The 13u and 14u teams from the South played in the Super25 Super Regionals for their region this weekend, and in doing so received their second opportunity to make it to the Perfect Game Super25 National Championship.
The new Super25 Tournament Series presented by Perfect Game is designed to give the best amateur teams across the country an opportunity to compete against one another so a true champion can be crowned. The winners from Regionals earn the right to compete in the national championship, but because there are so many talented teams in the country, the Super Regionals give teams that did not win their Regions a second chance.
This opportunity is especially important in the South, because there are so many talented teams in states like Texas and Tennessee that have multiple teams that are just as talented as the team that won their regional. That talent was on display this weekend, as the 13u and 14u South Super Regional were highly competitive and boasted supremely talented young ballplayers.
Impressive young pitchers highlighted the weekend, as players displayed premium velocity for their age groups that project to promising futures.
The 13u age group was full of exciting moments, highlighted by 918 Baseball outfielder Brad Page, who hit an inside the park home run. While that was a thrilling moment on offense, pitching highlighted most of the tournament.
The Dallas Mustangs Sharp from the 13u level had two hurlers throwing in the high-70s from the class of 2019. Right-hander Will Morgan was clocked at 79, while Blake Marsh reached as high as 77 coming from the left side. Both stand at 5’11” and roughly 155 pounds, leaving plenty of room for both to fill out and grow so they can maximize the velocity of their already gifted arms.
The Dallas Tigers – Hernandez and 13u Banditos Black were the class of the 13u age group, with the Tigers pulling of the Super Regional championship. Both teams went undefeated heading into the title game with the expectation to win, and after it was over, both teams showed themselves worthy of a national championship berth.
While the Tigers won, it was a close 7-6 affair, and the game could have gone either way. Still, playing through the Super Regional format has undoubtedly left the Tigers a stronger club, helping them prepare for the national competition when the time comes.
The pitchers in the 14u age group exhibited more advanced arms, as the young pitchers have started to fill out and display premium velocity and projectability.
The pitcher who stood out the most for his future potential was Jake Lecroy for the Tennessee Knights. Lecroy, a native of Kennesaw, Georgia, is already built like a grown man. He stands at 6’7” and 235 pounds despite just being 14 years old. His future should be bright, as his velocity should continue to increase over the next few years, and its possible he is still growing.
Lecroy was far from the only impressive arm in the 14u tournament, however, as the 14u Banditos Black were stocked with arms that led the team to the Super Regional Championship. Nicholas Northcut, from Baton Rouge, Lousiana, stands at a sturdy 6’0”, 185 pounds and recorded the highest velocity of the weekend, touching 86. His teammates weren’t far behind, as left-hander Thomas Burbank and righty Leonel Perez were timed at 85 and 84, respectively.
The Tennessee Knights and Banditos Black went at it in a back and forth semifinal battle. In the end, the Banditos were able to overcome an early opposite field home run by Knight John Dyer and make it to the championship game.
Northcut threw a gem for the Banditos in the championship game against Team Rawlings Moulton. Team Rawlings put on an offensive exhibition throughout the tournament, highlighted by performances from Kade Self and Justin Childers, but they were no match for Northcut in the championship.
Northcut pitched a complete game, allowing 11 hits but just one walk in seven innings in the Banditos 2-1 victory. He was able to overcome multi-hit efforts from Rawlings hitters David Hester, Diego Muniz and Trey Erwin as he battled his way to victory. After Team Rawlings scored a run early, the Banditos were able to put together a rally in the 4th to score their only two runs of the ballgame, which was all Northcut needed.
The South Super Regionals have given both the 14u Banditos Black and the Dallas Tigers – Hernandez a second life in the Super25 series, and having to play more games and greater competition could give both teams an edge once they start competing nationally.