Wood bat tournament features plenty of local players

A dozen local baseball players are about to spend the week getting used to hitting with a piece of wood, instead of their customary aluminum bats.

Twelve players from all six high schools in Rockdale and Newton counties will be participating in the World Wood Bat 15-Under Tournament for 2016 high school graduates at numerous metro Atlanta high schools starting today.

The tournament is part of an annual set of tournaments to showcase thousands of the nation's top amateur baseball players to scouts and colleges. Each team will play seven games in the first six days of pool play, then the playoffs will take place over the final two days with the championship game scheduled for 11:30 a.m. June 28 at the East Cobb Complex in Marietta.

Team Elite Grey, a squad based out of Loganville, includes Salem's Jason Howell, who went 4-0 with a 2.07 ERA for the Seminoles last season, and Mason Calloway of Newton. Team Elite will open the tournament today at 11:30 a.m. against Demarini Stars at Marietta High School.

Team Demarini GA, a team based out of Alpharetta, includes Heritage's Anthony Williams, who led the Patriots in hitting (.342) and RBIs (25) and had a .484 on-base percentage, and Austin Richardson of Alcovy, who hit .395 in 17 games for the Tigers. Team Demarini opens the tournament at 4:30 p.m. today against So Cal NTT at Mount Pisgah's Patriot Athletic Complex in Alpharetta.

Big Stix Gamers (McDonough) will head to the tournament with three local players on its roster. Heritage teammates Justin Jackson and Drew Terrell will be joined by Alcovy's Quinton Grizzard as the Gamers open with Team Demarini 14-Under Black at 9 a.m. at Mount Pisgah.

Georgia Select Navy, a team based out of Loganville, has a pair of Eastside players in Josh Sims and Austin Holloway, and Salem's Akil Baddoo. Georgia Select will play D-BAT Mustangs-Raine at 9 a.m. at Woodland High School.

Heritage's Matt Studdard, who had a 3.03 ERA as a freshman starter this past season, will play for TGBA Blue (Marietta) when the squad opens play against Frederick Hustlers at 11:30 a.m. at Alpharetta High School. Rockdale's Jeff Sweat will play for TGBA Red (Marietta) when the team begins tournament play against Fat Cat Thunder Baseball at 4:30 p.m. at Centennial High School.

For more information on the 15-under tournaments and upcoming events, visit www.perfectgame.org.