Before Friday's Championship game between the Buccaneers and Ospreys, IMG Academy 14U Wood Bat League doled out it's season-long awards for the top hitter, pitcher and defender as well as individual team leader awards. While there were several players deserving of each of these awards, here is a look at this year's winners:
Batting Champion/League MVP - Bradon Mabry (Royals)
While these two awards are usually reserved for two individual players, the corner infielder made a strong case for both awards with his play over the course of the season. Seemingly always at the plate when they needed him most, Mabry led the Royals to a 10-5 record and 2nd place finish in the standings. His biggest game of the season came against the Tarpons when he went 2-4 with a triple and 3 RBI leading the Royals to a 10-6 victory. This was only one highlight in Mabry's impressive season that saw him lead the league with a .474 batting average. He was also near tops in the league with a .737 slugging percentage and 10 RBI. While his work at the plate was his most outstanding feature, the big right-handed hitter also was terrific on the bases, leading his team in stolen bases with 16. Mabry was also one of the better defenders in the league and it was this all-around performance that earned him the League MVP Award.
Pitcher of the Year - Tanner Beachy (Ospreys)
The ace of the league's top regular season team, Beachy was a consistent force on the mound all season. Of the Ospreys' 13 wins, Beachy earned the win in five of those games while only allowing runs in one game all season. Beachy led the league in ERA (1.71) and also maintained an incredible WHIP of 0.66. While the lefty was not overpowering (totaling only 15 strikeouts in 28.2 innings pitched), he was consistently attacking the strike zone. He threw an incredible 71.2% of his pitches for strikes and was almost always staying ahead of batters with a first-pitch-strike percentage of 65.7%. Beachy's shining moment of the season came in the semifinals when he was nothing short of dominant. He earned the win by throwing a complete game shutout only allowing 2 hits while whiffing a season-high 5 batters and sending the Ospreys to the Championship game.
Gold Glove Award Winner - John Phillips (Buccaneers)
Over the course of the playoffs, it became clear that the soon-to-be champion Buccaneers had one clear-cut advantage over the rest of the league: their defense. Their infield was particularly impressive and this was, in large part, due to the play of first basemen, John Phillips. The big righty continuously made great plays off the bat while also bailing out his teammates when necessary. Phillips was a "picking machine" at first base leading the league with 94 putouts. He finished the season with a flawless 1.000 fielding percentage, unbelievably impressive considering the 109 total chances in the field. Phillips also came up big at the plate in Friday's Championship game, both scoring and knocking in a run on the the way to the 7-3 victory.
Team Leader Awards
Every coach in the IMG Academy 14U Wood Bat League was tasked to name the player that WBL Commissioner Jason Elias described as âembodying the ideal player to coach which includes on-the-field performance, off-the-field work ethic and an overall positive attitude.â The players below were recognized by their coach on Friday:
-Tyler McConway - Ospreys
-JT Parsons - Wahoos
-Jack Yamin - Storm
-Kerry Wright - Royals
-Matt Burlage - Tarpons
-Graham Core - Buccaneers