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MELL Tournaments on tap this week

Posted: July 7, 2015 - 11:16pm
The Martinez-Evans Little League Georgia District 6 Intermediate champions are playing host to the state tournament at Crawford Creek Park on July 11-14. Three teams are competing. Front row, left to right: Jack Matthews, Joshua Melton, Drew Proctor, Brian Peel, Preston Price; middle row-John D'Amelio, Cameron Herndon, Alex Matthews, Camrin Dunbar, Antwuan Rolling, Blake Tucker; back row-coaches Joe D'Amelio, Billy Herndon, Robert Peel, Woodie Melton.  Special
Special
The Martinez-Evans Little League Georgia District 6 Intermediate champions are playing host to the state tournament at Crawford Creek Park on July 11-14. Three teams are competing. Front row, left to right: Jack Matthews, Joshua Melton, Drew Proctor, Brian Peel, Preston Price; middle row-John D'Amelio, Cameron Herndon, Alex Matthews, Camrin Dunbar, Antwuan Rolling, Blake Tucker; back row-coaches Joe D'Amelio, Billy Herndon, Robert Peel, Woodie Melton.

Martinez-Evans Little League intermediate and big league teams should know what to expect when they play host to their respective tournaments this week.

The MELL 17/18 Big League team, coached by Woodie Melton, has seven players who played in the 2013 Senior League World Series. Robert Peel’s 12/13 intermediate squad has nine who were state runners-up last year in the 12-year-old group and eight from the 2013 state champion and Southeast Region runner-up team.

“I think the team is very well-prepared,” Peel said. “Depending on how the competition is, we should go far.”

The Big League double-elimination tournament has four teams in it. It begins Friday at 10 a.m. at Evans High School with Oconee County facing East Marietta. MELL takes the field for their first game at 12:30 p.m. against West Point. A champion will be crowned on Sunday.

The seven Big League returners are Wilfredo Colon-Rios, Kyle Cartledge, Luke Wiles, Daniel Lee, Jose Nogueras, Isaiah Davila and Jesse Ibarra. Add 10 more for 17 players on his team and Melton has a problem not usually seen with all-star rosters.

“I’m excited, we probably have more talent than we know what to do with,” said Melton, noting that three star outfielders will be sitting on the bench at the start of each game.

Melton has a solid pitching rotation of seven players starting with Colon-Rios and thinks the venue plays into his favor.

“With this team, the ball park is big and you throw strikes and don’t walk people, it will be hard to beat us,” Melton said.

Like the Big League tournament, the intermediate tournament at Crawford Creek Park is double elimination but there are just three teams competing. The tournament starts Saturday with Peachtree City facing Smyrna at 3 p.m. with MELL waiting to play the winner at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 12. The tournament finishes on Tuesday, July 14, and Peel was quick to note how they got the bye.

“The host did not get the bye, it was done at random in a random draw by the Little League state office,” said Peel.

Peel thinks the sum is greater than the parts.

“This year it’s just going to be a strong group of four or five pitchers,” Peel said. “There’s no one dominant pitcher. We’ve got some really good bats. I definitely see it being a full team effort this year.”

Peel also likes the intangibles the team brings to the field.

“Just the experience in playing together for so long and experience in these tournaments,” Peel said. “Some of them have been playing all-stars together since they were 9 years old. They all have experience playing in high-pressure games.”

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