The Ruffnecks program has long been committed to participation in top events during the summer baseball season. The road for all Ruffnecks (except the 13U ‘Necks) runs through Georgia and the Perfect Game WWBA at LakePoint in Emerson, GA. The PG WWBA events are regarded as demanding and competitive events. Hundreds of teams enter and compete from all parts of the United States. Teams play 7 games in pool play, with only pool winners advancing to the playoff rounds. This means there is little room for error, and teams must remain “in the hunt” over the week-long grind.
Ruffnecks Teams 23-4-1 in 2016
The 2016 summer has been one of the most successful in the program’s history. Four Ruffnecks teams entered in the 14U, 15U, 16U, and 17U WWBA Championships. Together the Ruffnecks amassed an impressive record of 23 wins 4 losses and a tie. The 1-1 tie came in the final game of pool play for the 17U Ruffnecks against the East Cobb Astros. No Ruffnecks team lost more than one game in pool play this summer, and yet none advanced to the playoff round! The ‘Necks took four second place finishes.
15U Ruffnecks Impressive
In addition to the close call for the 17U Ruffnecks, the 15U squad found themselves in a matchup against the Dallas Tigers, both with 5-0 records, that would decide the pool. Unfortunately, the opponents earned a 3-1 victory. Despite the second place pool finish, the Ruffnecks earned tremendous respect with a team ERA of 0.78 while allowing only 8 runs throughout pool play. Of 272 teams in the event only 6 teams allowed 8 runs or fewer. The pitching staff was led by Jackson Emus, Teddy Goss, Ben Mlavsky, Jeff Price, Josh Gruenberg, Ben Reyes, and Seamus Barrett. The offense was sparked by the bats of Evan Sleight, James Dillon, and Jaylen Bailey. Sleight hit .500; Dillon .450; Bailey .364. Defensively, the Ruffnecks were anchored by a solid catching tandem of J.P. Olson and Mitchell Schroeder. The infield of Dillon (3B), and middle infielders Dante Taylor, Andrew Hass, and Jack Flynn were rock solid. Jeff Price and Jaylen Bailey played a good 1B, with Bailey also contributing in the outfield with Colin Blasco, Ben Rounds, Emus, Sleight, and Gruenberg. The 15U Ruffnecks have played an arduous schedule that will grow close to 55 games in just 7 weeks.
With the intensive travel portion of the summer behind, the 15U, 16U, and Senior (17U) Ruffnecks teams will play in the New England region until the first week in August. A combined roster will travel to Diamond Nation August 1-4 to compete in the Blue Chips Prospects tournament.