Culture

South Bay youth baseball team claims bronze medal at national tournament


A Bay Area club baseball team recently made waves at the USA Baseball National Team Championships in Arizona.

California Club Baseball Prime 16U, based in Los Gatos, placed third in the 16-and-under bracket at the event, defeating Baum Bat NW 6-1 in the bronze medal game on July 1 at Surprise Stadium, the spring training home of the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.

CCB Prime was coming off an extra-inning 10-8 loss to Stacked Baseball in the semifinals and while the disappointment of that defeat has lingered, CCB Prime still takes great pride in what it achieved at the weeklong tournament.

“It was a really cool experience just to make it that far,” said outfielder DJ Delaney, “and to be able to knock off some really good teams in the process.”

CCB Prime finished the tournament 6-2 overall. The 16U squad lost its first game of the tournament on June 26 but rebounded to win five in a row, setting itself up to medal at the national showcase.

“I thought we had a good shot at the gold,” said coach Erick Raich. “We just couldn’t push a run across in the final four. But anytime you’re playing on the final day of a big national tournament like the USA Baseball tournament, you can’t complain. We had some outstanding play by some guys, had some players step up that were a bit unexpected.”

While competing in the Sonoran Desert, CCB Prime had to contend with the Arizona summer heat. Pitcher/infielder Zach Stallworth noted that triple-digit temperatures made it difficult to grip his pitches on the mound.

“I’m from San Francisco, so it’s cold here,” said Stallworth, who preps at Sacred Heart Cathedral. “It’s a big difference for me. I had to battle with the heat, sweating a lot. Balls are going all over the place. I had to use a lot of rosin, get used to that. But by the second start, the last game, I was pretty much used to the heat. It was a lot better than my first start. I was ready.”

Delaney had a personal highlight when he hit an inside-the-park grand slam during an 11-6 victory over Badlands Baseball. Stallworth got to participate, too – he was on second when Delaney came to the plate.

“It was crazy,” Stallworth said. “That was amazing.”

While he savored his individual achievement, Delaney particularly appreciated the opportunity to display his talents alongside his Bay Area teammates on the national stage.

“It’s really cool to represent for the Bay and show that we can ball over here too,” said Delaney, who preps at St. Ignatius. “I know we’re not a big-time baseball area, but I think we showed that we can compete with the best of the best out there, and the Bay Area should be respected in that way for baseball talent.”

After facing off against some of the best 16U teams in the country, Raich was impressed with how his players competed against other talented groups.

“They really shined in some tough moments,” he said. “We had to beat some …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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