Story: Matt Carl | | “Devoted to Youth Sports”
Published: November 29, 2011

While most people were relaxing over the holiday weekend, the Sandlot All-Stars Baseball Club was busy winning the Thanksgiving Shootout NIT in not one, but four different age groups.

The 10 Open age group featured three different sub-divisions, two of which were won by the 9U Purple and 9U Black Sandlot Clubs. The other two championships were won at the 11U age group, with the White squad winning the 11AAA tournament and the Black squad winning the 11Major tournament.

9U Purple
The All-Stars Purple had a tough road to the championship after dropping two of three pool play games to start out, but finished strong with two playoff wins against the AZ Xpress and the Raiders 9U. Reed Connolly took a no hitter into the 5th inning of the championship game, which helped seal their 7-1 win over the Raiders. Connolly, with Tyvon Moore and Kyle Shagena, led the way this weekend for the All-Stars. They finished the tournament with 35 runs scored, taking home their second championship title of the season after improving to 10-6.

9U Black

The Black squad went a perfect 5-0 on the weekend with 61 runs scored and 26 against. They swept pool play with wins over the Rattlers, AZ Xpress, and the Dirty Dozen before moving into bracket play to face the Rattlers again. After a close 10-8 victory in their first meeting, the All-Stars kicked it into high gear in the playoffs and beat the Rattlers by a convincing 14-6 victory led by an opposite-field home run from Beau Akenemy. In their 5th tournament of the fall, the 9U All-Stars Black took home their third title with finals appearances in all but one.

11U White

The All-Stars White improved to 10-1 on the season with a perfect 6-0 weekend at the Thanksgiving Shootout. The tournament marks their first championship of the fall after falling just short at the Halloween Scream last month. They completed the sweep of pool play beating the Spin Doctors, AZ Heat, and Warriors Academy by a combined score of 30-7 before entering Sunday’s bracket rounds. Sunday’s games were much closer for the All-Stars but they were able to pull off two one-run victories against the AZ Heat and the BBC Reds to earn first place. Jacob Cavaleri caught every inning of the tournament, throwing out numerous runners on the base paths while Eli Akenemy and Hayden Whalen led the offensive efforts.

11U Black

Sandlot’s 11U Black squad preserved their undefeated season with their second tournament championship in as many tries. Going 5-0-1 on the weekend, the All-Stars scored over 10 runs per game and held opponents under four. While they were in command for the majority of the tournament, the championship game really tested the boys’ mettle. Grant GorrellJD McLaughlinJoey Cammaratta, and Ethan Long all came up with clutch hits in the championship game helping them hold on to an 11-10 win. They are currently ranked as the No. 3 11U Major team in the country according to the USSSA Power Ratings, and are No. 1 in Arizona.