EBC Gold 12U (pictured above) from Amory, Mississippi, rode its stellar pitching and defense this past weekend to a tournament title at the Early Bird Global World Series Qualifier in Southaven. Manager Jamie Rock’s club surrendered just four total runs in as many games throughout two days of competition where they went 4-0 and outscored opponents by 24 runs overall.
The Qualifier event attracted over 100 total teams, but the competitive 12-Major division featured just seven: from either Tennessee or Mississippi. After a two game pool play round, every team qualified for a single elimination bracket phase which would ultimately crown a champion.
EBC Gold began its schedule versus the Memphis Tigers 12U White who entered with a sub-.500 overall record. EBC solidly defeated the Tigers 9-1 as Tristan Hendrix pitched three innings followed by one each from Jason Rock and Braden Maranto. The second and final game of the day was a matchup against the AAA Sandlot Legends. The underdog Legends were unable to scratch across a run against the team defense of EBC Gold and the pitching of Cooper Waddle (3 IP) and Daniel Whitfield (2 IP).
At the end of round one, EBC Gold earned first overall seed heading into the most important portion of the event. The only other unbeaten team at that point was the Yalobusha Giants- Doty.
By virtue of their top seed, EBC received a first round bye in elimination play. This was a huge advantage as it meant they would only need to win two games the second day of competition to ensure a title, rather than three. It also meant that Rock could save some arms and not have to reach too far into his pitching depth.
In the semifinals they took on the Dulins Dodgers who defeated another Yalobusha Giants team 6-2 in the first round. The Dodgers, from Eads, Tennessee, put up a real fight against the EBC Gold. They plated three runs against the duo of Caden Prestage (4 IP) and Tristan Hendrix (1 IP). Nevertheless the top seeds prevailed 4-3, and were set for a game against the Memphis Travelers- Woodall who upset the Giants 8-2.
The Travelers’ (16-9 overall) magic ran out in the title game as they were trounced 10-0 by the eventual champs. The game ended after four innings and a spectacular 4 at that from starter Jack Howell. This was EBC Gold’s first USSSA tournament title in four tries dating back to last fall ball season. In two 2019 tournaments the boys from Amory now have a 5-1 overall record.
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