Baseball Youth Winter Championships Features Elite Southeast Teams
With bids to the summer’s most prestigious travel ball championship on the line, over 50 teams from the southeast competed at the Baseball Youth Winter Championships on Feb. 6-8 at Champions Park in Newberry, Florida.
Not only were the winners crowned Baseball Youth Winter Champions, but they also received berths into the National Youth Baseball Championships at Baseball Heaven in New York. For the first time since its inception in 2008, the NYBC has expanded to include ages 8U-14U. The NYBC’s premier age division has been 12U, but the event has included 10U and 11U in the past. This year, seven age divisions will compete during NYBC Week from July 28-August 3.
“Being that this was the first qualifier in Florida, we knew the competition was going to be at a high level, and we weren’t disappointed,” Baseball Youth tournament director Ryan Sizemore said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better host venue in Champions Park, and it was exciting to see all of these teams put it on the line for a chance at going to New York and the NYBC.”
The 12U division featured 15 teams from Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, and it came down to two teams from the same pool for the championship. Strike Force defeated the Florida Redhawks in pool play, 12-2, but in the championship the Redhawks turned the tables. With the Redhawks leading 6-5 in the sixth and final inning, Strike Force had an opportunity to tie or win the game but weren’t able to get another run.
The Miami Phenoms and Jacksonville Rage rivaled the 12U championship game with an exciting 10U title game of their own. The Phenoms, ranked No. 2 in the country as 9U in Baseball Youth’s Elite 25 rankings, made it look easy getting to the championship, but the Rage gave them all they could handle in a hard fought 9-8 Phenoms win. That sets the stage for a potential showdown in New York between the current No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams, the Sandcrabs and Phenoms. The Sandcrabs qualified for the NYBC in December at the Cecil Fielder Texas Winter National.
“The Phenoms were a big favorite coming into the tournament, but the Rage showed just how good they are,” Sizemore said. “That was one of the best games of the Winter Championships, and you can’t help but look ahead now to a potential matchup between the Phenoms and Sandcrabs in New York, two of the best 10U teams in the country.”
Dynasty Baseball Academy went undefeated in the 8U division, the Five Star Tigers Easton didn’t allow a run until the championship en route to the 9U title, and Florida Select went undefeated to win the 13U division. All of the champions also received a free bid to play in the Baseball Youth National Championships at Grand Park in Indiana. In 12U, the EvoShield Canes punched their ticket to Indiana with a win in the BYNC bracket.
The next NYBC qualifier is The Baseball Legends Presidents Day NIT in California, coming up on February 14-16. The first Baseball Youth Elite Series event will be March 6-8 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at Cypress Mounds. Click HERE for more information on the NYBC in New York!
2015 Baseball Youth Winter Championships
Champions & Runner-Ups
8U Champion – Dynasty Baseball Academy
8U Runner-Up – Temple Terrace Seminoles
9U Champion – Five Star Tigers Easton
9U Runner-Up – Manics
10U Champion – Miami Phenoms
10U Runner-Up – Jacksonville Rage
12U Champion – Florida Redhawks
12U Runner-Up – Strike Force
12U BYNC Bracket Champion – EvoShield Canes
13U Champion – Florida Select
13U Runner-Up – Ocala Venum