E.A. Sports Today

Travel ball update

East Alabama Dynasty wins BPA title, Excel Blue Sox get walkoff win, Alabama Kraze heads to 18U softball nationals

Honorary team member Caleb Watts, who recently lost his mother and grandmother in an auto accident, accepts the winner's trophy Sunday night after the East Alabama Dynasty won the BPA 12U World Series. (Special photo)

Honorary team member Caleb Watts, who recently lost his mother and grandmother in an auto accident, accepts the winner’s trophy Sunday night after the East Alabama Dynasty won the BPA 12U World Series. (Special photo)

By East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN – It was a long night, but the reward made it worth playing past your bedtime.

East Alabama’s Dynasty Baseball, at one time this season the top-ranked USSSA 12-and-under team in the country, won the Baseball Players Association 12U Silver World Series, beating the Arab Regulators twice late Sunday to earn coach Jason Pahman a Gatorade bath.

The Dynasty, a team made up of players primarily from Calhoun, Etowah and Talladega counties and together for the last 3½ years, went 4-1 in bracket play; their only loss came in a one-run game to the team they eventually beat twice in the finals. They beat the Regulators 7-5 and 5-4.

Kody Willingham drove in the go-ahead run in Championship Game 1. Corbin Smith had a homer and two RBIs, while Colton Pahman and Jake Tyree also drove in runs.

In the title game the lead changed hands five times. The Dynasty finally took the lead for good in the fifth when the Regulators misplayed Pahman’s grounder to short allowing Carson Tyree to score. Taylor Thompson and Pahman both homered in the game, and Evan Radford ripped an RBI double.

The Dynasty reached the championship round with a 10-4 win over the Gadsden Wolfpack. Thompson pitched two innings of one-hit ball and hit a three-run homer.

The team went 39-13 with six tournament titles this season. It was ranked No. 1 in the nation in 12-and-under A before being moved up in classification and finished the year No. 1 in the state in AA.

WALKING TALL: Jalen Borders’ walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh gave the Excel Blue Sox 15U a 12-11 win over the Excel Blue Wave for the 15U title in the Excel Open in Birmingham.

The Excel Blue Wave 16U went 3-1 and finished third in their division, the Blue Sox 17U finished second to the Alabama Spartans and Blue Wave 17U finished third in the 18U division.

OFF TO NATIONALS: Oxford grad Taylor Ellison and her Alabama Kraze softball team will have making up for lost time on their minds Saturday when they head out for their last chance to win a national championship together at the 18U ASA A Nationals in Bloomington, Ind.

The team earned their fourth straight trip to the nationals by winning their qualifier in Tennessee a month ago and followed it up by winning a state tournament. It is 29-3-1 this summer and has outscored its opponents 80-6 in its last 10 games.

“The thing about this team that is so unique is it is loaded with superstars,” assistant coach Anthony Ellison said. “I think we have three different Players of the Year from their high school classification, five different girls who won at least one high school state championship within the last three years, two who have won multiple championships.

“They’re all talented to the hilt. What makes them superstars is they’re unselfish. They’ll play any position we ask them to play any time. It’s an all-star team that just meshes well.”

The roster is so versatile, Taylor Ellison pitched more innings than any of the team’s pitchers last year and this year she has thrown the fewest (two). The incoming West Alabama freshman also plays all three outfield positions and two in the infield.

The team, coached by Florence High School coach Brian Shollenberger, has been together since qualifying for the 16U nationals in 2013 and 2014. It qualified for the 18U nationals last year but elected not to go due to a spate of injuries that ravaged its roster.

“They feel really good; they like their chances,” Anthony Ellison said. “They know we will be playing the best teams in the country, but all of them want this.”

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