07/10/2017 2:46 PM
There is no doubting the talent in the younger divisions in this years Borough Cup, but ever since the birth of the tournament in 2014 there seems to be a heightened attention when it comes to the U13 and U14 age divisions. Some say it’s the fact that the kids are bigger and more athletic, but who are we kidding? It is the fact that two teams from each division will have the chance to play for their respective championships and New York baseball supremacy at Yankee Stadium.
This could be an interesting year for these divisions as past studs from the Borough Cup are now standouts at the next level. Jason Pineda from the inaugural U14 champions Bronx Bombers from 2014 has recently been drafted in the 17th round by the San Diego Padres, but is currently committed to play college baseball at the University of Michigan. With this tournament growing so is the talent and we couldn't be more excited.
This year in the U13 division, the field has expanded from three pools last year to four this year. Over in Pool A is arguably the hottest team in Queens, the Ozone Howard Wolfpack. With a great showing in the ECYB Summer Showdown the Wolfpack looks to continue to lean on, their dominant pitching staff that has not shied away from the big moment. This is an accomplished team that won the U11 Championship two years ago, and is ready to return to the big game.
Pool B is the toss up of the U13 with a handful of worthy competitors, but one stands out more than the rest. The Brooklyn Bluestorm are the standouts not only in Pool B but in the entire U13 division. They finished out our Big Apple Rankings #1 and cruised through their competition by winning MPI Tomorrow’s Stars U13 Championship, Perfect Game Northeast Invitational U13 Championship, and the NYBC East Coast Qualifier.
In the U13, it is natural for your eyes to go to Pool C as they have four teams in their group rather than the rest that have three. Within each division there are standouts, but it seems that this is the most competitive division out of the U13 group. With Dodgers Elite and the Bronx Bombers coming in at #3 and #4 respectively, in our Big Apple rankings, it should be interesting to watch these two teams duel it out to see who can not only rise through the ranks but also possible raise the cup at Yankee Stadium.
Pool D could have the dark horse in the battle for the best U13 baseball team in New York in the form of the New York Prospects- Belson. Coach Belson led teams to Yankees Stadium each of the first two years, losing to the Bronx Bombers in 2014, before beating the USC Knights in 2015. With his squad fresh off a tournament title at Sports at the Beach, they could be poised for another deep run.
As for the U14, there are a lot of familiar faces coming back to try and win the Cup, especially in Pool A. The team that immediately jumps out at you is the Bonnies from Brookyln. This team has been battle tested over the years as U12 Champs two years ago. After a year of overcoming the transition to the larger diamond, they are ready to make an impression in 2017. Not to be counted out though are the Bonnies long-time nemesis Youth Service League, who have produced numerous Major Leaguers such as Manny Ramirez and Dellin Betances since their inception in 1954.
Over in Pool B, there is another returning team we are particularly excited to see, and that is the Bronxchester Realtors. Formerly the Bronx Realtors, the squad may have surprised many with their playoff appearance in 2015, but after making it to the Semi-Finals in 2016, no one will be taking them lightly any longer. They do have some serious completion in their pool though, as Grand Slam Baseball Club has a proven track record this year (WSL Spring Fever Champions) and one of the more powerful U14 offenses we’ve seen in years.
Rounding out the group is Pool C. The frontrunner from this set of teams is obviously NYCYSO Rays after their Runner-Up Finish in the U13 last year, but don’t count out the NY Gamers who won the HBQVB Pony Championship and have just seemed to get better as the year rolls on.