2019 Nationwide Conference USSSA
Hall of Fame Classic
TDB/Racks/Athlon and Dan Smith/Menosse/Steven Smith each won one of the Dual tournaments!
Teams did not always turn in full name lineups so these stats are not always accurate
Championship Sunday between Bay Area Legends in white and TDB/Racks in grey
The Hall of Fame Classic Dual tournaments began on Thursday at 8 AM with a 34 team double elimination tournament that ended Friday night. The 30 top ranked teams were all there. Upsets ruled as MPT Rentals (NJ-A) upset Smash It/Pure (SC-Major) 18-17 with Pure having the bats in their hands and only needing 2 runs to win in the bottom of the 7th! Premier(OH-AA) beat T&W (OH-A) in a bit of a grudge match as the two teams fought over players in the offseason and were from the same state. The Dual #1 was seeded by 2018 Conference points and the seeding was correct. Thunder/Chosen (NY-TBD) crushed Nightmare 22-4 and Xtreme (MN-AA) knocked off My Auto Jack (AZ-A) on a walk off homer by Curtis Stewart. Also, SNI (FL-A) beat Classic Glass (CA-AA). The rest of the 1st round games were won by the higher seed for the most part.
In the "round of 16" the upsets continued as the big fields – 325 down the lines, 365 to the gaps, and 385 to center field on all 5 fields lowered the scores and the windy conditions made it more even. The games ended up being more about who could string line drives together and get their power hitters to use the wind to their advantage. They used the Dudley Stadium ZN for every game and although it is a great ball, the number of runs and homers seemed down this year. Most all of the higher seeds advanced to the final 8, #1 Resmondo (FL-M), #3 TDB/Racks (NC-M), Newbreed (WA-AA), #2 Dan Smith (CA-M), Bay Area Legends (CA-AA), and Xtreme. But in the bottom quad of the winner's bracket the upsets continued as MPT Rentals knocked off Rebel Sports (MI-AA) 15-9 and SNI/Worsham (FL-A) beat Smash It/Precision 6-2 with the wind blowing straight in on Red Easton.
In the "final 8" games which were all played in the stadium Thursday afternoon and evening, TDB/Racks run ruled Newbreed 30-14 as Ryan Harvey hit 3 HR and had 5 RBI. Dan Smith survived a big scare from Bay Area Legends 18-17 as Dale Brungardt homered twice and Bay Area was only able to draw within 1 run in the top of the 7th. Xtreme/Miken crushed #1 Resmondo 23-6 as Shannon Smith, Curtis Stewart, and Dylan Smith combined for 5 HR and 15 RBI and Xtreme out hit Resmondo 32 to 8. And MPT Rentals scored 4 runs in the top of the 7th to beat SNI in a battle of 'A' teams to make the final 4. The score was 10-6.
In the semifinals Dan Smith scored 11 runs in the 4th inning and outscored TDB 9-2 in the late innings to win by 10. MVP Steven Lloyd was 4-5 in the game and Andrew Collins had 3 HR and 7 RBI for Dan Smith as they out homered TDB 11-6. In the other semi MPT Rentals jumped out to a 13-6 lead on Xtreme and never looked back in a 22-13 win as pitcher Johnathan Dombrowski went 4-5 with a homer and 5 runs scored and they out homered Xtreme 3-0. As I proof this I realize Dombrowski being the pitcher had an automatic runner for him so he didn't actually score 5 runs but his spot in the lineup did. 🙂
The winner's bracket championship was an interesting game. A Major team against an 'A' team and the 'A' team out homered the Major team 5-1 with the wind blowing across the stadium from left center to the 1st base dugout as it did for all 4 days. Dan Smith though scored in every inning and scored 28 runs on 1 homer to win. Ben Dunn and Mike Nino had 4 hits and 9 RBI as the team hit 11 doubles. MPT didn't roll over in the game as they scored 10 runs in the 5th inning to get back into it but never could fully catch up.
The loser's bracket was long and wild but when it came to where the top teams dropped down from the quarterfinals – all of those drop down teams won and TDB/Racks in particular beat Resmondo 22-7, Xtreme 25-10, and MPT Rentals 20-16 to advance to the Championship against Dan Smith.
In the final game it was a slugfest as each team hit 9 HR and traded big innings as Dan Smith scored 10 runs on no homers to start the game. But Dan Smith scored 10 in the top of the 5th and outscored TDB/Racks with superior line drive hitting and timely home runs in the last 3 innings and won 40-27, the highest score of Dual #1. Argen Dodds was 5-7 with 2 HR and 7 RBI in the game and Dan Smith pretty much rode that starting 10 most of the tournament with Losson White pitching to win the first dual.
The second dual began at 6 PM Friday night as the first dual was finishing up and every team played at least 1 game. B&B (NC-A) beat Premier 37-32. Beckham Brothers (FL-TBD) crushed Newbreed (WA-AA) 20-8. And TDB/Racks squeaked by MPT Rentals 23-21 when MPT had the bats in their hands and a base runner on for their power hitter who struck out looking against TDB backup pitcher Tom Bloom. What could have been! I think everyone wanted to see big Wilson take a swing there. Live and learn! The rest of the higher seeds all advanced to the round of 16.
In the "round of 16" all of the higher seeds advanced except for Smash It/Pure who lost to Baugh Ford in the stadium 23-20. A bad week for the new Major team who won Houston last weekend. And Rebel Sports knocked off TDB/Racks major team 31-22 in the stadium.
In the "round of 8" then Xtreme beat Baugh 15-11 on the strength of a huge 9 run 5th inning in what was otherwise a rather boring game. Dan Smith used a 5-5 hitting performance from Jason Matusik and a 17 run top of the 1st inning to beat Smash It/Precision 26-22. To Precisions credit they never gave up, scoring 12 runs in the bottom of the 5th to get back into the game and if not for Dan Smith left fielder Andrew Collins robbing a grand slam late in the game, Precision may have pulled off a huge comeback! Resmondo beat Nightmare on a walk off homer by Bubba Mack 28-27. Nightmare had outscored Resmondo 15-12 in a wild 4th inning. Resmondo's Jeremy Yates hit 4 home runs in the game! Nightmare scored just 2 runs in the last two innings… And in the final quarterfinal game Bay Area Legends led by leadoff man Tyler Wilson's 3-4, 3 run performance beat Rebel/Linedrive 17-13.
The "final 4" of dual #2 started Saturday evening and Dan Smith made short work of Xtreme 22-7 scoring 10 runs in the 3rd inning. Steven Lloyd, Ben Dunn, and Jo Jo Bennett all had 3 hits. And Bay Area Legends led Resmondo the whole game scoring 7 runs in the top of the 1st inning and led 13-8 going into the 7th inning where they tacked on an impressive 11 runs and won the game 24-9!
In the winner's bracket finals Bay Area matched Dan Smith's opening 7 runs with 7 of their own in the bottom of the 2nd. Then using some great defense by middle man Ryan Mcclanahan and pitching from Bill Pinkham the Legends kept it close and then scored 10 runs in the bottom of the 5th and shut down Dan Smith the rest of the way in a 23-13 upset!
In the loser's bracket it was all TDB/Racks. They started on the field at 9:30 AM Saturday morning losing to Rebel Sports and then went to the back fields and beat T&W with the wind blowing out on Red Easton 48-25, Beckham Brothers 31-16, and Baugh Ford 33-9. Then they moved over to Red Easton with the wind blowing in and beat Precision 26-12, Resmondo with defense in the bottom of the 7th 23-22, and Nightmare after midnight Saturday 35-25. On Sunday morning they sent Dan Smith home 19-12 and "double dipped" Bay Area Legends 17-11 and 13-6. They had played 19 games in 4 days and went 10-1 in Dual #2 to WIN THE TOURNAMENT! An incredible run to first place in the points standings as well.
The tournament had perfect weather although teams had to deal with a lot of wind. The park was perfect for morning and evening games and even in the middle of the afternoon it was pleasant with a nice breeze. The stadium ball was perfect for the baseball fields. Teams did have to adjust to varying umpire strike zones and play the wind when hitting but overall the pitchers did great, the games were very competitive across classifications and we got to witness incredible performances from MPT Rentals, Xtreme, Dan Smith, and TDB/Racks plus the many upsets.
The conference is off for Easter break and then back at it with the Cajun, St Louis, and Myrtle Beach Majors!
A special thank you to tournament director Strojan Kennison, USSSA, Laurie Timmons, Don Dedonatis Jr, the livestream and camera crews for their tireless work, the umpires, UIC Doc Beckwell, Mike Craig and the scorekeepers, and especially the sponsors that made this great event possible.
My pano photo of Baugh Ford and TDB on Marucci field
Dan Smith managerial and sponsorship staff
34 Teams Overall
34 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
4 Major Teams
9 'AA' Teams
17 'A' Teams
4 'B' Teams
Above and below – TDB vs Dan Smith Friday night championship game
Joel Gonzalez of Bay Area Legends hits in the upset of #1 Resmondo!
Dan Smith takes on MPT Rentals in the winner's bracket finals of Dual #1
Xtreme held Resmondo to just 6 runs in Dual #1
Bay Areas Chad Mullins singles against Dan Smith in the winner's final Saturday night
Late Saturday TDB/Racks and Ryan Harvey knocked off Nightmare to make it to Sunday
Sal Formosa for Rebel Sports takes on Chanticlear Pizza
Beckham Brothers Orlando Castillo hits against Newbreeds Dan Sanchez
TDB right fielder Jason Branch actually held on to this catch!
Smash It/Pure Sports Tommy Melton hits a moon shot homer over the 385 mark to tie it up against Vivid with 2 outs. In the bottom of the 7th Pure won the game with a double play.
Some Panos of the back fields
After the first Dual was over Friday night, the teams began dual #2!
Full bat testing and Dudley Stadium ZN 47/450 balls
HOF Major 1 & 2 Final Standings and Awards
Dan Smith 2B Steven Lloyd and TDB/Racks pitcher Andy Purcell were Dual 1 & 2 MVP's
TDB's Ryan Harvey and Bay Area Legends catcher Chad Mullins were Offensive MVP's
Dan Smith CF Ben Dunn was Defensive MVP of Dual #1
TDB SS Daniel Cayton and CF Brian Zirkle were Dual #2 Co-Defensive MVP's