-run single in the top of the fifth tied the game at 4-4, and stellar defensive performances from both teams forced the tie.
Tony Roco gave 11U No. 1 MVP (Florida) two solid innings of work before handing the ball off to a pair of relievers Donny Carmona and Armando Sierra, who shut down Mississippi Stixx. MVP led 6-0 after two innings and added a pair of runs in the fourth to win 8-0.
The Atlanta Blue Jays held a 5-1 lead over the 11U No. 6 Bullets Gold (Fla.) squad entering the bottom of the second thanks in large part to the offensive efforts of Miles Austin. Bullets Gold though took advantage of control problems from the short-handed Blue Jays pitching staff to score seven runs. After Bullets Gold shut down Atlanta in the top of the third, the offense put 12 more runs on the board to win via the run rule.
Noah Bogardus hit a two-run fifth inning home run to help Nomads Elite (Cal.) past the KC (Mo.) Sluggers 3-2. The Nomads Elite were not afraid to run on standout Austin Brooks’ arm behind the plate, but Sluggers shortstop Jackson Dierenfeldt made several outstanding plays to hold the 11U Nomads Elite in check. Dierenfeldt also scored a run in the fifth to break a 1-1 tie.
Back in action Saturday afternoon, the No. 4 MCBC Hit Dogs trailed early as Diego Barrera dominated on the bump for No. 14 So Cal United. Patrick Crook also assisted his pitcher by gunning out a would-be base stealer. Jack Mooney started the rally for MCBC with a two-run single to cut the deficit to 4-3. Carter Macias was strong in relief of Hit Dogs starter Nino Puckett as he held So Cal to the four runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Ben Hydman lifted a game-tying sac fly to right field and the winning run scored on a throwing error from the outfield.
The No. 7 Banditos (Tex.) got out to an early lead on a Jose Gonzalez two-run home run in the first inning against RBI (Ga.) in 11U play. RBI fought back, though to lead 5-2 after the third. Joe Davis brought the Banditos to within one in the bottom of the sixth, but RBI escaped a two-on jam to end the game with a 5-4 win.
Conner Hurt pitched a yeoman’s effort for the 11U No. 11 Lids Indiana Bulls, but No. 3 Miami was able to force extra innings with a late run on a Jorge Corona RBI triple. After avoiding trouble in the seventh inning, Team Miami loaded the bases in the eighth with one out before Luigi Menendez knocked a walk-off RBI single for the 6-5 victory.
The 12U Central Florida Gators bashed nine home runs in a 20-2 three-inning victory over East Cobb. Elijah Cabell mashed three home runs and drove in seven runs in the win. Mason Denaburg hit a pair of home runs and pitched two innings of no-hit baseball. Tyler Isenberg and Seth Caddel also went deep for Central Florida and Cyrus Stewart hit two home runs and drew a walk.
Kai Murphy pitched a complete game as 11U Sandlot (Ari.) defeated Team Mizuno (Tex.) 10-2. Grant Gorrell was 2-for-2 and Carson Tucker was 2-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases. Sandlot struck for several early runs off Team Mizuno starter Adam Kloffenstein then made the lead stand with outstanding team defense.
Team Mizuno had earlier won perhaps the most exciting game of the day, rallying from down 10-0 in the third inning to defeat Evoshield Canes (N.C.) 11-10 in six innings.
The action continues Sunday with the championships scheduled for Tuesday. For more information, visit www.travelballselect.com.