The Road to New York has officially started. Steel Sports hosted the National Youth Baseball Championships Arizona Qualifier on Jan. 23-24 at Big League Dreams in Gilbert, and it marked the first time a NYBC event was played in the Copper State.
Strong Arizona programs in 11U-14U packed the field, but it was California’s Wilson MVP National who dominated the 12U field on their way to earning another berth to the NYBC. MVP won the 11U crown in 2015 and made it clear they wanted to return to New York for a chance at back-to-back titles. They won the title game against nationally-ranked Sandlot Baseball, one of Arizona’s top travel ball organizations, 11-0.
The 13U division title game was perhaps the most exciting finish of the tournament as the Athletics Orange and Phoenix Firebirds were tied 4-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With nobody out and one on, Jack Talbott smashed a two-run homer to give the Athletics the championship and a trip to New York.
In 11U, the Chandler Heat Black defeated the Scottsdale Dirtbags, 9-3, to cap off a perfect 4-0 weekend. The East Valley Devils scored 54 runs in four games and won the 14U division with a 13-6 victory over the Chandler Owlz Black.
Major League Baseball’s Pitch Smart was implemented for the first time at an NYBC event as Steel Sports and the NYBC are now fully compliant with the pitch count regulations. Player safety is a top priority, and with the constant rise of arm injuries and Tommy John surgeries, using Pitch Smart is a way to help protect young arms.
With the Arizona Qualifier complete, the NYBC heads to Grapevine, Texas on Feb. 13-14 and then Las Vegas on Feb. 27-28. Click HERE to see a complete list of NYBC Qualifiers.
To see the complete results from the NYBC Arizona Qualifier, click HERE.
2016 NYBC Arizona Qualifier Champions
11U – Chandler Heat Black (AZ)
12U – Wilson MVP National (CA)
13U – Athletics Orange (AZ)
14U – East Valley Devils (AZ)