GLENDALE, Ariz. – It began in January of 2013 and has continued now for five years, this strange phenomenon of the San Diego Show laying claim to the three main stages at the Perfect Game MLK Championships as their own. And that has become especially true in the Underclass (formerly 16u) division.
Cade Brown pitched 4 1/3 innings of no-hit, no-walk, shutout ball and delivered a run-scoring single in the fourth inning, and the No. 2-seeded San Diego Show fought their way past the No. 1 San Diego Padres Scout Team, 2-0, in the PG West MLK Underclass Championship title game played Monday afternoon on the Chicago White Sox side of the Camelback Ranch spring training complex.
The championship was the second straight for the Show organization at the PG West MLK Underclass Championship; it is its third PG MLK tournament championship overall to go with the titles won at the 2013 Upperclass and last year’s Underclass. San Diego Show teams also played in PG West MLK championship games at the 2014 Freshman, 2014 Under, 2014 Upper and 2015 Under tournaments.
“I’m really proud that we’ve been in (at least one) of the championship games at this tournament for five straight years, and to win it three of the five is pretty cool,” San Diego Show owner/manager Brian Cain said after Monday’s championship game victory.
“It’s kind of crazy, but I think some of these guys have played in (two or three PG MLK) championship games … and we always want to come down here and play good baseball,” he said. “This is always a good time to play in Arizona … and it gives our guys a good opportunity to see some quality pitching going into the high school season; it’s a really good atmosphere.”
The Show (6-0-0) got the upper-hand on the Padres’ Scout Team (5-1-0) with two runs in the fourth inning, thanks to a pair of run-scoring singles from Brown and Daniel Becerra; they out-hit the Padres Scout Team, 10-2. The two runs proved to be enough, as 2019 right-hander Thomas Carter came-in in relief of Brown and threw 2 2/3 two-hit, shutout innings, striking out five and walking two.
Brown is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound, 2018 first baseman/right-hander from Cardiff, Calif., a PG top-500 prospect who has yet to make this college choice. He was named the Most Valuable Player at the 2016 PG West MLK Underclass Championship and was a repeat recipient this weekend.
He was simply special all weekend, both at the plate and on the mound. In the batter’s box, he went 9-for-16 (.563) with four doubles, nine RBI and four runs scored while compiling a 1.462 OPS. In two pitching appearances, including the championship game, Brown allowed only two hits and didn’t walk a batter in 7 1/3 shutout innings, striking out eight.
“It’s kind of cool that not only did we win the Underclass last year and were able to go back-to-back this year, but the same kid won the MVP last year,” Cain said. “Cade Brown won back-to-back MVPs and we won back-to-back championships; that’s pretty special and I’m really happy for him.”
The San Diego Padres Scout Team didn’t have much to crow about in their championship game loss, but they obviously did some really good things on their way to becoming the playoffs’ No. 1 seed. Individually, 2019 catcher Jared Thomas, a University of Miami commit from Lakewood, Calif., ranked No. 44 nationally, went 8-for-15 (.533) with a home run, triple, double, seven RBI and five runs scored.
2018 left-hander Leonardo Palacios, an uncommitted prospect from Phoenix, was named the Most Valuable Pitcher after working 5 innings in two appearances, and allowing one earned run (1.40 ERA) on one hit with 12 strikeouts and two walks.
The San Diego Show organization is making a solid case to one day be included on some sort of PG MLK Championship Mount Rushmore monument. And this underclass team of elite 2018s and 2019s has already figured prominently into that success.
“These guys are on cruise control,” Cain said. “We’ve got a great group of guys and we’re really looking forward to a really good summer and fall; this kind of kicks it off. They’ll get back to high school ball and then they’ll be ready to get out to (PG) World Wood Bat and the different (PG) World Series, and we’ll go through the year and run at it again just like we always do.”
The quarterfinal seeding held true in the semifinals with each of the top-four seeds advancing. The No. 1 San Diego Padres Scout Team out-lasted No. 8 Sticks Baseball Academy, 8-7; the No. 2 San Diego Show got past No. 7 Wilson Sandlot, 4-3; No. 3 LVR routed the No. 6 CBA Bruins, 14-0; and No. 4 Pacific Northwest Regional Baseball Underclass whipped No. 5 AZ T-Rex Rawlings, 8-0.