The 2011 USSSA ‘B’ World Championship featured 28 teams that, for the most part, were very equal in their level of play. Any of about 15 of the teams could have made a run at the title, but the one that did was Blitz/Weller/Watanabe/MAB/ Easton out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Blitz was runner up at the ‘B’ World two years ago to Northwest Combat but got it done this year on the power of some very consistent offense. Blitz went 5-0 and outscored their opponents 108-47 en route to the championship and faced an unlikely opponent in 1st Step Softball from Pompano Beach, Florida in the finals. 1st Step was a mid season bump from class ‘C’ to class ‘B’ and lost to Blitz in the 3rd round of the winner’s bracket before winning 5 straight to get back to face Blitz.
In the championship game 1st Step jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on a 3 run homer by veteran Chad Durick. Then Blitz answered with 3 runs in the bottom half on doubles from Jimmy Carter and Jason Roesch, and a single by MVP Mike Rogers. Then the Blitz defense led by pitcher Frank Gruber, the defensive MVP, shut down a tired 1st Step team 3 straight innings. Meanwhile Blitz added 4 more runs in the 2nd inning including a 2 run homer by David Kessler, and 2 more in the 3rd on a 2 run homer by Mike Rogers, before finishing them off with a 13 run 4th. The 13 run 4th was more runs than most teams were scoring in their entire games as the heat, humidity, and wind kept the ball in the park. The home run limit of 4 per team was rarely reached by any of the team’s weekend.
The tournament began on Friday night with some upsets as a local ‘C’ team Westshore Pizza knocked off Primetime 12-10, A&K Tile impressively beat Columbus Pipe 20-12, and Dave’s Place knocked off “top 4” seed Midwest Swing 9-8.
For the remainder of the tournament there were great matchups all over the park and the low scoring games made for some big moments and fun games.
When the sun went down on Saturday and the ball started to fly again it was Blitz vs. Doerflinger in the winner’s final as Blitz answered a big 3 run homer in the first inning by Doerflinger’s Cal Ford with a grand slam by Mike Rogers in the bottom half. The difference in the game was Doerflinger left too many runners on base and Blitz did not and Blitz won 18-13.
Also late Saturday night Down2EarthSports.com held off a late inning rally by ChecKing to win 23-22 and 1st Step Softball “flip flopped” and “run ruled” Dave’s Place to make it to Sunday. On Sunday morning, 1st Step played 2 great games in wins over D2E and Doerflinger to make it to the finals.
Congratulations to the Blitz management and sponsors that includes Dave Watanabe. Dave also won the 1993 ASA ‘A’ National tournament with his Watanabe Optical team.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World's Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!