PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — Local players helped a trio of Five Star National baseball teams win national competition at the Grand Slam Sports Tournaments World Series of Baseball recently.
The 13U Haynes, 12U Buhler and 11U Grubbs/Fletcher teams all finished in first place. Teams are named for age groups and coaches, those being Josh Haynes, Matt Buhler, Jason Grubbs and Scott Fletcher. Haynes also credited Denzell Gowdy for his work with the teams.
Haynes’ 13U team went 7-1 during tournament play. They defeated Rome-based Georgia Sandlot 22-13 in extra innings for the championship. It was their second win over Georgia Sandlot over the course of the bracket. They won the first time, 9-8, but in the double elimination tournament, had to face them again for the title. Georgia Sandlot came out on top, 10-8, setting up a rematch immediately following this contest.
The 13U group had to escape a bases loaded, no-out situation in extra innings in the finale, but went on to win.
The 12U Buhler team had a much easier time in taking their championship. They defeated the Deer Park Spikes in the final game, 13-3. Games leading up to the final saw the 12U club win 7-1 over the Redbirds, 12-2 against the Chattanooga Dodgers, 15-0 versus the Carolina MudDawgs and 6-0 against the Kentucky Oilers. This is their second straight title.
The Grubbs/Fletcher 11U team also had to fight back for their title. They advanced through the bracket with ease, defeating Exposure Black 4-2 in the semifinals. Exposure Black battled through the consolation bracket to the title game and won 15-4 in the rematch. The rubber game — and championship — went to Five Star over Exposure Black, 6-5.
More information about the Grand Slam tournaments can be found at grandslamtournaments.com. Five Star’s site is 5starnational.com and they have a Facebook page at facebook.com/fivestarnationalbaseballTifton.