Rainy Week that Wasn’t
Well we tried to get some baseball in this week but the weather wouldn’t cooperate until Saturday but we did have a few moments worth mentioning. There will not be a player of the week due to the rain and the fact I didn’t scan the books yesterday with the rain coming in for the last game.
What about those Yankees? I bragged about this team’s defensive communication and play last week but I had no idea they were undefeated! Now I find out they beat a very good Angels team yesterday to become the ONLY undefeated team in the league. What a wonderful turnaround for a team that took its lumps last year. I did hear Mr. Kropf jacked one out of the park so congrats to him and his team on a nice win yesterday.
Funny Moment of the Day
Since Mall Cop 2 came out this past Friday I had to add this little side note to the list today. The game between the Red Sox and the Reds had a little humor when the Red Sox Ryan Sir hit a nice ball to right field. He rounded first and sprinted to second and made a beautiful slide. The only problem was he was about 8 inches too short and had to scoot on his rear the rest of the way to the base. I couldn’t help thinking about the Mall Cop movie preview when I saw Ryan at second. There were many chuckles in the crowd. Nice hit and better slide Ryan. Loved it!
Clutch Hit of the Day
The best game of the day was the Dodgers versus the Reds. Both teams are at the top of the league with one loss and the game was as expected as it came down to the last batter in a tightly contested game. The Dodgers were behind one run and with two on base when Owen El-Shihini walked to the plate. El-Shishini hit a breaking ball into the right center field gap clearing the bases. He was sent home sliding into the catcher’s glove dislodging the ball from the mitt for an inside the park walk-off homerun to keep his team one game behind the Royals in the first half race. Nice hit Owen and nice game to both teams.
We lost some of our history when the previous year’s Around the Quad links were deleted from the web site with no chance to retrieve them. It was nice to be able to go back and read about the kids that came before the kids today like Brock Myers, Jalen Hurd, Mason Forbis, Matt Franklin and Alex Junior but now it is only in the memories of those that were there. With that in mind I decided to talk about one of our players from a few years back that was “the man” for two years (2007-2008) in the 11-12 division. This kid is still talked about to this day and when all-star voting rolls around each year his name is brought up when an eleven year old is in question as to if he should make the twelve year old team. This kid was a homerun waiting to happen with each swing of the bat and is in my opinion the only kid I have seen that could literally hit a homerun at will during batting practice. When he was eleven years old, the state tournament was in west Tennessee and the tournament host held an opening ceremony homerun derby. You had unlimited pitches and ten outs (an out was a ball that didn’t clear the 200 foot fence). He hit 27 homeruns. Remember he was eleven not twelve. Our champ this year hit four? The kid in question is Jay Rhoten. He was built like Caden Cutrell and ran like Kaleb Powell. He played center field for Joe Keef and the Rangers for two years and was a terror to every team he faced over that span. When he was twelve he was in the 2008 Dixie Youth World Series homerun derby but instead of telling you about his exploits I’ll give you a link to click on so you can see “the man” in action. He makes his debut on the video at the 2:55 mark. He didn’t win the derby that year but he put on one heck of a show in the first round. He was out of gas for the championship round due to having no rest in between his two rounds. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0RW8-tJBRw
His combination of size and power hasn’t been matched since.
That’s about all I have for this week. I hope you enjoy the video. He was a joy to watch for two years.
Until next week………………………….No rain please!
The Week that Was…..Around the Quad
Another week is in the books and we have a few things to review. We had some great defensive teamwork from the 9-10 Yankees, we had two no-hitters in the major league and we are down to one undefeated team in the major league.
What about those 9-10 Yankees? Last season they were, let’s say, not one of the best teams in the league. They were young and had to take their lumps before they got to enjoy the fruits of success. This season they are enjoying that long awaited success and one reason for the success from my point of view is how these young guys play team defense. I was able to watch the rained out game versus the Red Sox this past Wednesday and was impressed with how this team communicates on the field and is ready to help out where needed. One such occasion occurred on a slow roller between the first baseman and the pitcher. The pitcher, first baseman and the second baseman all converged on the ball with nobody covering first base. My first thought was the batter would be safe at first but my thoughts would prove false as the second baseman broke off from the grounder when he realized the pitcher and first baseman were going to get there first. He made his way to the first base bag and made the catch for the out. On the book it was a routine 1-4 force-out but it was far from that. Most times when this scenario occurs the runner is usually safe because nobody covers the bag. Not with this team and it is one reason why they are having the success they are enjoying. One other instance occurred on an errant throw to first that rolled past the first baseman. The ball went down the fence line towards the outfield creating an angle to second base with the left fielder. The left fielder played the situation perfectly by moving up creating a straight line between him and the throw to second. The ball was overthrown and the left fielder was there to quickly grab the ball in left field keeping the runner from advancing further. Nice Job!
Lastly I want to congratulate Mr. Nathan Horton on a great play this past Saturday. The Cardinals hit a scorcher of a grounder between the shortstop and second base. Horton raced to his left, dove for the ball with glove outstretched. Horton crashes chest first, to the ground with the ball safely in his glove, springs up and fires a strike to first for a bang-bang out. It was a pretty amazing play!
No-hitters are no easy feat in any league especially in Goodlettsville. We had two players accomplish the feat this week as Kannon Lewis and Logan Galbreth went the distance for their teams. Before the season began, I had Kannon Lewis penciled in with at least one no-hitter as he is, in my opinion, the cream of the proverbial pitching crop. So to see Kannon pitch a no-hitter was no surprise. The second was a total surprise. Before the season began, how many of us had Logan Galbreth on their pre-season lists as a player that would pitch for his team? I have to admit he wasn’t on my prospective pitching list for the Brewers but I have been impressed with the body of work Galbreth has put forth so far this season. I watched this one from behind the outfield fence and was oblivious to what was happening until MJ Trotter asked if a walk counted as a hit. We responded no and he said that Logan had a no-hitter going. The walk in question was actually the only blemish that kept him from achieving the elusive perfect game. Logan finished off the game with the no-hitter helping the Brewers claim victory. Great job Logan!
We are five games in and we are now down to one undefeated team. The Royals are the last team standing and really it’s no surprise. The Royals Kanon Lewis took care of the last undefeated team in the league on Thursday when he dispatched the Dodgers with his first no-hitter and when he has had the day off, his counterpart Kaleb Powell has picked up the slack. This 1-2 punch will most likely carry the Royals to a championship as they were the eleven year old all-star team’s top two pitchers. Nothing has changed since then and I doubt it will for the remainder of the season. The only question will be if any team can take down the great 1-2 punch along the way.
Player of the Week
You asked for it so here we go. Only players that had an avg. of .500 or better will be listed and there has to be at least two official at bats for the week to make the list. A 1-1 week won’t be listed.
Baseball is a game of failure. If a basketball player has a .350 free throw percentage he would get the hack-a-shaq treatment on the floor due to his dismal free throw shooting expertise. Same goes for a quarterback who has a 45% completion percentage. The team is looking for someone new but in baseball when you carry a .300 batting average you’re given a $100,000,000 contract for the next ten years. You’re a STUD. But that same batter makes seven outs every ten times he comes to the batter’s box. He fails more than he succeeds! In this article we will congratulate those players that had as much success then failure this week. We will begin with our .500 batters
Adam Urquhart- Adam Urquhart is a slick fielding utility player for the Reds. When I say utility I don’t say this with any disrespect, I mean Urquhart can play any position on the field which is a great asset to possess on any team. Urquhart had a solid week at the plate going 3-6 over the two game stretch helping the Reds win both games to stay in contention for the first half championship.
Cooper Pennington- Cooper is a newcomer to the league this season spending the last few years with the M.A.D.D. Mustangs, last season’s BPA 11u state champs. Pennington is another slick fielding utility player for the Reds playing second base while batting second. A 2-4 week put Pennington on the list and from what I’ve seen we’ll see more of Pennington in weeks to come.
Erion Jordan- Erion Jordan had a great week for the Reds collecting two hits in four tries. Jordan has been patrolling centerfield for the Reds the last few games, the same position he excelled at for the 9-10 Cubs. Aside from a good glove, Jordan has showed some pop in the bat lately helping the Reds stay in contention in the first half.
Cordell Griggs- Cordell Griggs will not awe you with flash and fireworks but he will impress you with his consistent all around play. Griggs had a great ten year old season for the Reds pitching the majority of their games while batting in the top of the order. He isn’t getting time on the mound or batting in the top of the Reds order but what he is doing is providing consistent offensive output game after game. Griggs has had one heck of a season to this point and it couldn’t happen to a better kid. This past week was just another ho hum 2-4 .500 week for Griggs and I won’t be surprised to see another next week.
Walker Sipe- Walker Sipe was a mainstay on the list last year. It’s been a slow start for Walker this season but his placement on the list this week suggests he may be getting close to hitting his stride. Sipe went 2-4 over the Red Sox two game stretch helping lead the Sox to a .500 finish for the week.
Jarrett Webb- Big bad Jarrett Webb got on track this week collecting two hits in four tries. One of his hits was a bomb over the left field fence off the Red Sox. Webb is as dangerous and powerful a hitter as we have in the league so when he walks to the plate opposing teams tread lightly. Webb will continue to be treated with respect as the season progresses as he can change a game with the one swing of the bat. Good luck coaches.
Ryan Oden- I raved about Ryan Oden a few weeks back when I mentioned the increase in speed I noticed from last season. Now I get to rave about his bat as Mr. Oden went 2-4 for the Braves. Oden is an all-around player who will continue to be an asset for the Braves as the season continues.
Devvan Darden- Devvan Darden has grown a ton since last year and the growth has benefitted him greatly. Darden was the Braves lead-off batter all season last year and is now batting in a position where he can drive in some runs. Darden has been consistent all season and continued that consistency this week going 2-4. I haven’t seen Darden overwhelmed in the box against any pitcher to date and it looks like I won’t. Keep it up Devvan!
Bradley Wheeler- I witnessed Bradley Wheeler’s first homerun last season in the pre-season all-star tournament at Music City baseball fields in South Nashville when Wheeler was the lead-off batter for the eleven year old all-star team. I had the unfortunate pleasure to see another bomb by Mr. Wheeler yesterday as he belted a two-run rocket for his team finishing off the day going 2-2. He finished the week 2-4. As I mentioned in the first week of the season, the kid is a beast in the box and it looks like he may be getting ready to go beast mode on the league in weeks to come. Nice job Bradley!
Jacob Smith- Jacob Smith is a hard hitting smooth fielding shortstop for the Dodgers. Smith had a great season last year and looks primed to have an even greater season this year going 2-4 for the week. The Dodgers are one of the premier teams in the league and Smith is one reason why they have their lofty status. Great team, great player.
Kanon Lewis- What else can I say about Kanon Lewis? Last season’s top eleven year old pitcher, the 9-10 batting champion who seemed to never make an out and now one of the top players in the twelve year old division. It is no surprise he finds himself on the player of the week list. All the accolades are well deserved for this young man and many more will follow. Keep grinding until the season ends Kannon. Don’t let up!
Peyton Carney- Carney has had the kind of growth spurt not seen since big Chad Cartwright walked these fields as a 5’10’’ 205lb behemoth. Peyton isn’t quite as large as Cartwright but his size and added power has come in handy so far this season. Carney was picked up by the Royals in the contraction draft and the Royals have made it pay dividends with an undefeated season to date. Carney was an impressive 3-6 this week and will most likely continue to put up numbers worthy of Player of the Week mentions as the season continues.
Blake Dolan- Hiding in the back of the Royals batting order is Blake Dolan. Dolan silently collected two hits in four tries this week which aided the Royals in their quest to be the last team standing undefeated. I have a feeling Dolan will begin to make his way up the order as the season continues if the bat stays hot. Keep it hot Blake, keep it hot.
Kaleb Powell- There isn’t a nicer kid in the league as Kaleb Powell. The only problem is he isn’t so nice when he walks on the field in the opposing role. He can punish you from the mound, from behind the plate or anywhere on the field for that matter and when he isn’t tormenting you on the defensive side he kills you with his blazing speed and powerful bat. His speed and power were on display this week as he went an impressive 3-5 keeping the Royals undefeated for the season. From what I have seen Kaleb has had the best start to the season of any player and it looks like he has no plans to slow down any time soon.. Nice job Kaleb.
Ty Reeves- The red machine has been on a roll all season long and a big reason has been Ty Reeves. Ty has been clutch for the Reds bailing his team out of some tough situations with huge hits when the team needed them most. Ty is a homerun waiting to happen and the Reds have been the beneficiary. Lead the way big man, lead the way.
Zach McWilliams- Zach had a slow start to the season but has since heated up with the spring weather. His latest game saw him rip a double up the middle that scored two runs and followed that up with a bomb over the center field fence for another two runs. For the week Zach went 3-4 which was the third best in the league among players that had at least two official at-bats. I expect to see more of the same in the coming weeks.
Caden Cutrell- Caden Cutrell was almost perfect this week collecting four hits in five tries which was good for the second best average for the week. Cutrell is another player that is always one swing away from going yard causing the opposing coaches to tread lightly with every at-bat. As the season progresses I believe we will see Cutrell on the list several more times. Great player, great kid.
Player of the Week
We are now down to the last player on the list. This player walked to the plate four times and was perfect every time collecting two hits while earning walks in the other two to bat an impressive 1.000.
Tanner Jones- Tanner Jones has made the transition to the major league level with flying colors on defense and on offense. The offensive production has been consistent each week and this week was no different as he stayed perfect batting in the three-hole for the Red Sox. Jones possesses speed and a solid line drive swing that translates well to the major level. Keep up the fine work Tanner!
That’s all I have for this week. One favor I have to ask. If you feel someone should have been on the list and wasn’t, please do not complain about it to our staff. They have enough to worry about each week than to have to cover why someone was left off this list. Hits and errors are totally the opinion of the person watching the play develop and one person’s hit is another’s error. Please keep that in mind and just have fun with the aticle.
Until next week……………….
The Week That Was...... Around the Quad
We are one more week deeper into the season and we now have two teams undefeated entering the second full week of the season. I mentioned in the first chapter that the Royals have arguably the best 1-2 pitching combination in the league in Kannon Lewis and Kaleb Powell and so far that statement is holding true as the Royals have gone 3-0 to start the season. Lewis is looking particularly strong winning two of the three games on the schedule. Powell has been a terror with the bat from the lead-off position showing off occasional power as he did versus the Red Sox with a first pitch first inning home-run and also flashing his blazing speed by coming oh so close to beating out a routine grounder to short later in the game.
The Dodgers are the other undefeated team and they too have done it on the mound with Luke Fleming coming within an inch of posting a complete game no-hitter. He had to settle for a twelve strike-out two-hit shutout instead. Not too shabby my friend. John Luke Simmons followed in Flemings' footsteps on Saturday with a thirteen strike-out gem. The Dodgers staff didn’t allow a single run for the week outscoring their opponents 10-0 to move to 3-0.
The Reds Ty Reeves was the hero for the Reds during the week bailing out his team with a last inning triple that cleared the bases giving his team a come from behind 5-4 victory. Ty has been hot of late and the Reds are benefitting quite nicely going 2-1 in the first three games.
Caleb Dyer has also looked strong for the Reds giving the Big Red Machine solid performances on the mound with a blistering fastball that most in the league have had a little trouble catching up to. The duo of Reeves and Dyer has been a good one for the Reds.
The Braves Devvan Darden has been a nightmare for opponents in the first three games of the season. Darden has belted two triples and a homerun for the Braves. Darden is another player that has had a serious growth spurt since last year which he has used to his advantage to start the season.
The Red Sox Ethan Choate had one heck of a game this past Tuesday belting a solo homerun and following it up with a screamer into left field that scored two runs giving him credit for a double after advancing to third on the throw home. Choate looks primed to have a solid season in Red Sox blue.
I haven’t had a chance to check out any minor league games to give any account on what is going on and who is the team to beat but I did hear that Mr. RJ Moore pitched a four inning no-hitter on Saturday until being relieved on the mound. I mentioned last week that if you wanted to see a good ten year old player play the game to check out the Angels Easton Dillard, RJ Moore fits this description as well. He is lightening in a bottle on the mound and blazing fast on the base paths. The ten year old group should have a nice run when the post season arrives in July with the talent assembled across the league in the division.
Until next week…………………………………
Opening Day! Around The Quad
Opening ceremonies is behind us and despite the cold weather the day was filled with highlights. First was the nice gesture from league President Dennis Birdwell and Vice Presidents John Robertson and Mike Kelly. Our league brass invited local Kroger manager Don Cox who is retiring this month to the park to be honored for 19 years of service to Krogers and our park in general. Over the years Mr. Cox has allowed countless all-star teams, at least fifty which were state champs, to stand in front of the Krogers building and collect money for tournament trips and expenses. Those fifty plus teams collected an estimated $80,000-$100,000 in that time. Never once did Mr. Cox ever turn a team away if they requested to have a fund raiser and he would try to come outside and chat with the parents and players from time to time when he had the time. The league presented Mr. Cox with a plaque recognizing his generosity and shadow box with a signed bat and ball from the 2012 Little League World Series United States Champion team. It was a small token of appreciation to someone who meant much more to the league over the years. Thank you again Mr. Cox!
I missed the opening round Friday night due to wimping out and heading home because it was “too cold” but I heard there were some bombs hit by the twelve year old group. Dylan Suter from the 11-12 Red Sox was credited with the longest blast that cleared the right center field fence and one hopped a car in the parking spaces across the street. I heard it was close, if not, longer than 300 feet! The player who ended the night with the first round lead was the Mariners’ Bryce Miller who belted 5 balls over the fence. Bryce has put in the time over the winter and it is beginning to show on the field. I am so happy to see him succeed. Big Ty Reeves finished in second place which was good enough to advance to the Saturday finals where he took over the lead with some mammoth car bashing drives to left center field. Reeves took home the crown as homerun derby champ and my guess is he is far from finished smashing cars this season. The kid is a man child and a nightmare to have to pitch to. Good luck coaches.
The 10 year old division was won by Easton Dillard. Dillard was impressive in the Friday semis and the Saturday finals displaying some serious bat speed and pop off the bat collecting oohs and ahhs from the crowd. The kid hits more line drives than high blasts which, is PERFECT, in my book but when he hits it just right, it sails a seriously long way. He has some wonderful batting mechanics. Try to catch some Angels games this year, Mr. Dillard won’t disappoint.
Saturday Observations in the Major League
Saturday was the first game of the season for the major league where the other age levels were playing shortened practice games. The Major division had some great moments on day one which I will try to highlight. This is from memory and I didn’t see everything so please keep that in mind.
Dodgers Look Impressive
Is it a surprise that the Dodgers looked good in game one? Not to me as this team has been one of the better teams for a few years now. This year’s version looks just as impressive as they routed a roster depleted Mariners team. Luke Fleming got the starting nod for the Dodgers and went one scoreless inning before giving way to Jacob Smith and Brooks Langston. The trio held the Mariners at bay allowing the Dodgers to claim a convincing win. The bats looked strong with Jacob Smith, Luke Fleming and Preston Driver leading the charge. Big lefty John Luke Simmons also had a strong day and looks more than ready to make the jump to the major level in the box and on the mound. Owen El-Shishini had the highlight of the game with an inside the park grand slam homerun down the third base line. It was questionable whether the ball was fair or foul on the opposing side of the bleachers but it counted and it was a great moment for a great kid. Nice job Owen!
11 Year Old Catchers
I noticed many eleven year old catchers on the field yesterday as at least four caught for their team. Tyler Robertson (Reds) Tanner Jones (Red Sox) Braden Kelly (Brewers) and Justin “I ain’t scared of nobody” Brown (Braves) got behind the plate and all of them looked good for their team. I was impressed by the size of Braden Kelly. Kelly has hit a growth spurt and looked comfortable in the game bringing back memories of big brother Dylan who played during the 2010-11 season and was regarded as the best of his age group. Braden has some big shoes to fill but it looks like he’s on the right path. The Reds Robertson made several nice blocks of errant throws keeping the Red Sox runners in place and Jones and Brown kept the ball in front of them during the game helping their teams claim victory.
The twelve year old catcher of note was Kaleb Powell. Powell was on the eleven year old all- star team but wasn’t used in that capacity due to his pitching prowess and the fear he may get injured hurting the teams rotation but he more than made up for it playing multiple positions. This season he is back behind the plate for the Royals and looked as good as ever. I will make this prediction, there won’t be any teams trying to take second while he is receiving pitches. The throw gets down in around 1.5-2.0 seconds from catch to throw to catch and I don’t think we have anyone that fast anywhere. He runs pretty well too I believe. ;-)
Speaking of growth, has everyone noticed how big Peyton Carney has gotten this year? Oh my goodness! The Royals got a steal in the draft with this pick! Carney used that growth to launch a pitch into the night sky on opening day giving him the early lead in the homerun department. My guess is he will hit many more as big and strong as he has gotten. Have a great season Peyton!
We had some great pitching performances on day one as the Braves got off to a good start with Tyler Preston, Ethan Jackson and Ryan Oden getting a big win. Preston had total command of his breaking ball keeping the big hitters for the Brewers off balance. Jackson came on in middle relief holding them at bay with Oden closing the door securing the win in a very competitive contest. The Braves are looking good behind the tutelage of long time Goodlettsville pitching coach Bill King with Jonathan Jackson at the helm.
Eric Mitchell: This young man is as hard a worker as you will find in the league. Never one to complain or loaf he is always 100% every day which is a coaches’ dream. His hard work over the winter paid off on day one as he took the mound for the Red Sox limiting a very talented Reds team to no runs on four hits while striking out 8. Mitchell learned the breaking ball over the winter and used it to keep some serious offensive talent at bay for six full innings. He won’t beat you with speed but he gets the job done anyway. Nice job Eric!
Caleb Dyer: Man has this kid turned it on in year two! I knew coming in to the season that Caleb Dyer would be pretty good this year as he got a lot of innings last year but holy cow was he electric yesterday! Dyer opened the game versus the Red Sox striking out the first seven batters. One bad inning kept him from earning a victory but from what I saw he will get many with that powerful fastball. Dyer is another hard worker and his hard work is paying dividends. Good job Caleb.
Bradley Wheeler: Kanon Lewis asked me if I was a Padres fan now while we were on the field lining up during opening ceremonies. I was a little confused until he said I called Bradley Wheeler a "beast" on last weeks’ article. I responded nope, I’m still 100% for my team but Wheeler “is” a beast.
After a slow start against the Royals in the nightcap, Wheeler shook off the rust and went to work holding a powerful Royals team at bay for the rest of the game striking out 11 batters in a 3-0 losing effort. Wheeler is better known for his “beastly” batting but on this day Mr. Lewis; he was a beast on the mound even though you guys won the game. Nice job Bradley.
Kanon Lewis: Speaking of Kanon Lewis, how about that fastball last night? That thing was lightning in a bottle from my vantage point and the breaking ball was pristine! When you can see the ball slightly rise as it makes it way to home plate you know you’re throwing gas and Lewis was definitely doing that. I mentioned this Royals team had arguably the best 1-2 pitching combination in the league and I wasn’t kidding. Wait until Kaleb Powell takes the mound on Tuesday night. It’ll be more of the same, electricity!
Ryan Oden: My last pitcher of the day is Ryan Oden. I caught a little of him on the mound for the Braves as we were warming up for our game and from my vantage point he has increased his velocity big time! I watched him extensively last year. He was one of the best in the minor league but wasn’t overpowering with his velocity. Yesterday I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I asked one of the other coaches out there with me if that was Oden on the mound which they replied yes and I was awestruck. Oden has definitely put in the time over the winter to improve his game and I believe it is going to pay dividends this year and next. If you want to make a run at something worthwhile during your twelve year old season this is what it takes to get there. Mr. Oden is making it happen! I hope more follow his lead.
That’s all I have for this week. I hope to keep this going for another season but we will have to see. I don’t think I will be doing a player of the week article this year due to circumstances out of my control which takes a huge burden off my shoulders with my personal time but I know disappoints many who use this as a way to keep up with grandchildren from out of state and locally.
Until next week…………………………..Hopefully
And So It begins…….Again 2015
The Major League is balanced
A new season is upon us as the wet, snowy, icy cold days of March are almost behind us with sights set on opening day March 31st. The new season springs forth high hopes for many coaches in the ultra-competitive 11-12 division based on “paper stats.” Without a pre-season tournament to gauge the competition we are left to speculate on what “might be” in the division. With that said, we move to the teams in question going over each as best as possible.
The Dodgers are the reigning 2014 11-12 Major League champions finishing the season with a sparkling 16-2 record. Gone are the likes of Ethan Lyle and Ryan Tressler but the cupboard is far from empty. The Dodgers were loaded up with eleven year olds last season and those 7 are all back and ready to rumble. The Dodgers placed four eleven year old players on the all-star teams as Jacob Smith (12), Luke Fleming, Preston Driver and Brooks Langston all went through the post season on either the twelve year old team or the eleven year old state championship team. Brown Norton, Owen El-Shishini and Ryan Raines round out the twelve year old cast with Jon Luke Simmons coming on board as the top eleven year old. Blake Lawless, Carson Cochran, Jarrett Frazier and Braden Griswell join Simmons on the eleven year old roster. This team has pitching depth and power in the box making them one of the favorites to take the title in 2015. This team is deep.
The Braves will be without Coby Allison and Tristan Merithew but return all-star Devvan Darden from the eleven year old team. Mitchell Church had a solid season for the Braves in 2014 as well as Nick Moss and Tyler Preston. The Braves picked up Ian Taylor, Jacob Sheley and Goose Cobaugh to round out the 12’s and added Ethan Jackson, Ryan Oden, Justin Brown, Jacob Davis and Levi LeMay in the draft. The roster looks solid and the wins should follow when the games begin.
The Brewers have one of the most powerful hitters in the league at their disposal in Caden Cutrell as the big righty has grown by leaps and bounds over the winter. In addition to Cutrell, the Brewers added MJ Trotter to the mix in the draft giving them a powerful 1-2 punch. Trotter reminds me of Alex Junior from the 2009 all-star season. Junior was a hard throwing lefty that threw the second perfect game in Dixie Youth World Series history against Mississippi. Memories of those days come rushing back after watching him throw a baseball. The kid has potential. The Brewers aren’t left with just Cutrell and Trotter at their disposal as Nathan Frontz, Logan Galbreth, Jackson Brown and Will Sansom round out the twelve year old group. The Brewers added eleven year olds Braden Kelly, Wyatt Clements, the ever growing Fisher Donovan, Andrew Hood, Tanner Redmon and Maurice Greer to round out the roster and with that, the Brewers are another team with high expectations entering the season and for good reason.
The Mariners were the Astros last season. I have to say the choice of team names was a good one if the expectations for the MLB Mariners trickle down to the Goodlettsville version which I think it will. The Mariners have one of my favorite players in the league in big bad Jarrett Webb. Webb will be one of the most dangerous power hitters in the league. Add Peyton Oliphant to the mix with Bryce Miller and Colton Cutrell and you have the makings of another dangerous team on the schedule. Miller has worked tirelessly in the offseason working on his craft and from the videos I’ve seen, the work is paying off. The Mariners cap off their twelve year old roster with Carter Flatt, speedster Jamison Wilbanks and newcomer Sam Wisner. The Mariners will most likely be the biggest and most intimidating team in the league as Mr. Webb will be joined in the lineup by huge eleven year old “Mt.” Zion Robb. Robb is one big dude! Brock Duffer (another big dude) will give the Mariners depth on the mound as well as in the box with a powerful bat. The roster is capped off with Nicholas Smith, Gerald Davis and Tyler Coombs. This is an exciting cast of players!
The Padres took a hit in the pre-season losing one of their top twelve year old players and weren’t allowed to fill the void putting them in the hole to start the season but with the likes of Bradley Wheeler, Mason Standefer, Matthew Sykes, Braden Edwards and my man, Zach LaLumondier providing twelve year old leadership, the Padres should be just fine. Wheeler is a beast by the way. The Padres added eleven year olds John Henry Knotts, Isiah “Boogie” Page, Harrison Cline, Jake Staton and Titus Suggs giving them a solid core of players to work with. Standefer will most likely be counted on to carry a larger role on the mound with Wheeler, Knotts, Page and Suggs backing him up. If the big righty comes through, the pain of losing a star player will be softened………some.
The Red Sox entered the season needing to replace 99% of their starting pitching as only Zach McWilliams had any innings (1) on the mound in the 2014 season. The twelve year old roster returns Eric Mitchell, Ethan Choate, Cam McClanahan and Walker Sipe with Dalton Warren and Dylan Suter joining the league this season with Zach McWilliams, Tyler Jones, Tanner Jones, Jackson Garrett, Kody Rabon and Jake Bell rounding out the roster as eleven year olds. The Red Sox story will be written on the mound as the pitching will be inexperienced. Zach McWilliams, the Jones twins, Tyler and Tanner, Eric Mitchell, Dylan Suter and Ethan Choate step to the mound in 2015. If all goes well in this area the Red Sox will contend if not……. they had fun. My guess is they will be fine and the Red Sox will be in the mix again this season.
The Reds were the Marlins last season and they may be the most intriguing team in the league. Three players returned from last season as big Ty Reeves leads the way with big gun Caleb Dyer and Erion Jordan providing leadership. The Reds added new crafty pitcher Cooper Pennington as well as Steve Simerka, Adam Urquhart and Hunter Hamilton. These additions make the Reds a certain contender as Urquhart and Pennington will provide pitching depth giving the reds four twelve year old arms entering the season. That is a good problem to have. Tyler Robertson, Jonathan “Cody” Mooney, Martin “The Smurf” Gomez, Andrew Gomez and Cordell Griggs join the team as eleven year olds with every player having plenty of skill to make this team a contender.
The Royals made a late season run in the second half scoring huge wins over the Dodgers and the Red Sox in back to back games but couldn’t hold on for the second half championship. Returning to make another run at the title are Kannon Lewis and Kaleb Powell, arguably the best 1-2 combination in the league at the plate and on the mound. Kayden Angell, Blake Brown Chandler Crowley, Jacob Patterson and Peyton Carney, who’s grown a ton, round out the twelve year old roster with JoJo Brown, Cody Craig, Blake Dolan, Bryson Merrill and ten year old Carsen “The Cannon” Rucker rounding out the list. The talent is deep on this team which will translate into wins on the field.
The list is finished with only the games remaining to be played. I usually pick a favorite but this season it is way too close to call. I can see as many as six teams with a legitimate shot to take the crown but every team realistically has an argument as to why they can win the league. It will not be a two or three team race this season which will make the league the strongest it’s been in many years.
Let the games begin!!