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The West Boynton Travel Cobras 11U baseball team recently won the championship in the bronze bracket during the 2021 Easton United States Specialty Sports Association Elite World Series in Viera at Space Coast Complex in July.
The Easton USSSA Elite World Series featured top teams nationally from the 8U through 14U age groups. The WBT Cobras 11U team fell short during pool play and was placed in the bronze bracket before bouncing back during the elimination round with a strong finish. It won the final three games to capture the bronze tournament title.
During pool play, West Boynton standout pitcher Braden Alexander was drilled by a line drive and had to leave the field on a stretcher. He received seven stitches under his right eye and had multiple face fractures.
“Braden made huge gains this year to become one of our top pitchers,” West Boynton 11U manager Dax Rankine said. “We watched him take a brutal line drive to the face and we all were in shock. This was probably the worst injury I have ever witnessed in over 20 years of coaching. It was horrible and our kids were not the same after that. It took a while to comprehend. It was great to see the boys rally together and play hard in the bronze tournament for their teammate and friend.”
West Boynton cruised past the Arlington Twins 8-2 in the elimination game opener of the bronze tournament. Trey Fountain pitched a complete game and allowed just one earned run with four strikeouts. Gavin Rankine registered two hits while Gabriel Coupet, Julen Phan and Raeder Ortega each had a base hit and RBI.
West Boynton defeated the WCTB Railriders 6-5 to advance to the championship. Cade Kuhlmeier pitched four innings and struck out four. Beckett Noll closed the game on the mound and recorded the save. Noll stepped up on offense with two RBI while Jace Humphrey also drove in two runs. Rankine added a base hit and Coupet had an RBI in the victory.
West Boynton held off the Miami Yankees 7-4 to capture the title. Brian Bechtel pitched four innings and allowed one earned run with two strikeouts. Humphrey pitched in relief and closed out the contest. Coupet had three RBI while Ortega drove in two runs and scored twice. Noll finished with a base hit and scored a pair of runs while Fountain recorded a base hit and RBI.
“This tournament was a roller coaster of emotions for players and parents,” Rankine said. “We are a close group and a family. We are proud of these boys.”
The WBT Cobras 11U group secured a berth at the Easton USSSA Elite World Series after qualifying during the South Florida Super NIT this past March.
The WBT Cobras 11U squad includes Trey Fountain, Jace Humphrey, Gabriel Coupet, Beckett Noll, Gavin Rankine, Trey Weihs, Brian Bechtel, Raeder Ortega, Cade Kuhlmeier, Julen Phan and Braden Alexander. Manager Dax Rankine is joined by assistant coaches Rob Weihs and Chris Alexander.