The Angels 13-Major, (pictured above) out of Florida Baseball Heaven in Lakeland, won the first USSSA tournament they entered in 2019 this past weekend at the President’s Day Classic Select30 Super NIT. Manager Mark Persails’ club went 6-0 over three days of competition and outscored opponents by a 59-20 margin.
The Angels previous USSSA tournament experience came in a comparable tournament last November – the Thanksgiving Select30 Super NIT. There they went 4-0-1 and hoisted the trophy at the end of the weekend. This time around 14 total teams entered the 13-Major 60/90 division and all but two squads carried major designation.
In the pool play round, the Angels began its two-game schedule versus the PBA Diamonds (Major) who now own an outstanding 33-10 record. The Angels were tested, but prevailed 7-5 behind two innings on the mound each from Adan Longoria, Branson Ashley and Maddix Simpson. In the second game of the day, Persails’ club received a bit of a break in the fact that they were matched up against a AAA team, 5 Star Schlosser. They predictably routed 5-Star, 14-5 and used a collection of four pitchers as to not tax any one arm. Rhett Vaughn led the way with two innings pitched followed by Derek Henry (1.1 IP), Cooper Pitman (1 IP) and Anthony Palastrini (.2 IP).
This 2-0 record and average runs allowed (3.5) landed the Angels the third overall seed heading into single elimination bracket pay. The Elite Squad and 5 Star National had better tiebreaking metrics and were awarded the top two spots.
The way the seeding shook out, the Angels had a rematch with 5 Star Schlosser in the first round. This time around the result was even more lopsided – 10-0 in favor of the favorites. Rhett Vaughn pitched four innings before giving way to Kamden Scobey for one frame. In the quarterfinals, and their fourth game in two days, the Angels met the formidable Kangaroo Court Roos program. The Roos had just taken down the Parkland Pokers 8-6 and saw the reverse happen to them. The Angels came away on top by that identical score to hand the Roos their fourth loss in 22 games on the season. Adan Longoria was outstanding on the hill as he threw six complete innings.
The third and final day of the Super NIT began with the semifinal matchups: MVP Elite vs. Angels and Next Level Prospects against the Elite Squad. MVP Elite is a renowned southern Florida squad who took down the second-seeded 5 Star National 9-5 in the round prior. The Angels got past them 7-2 and the player of the game was pitcher Branson Ashley. The righty held down the potent MVP Elite offense to lead his team into a title game tilt against the top seeds, Elite Squad from West Palm Beach.
The Angels’ bats did the heavy lifting in this game as they plated 12 runs while only surrendering 5 to cap a wonderful tournament run. This victory boosted the Angels’ record to 13-1-1 overall.
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