McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local Sports

June 14, 2014

Wrapping up the 2014 Jr. Sunbelt

McALESTER — The 2014 Jr. Sunbelt Classic tournament ended Wednesday, with Texas beating Tennessee in the championship at Mike Deak Field in McAlester. Here’s a look at each team’s final record, plus a look back at how the team did in 2013.

1) Texas

2014 record: 9-0, tournament champion

Start to finish, the 2014 Sunbelt belonged to Texas. It had the deepest pitching roster, starting with Luken Baker, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and including Most Valuable Pitchers Jackson Parthasarathy and Beau Ridgeway.

Texas matched its arms with a lineup of nine hitters who could all put the ball in play, get on base and drive in runs. Texas went undefeated in the round robin, then topped Tennessee in the championship to win the state’s first Sunbelt title since 2006.

Texas finished third in 2013, winning seven games including a third-place game against Tennessee. The boys in black again bested the boys in orange in the 2014 championship, putting the finishing touches on a perfect tournament.

2) Tennessee

2014 record: 6-3, second place

Tennessee won one game fewer than it did in 2013. But with several states bringing weaker teams this season, six wins was enough to put it in the championship game.

Tennessee came into the 2013 tournament having won back-to-back Sunbelt titles. For a program that expects to win every year, 2014 might come as a slight disappointment.

But compared with Tennessee’s fourth-place finish in 2013, 2014 was a step in the right direction.

3) Georgia

2014 record: 7-2, third place

Georgia went from a 4-6, seventh-place team in 2013 to a 7-2, third-place team in 2014. No other team improved as much in a year as Georgia did, making it the breakthrough team of the year.

Like Tennessee, Georgia is another state trying to get back to previous glory. And like Tennessee, the 2014 Sunbelt was a step in the right direction.

If Georgia can get one more hard-throwing pitcher and one or two more quality bats, it might break into the championship game in 2015.

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