The Crawdads by YETI Baseball Club 13U team (pictured above) captured the crown at this past weekend’s DFW Fall Super NIT in Texas to win its third USSSA tournament in less than a month. The Crawdads are 15-0 overall, including 6-0 In Class. At the Super NIT tournament which concluded Sunday, manager Josh Sanders’ team was 6-0 over two the days and they outscored opponents 58-9. Along with this trophy, the Crawdads brought home two qualifier triumphs at the Line Drive Classic and Go Yard Slugfest in October.
This event was one of the keystone tournaments in the 13-Major division in the fall. It attracted 25 teams – all of which carried Major designations except one (Texas Momentum Baseball). The squads were all placed into one large pool and were randomly selected two opponents to play during the first round of competition. Based on record and average runs allowed every team was seeded then placed into a single elimination bracket. In one day, the teams would play for a prestigious title.
The Crawdads took on Team Xtreme to begin their schedule – a battle of two Texas-based Major teams. Sanders’ team edged out Xtreme 4-2 after three solid innings from Lane Arroyos and a single frame from Julius Ramirez on the mound. They would follow that up with a mercy rule victory (11-1) over the Arlington Spartans- Schutte. Michael Caputo started and went the distance (4 IP) for the winning side.
Believe it or not the Crawdads were seeded fifth despite being 2-0 and allowing three total runs through two games. There were four teams who also went unbeaten and a better tiebreaker metric: Spitfire Elite- Pizarro (No.1 on the latest 13U Power Rankings), Texas Raiders, Dallas Texans- Nalley and the Texas Bombers East.
The Crawdads were able to avoid playing in a first round game which meant they would have had to win five games in one day to win the title. Instead they took on the Dallas Raiders- Kelley who were coming off a 10-0 trouncing of their opponent. Momentum didn’t carry the Raiders past the Crawdads as the favorites won going away, 9-2. Also, Sanders was able to use just one pitcher in this contest, Joshua Atomanczyk for five innings – a big advantage for a team looking to make a deep run. More of the same continued in the quarterfinals for the Crawdads as they completed a lopsided victory over Academy Select Thompson 13-4. They again only needed to use one arm, James Gatlin, for four innings.
You would think their semifinal opponent, STIX Black from Grapevine, Texas, would pose as a stiff test, but that did not turn out to be the case. The YETI Baseball Club shut them out 7-0 behind the arms of Reagan Chomel and Vinny Cano. The title game was icing on the cake for the No.5 seeds. They took on the third seeded Dallas Texans-Nalley who was 5-0 to that point.
Clearly seeding didn’t play much of a factor into this result, as the higher seeded Crawdads won 14-0 and actually mercy-ruled the Texans. Orlando Gonzalez recorded the win and shutout on the mound, completing all four innings.
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