By Colby Edds
KINGSPORT, TN – Summer heat was wide spread throughout the Tri Cities this past weekend as NET Elite hosted its Appalachian Showcase. 61 teams from 9 different states made their way to the Appalachian Mountains in East Tennessee for a chance to play at some of the nicest ball parks in the state and to face some of the best competition from all around country!
The 14u division displayed a collection of tight games throughout the weekend. One of the most notable was a "battle of the Titans" as the Tri Cities Titans showed the hometown fans some appreciation by grinding out a 1 run win vs Titans Baseball Club (9-8). The 14u division produced 2 teams with a 4-0 record after pool play: Cross Hit and Knox Sox. To finish out the bracket, Raiders and SBA Canes finished 3-1 and 2-2 respectively and found themselves as the #3 and #4 seeds. Raiders came out firing in the opening round on Sunday and got out of reach of Knox Sox early then cruised to a 10-2 victory, while Cross Hit took care of business against the SBA Canes. TVA Credit Union Ball Park served as the venue for the 14u championship game and the Raiders, while playing a solid game in all facets, were not able to match the fire power that Cross Hit brought to the table to win it 5-2.
The 15u division had some exciting action all weekend had 3 teams coming out of bracket play 4-0: Colonels Baseball, Triple Crown Grey, and At The Yard. Southern Athletics also finished undefeated but only at 3-0 (one of which in a perfect game fashion vs Jeff County Patriots 1-0) due to a 2-2 tie with the Kane County Cougars on Friday morning to finish out the top 4 for the bracket play which was held at Thomas Stadium (ETSU). The Southern Athletics kept their momentum going to take down the #1 seed Colonels Baseball 7-5 and At The Yard blanked Triple Crown Grey 2-0 to advance as well. Then Southern Athletics proved to have the edge once again and took down At The Yard 6-4 to take home the 15u Appy Showcase 15u Championship.
The 16u division got going a little early beginning their pool play on Thursday night and continuing all the way through Saturday night. In our final game of the night on Thursday, at J Fred Johnson Stadium, we saw an excellent ball game between two solid teams: Knoxville Stars Orange and Kane County Elite. Kane County did not let nearly a half days worth of travel leave them jet lagged on the diamond, though, as they maneuvered their way to a 3-1 victory. All Out Baseball (AOB), Ozone Warriors, and Knoxville Stars Blue all flourished at 4-0in pool play then RBI Red Stitch was the lone 3-1 team to make it due to tie breaking system. Ozone Warriors handled the Knoxville Stars in the first game of the bracket, which was held at Pioneer Park. Then RBI Red Stitch became the 2nd #4 seed to take down a #1 seed as they defeated AOB 8-2. However, their luck would soon run out as the Ozone Warriors took the championship in a hard fought 5-4 win over Red Stitch.
Competition was fierce in the 17/18u division. So much so, that there was not a single team to finish bracket play undefeated. While there was a plethora of 3-1 teams, only the Knoxville Stars Blue, Kane County Elite, Miami Valley Prospects, and RBI Tri Cities Red were the ones to advance because of the tie breaker. In the first round match-ups there was a battle of 2 Midwest teams as the Miami Valley Prospects (OH) were able to beat Kane County (IL) 10-2. Then RBI Tri Cities Red became the 3rd #4 seed of the tournament to take down a #1 seed as they won 8-3 over the Knoxville Stars. Finally, in the championship game, held at Hunter Wright Stadium, RBI Tri Cities Red was able to come out hot and never looked back as they won 8-1 over the Prospects.
Congratulations to all of our champions once again! And we would like to thank everyone who participated in making this a truly awesome Appalachian Showcase tournament! We hope to see yo next year!
Some of the top times and speeds from the past weekend:
Best Fastball Velocity:
93 MPH- Spencer Strider, Knoxville Stars Blue 17/18u
84 MPH- Tucker Daniel, Ozone Warriors 16u
78 MPH- Ross Pendegrass, Colonels 15u
72 MPH- Z. Pomder, East TN Crusaders 14u
Best Catchers Pop Time
2.04 Dawson Huckabey, West Ouchita 17/18u
2.01 Nathan Kirk, RBI Red Stitch 16u
2.20 Joe Slavo, Southern Athletics 15u
2.41 Cam Kennedy, Phoenix Elite 14u
Best Home to First times
4.10 Austin Tidwell, West Ouchita 17/18u
4.14 Zane Jessee, Diamond Simcox Blue 16u
4.22 Nick Vicindia, Triple Crown 15u
4.19 C. Woley, East TN Crusaders 14u