2020 U.S. Challenge Cup
A bunch of the teams got together for a group picture
The 2020 U.S. Challenge cup was played at Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida. There were 76 teams across 7 men's and women's divisions. The State vs State competition featured the Men's Major division which started on Friday with 8 teams playing 2 games in "pool play". The pool play results seeded the teams in a double elimination tournament which played out Saturday. They primarily used the Space Coast Stadium for the major division with its 335-365-385-365-335 fence dimensions, its all turf fields, and the Dudley Stadium ZN ball. In pool play the big upset of the day was Team Canada West's upset of the favorite and last years champion Team Florida 13-9 as Justin Wise, Garrett Wiese, and Jordan Frost each went 3-4 in the game.
The double elimination bracket started at 8 AM Saturday morning as Washington run ruled Canada West 36-21 scoring 30 runs in the last 3 innings led by Dale Brungardt with 4 hits and 9 RBI and Jason Crosland with 5 hits and 7 RBI. And NJ/NY/PA run ruled NC/GA 36-19 scoring 14 runs in the bottom of the 5th leaving NC/GA on the field. Filip Washington batted for the cycle in the win. Then at 9:30 AM Kentucky run ruled Florida 27-4 as Phil Matte went 4 for 4 with 2 HR, and California scored 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th to beat Arizona 28-26. Daniel Cayton leading the way 5 for 5 with 4 homer's and 8 RBI.
In the semifinals NJ/NY/PA came from behind to beat Team Washington 25-20 as Filip Washington, Josh Fyffe, and Mike Wilson all collected 4 hits a piece for Mark Carucci's team. In the other semifinal Kentucky used a 16 run 3rd inning to knock off California 34-28. Kentucky out homered California 15 to 10 led by the 4 homers from Bryan Bradler and 3 by Josh Riley.
The winner's bracket finals started late as long games pushed the tournament into Saturday evening. The cool temperatures with low winds led to some high scores. Team Kentucky got off to a 13-3 start against NJ/NY/PA and scored 5 runs in each of the last 3 innings to win 29-26 as Phil Matte hit 3 more homers. In the loser's bracket Team Florida sent home Arizona, Washington, and California to make it to the loser's final where NJ/NY/PA beat them 33-29 after outscoring Florida 7-0 in the final inning. Flip Washington and Woodrow Darling were each 6 for 6 in the game.
The championships started at midnight Saturday night and it was a close game the entire way. NJ/NY/PA pulled out a hard fought win though as Flip Washington, Josh Fyffe, and Kyle Olsen went a combined 15-18 with 6 HR and 14 RBI. But New Jersey who had been on the field basically since 8 am the previous morning chose not to play the "if" game which would have started after 2 AM Sunday morning.
The tournament was a huge success. The number of great defensive plays was on par with a top conference event. Hopefully USSSA creates some highlite videos. The Major division used Conference umpires and overall I thought the level of play was very high for it being January. The event should continue to grow as it went from 24 teams in 2019 to 76 teams in 2020 and is the brainchild of Strojan Kennison who put in a ton of work to make this event happen. Ryan Harvey, Trey Gillilland, and Josh Fyffe all had 10 homers in the event and Daniel Cayton led the event with 15 HR. Filip Washington led the tournament in onbase percentage at .833 with Conference stars like Cayton, Riley, and Collins all leading their respective states in hitting.
Championship game between NJ/NY/PA and Kentucky
Mooch roles the ball to walk Hammonds…lol
Branch and team Florida hits against NC/GA
1st Place – Men's Major – Kentucky
2nd Place – Men's Major – NJ/NY/PA
76 Teams Overall
8 Men's Major Teams
7 Women's Major Teams
9 Men's 'C' Teams
22 Men's 'D' Teams
19 Men's 'E' Teams
6 Women's 'C' Teams
5 Women's 'D' Teams
The oldscout pollers thought Florida would dominate.
1st Place – Women's Major – Florida
2nd Place – Women's Major – Kentucky
1st Place – Men's 'C' – Virginia
1st Place – Men's 'D' – Indiana
1st Place – Men's 'E' – West Florida
1st Place – Women's 'C' – Indiana
1st Place – Women's 'D' – New Jersey
Challenge Cup Men's Major Stats
The 2021 Challenge Cup is set for January 22-24, 2021!