Perfect Game’s new Super25 tournament series has been going on all summer, bringing the best of every region together. Teams across the country of all age groups have been battling in qualifying and regional tournaments with same goal in mind: to play in the Super25 National Championship for their respective age group.
This week, the first Super25 National Championships will take place in Nashville, Tennessee, as the 9u and 11u age groups will go at it.
Perfect Game is often recognized for its ability to showcase talent and help kids make it to the college and professional ranks. The Super25 series definitely does that in the older age groups, but it serves a much different purpose for the younger age groups like the 9u and 11u teams.
For the youngsters lucky enough to play in Nashville this week, they will be exposed to the best competition from their age group that the country has to offer. They will have an advantage over their peers, getting to play quality team baseball while challenging themselves against high-level competition. By putting themselves in this situation, the kids can grow as a team as well as individually as ballplayers, preparing for future success.
The 9u and 11u National Championships will truly represent the best the entire country has to offer. Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Delaware, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Iowa, Indiana, Florida and Illinois will all be represented.
The organization to watch out for this week in both age groups is the Houston Banditos. The Banditos have teams competing in both the 9u and 11u tournaments, and are among the elite organizations in the country. According to the Perfect Game’s Drake Browne’s most recent Organization of the Year standings, the Banditos are first in the nation.
The Banditos have produced a magnitude of college and professional ballplayers, and do so by targeting players at a young age and making sure they are developed properly. Ray DeLeon of the Banditos attributes their success to this philosophy, saying, “It all starts with good coaches and good people, and you have to believe in your system. Our system is that we start with our youth programs, and we build it up to the point where 90 percent of our older teams come from our youth programs.” While still many years away, the next great Banditos players will likely be playing this week in Nashville, and the other teams should be wary.
In the 9u tournament, the Indiana Nitro and Dirtbags are both solid programs that succeed in developing young players, so they should pose a threat to any team. The East Cobb Astros and Indiana Baseball Club should also be very competitive in the 11u tournament.
While some teams have players that are more developed and ready to compete at such a young age, the important thing to remember in tournaments with such young players is that having fun should be the focus. Being able to compete for a National Championship at such a young age will help their development, but since every player involved is so far away from what his future holds, the best part of the Super25 series for these age groups is how it brings kids together from across the country to compete and have fun playing America’s national pastime.
This week will be full of competitive baseball and kids from around the country having a great time, an opportunity the Super25 series affords them.