FARMINGTON — Winning the Connie Mack World Series is a team effort, but it also takes a lot of great individual performances. And nobody stood out more in the tournament than East Cobb's Brandon Gold.
The Yankees' third baseman was named the CMWS MVP after guiding East Cobb to a 5-0 record and the team's sixth title on Friday at Ricketts Park.
"I've taken it upon myself to be a leader on this team. It's an individual award, but it goes out to my teammates," said Gold, who went 9-for-15 at the plate in the series. "If we didn't win the championship then I would not have won the MVP. I didn't score every run, and I didn't produce every run. It's a team sport, and this goes to my teammates."
Gold, a Georgia Tech commitment, was joined by his teammate Ryan Gridley in bringing home awards for the Yankees.
Gridley won the Gold Glove for the CMWS top defensive player.
"I worked on that all year. I take pride in my defense, and it means a lot that I'm able to get that award," said the East Cobb second baseman, who will attend Mississippi State.
To win a title, though, the Yankees needed great pitching to balance their strong offensive and defensive performances. And East Cobb got just that from Payton Smith, who joined Gold and Gridley on the all-tournament team.
The East Cobb ace allowed just two runs in 10 2/3 innings over two starts for the Yankees.
"It feels great. This has been one of the best experiences of my life," Smith said.
The Southern California Renegades came up short in the title game against East Cobb, but matched the Yankees with three members on the all-tournament team.
Outfielders Brock Lundquist and Turner Buis, along with pitcher Jacob Nix, represented the Renegades on the squad.
"It feels great. I had a pretty good tournament," said Lundquist, who also won the Big Stick Award with his two home runs. "This is the biggest thing I've done. Playing against top players in the United States and the top teams was a great experience."
The host team Strike Zone Baseball also had three representatives on the all-tourney team in pitcher Ian Doughty, outfielder Cody Bower and first baseman Jacy Cave.
Doughty started two games for Strike Zone, including a complete game victory over the Frozen Ropes, allowing four earned runs in 12 innings.
Bower went 6-for-11 during the tournament, earning one of the four outfielder spots.
"It's a great honor, not only to represent Strike Zone, but the state of New Mexico," Bower said. "New Mexico baseball is right up there with the best of the best."
Cave joined his teammates on the squad and hopes Strike Zone Baseball made a statement to the rest of the country at the tournament.
"Baseball in (New Mexico) is overlooked," he said. "We can compete with any team in the country."
The Midland Redskins and Frozen Ropes each had two players named to the all-tournament team.
Outfielder Andrew Benintendi and second baseman Zach Beckner made the squad for the Redskins, as well as Frozen Ropes' pitcher Cory Scheibner and shortstop Joe Baker.
Illinois Sparks designated hitter Tommy Hayes and D-BAT Leach catcher Jake Rogers rounded out the team.
Rogers, a Tulane University commitment, set a CMWS record with three triples in the tournament, breaking the previous mark of two held by 11 players.
"It's awesome. I just can't believe I'm a part of the record book," Rogers said.
The South Troy Dodgers, Texas Stix and Arecibo Lobos were the only teams without a representative on the squad.
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.