Updated Org. of the Year Standings
Published: Friday, June 27, 2014
The Perfect Game Super25 tournament series was launched with the mission of keeping baseball a “team sport” for decades to come. Heading into the home stretch of it’s Inaugural Season, travel ball clubs across the country have proven that this team aspect applies to all ages of the organization, not just a single squad.
The PG Super25 Organization of the Year award, which was announced in February, will be given to the club who succeeds at the highest level across all ages of the PG Super25. At the conclusion of the Super25 National Championships, the National Office will announce the list of five finalists for the award. All Super25 Regional Directors, full-time PG staff, and Perfect Game scouts will then cast a vote from the list of finalists to determine the winner.
The initial announcement included a list of 56 organizations to watch for the 2014 season. While many of these clubs are still in contention, a much smaller group of 13 have jumped ahead as the early frontrunners.
1. Banditos Baseball Club (Tomball, TX)
The Banditos were one of the preseason favorites for Organization of the Year, but their dominance in every age group has exceeded the already high expectations. The first ever Super25 berth went to the Banditos after winning the 16u Texas State Regional last November, and this was just the start. The club already has teams qualified for eight of the nine national championships, with hopes that their 11u team will complete the clean sweep.
In the first event of the Spring, the Banditos made a statement by claiming 5 of the 6 berths up for grabs at the 9u-14u South Texas Regionals. The 14u Banditos Black then went on to win the North Texas Regionals, and finished up with their third Super25 victory of the year at the South Super Regionals. They have yet to lose a single game, sitting at 13-0 in Super25 tournaments. After the High School season came to an end, it was time for the 15u-17u Banditos to take the stage. The 15u and 16u teams got off to a hot start, both earning berths as the South Texas Regional Champions. While the 17u team was upset by the Tomball Thunder in the championship game, they didn’t wait long to earn their berth to the National Championships. Only a week later, the Banditos 17u took care of business at the South Super Regionals in College Station, TX (Texas A&M).
While the dominance thus far is unquestionable, the Banditos still have a lot of work to do if they hope to claim the Organization of the Year Award. Many other clubs from all over the U.S. and Puerto Rico are hot on their tails in the journey to the PG Super25.
2. Scorpions (Altamonte Springs, FL)
The 15u-17u All-Florida Regionals were dominated by the Scorpions organization, claiming six of the event’s nine National Championship berths. 15 players from the Scorpions 2015 Prime roster have already committed to play at the division one level. This includes the country’s #2 overall prospect for the 2015 MLB Draft, SS Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers is one of six scorpions players from the 2015 Prime Club that is committed to play at Florida State. The Scorpions Jacksonville, Scorpions South, Orlando Scorpions Purple, and Scorpions Panhandle are also loaded with talent and tough to beat. For those who do not remember, two Scorpions teams met in the Championship Game of the 200+ team WWBA Underclass World Championship last fall. The organization is good from top to bottom.
3. Home Plate (Peachtree City, GA)
The club that calls themselves the “Chili Dogs” made an impressive run through the Georgia Regionals. Home Plate has already claimed four berths to the National Championships and they might not be done yet. After winning their regional, 14u Home Plate Dyal went a perfect 3-0 in their pool at the 15u PG/EC Invitational, advancing to the playoffs despite their age disadvantage. Two of Home Plate’s 12u teams (Schmits and Vandy) have earned a place in the Super25 Nationals as well. While Schmits won the Georgia Regional, Home Plate Vandy were equally impressive at this past weekend’s 12u BCS Finals. The team finished at 7-1 after losing an extra-inning thriller in the Championship Game.
4. Dallas Tigers (Coppell, TX)
Another organization that has earned four berths thus far is the Dallas Tigers. At the South Super Regionals, the 13u Tigers – Hernandez proved why they are one of the top ranked teams in the country. The team rolled through the highly talented field en route to the championship, where they defeated the Banditos Black to win a spot in the Super25. 15u Tigers – Woods and 16u Tigers – Arias both took home the North Texas Regional title for their age groups. However, the club wasn’t satisfied yet as they earned another berth at last weekend’s Super Regionals with an impressive performance by the 16u Tigers – Harvey. Since 2000, the Tigers have consistently produced top prospects including MLB stars Clayton Kershaw and Evan Gattis.
5. Tri-State Arsenal (Voorhees, NJ)
The Arsenal come in at fifth with three National Championship berths (9u, 13u, and 14u) but that number might be much higher after this weekend’s Northeast Super Regionals. A total of eight TSA teams took the field today for their first games of the 14u and 16u events. Seven more Arsenal clubs will compete in the 15u and 17u events that start on Monday. The 15u Showcase 1 – Rizzo team is coming off an incredible run at the PG WWBA National Championships where they went 10-1 to finish 2nd out of 184 teams. While they fell short in the championship game, the team has good momentum heading into the Super Regional.
6. Indiana Nitro (Indianapolis, IN)
Over the past four years, the Nitro has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the Midwest. After winning the 16u Midwest Super Regional, the Nitro officially made a statement that they have arrived on the scene, and the success of their 9u team shows that they are here to stay. With two berths to the National Championships, the 14u and 15u Nitro will look to add to that number when play begins tomorrow at the final Midwest Super Regionals.
T-7. Lids Indiana Bulls Black (Westfield, IN)
While the Nitro is an emerging club out of Indiana, the traditional powerhouse program hasn’t changed a bit. The Lids Indiana Bulls have continued their success in 2014 as they have also earned two berths to the PG Super25 National Championships. The 9u and 12u Bulls have their eyes on the title after winning the Midwest Super Regionals at their home facility, Grand Park.
T-7. Midland (Cincinnati, OH)
They might be better known for all the MLB draft picks off their Redskins team, but it is Midland’s youth program that puts their club in contention for Organization of the Year. Both the 9u Blackhawks and 11u Apaches punched their tickets to the Super25 Nationals in Nashville, TN. The two teams showed solid fundamentals and a high skill level at the Ohio Valley event in Elizabethtown.
T-7. Rhino Baseball (Lockport, IL)
Founded in 2012, Rhino Baseball is by far the youngest of the clubs in contention for the PG Super25 Organization of the Year Award. With the help of their state-of-the-art indoor facility, The Rhino House, even the most brutal winters are unable to stop these players from developing talent and polishing their skills year-round. The 9u Rhinos are heading to Nashville after winning the Great Lakes Regional, while the 16u Rhinos have been invited to Fort Myers as well.
T-7. Dallas Mustangs (Dallas, TX)
Led by Texas commit Kyle Johnston, the 17u Mustangs Carpenter ran the table to earn a spot in the Super25 as the North Texas Regional Champs. Featuring a pitching staff loaded with quality arms, the Mustangs allowed only 1.33 runs per game over the six game event. By the end of the summer, many of Johnston’s teammates should also be committed to play at big time D-1’s. The other Mustangs team to earn a berth is the 13u – Sharp. While it will be a few years until they are college prospects, the foundation has been laid for these players to develop over the next few years.
T-7. SBO (Caguas, PR)
SBO earned the first two berths (13u and 14u) of 2014 at the Caribbean Regionals this past January. In a highly competitive region, SBO’s competitiveness and hard nose play helped guide them to the Championships. While in Puerto Rico, our PG staff was blown away by the passion and love for the game of baseball shown by the entire community. This translates to the field for these young players, and they will be incredibly proud to represent PR in the National Championships.
T-7. Elite Squad (Pembroke Pines, FL)
Another powerhouse program of the past few years, the Elite Squad is two-for-two at PG Super25 events. Winning both tournaments they entered, the club holds berths for the 14u and 15u divisions. The first tournament title came at the 14u South Florida Regional in early May and the second was added at the recent Southeast Super Regional. Former champions of the Perfect Game WWBA National Championships and PG World Series, the Elite Squad always brings their A game to PG tournaments.
T-7. Upper Deck Cougars (Orland Park, IL)
Just like Midland, it has been the younger Upper Deck Cougars teams that put the organization among the top clubs participating in the PG Super25. The 10u Cougars, who are nationally ranked in a number of different polls, have already won five tournaments in 2014 including the PG Super25 Great Lakes Regional. Just one year older at the 11u level, Upper Deck has yet another elite team that also won their berth at the Great Lakes Regionals. The Cougars H.S. teams are always very talented but this high level of play from the youth teams has been a pleasant surprise thus far.
The PG Super25 National Championships begin with the 9u and 11u Divisions on July 09-13. 10u and 12u will be played in Charleston, SC on July 11-15, followed by the 13u in McKinney, TX on July 16-20. The 17u Super25 heads out to Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, AZ, where the action will take place at the Dodgers and White Sox Spring Training Complex on July 23-27. The action concludes with the 14u, 15u, and 16u divisions in Fort Myers, FL. Jet Blue Park, spring training home of the Boston Red Sox, will play host to the final Super25 on July 30-03.