The adage nothing good comes easy is certainly fitting of 2020. Throughout a year turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, little normalcy was found, often life as expected was hard to come by. Even today, as the World Series is played in a neutral stadium, in front of only a few thousand spectators, the grips of the pandemic presents itself every day. But every challenge provided an opportunity to show resiliency and mettle, to show an ability to overcome adversity and forge ahead strong. And that is why, although 2020 will be remember as the year of COVID, for BPA it will also be remembered as the year of championships.
On Monday, BPA finished in a tie for third at the Perfect Game 14u WWBA World Championship, wrapping up a strong year of Perfect Game events, showcasing the organizations competitiveness and depth. Recapping the summer and autumn showings in the Perfect Game tournaments on a class-by-class basis, there was a lot of good that came on the field in 2020, a year far from easy.
It was an uncommon showing for BPA in July’s WWBA National Championship. A 2-2-1 record in pool play left BPA outside of bracket competition, and a splitting two consolation games concluded a .500 showing in Georgia. BPA Black went 1-4 in pool play, but was victorious in both of their consolation games to leave the southeast on a high note.
A quick turnaround in PG events provided BPA with opportunity to wash away from sour taste from the National Championship, and in the end the lasting taste was one of victory. Competing in Perfect Game’s 17u World Series in Tomball, Texas, Aug. 10-14, it was a perfect week for BPA.
Going 3-0 in pool play, BPA turned back Prospects National Team, Academy Select and Twelve Baseball en route to the championship. Helping BPA outscore the opposition 34-11, Mason Strong was named tournament MVP, as the team left the Lone Star State on top.
The tournament of all tournament’s PG’s WWBA World Championship marked the final time BPA’s 2021 class would play together. Normally held in Jupiter, Fla., this year’s run was held in Fort Myers, Oct. 8-12. BPA went 2-1 in pool play, defeating Baseball U and Palm Beach Select, before falling to 5 Star Academy Select, 6-3, in a winner-take-the-bracket showdown. BPA’s final game was a 8-4 loss to FTB Tucci.
The most dominant showing of the summer belongs to BPA 2022 and their march through pool play in the WWBA National Champion.
From July 10-15, BPA played six games, the first five in pool play, and went 6-0 without allowing a run. After scoring 33 runs without an opponent scoring once, BPA secured the No. 1 seed in the 247-team tournament. Earning a bye, BPA’s bracket run started with a 5-0 blanking of Stars Baseball. South Charlotte Panthers stopped the unscored run, but would also fall to BPA, 5-4. The magical run ended in the quarterfinals as BPA lost to eventual runner-up Dirtbags Tapout, 4-1. BPA’s 7-1 showing was paired by a 4-2-1 run by BPA Black, where, like BPA Black 2021, they won both of their consolation games to end the tournament on a high.
Falling just a bit shy in the summer, BPA finished the job in September. In Perfect Game’s Fall Underclass National Championship, BPA went 6-0 to leave Arizona champions of the 58-team tournament. A pair of victories to claim the pool led to bracket play as the tournament’s No. 8 seed. There, an 11-8 win over NorCal Red put the team in the final eight. Needing to win three games in one day to walk away as champions, the 2022s did just that, first beating Tucson Champs, the No. 1 seed, 6-1, followed by a 7-1 win over LVR, wrapping up the weekend in Peoria with a 12-0 shutout of GamePrep Baseball Academy in the title game. BPA pitchers Oliver Santos and Alex Wallace shared Most Valuable Pitcher honors, with Ethan Coley tabbed as Most Valuable Pitcher.
Although they only played in one Perfect Game tournament together, BPA’s class of 2023 made a mighty impression.
Competing in the WWBA 15u National Championship, June 26 – July 3, BPA’s stay was long and head-turning in Georgia. A 5-1 win to kick off the tournament against the Georgia Jackets proved big as the victory gave BPA the pool thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker, as both finished 4-1. In bracket play of the 186-team tournament, a tough road was in front of the Black & Gold. BPA picked up two wins on the first day of the knockout round, defeating East Coast Sox Platinum, 3-2, before eliminating Florida Burn National, the tournament’s No. 8 seed, 9-0. For the second day in a round, BPA claimed two victories, besting MVP Terps National, 6-3, and Eagles Baseball, 7-3, to reach the final four. In defeating Eagles Baseball, BPA knocked out the tournament’s No. 1 seed, a club that did not allow a run in the seven games before facing BPA. A 3-1 win over East Cobb put BPA in the title game, where 5 Star National came out on top, 3-0.
Perfect Game highlighted BPA in the tournament, with an article on BPA Not Afraid of East Coast Competition.
From start to finish, no team was as consistently good as BPA 2024/14u. Three Perfect Game tournaments were bookend with title game appearances.
In July, competing in the Perfect Game 13u Elite National Championship, the youngsters secured BPA’s first major title of the year. In Hoover, Ala., BPA came out on top in a tournament of 32 teams. A 3-0 showing in pool play gave BPA the No. 3 seed in bracket play. From there, three wins, dispatching New Orleans Naturals, Canes Southeast and Traction Canes, put BPA in the title game. Just days after 5 Star National defeated the 15u team for a title, the fortunes reversed as BPA beat 5 Star National, 10-7, to take home the championship. BPA Black, playing as the Yalobusha Giants, went 3-2 in the tournament. Slade Caldwell earned tournament MVP honors with Konnor Griffin earning top billing as the Most Valuable Pitcher.
More than three months passed before their next Perfect Game appearance, and while they moved up an age group, the winning ways continued.
Joining BPA 2021 in southwest Florida for WWBA World Championship play, BPA 2024 participated in the 84-team Freshman World Championship. Tying their first game of the tournament, 4-4, against Team Elite Prime, BPA won their next two games to win the pool, turning back 5 Star CF and Arsenal USA Gold, 2-1 and 5-3, respectively. A 12-1 romp over National Scout Team 2024 opened bracket play before the team bowed out in the round of 16 after a 6-5 loss to Lonestar National.
A handful of BPA 2024 players returned to Florida this past weekend and were joined by a few players from the class of 2025 to compete in the 14u WWBA World Championship. Just as the all-freshman team did, the 14u unit grabbed their pool, going 3-0. Scoring 35 runs while conceding only three, BPA earned the No. 1 seed in bracket play. Receiving a first-round bye, BPA won their round of 16 game, defeating Louisiana Curve 2-0, and defeated Wow Factor Scout Team, 8-0, to reach the semis. The tournament run ended a win shy of reaching the title game, falling to Canes National 2025, 2-1.
Top finishes at Perfect Game tournaments
Champions– 17u World Series
Champions– 13u National Elite
Champions– Fall Underclass
Runners-up WWBA 15u National Championship
Semifinalists 14u WWBA World Championship
Quarterfinalists WWBA 16u National Championship