2022 Sports Center Classic
Rock Run’s Faron Fry doubles against TG Brand in the Championship!
Hot Links (More Videos to come)
Rock Runs Glenn Bender makes a leaping catch. Check out all the action in the videos below.
Championship Condensed Game link (when ready)
Michigan Stats link (Updating throughout the week)
Michigan Team List
“Round of 15” Recap
Cash House opens the tournament with a big run rule win over Meitran.
Conference USSSA returned to Michigan for the 1st time since the annual “Last Chance” Major in Sterling Heights was last held in 2016. This years tournament was played on the 300 foot fields at the Canton Sports Center in Canton, Michigan and there were 15 teams from 8 different states and 9 of the teams were from the Conference. The tournament began at 8 AM Saturday morning and finished at 10:30 PM Saturday night. In the “Round of 15” Cash House/JBL Roofing/Titans (OH-B) jumped out to a big lead against Meitran/Swiing Kiingz (IL-B) and never looked back in a 23-6 early morning rout. Precision/3rd Street/Red Athlete (IL-AA) quickly run ruled Superfriends/DO Apparel/Rosenau (MI-C) 34-3. Non Conference ‘C’ team TAFN/GoSports from Michigan trailing the entire game against Cornerstone/Midstate/SVC/Slugger/PT (KY-A) was down 9 going into the bottom of the 7th. They cut the lead to 5 and with 2 outs walked down Cornerstone winning 25-24 on a bases loaded single and error even though they were out homered 12-6. TG Brand (MI-B) run ruled 2021 Conference ‘B’ team WM Roofing/Revolution Athletics from Ohio 27-10 jumping out to a 10-0 lead. Then at 9:15 AM Anarchy/Smash It Sports/Beloli/OH (NY-A) needed 2 to tie and 3 to win in the bottom of the 7th against a feisty DNR Concrete (IN-C) team. They got a home run from Andrew Mrozek, a single by Brian Zirkle, an intentional walk to Daniel Herren, and a walk off homer from Mike Thorbrogger to win it 18-15. DNR had a rough 1st inning with a few errors they don’t usually make or the outcome could have been much different. Bay Area Legends (CA-AA) offense was in full swing as they beat Broadstone/K1 (MI-D) 24-8. And Rock Run/All Hustle/Silverback/Koval (IN-B) the #2 seed in the tournament run ruled Smooth (MI-D) easily 24-3 as lead off hitter Arlis Miller went 3-3 with 3 HR and 6 RBI in the win.
Anarchy’s Mike Thorbrogger walks off DNR Concrete with a 3 run homer.
The Broadstone center fielder makes a spectacular catch against Bay Area Legends.
TAFN’s Jose Martinez III walks off Cornerstone capping a 10 run comeback win.
Rock Run pitcher Erik Lehman takes one off the pinky finger but still made the play and got the final 2 outs against TG Brand. He sat out the rest of the tournament injured which is too bad because he was 9-9 hitting at the time.
The “Final 8” in the winner’s bracket was played starting at 9:15 AM. Cash House scored 4 runs on 3 homer’s to tie their game against #1 seed Chick-fil-a/Slugger/BAF/LBT who had a bye in the 1st round. Cash House then separated by double digits and pulled off the upset of Chick-fil-a 21-13 even though Chick-fil-a had 9 home runs left. This game was on the show field #9 where the wind blew in all day at 6 to 12 mph holding down home runs and runs in general. While the wind blew straight in on field #9 all day, it blew straight out on field #11 where Precision put on a hitting clinic against Anarchy in a 30-11 blow out. Over on field #12 Rock Run trailed TG Brand 9-2 going into the top of the 3rd where they scored 11 runs and then held TG Brand scoreless in the bottom of the 3rd to go up 11-9. TG Brand held down Rock Run most of the remainder of the game and managed to take a 15-14 lead into the 7th on a two run homer by John Franklin. In the top of the 7th Rock Run got a walk, then a double by Arlis Miller and an RBI single from Erik Lehman to go up by a run. In the bottom of the 7th Rock Runs pitcher was hit in the pitching hand injuring the tip of his pinky finger but he still got the out, stayed in the game, and got the final two outs to give Rock Run a 16-15 victory! TG Brand out homered Rock Run 4-3 in the game. And in the final quarterfinal game on field #10 Bay Area Legends offense continued to click with a 25-9 victory over TAFN/GoSports.
Final 4 Recap
Bay Area Legends middle infielder Jonathan “Wheats” Roberts makes a diving catch against Rock Run.
SPOILER ALERT. You can watch this game in condensed form on YouTube here. In Semifinal #1 defense was on full display as Rock Run left fielder Marcus Miller and center fielder Jeremy Slabach combined for 3 spectacular catches holding Bay Area Legends offense in check. Meanwhile the Rock Run offense, even with the wind blowing straight in, managed early leads of 6-0 and 11-1 and backup pitcher Jeremy Fry who normally plays middle infield snapped off a couple shots up the middle to lead Rock Run to a 14-6 victory. Rock Run out homered Bay Area 6-2.
Marcus Miller makes another spectacular catch against Bay Area.
Veteran Allen Dina gets a pinch hit single against Precision. According to Mike Evans, Allen is “a hundred years old”. 🙂
At 2 PM in the 2nd semifinal with the wind blowing straight in Cash House jumped out to a 10-0 lead on Precision after 4 innings and rode the momentum to a 17-1 upset win. It was Cash House’s 2nd straight win over a ‘AA’ team (Chick-fil-a earlier).
Winner’s Final Recap
Cash House right fielder Kyle King singles in the winner’s final vs Rock Run.
SPOILER ALERT: The winner’s final can be watched on YouTube in condensed form here. In the winner’s final upset minded Cash House, who also made a run at the Maryland Major back in June, scratched across an unearned run in the top of the 1st inning against Rock Run then held Rock Run scoreless in the bottom of the 1st. But Rock Run out scored Cash House 8-0 the remainder of the game with the wind blowing in relying on some more great defense and timely hitting to win. There were zero home runs hit in this game. Rock Run’s Jeremy Slabach was 3-3 in the victory.
Pitcher Jeremy Fry stabs another middle shot.
Loser’s Bracket Recap
Bay Area Legends beats Anarchy 20-6 to win the top of the loser’s bracket.
In the loser’s bracket Cornerstone recovered some beating Broadstreet and upsetting Chick-fil-a 30-14 to send the #1 seed home 0-2. And Anarchy beat WM Roofing and then Cornerstone before losing to Bay Area Legends 20-6 so Bay Area won the top of the loser’s bracket. And TG Brand after losing by 1 to Rock Run dropped into the loser’s bracket and beat DNR Concrete 14-8, TAFN 26-11, and Precision 10-5 to win the bottom half of the loser’s bracket. In the 4th place game TG Brand pitcher Tyler Kincaid shut down Bay Area most of the game and Ryan Mullen and John Franklin led the offense with the wind blowing in to a 16-9 win after they scored 10 runs in one inning sparked by a Mike Evans pinch hit homer. There was some good natured (I think) “chirping” in this game between TG’s Cory Cook and Bay Area pitcher Brandon Traylor.
TG Brand in white takes down Precision 10-5.
TG Brand’s Ryan Mullen hits in the 4th place game against Bay Area.
TG Brand celebrates holding their opponents to zero this inning.
In the loser’s bracket final Cash House got a game tying double from Dina to tie the game at 5-5 early in the game but TG went up 12-5 in the bottom of the 4th scoring 6 runs on 1 home run. Cash House fought back to pull to within 16-13 after 6 complete innings but TG didn’t have to bat in the 7th when they held Cash House to 1 run and won 16-14.
TG Brand left fielder Jeron Hudson robs a home run in the championship game.
In the championship game TG Brand who looked to be out of gas found some inspiration and a “second wind” in their pre-game beer chug and more likely the fact that the sun finally went down and the temperature dropped 10 degrees. TG Brand went up 3-0 in the 1st on a home run by Ryan Mullen and an RBI double by Jake Cowell and held a 4-1 lead going into the 4th. But they let Rock Run hang around too long and Rock Run scored 6 in an adrenaline filled bottom of the 4th inning and Rock Run had a 10-5 lead going into the 6th. In the top of the 6th Rock Run had two throwing errors that allowed TG Brand to close to within a run 10-9 but Rock Run put them away with 5 in the bottom of the 6th on a home run and 4 doubles to win 15-9. It was Rock Run’s 2nd Conference tournament win of the season (KC) and puts them in 8th in the Conference Points Standings.
TK (Tom Kelly) did a great job running the tournament and a big thank you to all the umpires who worked straight through a hot day since we were short on umpires. Always remember to thank your umpire win or lose. The fields had some bad hops as they dried out from rains earlier in the week and the wind and the DV “Death Valley” ball held the scores down on the main field. But overall a solid one day tournament with 3 ‘B’ teams finishing ahead of the 3 ‘AA’ teams that were expected to win.
The poll had Chick-fil-a who went 0-2 winning.
Long Bomber of the Week!
John Franklin who has been supplying the power all year for TG Brand gets the Long Bomber of the Week award in a week where the ball was just not flying. He used what appeared to be an angry swing to hit a no doubter in the championship game with the wind blowing in. Brandon Streets from Anarchy was also a candidate as he hit a bunch of homer’s and made it look easy but all of his games were with the wind blowing out or across.
Michigan Results and Awards
MVP was Rock Run shortstop Faron Fry
Defensive MVP was Rock Run center fielder Jeremy Slabach
Offensive MVP was TG Brand 1st baseman John Franklin
Team by Team Notes
1st Place – Rock Run/All Hustle/Silverback/Koval
IN-B Record 4-0
Rock Run has become sort of “America’s team” with their incredible season, their team work, hustle, and next man up mentality. The Fry’s, the Slabachs, and the Millers incredible diving stops, catches, and middle stabs set the tone and keeps them in games while waiting for the offense to get on one of their adrenaline filled big innings. My advice to this team, who is probably too young to grasp this, is don’t worry about the future, or classification, or a bad call here or there and truly enjoy these moments this year because making memories in something you have a passion for like softball is what this game is all about and is what keeps us coming back, and playing with family and having success can never be replicated.
Arlis Miller sets the table.
The Fry brothers playing 3rd, SS, and pitcher with Jason Slabach MI and Marcus Miller in LF.
Gamechanger has a nice feature I didn’t even know about where it shows the teams starting lineup and possible substitutions.
2nd Place – TG Brand
MI-B Record 5-1
TG Brand lost their 2nd game by one run to Rock Run and played the rest of the day Saturday to get back to the championship against them where they had the Rock Run lead down to 10-9 at one point before finally giving in and finishing 2nd. A team building weekend for a team that was playing without arguably their best player Ryan Morrow. They even used Mike Evans as a runner for the pitcher and he had a key pinch hit which rallied TG in their game against Bay Area.
Tyler Kincaid once pitched TG Brand to the finals of the USSSA ‘A’ World as a ‘B’ team. He was offensive MVP that year as I recall. And I think he also won ‘A’ Worlds with Premier.
There may or may not be some beer chugging going on pre-game.
3rd Place – Cash House/JBL Roofing/Titans
OH-B Record 3-1
Cash House played the wind to a 3rd place finish, adjusting offensively to the conditions and pulling off huge upsets of Chick-fil-a and Precision and they had a nice win over Meirtran. They finished 2nd at Maryland a few months back and nearly got into the championship this weekend but came up just short against TG Brand. They picked up Ryan Roppel at 3rd, played without Chad Ulogar and Bill Lewis, and have an interesting mix of players that I believe have been through the wars at the lower levels in the Great Lakes region.
Andrew McClelland at pitcher, SS Richie Mast, LF Fred Heiser, MI Justin Harroff?
Former Juno ‘A’ team player Ike Worlow continues to lead the Cash House offense. Interesting tidbit he was also on the Cleveland All Star team that beat the USA Future Stars a number of years back.
4th Place – Bay Area Legends
CA-AA Record 3-2
Bay Area had a bit of a skeleton crew with Kessler, Broome, and Bates across the outfield. Dylan Smith, Letak, Roberts, Dave Johnson, and Zach Watts across the infield. And Traylor pitching with Chavez and Osenbach hitting. Gonzalez is still out with the arm injury, Mooch (bad back), Steven Lopez (baby-congratulations), Granados (no show), and no Riley Norris, Bradley Scott, Lossen White, or Corey Miller. Much like Precision they did not adjust to the wind blowing in on the main field but won all of their games on the other fields.
Tom Osenbach was all tournament.
Kessler was all tournament
I keep forgetting Bay Area picked up Zach Watts.
Tied 5th – Precision/3rd Street/Red Athlete
IL-AA Record 2-2
Precision had the offense clicking with the wind blowing out in their 1st two wins but didn’t adjust to the conditions and lost to Cash House scoring just 1 run? And then lost 10-5 to TG Brand. They played without Tommy Melton and manager Todd Ankney and have just 6 tournaments played going into Indiana where they will not have a good seed for the dual.
Tyler Kahlke hits in the semifinals against Cash House
Tied 5th – Anarchy/SmashItSports/Beloli/OA
NY-A Record 3-2
Anarchy had a big comeback win against DNR and beat Cornerstone later in the tournament but didn’t score well against Precision or Bay Area Legends. Thorbrogger pitched as Dave Bare left and went to Adiktiv.
I watched Brandon Streets hit 6 times and I think he hit 5 HR.
Andrew Mrozek hits a big homer against DNR.
Tied 7th – Cornerstone/Midstate/SVC/Slugger/PT
KY-A Record 2-2
Cornerstone was upset in the 1st round by a run after leading by 9. They recovered some with a win over Chick-fil-a but are still trying to “gell”. Goleniak was .824 with 5 HR. Pierce was .765 with 7 HR and 20 RBI. And Fields was over .800 and Voyles and Jones were over .700.
Zach Goleniak (above) and Steven Pierce (below) provide the left handed power for Cornerstone.
Tied 7th – TAFN/GoSports
MI-C Record 2-2
TAFN walked down and then walked off Cornerstone and beat Meirtran by a run to finish tied for 7th. They also finished 2nd I believe in the consolation bracket. They were the top non conference finisher.
TAFN celebrates their walk win over Cornerstone.
Tied 9th – Meirtran/Swiing Kiingz (IL-B)
Meirtran was 0-2 as their pitcher Andrews had a hand injury. Lost to Cash House by the run rule then TAFN by a run. Johnson was on base 8-8.
Tied 9th – Chick-fil-A/Slugger/BAF/LBT (VA-AA)
Chick-fil-a cracked out the Eric Wolfe league uniforms but even though they were the heavy favorites they went 0-2. They played without SS Tre Porter and it looked like Jacob Clifton was available but injured.
Tied 9th – WM Roofing/Revolution Athletics (OH-B)
WM Roofing didn’t have the offense this week as they went 1-2 scoring 7 runs a game.
Tied 9th – DNR Concrete (IN-C)
DNR is another of those tough Topeka, Indiana teams that just find a way to compete. They almost beat Anarchy and did win the ‘C’ consolation bracket. Weather permitting I will be in Topeka, Indiana Thursday, August 25th to cover the final 6 teams in the league tournament there.
DNR right fielder brought this home run bid back but didn’t hold on.
The pitcher for DNR was the pitcher for Silverbacks in 2021 who beat Smash It Sports in Chicago.
Faces in the Crowd / More Pictures
Rock Run plays some sort of reverse pepper game…
Dudley Pro M ball with the ‘DV’ stamp was used.
Steve Milani and Brian Voss did the championship game. Thank you to all the umpires as we were short handed this weekend.
Keith Beloli with former Ritch’s Superior star Dave Steffen. I (DW) watched Dave play 3B for the best team of all time the 1992 Ritch’s Superior Major team. 2nd best team of all time was the 2007 Resmondo team that only lost 3 games. 3rd best team of all time was the 1990 Steele’s Silver Bullets.
Speaking of Ritchs Superior I just came across this on facebook and had to post. A Ritchs throw back bat from Louisville Slugger. Now that is a sweet paint job!
A family of skunks lives at the park.
Cameras were on the microphone stands for a better view.
We had to use a power generator for the livestream.
The cell tower in center field provided a good livestream. No issues.
Tune in Thursday at 8 AM for the start of the largest Conference tournament in history! 38 Conference teams playing two tournaments in Evansville, Indiana!