Next Wednesday more than 190 summer travel baseball teams from three age groups will make their way to northwest Atlanta for the 2012 Perfect Game-East Cobb Invitational.
Tournaments for all three age groups -- 14u/15u, 16u, and 17u/18u -- will begin at 9 a.m. June 6 and will culminate at 2 p.m. June 10 with the championship games. The complex, on Lee Waters Road in Northeast Cobb, will host the bulk of the games on its four fields, with several area high schools picking up the rest of the games.
Each age division will feature 64 teams. The vast majority of teams registered for the tournament are based in Georgia, with the bulk of the rest coming from neighboring states. At least 550 Georgia natives will be playing in the 17u/18u tournament, making up more than 60 percent of the total players.
Perfect Game, an Iowa-based high school baseball scouting service, shares the tournament’s name with East Cobb Baseball. East Cobb is one of the nation’s premier baseball programs.
In 2011 East Cobb brought 33 teams to the PG-EC Tournament and teams from the program won each of the three age groups. This year they will be bringing 40 teams to the tournaments.
The Perfect Game-East Cobb Invitational is only in its third year and already has a few notable alumni, including first round draft picks Dwight Smith (Toronto Blue Jays), Kaleb Cowart (Los Angeles Angels), and Jake Skole (Texas Rangers).
The 17u/18u tournament will be loaded with talented teams. The Alabama Seminoles, East Cobb Astros 16U, East Cobb Braves 17u, Home Plate Chili Dogs, Marucci Elite, SC Shockwave, So Cal NTT, TGBA and the Upstate Mavericks are expected to be among the top performing teams this weekend in the age division.
The East Cobb Braves 17u, last year’s 17u/18u champions, will be returning to the PG-EC Invitational this year. They’ll be bringing with them several players to watch, including Cameron Varga of Bradenton, Fla. Varga, who will be playing at the University of Florida, is currently ranked 6th nationally in the class of 2014.
The Braves will also be bringing the 8th ranked prospect for the class of 2013, Travis Demeritte of Statham, who is the No. 2-ranked player in the state. The Braves will be bringing several more ranked prospects from the class of 2013, including Chris Oakley, Kevin Davis and Josh Hart of Lilburn, who has committed to Georgia Tech.
Marucci Elite, the 2010 Perfect Game-East Cobb 17u/18u winners, will be looking to get the title back. They’ll be bringing several ranked prospects this year. Oscar Mercado, ranked 3rd nationally for the class of 2013, is coming off of a great performance with FTB Pride at Perfect Game’s East Memorial Day Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. and will be looking to repeat with Marucci Elite.
Justin Williams of Houma, La. is ranked 4th in the nation and has already committed to play at LSU. Marucci Elite shortstop Blake Hennessey of Ponte Verda, Fla., is ranked 25th nationally.
Another East Cobb team, the East Cobb Astros 16u, will be bringing several highly ranked players from the state of Georgia. Terry McClure, a native of Atlanta, is ranked 4th in the state and 31st overall. Wesley Jones of Lithonia will be playing for the Astros. Jones is currently ranked 6th in the state and 37th overall.
Randolph Gassaway (Ellenwood) and Jacob Heyward (McDonough) will also be representing the Astros. Gassaway and Heyward are ranked 8th and 9th, respectively, in Georgia for the class of 2013.
The 16u tournament will feature several teams to watch including the 16U Dallas Tigers, East Cobb Astros 16u, East Cobb Longhorns, Excel Blue Sox, Home Plate Chili Dogs, Indiana Prospects, Marucci Elite and the Upstate Mavericks
Last year’s 14u/15u tournament champions, the East Cobb Longhorns, will be returning to this year to defend their title. Other teams expected to perform well this weekend in the sage division include Beaver Valley Red, East Cobb Astros 14u/15u, Lid’s Indiana Bulls, Midland Tomahawks, SC Shockwave and the Upstate Mavericks
The tournament will consist of 405 games, taking place over five days. Each age division has 64 teams and these teams will be divided into pools of four. Pool play will take place June 6-8 with each team playing one pool play game per day. Pool winners will advance to the playoffs June 9.
All other teams will play in consolation games. Semifinals and the championship games will take place June 10.
Specific information about the event, including schedule and game locations, is available at www.perfectgame.org four to five days before the start of the tournament. Game scores and blogs will available on the website as the tournament progresses. For fans interested in attending a tournament pass will cost $30. The cost per day will be $10. Programs will be available for $5.