Twenty-four of the best Travel programs in the state of Georgia converged on Fowler park in Cumming, Ga to determine who would be crowned the D1 State Champion in the Peach State. Little did these travel programs know the team who’d ultimately bring home the hardware was a team that was assembled a mere 10 days prior to the tournament.
The NYO Titans, a Summer Ball team chosen at the end of the rec season in late May, was playing in only their 2nd tournament of the summer. However, longtime NYO Titans coach Jeff Woolverton and his staff knew this year’s edition wasn’t your typical all-star team. The Titans got off to a hot start in pool-play downing Mizuno Gwinnett 12-0, smacking 5 Home Runs including back-back-back blasts by: John Gallinaro, Fain Barton and Walker Richens. Ethan Hall and Hayden Shoup also played long ball for the Titans. Next up was an 11-0 win over the Peachtree Ridge Lions as four Titan pitchers combined on the one-hit shutout. With that, the Titans earned the #1 seed in bracket play but had to win four games on Sunday to win it all…
First up at 8:00 AM was the 643 Tigers. Fain Barton got the start and never gave up the ball as he threw five strong innings and the offense led by: Hunter Davis, Corey Nelson, Hayden Shoup and Wesley Ingham all contributed 2 RBI’s for the Titans in a 13-4 victory. Next in line was Oconee Elite, starting pitching was once again key as Hampton Hudson got the ball and went the distance allowing only three runs in six innings and walking none. Hudson was aided by some stellar defensive plays by SS Drew Tovin, 2B Dash Edwards and 1B Ashton Woods. Hunter Davis and Hayden Shoup each had 3 RBI in the quarterfinal win.
Morning turned to afternoon which brought the South Forsyth Giants to the table. Corey Nelson got the nod to start and he didn’t disappoint the NYO faithful- going 4 strong innings, allowing 3 runs, and again walking none. The Titan offense exploded, racking up 14 hits: three for both Nelson and Shoup. And, just for good measure Walker Richens hit a walk off, run rule, grand slam for the final margin leaving the Titans 16-3 victors.
The championship game would pit the Georgia Academy Power against the upstart Titans and the boys from Chastain Park were up for the challenge. Twice the Titans fought back from deficits. Going on to take an 11-6 lead going into the top of the 6th inning. However, the Ga Power would not go quietly. They loaded the bases with one out, down 11-7, and gaining momentum. But, CF John Gallinaro made an over the shoulder diving catch on a hard line drive to left center field and followed it up with a dart to 2nd base to double up the runner… giving the NYO Titans their first ever D1 State Championship.
It was 10 hours of amazing baseball from a tremendous group of young men who came together as a team as all twelve boys had a huge hand in the outcome. In four games Titan pitchers (Barton, Hudson,Nelson,Hall,Shoup) only walked two batters. The defense headed up by SS Drew Tovin committed a scant three errors. Hunter Davis led the way at the plate, going 13 for 19 for the tournament. He had a ton of help from Hayden Shoup, Ethan Hall, Corey Nelson and Wesley Ingham who all excelled at the dish.