The Diamond Elite Aces 16U baseball team went 7-0, winning the Grand Slam World Series Tournament in Panama City Beach, Florida last week. The tournament consisted of 13 teams from various states, including Georgia, Florida, Texas and Illinois. Each team played two pool games before going into a double elimination bracket. The Aces have four players from Thomaston: Trace Park, Cole Murphy, Nash Franklin and Will Barfield.
The Aces started the tournament off strong on Monday with a 7-6 win over Texas Rage (Houston, Tex.). Will Barfield recorded the win for the Aces, allowing 5 hits and 2 earned runs. Cole Murphy and Nash Franklin scored one run each during the game. Game two for the Aces was another tight game, with a 3-1 win over Midwest Havoc (Chicago, Ill.). The Aces took the lead in the third inning scoring two runs from a single by Trace Park. Nash Franklin went 2 for 4 with two singles, scoring two of the three runs scored by the Aces.
The next three games for the Aces were wins against Georgia-based teams. The Aces defeated Georgia Fire (5-4) with the help of Nash Franklin, who went 2 for 3 with a single and a triple scoring two runs. Game four was against Livsey Academy Baseball of Jonesboro. Cody Streit (Griffin) gave the Aces an early lead with a three-run homerun in the second inning.
The Aces would end up scoring six more runs, with the help of Will Barfield in the 9-3 win over Livsey. Zane Kendrick (Butler) would record the next win for the Aces against Spartans Baseball (Newnan). Kendrick allowed only three hits in six innings of work. He struck out three, walked five and allowed no earned runs. Trace Park and Will Barfield both contributed to the win, each having one hit and scoring one run.
Game six for the Aces was an exciting “walk-off” 7-6 win over the Chicago based Midwest Havoc in the semifinals. The Havoc got off to an early start, scoring two runs in the first inning. The Aces went into the bottom of the last inning down 6-3 to the Havoc. A three-run homerun by Cody Streit would send the game into extra innings. Streit would also end up with the walk-off game winning hit in the bottom of the 8th inning, clinching the Aces’ championship game.
Kyle Turner (Griffin) would take the hill for the Aces, pitching six scoreless innings. Turner allowed four hits, three walks and struck out five. Trace Park went 2 for 3 with two singles and scoring one run. Cole Murphy went 1 for 2 with a big RBI single to help give the Aces an early lead. Zane Kendrick would get the save for the Aces, coming in during the seventh inning and recording the final two outs of the game with the bases loaded.
During the seven-game tournament, the Aces pitching played a huge role with a combined 1.78 ERA during a total of 47 innings of work. During the tournament, Trace Park went 7 for 19, with a .328 average and .500 on base percentage. Nash Franklin went 8 for 25, with seven singles and one triple, finishing with a .320 average and .346 on base percentage.
The Diamond Elite Aces are coached by John Maguire (Thomaston), Chris Long (Meansville), Matt Crews (Thomaston) and Thad Worley (Griffin). The Aces are based out of a new indoor training facility, Diamond Elite Baseball & Softball, LLC located on East County Road in Thomaston.