2018 Nationwide Conference USSSA
18th Annual Texas Legends
John Williams and Filip Washington join Smash It Sports!
Winner's bracket semifinals between Smash It Sports and Dan Smith
The 18th Annual Texas Legends Major began on Friday at 7 PM central time with 32 quality teams, with none of them below the 'C' Classification, and there were 19 Nationwide Conference USSSA teams, the most ever! Hot weather was expected, and Friday's temperatures were in the high 80's which carried through on Saturday. The wind was a non-factor Friday but on Saturday it blew in on the Black and Blue fields and out on the Red and Green fields. The field of 32 teams in the winner's bracket each played one game Friday night and all 13 non-conference teams lost their opener. In one of the better games Friday J&R Logitstics/Arkansas Mayhem (AR-B) tied the game 16-16 with Newbreed/Steel Sports/Demarini (WA-AA) in the 6th inning. Then Newbreeds Dustin Roberts hit a big 3 run homer in the top of the 7th which gave them the lead 24-16. In the bottom of the inning Newbreed got two quick outs but J&R Logistics persevered and scored 5 runs before losing 24-21. Over on field Black, GVMS/OldSchool/Steel/24-7 Softball (TX-B) was down just one run in the bottom of the 7th with a home run to hit against Seminoles/TPS/NACSF/Easton (OK-A) but grounded into a double play to end the game! Chanticlear/J&H/P5/JEC/Miken-Worth (MN-A) who played close games all weekend beat Cheap Suits/Republic Realty/CDZ (CA-B) 38-36 over on Green field. Infamous/Salt Riot/NH (CO-B) team crushed fellow Conference 'B' team L&S Glass 35-5 on the show field, and in extra innings Wood Law beat Olmito Heat/DiamondKingz 30-27 in a battle between Texas Conference 'B' teams. The rest of the games Friday were won by Conference 'A' and above teams who beat non-Conference 'B' and 'C' teams by 10 to 30 runs each.
The winner's bracket round of 16 began at 10:30 am Saturday morning where Newbreed put up 35 runs in the top of the 1st inning, led 47-1 after their at bats in the top of the 2nd, and won by the 30-run rule 53-16 after 3 innings! Leadoff hitter DJ Hollingsworth batted 4 times in the first inning for Newbreed and Tradesmen made some really bad errors including an infielder that dropped a ball while running to step on 2nd and throw to 1st for an easy double play… Xtreme/Miken/ASP/Athlon (MN-AA) who has been an offensive juggernaut on the 300-foot fields in recent weeks hammered Seminoles 34-6 in 4 innings. AllOut/A&A/Steel Sports/ASP/Miken (TX-TBD) the newly merged team jumped out to an early 12-1 lead on fellow Texas team Vivid/Killbombers/OA/Easton and won 30-13. Nightmare/Miken (MO-AA) run ruled Wood Law (TX-B) 37-22. Smash It Sports Major team run ruled Nally's/D&D/Beserk (MO-A) 33-9, and the Dan Smith Major team run ruled Infamous 38-16. Bay Area Legends/Miken (CA-TBD) struggled for 7 innings to get past fellow Norcal team Classic Glass (CA-A) 31-24. And in what may have been the best game of the tournament Chanticlear Pizza fought back from a 20-run deficit against TDB/FAI/Klutch/Miken (NC-AA) and trailed just 31-30 going into the bottom of the 7th. There they got a base hit, then an out, then another base hit. And with 1 out and runners on 1st and 2nd they grounded into a 6-10-5 double play and TDB survived and advanced after using up all of their 12 home runs very early in the game.
The final 8 of the winner's bracket played out in the early afternoon on Saturday as Smash it Sports had their first challenge against Xtreme. Smash It led with the wind blowing in on the Blue field just 16-12 early on and with Xtreme as the home team you just never knew what could happen. But in the top of the 4th Smash It got a bases loaded double from tournament MVP Andy Purcell and that opened the flood gates as they batted around and had a 31-13 lead which would hold up for a 36-17 win as they outscored Xtreme 21-1 down the stretch. Also, in the lower part of the bracket Dan Smith with their contingent of Texas players (SS Steve Whaley, P LC Watson, CF Dunn, 1B Kanaby, and C Argen Dodds) run ruled Bay Area Legends 37-12 on the main field. In the top half of the bracket Newbreed went up 9 on Nightmare in the top of the 7th and held on to win 21-17. And TDB turned a 15-14 deficit after 1 inning against AllOut into a 31-29 lead and then finished off All Out 46-31 as they put up a huge double-digit inning while using their last 2 home runs late in the game.
In the final 4 of the winner's bracket which began around 9:30 PM Saturday evening the crowds grew for the Major (Smash It) vs Major (Dan Smith) semifinal with the wind blowing out! Smash It sustained the big innings and rolled the top of their lineup successfully as they won fairly easily over Dan Smith 52-36 in a game that most felt Dan Smith was never quite out of, but just didn't make enough plays on the hard infield shots to win. And in the other semifinal which had no crowd at all, it was the 'AA' teams Newbreed and TDB with the wind blowing out on the Blue field. The two teams traded double digit leads early on in the highest scoring game of the season. TDB then grabbed control mid-way through the game and had multiple chances to win by the run rule but Newbreed kept matching them until the 6th inning when TDB finally put them away 64-49 in 6 innings.
Immediately following the semifinals TDB went over to the main field (Red) and played Smash It Sports in the winner's bracket championship. Little did anyone know that the rain would come in on Sunday and this game would end up being for the championship! The game started late on Saturday night as the crowds started to dissipate. TDB was visitors and after having just scored 64 runs in 6 innings everyone thought they would put up a big inning. But Purcell and the Smash It defense shut them down in the 1st and 2nd innings and grabbed a 12-0 lead which was not insurmountable for the potent TDB offense. TDB scored 7 in the bottom of the 3rd but were making base running errors and Smash It Sports soon took control of the game and began batting around the order and ended up winning the game and the tournament 41-22 in 5 innings.
Meanwhile in the loser's bracket GVMS Old School won 2 games to become the highest finishing non-conference team. Wood Law knocked off Big Apple and Old School and then they were beaten by a hot AllOut team. L&S Glass after their 5-run performance on Friday night won over Dirty, Chanticlear, and Vivid before Nightmare sent them packing 35-8. And All Out then came from behind to beat Nightmare 39-38 on a Kyle Bullock walk off single. This top part of the loser's bracket was then won by Dan Smith 43-34 over AllOut in a game that finished after 2 AM in the morning. In the lower part of the loser's bracket Nally's knocked off fellow conference teams Olmito Heat and Seminoles to have their highest finish of the year and lost to Bay Area Legends 30-19. Classic Glass knocked off Jokers 32-15 and Norcal rival Cheap Suites 37-29 to finish tied for 7th after losing to Xtreme 27-18. And Xtreme sent Bay Area Legends home 34-28 before advancing to Sunday with an after midnight 38-18 win over Newbreed which ended on a Matt McGowan walk off run rule grand slam!
Sunday morning the final 4 teams never did get to start as rain pushed the games over to a nearby turf infield park where the rain never stopped, and the games were cancelled around 10 AM.
The tournament was well played and hard fought. The infields were pretty rough, and infielders had a tough time with 2nd and 3rd bounces on hard hits. The wind affected all 4 fields positively or negatively as far as scores based on which field you were on. I want to give a shout out to the umpires that did a great job giving score updates between innings and to Softball World director Chris Thames who did everything he could to get those games in on Sunday including opening up a park with a turf infield. If that rain had just relented, we would have played all of the games shortly after it stopped. The umpires for the most part were regional conference umpires with Levi, Tony, and Jason on the main field.
Some of the best plays were a full speed diving catch by the Cheap Suits center fielder, and Shannon Smith from Xtreme who is not known for his glove made an incredible backhand in foul territory at deep third base and made an incredible throw to get a runner. Also, an underrated and relatively unknown middle infielder Josh Brown from Vivid continues to make incredible diving stops. And in the AllOut vs Chanticlear game I think it was or TDB, can't remember, the pitcher caught a line drive that knocked his glove off. The glove hit the ground and it was called an out which as I later learned from the umpires is correct. There were lots of players taking strike three looking including major players on major teams.
Luis Reyna homer's for Smash It Sports in the winner's semi finals against Dan Smith
32 Teams Overall
19 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
2 Major Teams
4 'AA' Teams
8 'A' Teams
13 'B' Teams
5 'C' Teams
Winner's bracket championship coin toss between Smash It and TDB
TDB outscores Newbreed 64-49 in the winner's bracket semifinals
Smash It vs Dan Smith
Rain came in Sunday morning and washed out the games.
They tried to move it to a turf infield field across the street but it never stopped raining.
Fences there were 325-360-325 so it would have made for some great games.
Pictured above Dan Smith helps remove the portable pitchers mound.
325-360-325 field across the street from Softball World
Conference 'B' teams Wood Law and Olmito battled in the first round Friday night. Wood Law won 30-27.
The crowds grew only when the Major teams played.
Except for the winner's final below which was too late for the crowds. 🙂
The scoring in the heat was outrageous…
Newbreed scored 35 in the first inning against Tradesmen and finished the game with 53 in 3 innings.
Too much ball!
Bay Area Legends wins the 2nd round "Battle of the Bay" over Classic Glass 31-24
Texas Legends Major Awards and Final Standings
Tournament co-MVP's was Smash It pitcher Andy Purcell who was also a base hitting machine at lead off and 1st baseman Kyle Pearson
I didn't have a co-MVP picture for Kyle Pearson of Smash It so I hacked this one off of someones Facebook live video. 🙂
It was a rough weekend for Pearson with the truck and not getting a picture. 🙂 But he made the most of it with a Co-MVP!
Smash It Center Fielder Nic Santana was Defensive MVP
TDB 2nd baseman Kyle Pearson was Ofensive MVP