The Louisiana Knights-Lafayette 14U (pictured above) emerged from a 25-team Major division victorious this past weekend at the South Texas Select30 Super NIT. This was the Knights’ third-consecutive USSSA tournament championship, the most recent two coming in back to back months. Manager Caleb Adams’ club is now 15-4 overall, including 7-4 In Class.
The South Texas Select30 Super NIT attracted 397 teams and spanned 23 age divisions and classifications. Competition was sprawling across the lone star state, with the 14-Major division playing at the Baseball USA complex in Houston. Every team but three were from the host state – the others hailing from nearby Louisiana: Louisiana Tigers Gold, Warriors-Blue, and the eventual champs, Louisiana Knights. The format was consistent with other USSSA events – a two game pool schedule followed by single elimination. The top 15 teams after pool play earned a spot in the Championship bracket while the other 10 were relegated to the Consolation No Berth Bracket.
The Knights began its schedule versus the AAA Expos Baseball from Angleton, Texas. The Expos really pushed the favorites and were narrowly defeated, 2-1. The Knights used three pitchers to ensure victory: Tyson LeBlanc (2.2 IP), Cale Comeaux 1.1 IP and Hunter Willis for one frame. Getting off to a fast start is important in any tournament, especially a Super NIT jammed into two days of action.
The second game on Saturday was another matchup against a AAA team, this time the Katy Screaming Eagles. This game unfolded a bit differently than the first as the Knights plated 7 runs and predominantly used one pitcher (Tanner Brinkman) for four innings. This 2-0 started and the average runs allowed figure of 2.5 all amounted to the fifth overall seed for the Knights.
There were six 2-0 teams and four of them were seeded higher: YETI Baseball Club Crawdads, SA Kings 14U Martinez and Dallas Tigers- Burgos. In single elimination play, the Knights squared off against Marucci Elite Texas- Rodriguez in the first round who was the 12th seed with a 1-1 record, but an identical 2.50 runs against. That didn’t end up being a factor as the Knights blew out Marucci 12-0 in a mercy rule shortened game. Just one arm – Dylan Biddick – was needed to throw four innings for the victory.
In the quarterfinals, the Knights met an opponent they were likely not expecting – Canes Southwest 14U Solomon who upset the fourth seeded Banditos Elite team, 6-5. They also played the Knights close, but would fall by a single run this time, 5-4. Tyson LeBlanc started on the mound and pitched three innings for the winning side before giving way to Cale Comeaux and Dylan Biddick each for an inning.
This victory led the Knights into the semifinals against the top-seeded YETI Crawdads. On the other side of the bracket the Dallas Tigers and SA Kings were set to play for a berth in the finals. The Knights silenced the YETI bats thanks to a group effort. Hunter Willis went three innings, Bryce Leonard pitched two and Cale Comeaux pitched one in his third appearance of the tournament to shut out the top seeds.
The Knights would go on to face the SA Kings in the finals who were the second seeds and up to that point 5-0. The Knights would go on to win 8-3 as Cale Comeaux was 3-for-4 at the plate with three doubles. Willis started on the mound and led his team to victory as several Knights recorded to hits apiece: Brooks, Leonard, Bradencazes and Biddick.
The Knights outscored opponents 40-12 overall and went 6-0 throughout two days of competition.
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