The East Cobb baseball program won two age groups in the 2016 US Club Nationals, 9u and 14u, and worked their way to the overall title as the 13u team came through with a runner-up finish. East Cobb teams regularly attract some of the best talent in the Southeast, with Guerry Baldwin’s 20-year run in youth development an essential part of the recipe. More than 70 teams are currently suiting up under the East Cobb banner.
Quotes from East Cobb’s Media Day Session:
Nate Smith, 14u:
It’s awesome – it’s fun playing with this group of boys. We have a good synergy. The group that came before us did a great job of getting us where we are today.
The last tournament we had wasn’t too pretty, but one highlight we had, we beat a rival organization pretty bad, and that was a lot of fun.
Matt Hightower, 14u coach:
What makes this event particularly special is you’re not getting a watered-down event in any sense. These are hand-picked organizations, historically known to be very talented. You know everyone you play will be at the upper echelon, and every game you have to bring it and be ready to go.
We’re in the dog days, the back end of the season, and we’ve gone through some ups and downs. We try to do as good a job as possible to prepare these boys for the next level and for what’s around the corner. As fun and exciting as it is, sometimes it’s not very pretty, but it’s all worth it at the very end.
Drew Hodges, 9u:
One of the highs was when we won a huge tournament in South Carolina. One of the lows was when we lost a tournament on a triple play. But we’ve had a good season. I think it’s really cool (to play with the rest of the organization), and I think we can win it.
Mark Reese, 9u coach:
We’ve got great kids and great families, so it’s another opportunity to bond together – it’s a close group of good people. Seeing these older boys play and supporting them is pretty exciting. That triple play … bases loaded, no outs, ground ball up the middle, guy steps on second and throws to first, and our guy at second tried to round (the base) and score. (Someone) said he was safe and the tag was high.
Landon Scott, 11u:
I worked hard on my fielding; I (needed) quicker hands and quicker feet. Coach Austin helped me and I’ve been practicing two days a week, almost every week, over and over again. And Coach has made me a better player and a better person. This tournament, for East Cobb, all are joining together and trying to win the trophy.
Austin Neeley, 11u coach:
I think we’ve gotten better defensively, for sure. We’ve had players get hurt, changes and other circumstances … we had one tournament where we played with a solid nine, and a kid got hit and broke his finger. He went out to left field, and we still came back and won. There was a lot of hard-nosed baseball, which is fun to watch at this age.
Tags: Baseball News, Triple Crown Baseball, US Club Nationals