By: Luke White
This past weekend, the Stix Baseball 2025 Scout team proved that age is just a number.
The Grapevine, Tex.-based team defied expectations while nearly going undefeated in the Pudge Rodriguez World Classic from June 14-19 at the Melissa Z-Plex. With each of its players falling into the 15U age range, the team won the tournament with a 7-1 mark while competing against 16U teams. Even more impressive, Stix was one of just two 15U teams among a field of 48 total teams.
“To have the opportunity to compete against a field of, without question, some of the top-tier 2024 graduate class groups was a task, first and foremost,” head coach Omar Turner said. “To gain the experience of knowing and understanding that we can physically compete with teams that are a year older, stronger and more experienced–I’m still at a loss for words.
“It feels really good knowing that we competed hard. I wasn’t necessarily concerned with the outcome every day, I was more concerned with making sure that we competed smart and hard.”
— Five Tool Baseball (@FiveTool) June 19, 2022
Stix was led to the tournament victory behind multiple outstanding individual performances, namely by tournament MVP Jaxon Rickert of Lake Ridge High School, who threw 11 scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts while giving up just two hits and a walk. The team was also anchored by the pitching MVP, Marcos Paz of Hebron High School, who threw ten innings of three-run ball with 13 strikeouts.
However, Turner, while still giving credit where it’s due, praised the team’s performance as just that–a team effort, as opposed to the doing of an individual player.
“We have an entire group of coaches and players that were focused each and every day,” Turner said. “It’s a team concept, and I’ve got 14 players on the roster. I don’t want to single anybody out, because it’s a team sport, but I think all of them [can play] at the collegiate level.”
Despite their 7-1 showing in the tournament, there was no easy path to victory for Stix given the competition they were facing. Rather, the wins ultimately came down to the same mindset and mental approach that the team took into each game.
“It took heart and it took character,” Turner said. “It took an understanding that we were outmatched in terms of experience and strength compared to the older kids. But we were determined to play as hard as we could. Our team was very selfless in the way that we played. We don’t have any ‘Me’ guys, everybody is a team guy. I think that was the difference-maker when you look at some of the individual talent on the teams we faced.”
Additionally, Stix keeps their goals for each game simple and straightforward, with just one thing on their minds.
“We just want to win the game that we’re playing that day,” Turner said. “We don’t think about anything else.”
With this mentality and the team’s talent, Stix is on the path to winning many more games this summer. And it started Tuesday for them as they now look to repeat Championships in Five Tool with the Alex Bregman 15U World Series.