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Pitching dominates in first day of tournament

October 27, 2000

By Allan Simpson

JUPITER, Fla.—With a majority of the players at the Baseball America/Perfect Game World Wood Bat Championship using wood bats in a competitive situation for the first time, pitching not surprisingly dominated the first day of competition.

There were several impressive performances on the mound in the 33 games played, including three no-hitters and three 0-0 ties. There also wasn't a single home run hit, despite the appearance of several top hitting prospects in the High School Draft Class of 2001.

More than 1,000 high school players from all over the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico are gathered at the four-day event, with several hundred scouts and college recruiters also in attendance.

The 50-team competition is being played at Roger Dean Stadium, the 13-field spring training complex of the Montreal Expos and St. Louis Cardinals. Pool play will continue Saturday with another 39 games scheduled.

Among the top pitching performances on Friday were:

  • A combined no-hitter by righthanders Kyle Davies and Allen Ponder of the East Cobb (Ga.) Astros in a 0-0 tie against Hofball, a team represented almost exclusively by players from national power Westminster Academy of Fort Lauderdale. Davies (Stockbridge, Ga., High) is rated one of the top high school pitchers for the 2001 draft by Prospects Plus, while Ponder (Auburn, Ala., High) is projected as one of the top pitchers for the 2002 draft. The two combined to strike out nine. Davies was clocked at 94 mph, the fastest recorded time on the day.
  • A combined no-hitter by righthander Josh Grant (Hattiesburg, Miss., High) and Adam Dunavant (Prince George High, Disputanta, Va.) of the East Coast Prospects in a 0-0 tie against Team Pittsburgh. Grant is the top-rated prospect in Mississippi.

    Earlier in the day, Team Pittsburgh's Zach Jackson (Seneca Valley High, Cranberry, Pa.) blanked Perfect Game Central 2-0 on two hits, striking out nine.

  • A combined no-hitter by junior righthanders Mike Pelfrey (Wichita Heights High, Wichita) and Mark McCormick (Clear Creek High, Clear Creek Shores, Texas) of the Dallas Tigers in a 3-0 win over the Eagle Baseball Club of Florida. Both pitchers were clocked as high as 93 mph.
  • Team Iowa's Eric Wordenkemper, a junior righthander from St. Mary's High in Storm Lake, Iowa, pitched a two-hitter with no walks and 12 strikeouts in a 5-0 win over Perfect Game East.
  • Junior righthander Jason Neighborgall of the North Carolina Warhawks retired all 12 batters he faced, striking out six, as the Warhawks defeated Perfect Game North 5-3. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound product of Riverside High School in Durham, N.C., was clocked at 93 mph.

Pre-tournament favorite Team California went with ace righthanders Moses Kopmar (Berkeley, Calif., High) and Steve Papazian (Wilson High, Long Beach) but could fare no better than a 1-1 tie with Team Ontario.

Surprisingly, the Baseball America team, with several of the nation's top prospects, went only 1-1 and was fortunate to even win at all.

Righthander Jason Weintraub (Jefferson High, Tampa) of the Tampa Yankees struck out 12 and allowed only five hits but was done in by two unearned runs as Baseball America pulled out a narrow 2-1 win. Three Baseball America pitchers worked out of several jams.

The BAteam, which features catcher Landon Powell (Apex, N.C., High), outfielder Billy Paganetti (Galena High, Reno, Nev.) and sophomore outfielder Delmon Young (Camarillo, Calif., High), wasn't as fortunate in its second game as it lost 7-1 to the Treasure Coast, Fla., Cardinals. With the loss, it is in danger of not advancing to bracket play on Sunday.

The 10 pool winners advance to bracket play, along with six wild-card teams.

Teams that went 2-0 on the opening day were Batters Box Bandits of Florida, North Carolina Warhawks, Team Florida Blue, West Palm Beach (Fla.) and West Side All-Stars of Puerto Rico.

The Dallas Tigers won their only game, as did another pre-tournament favorite, the Bayside (N.Y.) Yankees.

The East Coast Prospects, another of the favorites, was one of four teams to go 1-0-1.

Look for daily coverage of the event on and

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