The Newton County Tigers 12-year-old AAA baseball team traveled to Ellenwood this past weekend to participate in the USSSA Director's Cup Qualifier Tournament.
In turn, they posted an impressive 5-0 record to win the tournament. Four of the top 10 ranked AAA teams in the state of Georgia were in attendance, ensuring that the road to the championship game would be a hard fought battle.
Saturday's pool play games saw the Tigers struggle to get a 6-5 victory over the McDonough Titans and a 9-8 victory over the Giants from Ellenwood.
Highlights of the day included Jake Jones' two-run homer in the first game, followed by Anthony Banks' three-run homer in the second game.
Sunday's elimination bracket matched the Tigers against the Milton Mustangs for their first game of the day. The Tigers came to the ballpark ready to play, as they scored 12 runs on 12 hits to send the Mustangs home with a 12-4 loss.
A strong pitching performance turned in by Trey Rampy was supported by three home runs by the middle of the Tigers order - Cody Walker, Banks and Drew Buckhault.
The Tigers then faced Georgia's No. 1 ranked AAA team, the 5-Tool Nationals from Evans. The Nationals had been undefeated in AAA competition entering the tournament.
However, the Tigers' defensive effort in conjunction with Walker's superb complete game performance on the mound held the Nationals to only five runs, while the offense continued to pound out the hits. The Tigers continued to live by the long ball with home runs from Walker, Jones and Rampy, propelling them to a 9-5 victory.
The championship game set the Tigers up against an East Cobb Warriors club that had used up all of their pitching to get to the finale. As a result, the Tigers routed the Warriors en route to an 18-5 win.
The winning pitcher was Buckhault, who was supported by an offense that hit the ball from top to bottom, with yet another home run by Jones to cap off the weekend's slugfest.
Coached by Sonny Jones and Scott Walker, the Tigers include team members Alex Anderson, Banks, M.J. Boykin, Buckhault, Jones, Blake Pike, Rampy, Dalton Reagin, Hank Steele and Walker.
The Tigers have compiled a 14-3 tournament record this season and have now replaced the 5-Tool Nationals as the No. 1 ranked AAA team in the state of Georgia, according the most recent USSSA Power Rankings.
The Tigers will next compete in the Cup Championship Tournament in Fayetteville May 2-4. For more information, visit the team Web site at http://eteamz.active.com/NewtonCountyTigers.