Kissimmee, FL- The annual “Peach State” Shootout was played this past weekend in Powder Springs, Georgia at the Lost Mountain Softball Complex as the normal venue was being worked on. The tournament was played in perfect weather and featured some great extra innings games. The tournament began on Saturday morning with 34 teams from 13 different states. 14 of the teams were from the Nationwide Conference USSSA.
In the early rounds most of the favorites advanced with only McNally Construction beating JTF and New Era moving on to the round of 16 as non-conference teams. In the round of 16 it was 2 ‘A’ and 6 ‘B’ Conference teams advancing with B&B Diamond & Ice coming from behind to beat fellow North Carolina rival Crossfit/RDU and ASPNation holding on against K&G 24-22. In the round of 8 Above All Landscaping a ‘C’ team out of New Jersey shocked ASP Nation 26-6, Albicocco used the 30 run rule after 3 to crush Nightmare, Baugh Ford capitalized on some late Bad Draw mistakes to win 33-23, and OI Livingston dominated fellow ‘B’ peer B&B Diamond & Ice by 24 runs.
In the final 4 of the winner’s bracket Team Albicocco held off a feisty Above All Landscaping 32-25, and Baugh Ford again came from behind and capitalized on OI Livingston mistakes to a 22-14 win. In the winner’s finals on Saturday night Team Albicocco and Baugh Ford were both scoring at an equal clip until Albicocco broke it open in the 5th inning with a 3 run homer by Orlando Castillo and was given a 19-18 lead on a 3 run homer by Eric Beattie and beat Baugh 31-27.
B&B and Nightmare had their loser’s bracket runs ended by Above All Landscaping and OI Livingston late on Saturday night, and in the morning OI and Above All played the game of the tournament at 8 AM. Above All jumped out to a 12 run lead. Then in the bottom of the 5th inning OI Livingston got a 3 run homer from Robert Knoblauch, a 2 run homer from pitcher Tony Elrod, a 2 run homer from little Matt McCraw, and a 3 run homer by Jonathan Scott to close the gap. They also got a triple play on defense when middle infielder Aaron Tennyson scooped a grounder and tagged the runner going to third before stepping on the second base bag and throwing to first! The momentum had shifted! Above All who had led most of the way found themselves down going into the 7th inning. They got a game tying single from Chris Montenegro and a go ahead double to the gap by left handed catcher Patrick Riporti but could only manage a one run lead. In the bottom of the 7th OI Livingston got a game tying double down the right field line by pitcher Tony Elrod as Robert Knoblauch scored all the way from first with a tremedous head first slide just ahead of the tag. But they went to extra innings when Above All second baseman William Aker caught a liner just off the ground and doubled off the runner at second. In extra innings Above All failed to score and with two outs Tyler Driskell hit a game winning double for OI Livingston to win 25-24.
In the loser’s bracket finals OI then beat Baugh Ford 28-23 leading most of the way and leading by double figures going into the bottom of the 6th. Baugh made a comeback but fell short by 5 runs. In the championship then, a tired OI Livingston went down 27-7 early on as Team Albicocco used up all of their home runs in the first two innings. But OI Livingston found a second wind and by the end of the 6th inning, OI had cut the Albicocco lead to just 4. Albicocco would add 3 in the top of the 7th, and OI got 3 run homers out of Jonathan Scott and Jamie Hancock in the bottom of the 7th to close it to 1 but left the game tying run on 1st and lost 36-35!
The tournament was well played, had a contingent of conference umpires, and used the conference classic m ball. The park was scenic and the weather was perfect. Bucket bat testing was in full swing. The only complaint from the teams was the fields were a bit sandy and ruts developed in the base baths making it hard to run and causing some bad hops. But all in all a strong showing from the Nationwide Conference USSSA again. We will be reporting from Seattle starting this coming Thursday!
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!