Living Legends’ bats were alive and well this weekend in San Jose. The Legends’ 16U white team went a perfect 4-0 over the weekend, winning by scores of 18-5, 11-3, 5-0 and 19-7 en route to their tournament win. But while the offense dominated from start to finish, the tournament MVP ended up going to pitcher Brad McWilliams for his near perfect performance in Sunday’s semifinal 5-0 win.
“He pitched almost a perfect game,” said Legends Head Coach Jim Greco. “The second batter of the game hit a high ground ball back to him, but it was really high and by the time he got it and threw it to first it was bang-bang and he was called safe. He actually then picked him off and nobody else reached base the rest of the game. As close as you could possibly get to a perfect game.”
McWilliams was originally a regular of the Legends program, but moved to Rocklin, California last year after his father passed away. With his mother not around, McWilliams moved in with his Aunt. Despite his move to the Sacramento area, coach Greco has made it a point to keep in touch and invites him to play in tournaments when he is available.
“He plays a couple times a season with us before his high school season starts,” remarked coach Greco. “He is one of those kids, I told him he’s a Living Legend for life, anytime you want to come play with us, he’s welcome to come play with us. He ended up being the MVP of the weekend. Most tournaments give the coaches of the winning team an MVP trophy and you can award it to whomever you want and he’s who we decided to give it to.”
Another key figure in the 16U tournament win was starting catcher Tevis Payne, who wears the jersey number 42, in homage to Jackie Robinson.
“The good thing about [Tevis] and all good baseball players is that they are willing to put in the work,” remarked coach Greco on his starting catcher. “He’s very coachable, he’s able to take constructive criticism in stride and apply the changes that we ask of him. His game has really evolved because of that.
“Right now, I would rate him as one of my best, if not the best catcher in my program,” continued the Legends’ coach. “He shut down the running game of our opponents on Saturday and last weekend he threw out three runners in our first game. It’s something he’s worked on, getting real quick in his release, getting rid of the ball quickly.”
On the offensive side of things, Legends’ shortstop Gilbert Murillo once again shined. Murillo plays both 16U and on the 18U squad for the Legends as he will be just a sophomore next season at Homestead High. As a freshman last year he was already a starter on varsity.
“He’s just a tough kid, not afraid,” said coach Greco. “The fact that he plays a fearless game, it makes him a really good ballplayer. He wants to be the man, he wants to be the guy who drives in runs. He’s a three hitter on our 18U team for a reason.”
The 16U white team will be in action again this coming weekend Aug. 18-19 at the “Back 2 School Bash” tournament at PAL stadium in San Jose.