2019 Nationwide Conference USSSA
19th Annual Texas Legends Major
The normal Friday night crowd at the Texas Legends
Championship game – TDB's Brian Zirkle hits a double through the hole off of Thunder
The Texas Legends Major started with a change in the schedule Friday as the incoming rain on Saturday forced them to play an extra 8 games late into the night Friday. There were 11 Conference teams in attendance and 28 teams overall and all of the Conference teams beat their local opponents in the first round except for Smith Softball (CA-B) who lost to Texas 'B' team Whut it Dew 20-11. In the round of 16 then SIS/Thunder (NY-AA) beat Play the Game (AR-A)30-18, L&S Glass (CA-B) beat Competitive Edge (FL-A) 33-30, Classic Glass (CA-AA) beat Big Apple (TX-B) 20-11, Wood Law (TX-B) won by protest over Steel (TX-A) who only had 8 players on their roster, Cheap Suits (CA-B) beat Infamous (CO-B) 36-35, and TDB/Racks, Chanticlear (MN-A), and Vivid (TX-A) all advanced big over local 'B' and 'C' teams.
On Saturday the expected thunderstorms held off for awhile as they were able to play a couple rounds of the loser’s bracket. But tournament director Chris Thames pulled the teams off the fields just in time as a torrential thunderstorm hit which delayed the tournament for almost 6 hours. The tournament resumed at 9 pm in some heavy mud and poor field conditions with the final 8 of the winner's bracket playing straight through until we had a winner's bracket champion. And the loser's bracket played through the night using a 5 inning or one hour time limit. The final 8 of the winner's bracket were all Conference teams. SIS/Thunder used a walk off homer by Filip Washington to complete a long comeback against L&S Glass 27-25. Chanticlear crushed Classic Glass 28-4 over on the Blue field with the wind coming in. Wood Law beat Vivid soundly 32-18 in a battle of Texas Conference teams. And TDB/Racks scored 29 runs in the 1st inning to beat Cheap Suits 53-18. Bryson Baker was 7-7 with 6 runs scored in the game.
The semifinals played immediately after the quarterfinals as SIS/Thunder handled Chanticlear 40-22 and TDB/Racks beat Wood Law 30-14 as Jason Branch was 4-4 with 6 RBI. That set up the heavyweight battle between the two top teams in the tournament. The game lasted a couple of hours as TDB/Racks scored 17 in the 1st inning, used up all 12 of their homers by the 3rd inning, and scored 9 runs in both the 3rd and 6th innings. In the bottom of the 6th SIS/Thunder outfielder Kyle Olsen laced a liner that hit TDB pitcher Andy Purcell who was filling the hole on the shortstop side and the two ex-teammates had some words. Then the next batter John Williams hit a grounder up the middle that Purcell knocked down and ended up making a play on – getting the force play at 2nd base where Olsen slid late and was pushed by middle infielder Luis Reyna. This ignited a bench clearing shoving match that delayed the game. When the dust settled Olsen, Reyna, John Williams, and Seth Green were all ejected leaving SIS/Thunder with just 9 players. But SIS/Thunder still led by 4 runs going into the top of the 7th. TDB with no homers left got a clutch single from Everett Williams to tie the game at 45 but SIS/Thunder got a game winning single from Brian McBryde in the bottom of the 7th to win 46-45.
Meanwhile a number of teams (Play the Game, Infamous, and J&R Logistics) all made long runs in the loser's bracket and Play the Game and Infamous were the last ones standing in the mud at 4 AM Sunday morning and they came back at 8 am to play in the final 4. The Infamous offense just could not get going though and Play the Game beat them 18-11 and then Play the Game had TDB/Racks tied at 13-13 going into the bottom of the 7th where Jason Branch hit a walk off homer to beat them. So Infamous finished 4th and Play the Game an impressive 3rd after 7 wins.
The Championship which most thought would be heated, chippy, and high scoring ended up being relatively low scoring and uneventful as the wind blew in at 13 miles per hour holding down scores and the middle of the TDB defense – Andy Purcell with his magical pitching, Zirkle in center field with his ranging catches, and Luis Reyna and Daniel Cayton playing solid defense in the infield kept the SIS/Thunder offense in check and TDB "double dipped" Thunder 24-18 and 18-11 to win their 3rd tournament of the season! In that first championship game SIS/Thunder actually grabbed a 14-13 lead in the bottom of the 4th on a Chris Greinert homer but TDB took control with a big 6th inning. MVP Josh Riley was 4-5 with 3 HR and 5 RBI in the first championship game and Ryan Harvey was 3-4 with 2 homers in the final game.
The tournament used the Classic M ball on the four 300-305-310-305-300 foot fields. A full contingent of Conference umpires did a great job. And the tournament directors made a nice call playing in the mud late into the night Saturday as it worked out and was a well-played event considering the conditions.
TDB gets ready for the championship
SIS/Thunder's Zach Messer hits a seeing eye single
Winner's bracket Saturday night in the mud after hours of thunderstorms.
A scuffle breaks out after a middle war and a slide into 2nd base
TDB beat Cheap Suits 53-18
SIS/Thunder pitcher Danny Evans and MI Brian McBryde are from Texas
Co-Defensive MVP TDB Center Fielder Brian Zirkle runs down a ball in the gap and made an incredible diver against Play The Game Sunday morning to keep the game tied at 13-13 in the loser's bracket finals
28 Teams Overall
11 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
1 Major Teams
2 'AA' Teams
6 'A' Teams
12 'B' Teams
7 'C' Teams
Key Winner's Bracket Games
SISThunder hits against Chanticlear in the semifinals won by Thunder 40-22
TDB's Everett Williams hits against Wood Law in their semifinal win 30-14
Thunder's Ryan Snyder gets a pinch hit single over shortstop setting up a game winning homer by Filip Washington as Thunder beat L&S Glass 27-25
Sunday Final 4
Play the Game's Tim Howard leads off against TDB pitcher Andy Purcell.
The two used to be teammates on Resmondo
There were a couple of "4 base awards" on Sunday morning. A 4 base award is a ball that tips off a fielders glove and goes over the fence. It counts as a homer but doesn't count against a teams home run limit.
TDB's Jason Branch hits a walk off homer to beat Play the Game in the loser's bracket finals.
Infamous loses to Cheap Suits 36-35 in their 2nd game. Then they won 5 straight.
Rodriguez from Competitive Edge hits against former Bay Area manager and backup pitcher Gary Perez who is pitching now for Smith Softball, just before the storms came.
A strong line of thunderstorms wiped out hours of game play
The Dudley Thunder Classic M balls were a little soft
Texas Legends Major Final Standings and Awards
MVP was TDB's Josh Riley
Co-Defensive MVP's were TDB MI Luis Reyna and TDB CF Brian Zirkle
Look at that throwing angle on the double play by Reyna!
Offensive MVP was SIS/Thunders Kyle Olsen