FARMINGTON — The 2016 Connie Mack World Series All-Tournament Team was announced today, and, not surprisingly, the three teams that competed on the final day of the series were very well represented.
Of the 15 players chosen to the team, 12 came from the rosters of the Dallas Tigers, the East Cobb Yankees and D-BAT Elite 17U.
D-BAT's Braxton Fulford was selected as the catcher, while first baseman Billy Zinnershine and shortstop Xzavion Curry — who won the Most Valuable Player award and The Clubhouse Gold Glove award — made it from East Cobb. Tigers' second baseman Braydon Webb and third baseman Dylan Ditzenberger got the nod to round out the infield.
Webb was also honored as The Batting Champ of the team, which he earned for owning the highest combined batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage. Though he and Tigers coach Kyle Woods just met this year, Woods said Webb made quite an impression on him during the series.
"He came on the team and just fit right in with us as just an all-around baseball player," Woods said. "He just fit the bill for us in the two hole, with a little bit of power that can split the gap and a lot of discipline."
Curry was East Cobb's starting pitcher in the team's first game and in the championship game. In addition to his .467 batting average and five RBIs in just 15 at-bats, Curry made difficult plays at shortstop look routine. He was responsible for perhaps the most exciting moment of the tourney, when he hit a three-run, walk-off home run in Game 6 to make sure East Cobb defeated the Midland Redskins in extra innings.
The team's outfield is made up of D-BAT's Heston Kjerstad, East Cobb leadoff hitter Tucker Maxwell, Tigers leadoff hitter Zach DeLoach and Midland's J.J. Bleday. D-BAT's Jimmy Glowenke made it onto the team as the utility man.
Kjerstad, a University of Arkansas commit, crushed five extra-base hits for D-BAT and sported a robust .524 average for the week. D-BAT coach Ryan Robertson said Kjerstad is the best hitter he's ever coached.
"I think this is my 13th year as a coach, and I've never had anyone better," Robertson said of Kjerstad. "He just squares up on the ball in every at-bat. He's a fine young man, as well. All four of my guys who made it are, and that's what I'm proudest of."
Canaan Smith, who led all players in the RBI category, was named the designated hitter of the all-tourney team. Smith, who represented Dallas in the CMWS Home Run Derby, also won The Clubhouse Big Stick award.
Woods said Smith has always been a force with the bat.
"He's been right in the middle of my lineup for five years," Woods said. "He's a big, strong run producer. He keeps it live in the dugout, and he's a good, good kid."
The pitchers selected to the team were Garrett Gooden from East Cobb, Jacob Mesa from the Southern California Renegades, Drew Gillespie of Strike Zone and Noah Sifrit from D-BAT.
The Colton Nighthawks received the Team Sportsmanship award.
The all-tournament team voting committee was comprised of Ricketts Park press box personnel, the Connie Mack World Series executive committee members and The Daily Times sports staff.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.