2018 Nationwide Conference USSSA
Hall of Fame Classic
1st Dual Championship – Resmondo's Steele Lewis singles to center field against Dan Smith
1st Dual winner's final – Resmondo's Jeremy Yates hits a grand slam against Dan Smith
Dan Smith Center Fielder Ben Dunn and Resmondo Left Fielder Jeremy Yates rob home runs!
The Hall of Fame Classic is a grueling 4 days of the best softball on the planet! All of the newly formed teams and hard work put in by the team organizers and sponsors show up in Florida at the brand-new Space Coast fields and we all get to see 35 of the 40 Nationwide Conference USSSA teams on big fields for the first time. It was like Christmas in April! The tournament was great from beginning to end with walk off wins, huge upsets, and possibly a new team emerging at #1?
The 1st Dual tournament began at 8 AM Thursday morning on 9 fields (The Stadium and 4 baseball fields in the "Red" quad, and 5 softball fields in the "White" quad). The baseball fields all have 325-365-385-365-325 dimensions and the softball fields are 325 all the way around. The baseball fields used the stadium ball and the softball fields the Conference Classic M. Wood Law (TX-B) beat Smash It Thunder (NY-B) 18-17 in a play in game in the stadium to open the tournament. In the round of 32 Tradesmen's (UT-A) Scott Hartling hit a 3 run walk off homer to cap a 5 run comeback to beat Baugh Ford 13-12. The wind all week played a huge factor in scores and where home runs were hit. Teams that adjusted quickly to pitching, fielding, and using the wind to hit ended up winning. Newbreed (WA-AA) squeaked by B&B/Worsham (NC-A) 17-15. Bay Area Legends (CA-AA) and Racks Astros (IN-AA) knocked off Primetime (GA-A) and Rebel Sports (MI-A) respectively in long hard-fought wins by a few runs. TDB (NC-AA) run ruled Vivid (TX-A) and Xtreme (MN-AA) fought past A&A/Miken (TX-A) 24-16. Seminoles (OK-A) run ruled All Out (TX-A) in a battle of 'A' teams and it looked like All Out had a softball/soreness/tired hang over from their 2nd place finish in Houston just 3.5 days earlier. Most of the teams that did well in Houston struggled out of the gate at the Hall of Fame Classic. In the bottom half of the round of 32, Dan Smith (CA-M) had to use the gloves to hold off Wiley's (FL-B) with the wind gusting out on one of the baseball fields. Dan Smith finally won 39-36. Pauer Sports (OH-A) the old JBL Tailgaters group beat fellow 'A' team Classic Glass (CA-A) 21-12. Premier (OH-A) used a walk off single by Brock Morrison to beat arch rival TG Brand (MI-A) 13-12 in extra innings! Rapid Fire (VA-A) used some "karma" and a flurry of early home runs to upset Pure Sports (SC-AA) 23-21. Chris Issenock with a big pinch-hit homer at the end of that game for Rapid Fire. The two teams had to settle a dispute at the manager's meeting over a player they both wanted the day before. Hence the "karma" comment. And Precision (IL-AA) handled Nally's 12-4 with the wind gusting in on one of the baseball fields. Riot Sports (FL-AA) shut out and one hit Chanticlear Pizza (MN-A) 23-0 and Nightmare (MO-AA) took it to Stars (CO-A) 33-11. Dan Sanchez pitching for Riot in that near no hitter. Meanwhile over on the stadium Resmondo (FL-M) shut out La Famiglia (PA-B) who had won their play in game. And Smash It Sports (NY-M) beat their fellow Smash It Sports (NY-B) team 48-2. Most of the games in this tournament that were not played at night or with the wind blowing out in some fashion were games where neither team hit their home run limits, which was usually 12 unless two major teams played and then it was 16.
The weather was actually very good and stayed between 65 and 82 degrees most of the week. In the round of 16 and 8 in the winner's bracket most of the favorites began to emerge. Newbreed pulled off a big comeback win over Tradesmen. Bay Area who trailed the whole game against Racks Astros with the wind keeping the scores low on the softball field ended up scoring 9 runs in the bottom of the 7th to win after trailing by as much as 12-1. Final score was 13-12. Then Newbreed advanced to the final 4 with a 28-20 win over Bay Area Legends as outfielder Everett Williams hit a couple of moon shot homers and center fielder Donald Hollingsworth Jr made a spectacular diving catch to change the momentum. The Smash It Thunder Major team run ruled Seminoles 29-9 in the stadium then run ruled 'AA' team TDB 29-13 after TDB had beaten Xtreme impressively 20-6 in a very windy game. In the bottom of half of the bracket Riot Sports outlasted fellow 'AA' team Nightmare 14-10 to advance to play Dan Smith who had beaten Pauer Sports 26-12. In that game Riot Sports shocked Dan Smith with a 23-22 win on a walk off walk after 2 clutch homers had tied the game. And Resmondo advanced to the final 4 over in the stadium with run rule wins over Premier 36-17 and Precision 44-27 after Precision had sent Rapid Fire to the loser's bracket 42-14. Precision did hang with Resmondo most of the game.
The final 4 of the winner's bracket took place Thursday night after a long first day of softball. At 7 PM Newbreed behind a pair of great diving catches by Hollingsworth again in center field kept it close against Smash It Sports and led 10-8 after 3 innings. In the bottom of the 4th Andy Purcell hit a 2 run homer to tie the game at 11-11, and in the bottom of the 5th Brandon Dillon hit a 3 run homer for SIS that gave them the lead. Smash It went on to win 18-14. And at 9 PM Resmondo grabbed a 14-3 lead but Riot Sports came back with a 10 run 3rd inning to close the gap to 1 run. At one point Riots Zane Trammell hit a 3 run homer to tie the game at 25-25 but Resmondo scored 11 runs in the 6th and although Riot Sports took Resmondo the distance, Resmondo won 36-29. Jeremy Yates came up big for Resmondo with a bases loaded triple, a grand slam, and a home run robbing catch that could easily have made ESPN's top 10 plays of the day, and Resmondo won 36-29!
The winner's bracket final of the 1st Dual was played at 11 AM eastern time on Friday and was a well-played game with Resmondo's offense being just a little too much for Smash It Sports in a 32-17 victory. In the game Smash It's Andy Purcell was hit in the left elbow by a line drive back at the pitcher and came out of the game. The loser's bracket played out on the back fields, for the most part the baseball quad, where Premier won 2 games, Pure Sports won 3 games before losing to TDB, and Baugh Ford won 3 games before losing to Dan Smith. Vivid won 4 games including a 29-21 win over Precision and a 33-32 win over Racks before also losing to Dan Smith 42-32. A very good showing for Vivid. But Dan Smith ran the loser's bracket beating Baugh Ford, Vivid, and Newbreed on Thursday and then as exhausted as they were beat Riot Sports 31-19 and Smash It Sports 32-17 in the stadium Friday morning to make it to the championship. In the championship game they gave Resmondo all they could handle in a low scoring wind battle but lost 15-14. Resmondo at that point was 12-0 on the season and had won their second tournament.
Dual #2 started at 7 PM Friday night on all 9 fields. The second tournament is a bit of a blur, but had the biggest upset of the season as Premier knocked off Smash It Thunders major team in the stadium in the round of 16 by a score of 22-17. A Cory Boothe homer late in the game helped secure the win. This was the first time in the Smash It Sports Conference team history (2017/2018) that they lost to someone who wasn't a Major team. And Premier is an 'A' team, so it truly was a big deal. Premier advanced to the final 8 where they battled but lost to Nightmare 25-17 in the stadium. Also, in the top half of the bracket Dan Smith took care of business by beating Rapid Fire by 20, Pauer Sports by 13, TDB by 7, and Nightmare by 8 to advance to the winner's final on Saturday night. In the lower half of the bracket Riot Sports knocked off Bay Area Legends and Pure Sports to make it to the final 8. And surprise La Famiglia/Easton a 'B' team out of Pennsylvania won their play in game and over Smash It Sports 'B' team and had a 26-21 upset of Newbreed on Friday to start the second dual. On Saturday their run continued with a 9 AM win over All Out 37-16 and a huge upset of Riot Sports 36-31 to make it to the FINAL FOUR! Meanwhile Resmondo rolled through Wood Law, TG Brand, and got passed Precision by 5 to make the final 4 then run ruled La Famiglia to make the winner's final.
The winner's bracket finals of the 2nd dual was the best game of the tournament as the momentum swung early to Dan Smith with a 17 run first inning. And Resmondo came back mid game holding Dan Smith to just 5 runs in the two middle innings. Then Dan Smith recaptured their momentum with a 12 run 5th and finished the 47-35 win by scoring 7 in the 6th and 3 more in the top of the 7th. Ben Dunn was 5-6 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. The wind all day Saturday and Sunday in the stadium was blowing straight to the right field foul pole at about 18 to 25 miles per hour. So, players were doing a great job of hitting the ball to the right of the right center field light pole and letting the wind carry it for a home run. I didn't see any right-hand batters hit the ball out of left field except for Steve Whaley who got one out just down the left field line.
In the loser's bracket Xtreme won 2 games before TDB ended their week. Pauer Sports beat Nally's, Stars, and Precision before Smash It Major team finished them 29-16. And Smash It ran the loser's bracket all Saturday afternoon past midnight with wins over Primetime, Racks, Riot Sports, Pauer Sports, and Nightmare before TDB beat them 13-10.
On Sunday morning Resmondo then beat TDB 28-19 in the loser's final, and then beat Dan Smith 38-32 in the rain marred first championship game behind a 12-run bottom of the 6th and a couple of nice catches by Neil Haglund to force the "if" necessary game. Haglund was 5-6 with 3 HR and 6 RBI in the game and Jeremy Yates and Buddy Wolf hit grand slams. But the "if" game would never materialize as Dan Smith asked Resmondo to split the points since they had flights to catch. So, Dan Smith and Resmondo tied for 1st and each received 270 conference points.
2nd Dual Championship – Dan Smith taking on Resmondo
Sunday games had to deal with some rain
35 Teams Overall
35 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
3 Major Teams
8 'AA' Teams
18 'A' Teams
6 'B' Teams
Smash It Sports Jason Branch in the winner's final against Resmondo
Resmondo ready to take the field
Dan Smith center fielder Ben Dunn and shortstop Ryan Stovall had a nasty collision but are ok
Vivid's John Brown was on fire early against Dan Smith in Dual #1 Thursday night
Matt Fox and Bay Area Legends upset Racks Astro's 12-11 in Dual #1
Frustrations boiled over for Smash It Sports
Winner's semi final of Dual #1 Smash It Sports vs TDB
Smash It Was buried in the loser's bracket after their loss to Premier
TDB knocked off Stars on this safe at the plate fielder's choice
A rare 5u-2 double play by John Williams and Pure Sports
Full Bucket Bat Testing
Stadium ZN's were used on the baseball fields and Classic M's on the softball quad
Dual #1 Video Clips
Dual #2 Video Clips
Hall of Fame Classic Major Awards and Final Standings
Dual #1 All Tournament Awards
Dual #2 All Tournament Awards
Yates was Defensive MVP of Dual #1 and Travis Clark was MVP for Resmondo
SS Mike Umschied was Resmondo's Co-MVP of Dual #2
Resmondo's Greg Connell was Co-Offensive MVP of 2nd Dual and Steele Lewis was Co-Defensive MVP
Steven Lloyd from Dan Smith was Offensive MVP of Dual #1 and Co-MVP of Dual #2
Dual #1 Finishing Order
Dual #2 Finishing Order