Ga. — The road to the title game at the PG/WWBA 18u National
Championship just got much more difficult.
Cobb Braves 17u, who entered play Tuesday with a 3-0-2 record,
rallied with back-to-back convincing wins — 12-8 over Team Colorado
and 12-0 vs. Fungo Red Sox — to win Pool E and advance to the
put ourselves behind the eight ball by tying a couple games,” Head
Coach Kevin Baldwin said. “We had to win the last two games and we
did what we had to do to get in. So we’ll see what happens from
the Braves’ early hiccups, there’s no doubt they’re one of the
most talented teams in Marietta, Ga. this week. Their tournament
roster includes 12 players who attended the National Showcase last
month in Minneapolis, more than any other team.
those include: Outfielder Josh Hart (2013, Parkview HS, Ga.), who is
10-for-23 (.435) with eight runs, a double and a stolen base; first
baseman Nathaniel Maggio (2013, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS, Ga.),
9-for-19 (.474) with 10 runs, 10 RBI, a double, two home runs and a
stolen base; outfielder Skye Overton (2013, Johns Creek HS, Ga.), who
is 10-for-19 (.526) with eight runs, seven RBI, a double and four
player CJ Brazil (2013, Blessed Trinity Catholic HS, Ga.) has only
played in three games but has two homers and two stolen bases.
handed pitcher Duane Underwood (2012, Pope HS, Ga.) — who’s been
clocked in the upper-90s on the mound at PG events— hit a home run
in the Braves’ second game of the tournament, a 12-0 win. He was at
Wrigley Field in Chicago the next morning, however, presumably to
sign a contact with the Cubs, who selected him in the second round of
last month’s draft.
then there’s Travis Demeritte (2013, Winder Barrow HS, Ga.), a
third baseman and right handed pitcher who bats third in the Braves’
lineup. Demeritte — who’s already committed to South Carolina —
ran a 6.87 and threw 89 mph from the outfield at the National
Showcase. On Monday, he struck out two on the mound in a scoreless
inning, touching 91 mph.
has been to 20 Perfect Game events, and he’s enjoyed the
experiences and opportunities they’ve provided him.
(event) I’ve been to, I’ve had a great time,” he said. “It’s
good to meet new people and the competition is always great. I love
playing competitive baseball, that’s why I play.”
though the Braves have a star-studded lineup — they lead all 192
tournament teams with 75 runs scored in pool play — they’re approaching this
tournament with a team-first mentality. When asked about his
impressive hitting display in the tournament thus far, Maggio — who
mentioned Kentucky and Georgia Tech as possible schools for him to
attend next fall — turned the attention to his teammates.
whole team is in a groove at the right time, one through nine,” he
said. “This is a big tournament so we’re just trying to play
well. We’re here to win this, even though we’re a 17u team. This
is one of the biggest tournaments and it’s at our park, so we want
to represent East Cobb well.”
Braves will begin their quest for the national championship Wednesday
night, 7:00 at the East Cobb Complex with Demeritte on the mound.
haven’t accomplished anything yet,” Coach Baldwin said. “We’re
swinging the bats pretty well. If we throw strikes and give ourselves
a chance without making any errors, we have a chance.”
Braves won’t be satisfied without a National Championship this
week, and they’re having a ball in their pursuit of it.
WWBA (tournament) we participate in is great,” Coach Baldwin said.
“There are plenty of scouts and college coaches out to see the kids
play, so it’s great experience and great exposure for the kids.
We’re going into the playoffs tonight and we’ll see what
asked what they might do if they win the tournament, Maggio smiled
wide and replied, “Dog pile. Dog pile, for sure.”
dog pile,” Demeritte added. “But we have to get there first. If we
keep the bats rolling, hopefully we’ll end up there.”