Wood bat teams use extra time wisely

It’s been an interesting five days for teams in the World Wood Bat 17-Under National Championship tournament. Rain storms fell in the Metro Atlanta area nearly all of last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, forcing the cancellation and rescheduling of hundreds of tournament games.

The tournament was supposed to begin last Friday, but teams like Marietta-based TGBA 17-Under, which includes Heritage’s Tyler Holcombe, Eastside’s Allen Bowen Jr. and the coaching staff includes Heritage head coach Jason Borcherding, didn’t play its first game until Monday (TGBA had a nine-run first to defeat East Cobb Titans 16-under, 9-0). Still, the team made use of the non-game days.

Borcherding said TGBA had been able to work out indoors over the weekend to avoid the miserable conditions, allowing plenty of college scouts, including scouts from schools like Navy, Presbyterian, Wofford and Savannah State to observe a number of players on the talented roster.

“It has actually benefited our kids,” Borchderding said of the postponements. “Because we invite college coaches to the workouts to watch since they haven’t been able to watch games.”

Team Elite Black and the trio of local players-Newton’s Daniel Croom, Cole Gibson of Salem and Rockdale’s Will Hardy-played its first game Sunday and tied, 1-1 with Virginia Cardinals as Croom led the way with two hits. Team Elite continued its tournament late Monday.

Also playing in their opener Monday:

• East Cobb Patriots Blue 17-Under (Chris Simonds and Rocky Mauriello, Heritage; Jordan Scott, Salem; Chris Jake Stowers, Rockdale) lost 3-0 to Demarini Stars 17-Under Black.

• Eastside’s Hank Steele and Team Elite 17-Under Louisville Slugger defeated OTC Baseball, 5-4.

• Atlanta Bluejays 16-Under (Eastside’s Nickolaus Broadwater) lost to South Oakland A’s 17-Under Robinson, 4-1.

• The 643 DP Cougars 17-Under and Covington native Conrad Cornell shut out East Cobb Dirtbags 17-Under, 7-0 early Monday morning, then played a late contest Monday night. TGBA 16-Under and Covington native Zach Beggs also played early Monday, defeating West End Baseball 17-Under, 2-0, before playing a second game later in the evening.

• Jalen Jackson of Heritage and Big Stix Gamers 17-Under were one of the few teams to play on the tournament’s opening day, losing to NBS 17-Under, 5-3. The Gamers played Monday in a late-afternoon game.