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Yalobusha Giants 13U Dominate the 12th USSSA Wilson DiMarini Elite World Series at Disney

Yalobusha Giants
13U Yalobusha Giants

The Yalobusha Giants 13-year-old baseball team won the most competitive invitational baseball tournament in the country this weekend in Orlando, Florida.

Participating teams in the age group qualified by winning one of the 32 Super NIT hosted countrywide. The Yalobusha Giants have had seven teams qualify for this prestigious tournament since the formation of the nonprofit organization by Heidi and Russ Pratt in 2008.

The organization has had two of their players selected by Team USA. Kemp Alderman was the USSSA 11U player of the year last year, and currently Colin Rueter, a 12U Yalobusha giants player, is in Taiwan playing for the 12U Team USA baseball team.

The Giants have teams ranging from 7U to 13U. Its primary goals are 1) to provide kids an opportunity to play and excel in baseball, while giving them a platform to showcase their talent and develop a love for the game; 2) to teach them hard work, perseverance and teamwork; 3) to provide them an opportunity to use what they have learned for an opportunity for a college education; and 4) to bring exposure to baseball in Mississippi.

The All Mississippi Team Members include: (Front) Sam Bianco, Oxford, Josh Basil, New Albany, Eli Hancock, Houston, Cole Phillips, Pine Dale, Luke Willard, Pine Dale. (Back) Kemp Alderman, Decatur, Bo Williams, Batesville, Matt Swan, Amory, Ryan Burt, Columbus, Peyton Puckett, Tupelo.
The All Mississippi Team Members include: (Front) Sam Bianco, Oxford, Josh Basil, New Albany, Eli Hancock, Houston, Cole Phillips, Pine Dale, Luke Willard, Pine Dale. (Back) Kemp Alderman, Decatur, Bo Williams, Batesville, Matt Swan, Amory, Ryan Burt, Columbus, Peyton Puckett, Tupelo.

The 13U Yalobusha Giants team won the Chatanooga, Tennessee Super NIT to qualify for Disney. Russ Pratt is the manager of the Yalobusha Giants. Other coaches for the 13U team are Jon “Tank” Burt, Kelly Alderman and Jason Jenkins. This year’s record for the 13U team was 33-7. The Giants defeated the Texas Bombers in the Championship game televised on MLB.com. It was just the third loss of the season for the Bombers all season. Many of the teams competing in this age group carried 20 or more players for this tournament, but the Giants were able to win it with just 10 homegrown Mississippi players.

The victory may be best summarized by the Visalia Oaks team out of Fresno, California when their manager texted coach Pratt saying, “Congrats to your whole squad on an amazing run. Class act. No better deserving squad.”

In order to advance to the televised Championship game, the Giants defeated teams from South Florida-Miami, Michigan, Central Florida-Tampa, Fresno, California, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and finally Texas. These teams have players on their rosters from Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Many of these teams have multiple corporate sponsors as well as paid coaches. For example, the Texas Bombers are coached in part by former MLB Livan Hernandez.

“I just couldn’t be more proud of these kids. We had 8 kids pitch and they just played great baseball.” Pratt said. “These parents and kids have been so committed all year. They have worked hard and the hard work paid off.”

Other teams participating in the 13U division were teams based out of Richmond, Virginia carrying players from the Washington DC area, St Louis, Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, Kansas and North Carolina.

13U Yalobusha Giants at Championship Awards Ceremony
13U Yalobusha Giants at Championship Awards Ceremony

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