PROVING THAT HE BELONGS: Nichols set to compete in top amateur tourney

Published 12:05 am Friday, June 29, 2018

Andalusia High School catcher Hogan Nichols will play this week in the 16th annual Perfect Game 17U WWBA National Championship in northwest Atlanta.

Nichols plays with the East Coast Sox Prime team based out of Columbus, Miss.

Nichols was a crucial part of the Bulldogs’ first-ever state championship in May.

In game three of the state championship series, Nichols finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the Bulldogs’ 10-6 victory.

This past season for the Bulldogs, Nichols had a .449 batting average with four home runs and a team-high 46 RBIs.

Nichols had 10 doubles, one triple and only struck out nine times 107 at bats. His 48 hits was also a team-high for the Bulldogs.

Coming into this season, Perfect Game listed Nichols as a 2018 Underclassman All-American honorable mention.

Nichols was recently named the Class 4A first-team catcher by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

The Perfect Game WWBA National Championship is considered one of the top high school prospect tournaments in the nation by many top colleges and scouts. According to the Perfect Game website, Perfect Game runs the largest and most scouted tournaments in amateur baseball.

Since 2003, 22,382 players that have played in the tournament have go on to play college baseball. There have been 4,079 players that have been drafted with 377 making it to the Major Leagues. Since 1999 more than 1,000 Perfect Game players have gone onto the Major Leagues. Notable MLB players include Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Marcus Stroman, Anthony Rizzo, Buster Posey, Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto, Madison Bumgarner, Jay Bruce, Addison Russell, Justin Smoak, George Springer, Corey Dickerson, Tonder Alonso, Mookie Betts, Michael Brantley, Chris Sale, Andrew Miller, Michael Fulmer, Corey Kluber, Lance McCullers, Dellin Betances, Daniel Murphy, Zack Cozart, Charlie Blackmon, Paul Goldschmidt, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger and Stephen Strasburg.

The tournament consists of 392 teams from across the nation and will be made of 49 pools of eight teams.

Hitters face a challenge in the Perfect Game tournament as they are required to use wood bats instead of the aluminium bats used by high school and college players.

Teams will play seven total pool-play games with six games between June 29 and July 3. The final pool-play game will be played on July 4.

Pool winners only will advance to the single elimination beginning the night of the Fourth of July.

The semifinals and championship will be play on July 6.

The tournament will be held at Perfect Game Park at LakePoint-Cartersville, Ga.

The East Coast Sox Prime’s first game will be against Team Louisiana at 9 a.m, today.

Game two will be against the EJ Sports Warriors on Saturday at 2 p.m.

At 9:30 p.m., on Saturday, they will play the South Jersey Sand Sharks Hayes.

Game four will be played on Sunday at 2 p.m., against the Indiana Prospects Walbaum.

On Monday, they will play FTB Tucci Orlando.

Game six will be against the Rawlings Stars on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

The final pool play game will be play against the East Cobb Astros on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m.

Later this summer, Nichols will also join Alabama’s top incoming seniors in the North/South All-Star game at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery.

The North/South All-Star game will be played on July 17 at 4 p.m. The second game will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one.

Nichols will play on the South All-Stars along with Chandler Best (McGill-Toolen), Kolbe Blount (Davidson), Trace Bright (Trinity), Tyler Darby, Ethan Hearn (Mobile Christian), Jake Holifield (St. Paul’s), Nathan LaRue (McGill-Toolen), Greyson Layton (Brantley), Camden Lovrich (Trinity), Drew Nobles (Holtville), Von Seibert (Spanish Fort), Matthew Sherrill (Headland), Matthew Snell (G.W. Long), Skipper Snypes (UMS-Wright), Reece Solar (Alabama Christian) and David Warren (Providence Christian).