2014 Nationwide Conference Championship tournament report!

 

2014 Nationwide

Conference USSSA

Championships 

Kissimmee, FL

August 29-31

Resmondo right fielder is fully extended on the great home run rob of Laservisions Brett Helmer!

USSSA Conference Championships tournament info and bracket link

Resmondo bats against Laservision in the championship after short rain

The Nationwide Conference USSSA Championships were played in Kissimmee, Florida at the Osceola County Stadium and surrounding baseball fields at Heritage Park in tremendous heat and humidity.  The tournament began on Friday night where it poured rain just as games on 6 fields were about to start at 5 PM eastern time.  The rain never stopped and Friday was washed out, but the tournament was played in its entirety on Saturday and Sunday including the Conference Awards Banquet at the Mystic Dunes country club on Saturday night. 

So at 8 AM Saturday morning the actual game play started with the top 16 teams in the Conference playing the Big East basketball style elimination bracket.  Losers from the first two rounds dropped into a bracket of their own called the “Open” bracket.  In the 4 first round games (seeds 9-16) B&B Drywall used a grand slam by newcomer and former ASPNation slugger Stuart Snell to beat OI Livingston 23-22.  TG Brand jumped out to a lead on Red’s Astros and never relented in a 23-15 win that could have been worse.  3rd Street upset Team Combat on the stadium field 26-19 in a game where 3rd Street jumped out to an 18-6 lead.  And Taylormade powered by big Stacy Mizelle who broke an 11-11 tie with a homer beat a skeleton crew Classic Glass team 25-18.  Each of the 4 winners advanced to the second round to play the 5-8 seeds right away at 9:30 AM. 

B&B Drywall took a lead in the top of the 6th on Line Drive Sportz but Line Drive came back and won 17-16 holding off B&B in the top of the 7th.  Backman/Shoppe exploded on TG Brand and used all 12 of their homers over on Field #2 and won 20-12.  Buzini in the Stadium jumped out to a 7-2 lead on 3rd Street and trounced them 21-6.  And Taylormade advanced to the round of 8 again this year with a rather ugly 10-8 win over Precision.

In the round of 8 the lucky winners took on the top 4 seeds who earned two byes with their strong play during the regular season.  #1 Resmondo trailed Line Drive Sportz by 8 runs in the bottom of the 6th and scored 9 to take the lead and the win 26-20.  The higher seed in this tournament was home team automatically and that really did affect many of the outcomes.  #4 Baugh Ford destroyed a listless Backman/Shoppe team 22-7.  #2 Laservision led Buzini 16-6 after 3 innings and held on to win in a good one on the Stadium 15-14.  And #3 Team Albicocco beat Taylormade who was playing their 3rd game in a row 19-18 on a Dirty Sanchez walk off homer after Taylormade had made an incredible late game comeback to take the lead!

In the “final 4” of the winner’s bracket Resmondo quickly run ruled Baugh Ford 27-12 and Laservision squeaked by a strong Team Albicocco 15-14 to advance to the Sunday morning winners finals.  In the loser’s bracket Backman knocked off Line Drive 25-22, Taylormade sent home Buzini 33-30, and Baugh sent home Taylormade 26-19 with Backman and Baugh advancing to Sunday. 

On Sunday at 9 AM the winner’s bracket final was played with Laservision taking an early 9-2 lead on Resmondo and keeping the lead the entire game winning 18-15.  Earlier at 7:30 AM Team Albicocco in the loser’s bracket scored 5 runs in the first with the sun facing the batter right in the face and beat Backman 17-6.  Then Team Albicocco sent home Baugh Ford 14-4 in a game where Baugh just didn’t seem to have their usual fire.  Then Team Albicocco moved to the stadium to play the loser’s bracket finals against Resmondo and carried a 7 run lead (14-7) into the bottom of the 7th!  Resmondo in true champions fashion scored 8 runs with in the bottom of the 7th to win 15-14 on a Nick Santana walk off double down the right field line which was set up by a single by BJ Fulk.  Resmondo would have the big innings the rest of the day as they fought through the heat and humidity and “double dipped” a Laservision team that just couldn’t get the offense going.  Resmondo scored 13 runs in the 4th inning of the first championship game after being down 16-5.  Bubba Mack hit a 3 run homer in the bottom of the 6th to make it 21-17, his 3rd homer of the game and Resmondo won 22-17.  In the final game, where the winner would earn the 1st seed and home team advantage for the upcoming Major World Series, Laservision again jumped out to a lead but a cramping and tired Resmondo found a way, dug very deep, and pulled out a 26-18 win with Laservision rolling over in the bottom of the 7th and putting up a zero, conceding a year long battle between the two giants.

In the “Open” bracket Team Combat/Softball.com squeaked out two wins over TG Brand 10-2 and Classic Glass 20-19.  Then on Sunday morning Precision never showed up for the winners final (dehydration) and Team Combat awaited Reds Astros in the championship.  Red’s knocked off B&B Drywall and then advanced to the championship with forfeit wins over Classic Glass (early flights) and Precision and beat Combat handily in the first championship game 30-16 before Combat returned the favor and won the “Open” Championship 13-8 in the “if” game.  Combats first tournament win of the season.

Finally there was one more tournament.  Over at Fortune Road there was a Conference Qualifier where the winner of the 10 team event gets a berth as the #17 seed to the Major World Series.  The 3 game guarantee bracket was hard fought and in the end it was Above All Landscaping/GWS going undefeated 4-0 to win the berth in the finals over Xtreme/Miken 8-4.  Pitcher Russ Banasiak was the tournament MVP!

 

Resmondo shortstop Don Dedonatis throws out a Laservision runner in the winner’s bracket final Sunday morning

Laservision first baseman Bryson Baker makes a nice scoop on a slightly off target throw

Brett Helmer of Laservision bats against Buzini in their first game of the tournament

Red’s Astros Travis Dale bats against B&B Drywall back on Field #4

The big scoreboard and huge outfields at Osceola County Stadium (330-390-410-390-330 dimensions)

Red’s Astros Ryan Joiner pitches to Bryce Oliveira in the “Open” Division Championship game

Team Albicocco had Resmondo down 7 going into the bottom of the 7th.

Resmondo’s Nick Santana hits a walk off double to cap an 8 run come from behind win over Team Albicocco 15-14.


1st Place – Resmondo Specialty Tank Worth

Conf ‘M’ from FL  5-1 Record

 

In the words of Don Cooper “Resmondo has taken on the winning personality of Andy Purcell and Don Dedonatis Jr and it doesn’t matter who puts on the Resmondo uniform, they never give up.”  Resmondo truly never did give up when it would have been very easy to do and they are the deserving #1 seed for the Major World Series just edging out Laservision and winning 7 tournaments in the process. From the great catches of the outfielders, the fielding of the hardest shots by the infielders, and the entire teams clutch hitting in the heat after playing 4 games in a row, this team is the champion and someone will have to TAKE it from them at the World Series.

Right fielder Jeremy Isenhower had a great home run robbing catch against Laservision.

Andy Purcell more than likely got the MVP as he shut down Laservision, stabbed line drives up the middle, and flicked 350 foot homers down the left field line consistently.  (more than 12 HR)

Resmondo left fielder Jeremy Yates pulls in another one.  This guy once again had some great catches.


2nd Place – Laservision/H Auto/JJ’s/Easton

Conf ‘M’ from NY  3-2 Record

Laservision was sitting in the drivers seat after they squeaked out wins over Buzini, Team Albicocco, and beating Resmondo all by 3 runs or less.  But the offense never got going and Resmondo slipped in and took what should have been a huge Laservision triumph much like they did at the Smoky Mountain Classic.  Laservision doesn’t have enough fire and seemed passive.  Their defense was solid, they were just not the offensive juggernaught they were in Michigan a few weeks ago.  Laservision until the Conference Championship double dip was 7-1 vs Resmondo on baseball fields…

Scott Kirby was one of the more consistent hitters and made a great home run rob on Resmondo in the last game.

 

Middle infielder Kevin Bazat and Conference Defensive MVP SS Luis Reyna

Brett Helmer pounds a double against Buzini

Laservisions Brian Wegman was named Conference Co-MVP and of course won the batting title.

Interesting note, no one has ever won the Conference batting title twice.


3rd Place – Team Albicocco/The Scene/Easton/Elite

Conf ‘A’ from NY  3-2 Record

 

Ryan Harvey is one of those players you stop what you are doing and watch him hit when he comes up!

Team Albicocco showed some real heart almost beating Laservision on Saturday afternoon and coming through the loser’s bracket nearly making the championship game but for Resmondos 8 run comeback in the bottom of the 7th…   Team Albicocco continues to beat Baugh and Backman under any conditions big field or small field and continue to show they are just one small step from being able to beat the big two. 

Team Albicocco had an interesting 3 pitcher rotation going with Dirty, Buckshot, and Mooch (3 of the great nicknames in the game) and their hitters continue to get it done on stadiums. 

Shannon Smith was trying to match Harvey’s power

Albicocco had 2 and almost a 3rd gut check win on Sunday!


4th Place – Baugh Ford/Doerflinger/National Pawn/Klutch/Easton

Conf ‘A’ from AL  2-2 Record

Baugh Ford finished 4th but did not play well.  They were missing some of the intensity they normall play with and the Conference Championships do tend to do that to a team as the consensus is that the tournament is not important.  I am not sure what the solution to that problem is.

Tommie Baugh with an interesting knuckleball grip

Baugh middle infielder Jeff Flood had a bit of a break out season


Tied 5th Place – Backman/Shoppe/Louisville Slugger

Conf ‘M’ from IN  2-2 Record

Backman followed its normal pattern.  Lose to the big 4 and find a way to beat everyone else.  A frustrating season can only be salvaged with a big win at the major.

David Kessler severely sprained his ankle hitting the back at first base.  We wish him the best on his recovery.

 

Kyle “Flea” Cowart hits a double against Albicocco


Tied 5th Place – Taylormade/TM Sports/Diamond & Ice/Mizuno

Conf ‘A’ from VA  3-2 Record

Taylormade always seems to play well at the Conference Championships and this weekend was no exception.  Tmade knocked off Classic Glass, Precision, and Buzini this weekend and looked good doing it.  Roberts, Baxter, Mizelle, and Corn seem to be providing the power and the rest of the team is trying to set them up.  There is a lot of talent on this team with solid Conference experience.
 

Taylormades leading hitter Stacy Mizelle hits another homer

Dustin Roberts

Taylormade pitcher Brandon Jonas doing some hitting


Other Nationwide Conference teams

Tied 7th Place – Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton Conf ‘A’ from MI  1-2 Record – Played a bunch of close games, won one, lost two.  Lost of arguing amongst themselves.  The ‘A’ World champs need to regroup and finish strong!


 

Tied 7th Place – Buzini/BWW/Miken Conf ‘A’ from MS 1-2 Record – Buzini used Billy Maggard on the mound who did well.  They had a shot at beating Laservision but lost by one run.  Andrew Miller, the rookie first baseman had an impressive year and it was good to see him get All Conference at the banquet.  Jason Williams had a strong season and was probably overlooked.


“Open” Bracket

My apologies, I did not get back to field #2 in time to take a team picture of Team Combats “Open” tournament championship over Red’s Astros


1st Open – Team Combat/Softball.com 3-2 – won the “open” which is the first positive momentum for this team in awhile.

Greinert celebrates a homer with his team

 

Rusty Bumgardners and Johnny McCraw’s retirement were announced at the banquet.

We knew about Bumgardner but I’m not sure we knew about McCraw.  Finish strong legends!


Conference Qualifier

The trophy!

Above All Landscape/GWS celebrating some great defense

Player Tournament Awards Players Name Plays For
Tournament MVP Russel Banasiak Above All Landscaping/GWS
Offensive Tournament MVP Kyle Decker Xtreme/Miken
Defensive Tournament MVP ryon rabon Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team Aaron Lewicki Xtreme/Miken
All Tournament Team JESSE CAMPANELLI Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team Dan Skelly Xtreme/Miken
All Tournament Team steven ford ASPNation/JOCO/Reset/Easton
All Tournament Team Patrick Riporti Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team CHRIS MONTENEGRO Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team Eliseo Aguilar OC SWATS/MIKEN/PREMIER ATHLETICS
All Tournament Team Chris Bauer Xtreme/Miken
All Tournament Team Andrew Lehman Xtreme/Miken
All Tournament Team Willie Allen Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team Todd Simo Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team Mike Brambilla OC SWATS/MIKEN/PREMIER ATHLETICS
All Tournament Team Robert Sena OC SWATS/MIKEN/PREMIER ATHLETICS
All Tournament Team ryon rabon Above All Landscaping/GWS
All Tournament Team Casey Brown ASPNation/JOCO/Reset/Easton
Place State Team Team
Class
Wins Loses Ties Runs
Scored
Runs
Allow
Avg
Runs
Avg
Allow
Avg
Diff
Max
Runs
USSSA
Points
1 NJ – rahway Above All Landscaping/GWS SPMensB 4 0 0 48 25 12 6.25 5.75 17 300
2 MN – Brooklyn Center Xtreme/Miken SPMensB 4 2 0 94 64 15.6 10.6 5 27 225
3 CAS – Yorba Linda oc swats/miken/premier athletics SPMensB 4 3 0 100 104 14.2 14.8 -0.5 21 200
4 TXN – DFW aspnation/joco/reset/easton SPMensC 4 2 0 92 76 15.3 12.6 2.66 22 175
5 OHO – Cincinnati pure romance/chics/headlines/easton SPMensB 1 2 0 35 44 11.6 14.6 -3 15 155
5 NC – Clayton B&B/Diamond & Ice/BMW SPMensB 1 2 0 50 57 16.6 19 -2.3 20 155
7 GA – Macon broughton/nls/turk auto/br/easton SPMensB 2 2 0 64 53 16 13.2 2.75 19 130
7 AZ – Anthem 4 the fallen/ miken/ evo 9x SPMensMajor 0 3 0 21 46 7 15.3 -8.3 9 130
9 MN – Le Sueur h. auto llc/easton/hooters moa SPMensB 1 2 0 66 59 22 19.6 2.33 40 110
9 NC – Greenville Bad Draw SPMensB 0 3 0 35 77 11.6 25.6 -14 25 110

Chris Montenegro at 3B for Above All

Xtremes Dustin Palm tries for a homer vs Above All in the championship game

3 game guarantee Conference Qualifier bracket