The 2015 AAU Baseball Grand Nationals pitted the best against the best for a jam packed two weeks of exciting baseball. Every game was a battle but win or lose, the kids kept smiles on their faces and enjoyed the game they love to play at a place “where every day is game day” – ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Week 1: 9U, 10U, Showcase
The week kicked-off with a spectacular Opening Ceremonies inside Champion Stadium on Sunday, June 14. Between the Parade of Athletes, Mickey Mouse and Speed Painter Salvador, you couldn’t beat the excitement. The torch was lit by Parkland Pokers’ Anthony Birrittieri. After a remarkable fireworks show, Week 1 had officially begun! See all pictures from Opening Ceremonies HERE.
Right off the bat, eventual 9U champions New Tampa Predators Elite made a statement, winning their Monday games with convincing 12-2 and 13-3 scores. They continued in the same fashion throughout the week, outscoring their opponents by 10 or more five more times. The championship game had them facing their toughest opponent during the week: Oakleaf Knights Gold who had put the pressure on them the day before, with Tampa only winning 3-2. But, the Predators remained undefeated and pulled out a 12-7 victory to take home the gold medals, 1st place trophy and National Champion rings.
Another undefeated team was the 10U Diamond Champions, Central Florida Wolverines – Mahler. Their road to victory had them completely shutting out two opponents 12-0 and winning two others 12-1 and 11-1. The championship game found them pitted against another undefeated team, GBSA Rays, who had also shut out two opponents and won two other 12-2 and 16-1. They proved to be perfect matches for one another as they finished neck and neck, the Wolverines taking the victory 8-7.
Team Wicked, the #1 AAU Baseball Team in Texas, faced a slow start to the week, going 0-3 on the first two days. But, they quickly found their niche as they breezed through the rest of the competition, only dropping one more game and finishing the week 6-4. Their championship game against Central Florida Pride was their best yet, finishing strong on a 10-0 victory in the 10U Gold Division.
The Carrollwood Gators also fell victim to a slow star during the showcase tournament. Yet, after dropping a devastating 1-2 first game, they bounced back winning five in a row to cruise to the championship game against Orlando Assault. The #9 team in the country brought home the title with a 4-0 victory after a long weather delay.
During the week, the Homerun Derby capped off the Skills Showcase, with Orlando Baseball Academy’s Jacob Southern taking first.
Check out ALL of the Action photos HERE and Awards photos HERE from Week 1!
See a quick recap video HERE.
Week 2: 11U, 12U, 13U
Similar to Week 1, the Opening Ceremonies kicked off another whirlwind week of baseball with lots of dancing, singing and honoring the athletes. Since it was also Father’s Day, the entire tournament gave a shout-out to all of their fathers in the audience or back home. Another special appearance by Mickey Mouse and Salvador entertained the crowd. After Jackson Maynor of the Cabarrus Bombers lit the torch and the fireworks sounded off, Week 2 was in the works! Find ALL of the Opening Ceremonies photos HERE!
Central Florida Wolverines are back again, this time with their 11U team in the Diamond Division. Their road to the championship was met with only one bump, a 1-9 loss to the Southshore Rockets. They would then face the same team in the championship game. This time, they toughed it out for a 3-2 win and an automatic bid to the National Youth Baseball Championships in New York!
The Clubhouse faced three tough games out of the gate and were placed in the 11U Gold Division, but that didn’t stop them from putting up a good fight the rest of the tournament. They finished strong with three wins to clinch the title against PG Select Bluesox, who they had previously lost to earlier in the week.
The road to the championship for the Collier Tigers was a little bumpy, dropping 3 games, 2 of which came at a crucial point mid-week. The Tigers then fought back hard to claim the 12U Diamond Division title and an automatic, all-expense paid bid to the Youth Baseball Network National Championship in Branson, Missouri. The runner-up, So Cal Force, also earned an automatic bid to the National Youth Baseball Championships in New York.
The most impressive championship score came from 12U Gold winner Mid-Georgia Warriors, winning 18-0 against a team that they had lost to previously. They had also shut out one other opponent earlier in the tournament and finished the week with a 6-2 record.
The Parkland Pokers Blue earned their victory in the 13U Diamond Division against Parkland Pokers after a long weather delay AND extra innings. A hard fought game and a hard fought tournament for the Parkland Pokers Blue ended on a high note as they got to raise their National Championship trophy and put on their gold medals and rings.
Last but certainly not least, Ocala Venom took home 1st place in the 13U Gold Division against the Home Plate Chili Dogs. After winning their last five games, Venom was on a hunt for gold and proved worthy of the title as well as showing their patience after a late start to their final in Champion Stadium due to weather.
See all of Action photos HERE and Awards photos HERE from Week 2!
Thanks to EVERYONE for another great tournament and for helping to make the 2015 AAU Baseball Grand Nationals another huge success. We hope to see you back next year!
Again, CONGRATULATIONS to the Champions:
9U – New Tampa Predators Elite
10U Diamond – Central Florida Wolverines – Mahler
10U Gold – Team Wicked
Showcase – Carrollwood Gators Orange
11U Diamond – Central Florida Wolverines – Hoyle
11U Gold – The Clubhouse
12U Diamond – Collier Tigers
12U Gold – Mid-Georgia Warriors
13U Diamond – Parkland Pokers Blue
13U Gold – Ocala Venom
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