MATT RODRIGUEZ    

 

EMERSON, Ga. – The Houston Banditos travel baseball organization based out of Houston, Texas has recently earned the first-ever Perfect Game Super25 Organization of the Year award for the outstanding efforts it put forth in the Super25’s inaugural season.

“We’re so proud of everyone involved,” said Houston Banditos founder Ray Deleon. “It’s very humbling and flattering to do something like this. For Perfect Game to nominate us and put their name behind an organization like ours shows a lot to our program. From where it started back in 1994 to where it is now really says a lot of what Perfect Game thinks of us and what we think of them.”

Deleon’s organization competed at each age level, 9u through 17u, and combined for an overall record of 96-25-5 with numerous championships at the Regional, Super Regional, and National Championship levels.

“We played the best competition,” Deleon said. “We played the best teams from all over the place. We played, in our opinion, the best teams in the country in all nine age groups and I know for a fact these are the best tournaments around.”

Winning the Organization of the Year honor was no small feat, as 2,787 teams across the country in 9u through 17u age groups competed for Super25 National Championship titles, including some of the most reputable organizations in travel baseball.

“Getting on the field and competing is the easy part,” said Deleon. “All of the behind-the-scenes work is the hard part. It’s pretty awesome to get such an award. It shows that we’re doing things right. All the hard work and preparation to get the kids on the field to play is all part of that behind-the-scenes stuff that makes it all worthwhile. Every single person in the organization has got to buy in for us to achieve such a feat.”

Deleon emphasizes that a key ingredient in getting players to take their games to the next level is to play the top competition and he is willing to bring his program anywhere and everywhere to give his kids the best competition.

“We just play where the best teams are at, bottom line,” Deleon said. “We’ll go to China if we have to.”

The Banditos organization took home a lot of hardware in the inaugural Perfect Game Super25 tournament series, winning nine Regional championships, two Super Regional championships, and the 10u National Championship.

Not to mention, they accounted for a pair of Regional runner-ups, two more Super Regional runner-ups, second place at the 16u National Championship, and third place in the 9u National Championship.

The 10u Banditos defeated California representative Easton Elite, 11-1, to win the inaugural Super25 10u National Championship. The 14u and 17u Banditos Black teams accounted for a pair of South Super Regional titles, with the 14u team making huge noise in the Super25 circuit all summer.

The 14u Banditos went 4-0 to win the South Texas Regional, outscoring its opponents 53-0 and tallying an incredible 19 home runs over the course of four games. The club also won the North Texas Regional, going 5-0 and earning the Texas sweep.

The 10u and 13u Banditos teams also had very impressive undefeated runs en route to a couple of South Texas Regional titles.

“Among the organizations that play, it just says a lot for us and for Texas baseball and everybody involved in Houston,” said Deleon. “It’s not just the Banditos; it’s the state of Texas. In my heart, I think the best baseball is played in Texas. You can’t mess with Texas. It’s a great baseball state. The college teams don’t have to recruit out of state in order to win because there’s a lot of talent in every city in Texas. It’s a hotbed.”

And within the hotbed is a premier organization well-known throughout the travel baseball circuit by now – that’s Deleon’s Banditos organization.

The Houston Banditos not only represented themselves to the highest standard on the Super25 circuit, but throughout the summer at numerous Perfect Game events.

The 17u Banditos, Super25 South Super Regional champs, won the 17u Perfect Game World Series. The 13u club hoisted the 13u BCS Finals trophy, and the 16u Banditos finished third in the highly competitive WWBA 16u National Championship.

Kody Clemens and Ryan Cole McKay, Baseball America’s Pitcher of the Year, represented the Banditos on the national level when they took the field at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif. for the Perfect Game All-American Classic, which was televised on MLB Network.

With many former Banditos starring in the Major Leagues and several trophies from the 2014 circuit lining the shelves of the Banditos facility, the past and present Banditos are represented well. Deleon said the hard part will be maintaining that elite status. He is well aware of the target the Organization of the Year award paints on the back on the club, but he is ready to defend the honor. Soon enough, the 2015 Super25 circuit will begin, with organization of the Year on the line once again.

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