The Arizona Venom Baseball Academy Royal 13U smashed opponents at the recent USSSA Winter Nationals by going 6-0 and outscoring foes 62 to 12 overall. This was Venom’s third USSSA tournament championship in the fall/winter season. Manager Jon Williams’ squad has now won back to back titles, its previous triumph coming at the Winter Blast Qualifier last month.
The Venom were one of nine total teams in the 13Major division, all of which hailing from the host state. Teams were required to play a four-game round robin pool schedule that spanned two days. Then based on overall record and average runs allowed per game the teams were seeded one through nine. The top four advanced to a 13U Majors Bracket which was a single elimination semifinal stage. After two rounds, a winner would be crowned champion.
The AZ Venom BBA Royal began its slate versus Velocity Baseball Academy, a team that Youth1 has previously covered. Velocity came into the game with an outstanding record of 12-2-1, but could not match up with the eventual champs. Brandon Ornelas Velazquez pitched a complete game 7 innings for AZ Venom Royal and held Velocity to just one run – while he saw his team plate five. The second game of the day was a blowout – a 12-0 trouncing of AZ T-Rex Easton Blue. This run rule shortened game allowed Williams to use just one arm, Andrew Bailan, for 4 innings.
The second day of pool play was more of the same. In the first matchup AZ Venom shutout the AZ Kings 13U, 8-0. Pitcher Jake Sanko threw all 5 innings for the winning side who had a run differential of +24 through three games. The final tilt of pool play for Venom BBA came versus Swarm Baseball 13u Black who was 0-3 through the first portion of the tournament. The score would reflect this mismatch as Venom won via mercy rule, 12-2. Again a lone pitcher was able to handle all mound duties – Jacob Williams for 5 frames.
At the conclusion of pool play, AZ Venom BBA Royal earned the No.1 overall seed. The other undefeated team, Scottsdale Dirtbags 13U Black, was second based on a greater average runs allowed metric (2.5 vs. .75). The other two teams to crack the final bracket was T-Rex Easton Blue and Velocity BBA.
In a rematch of the opening game of the tournament AZ Venom squared off against Velocity BBA. This time around the margin of victory was even greater – 12 runs. This was another run rule shortened game as Cristian Mogen pitched all 4 innings. In the other half of the bracket the Dirtbags took care of AZ T-Rex Blue 9-1 to set up both undefeated teams for a championship clash.
In the end, AZ Venom had too much offense for the Dirtbags as they plated 15 runs while surrendering just 8 to complete an outstanding tournament run. The Dirtbags were denied a fourth consecutive USSSA tournament title.
The Venom now boast a terrific 23-6 overall record, including an 18-5 mark In Class. They’ll be back in action this weekend at another sold out Winter Classic in Arizona (as will the Dirtbags). In the first round they are set to take on Mound Magic Baseball and the AZ Grizzlies Teal – both 13Major squads.
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