My apologies, this weekend on Friday from 2 pm til 9 pm I was working on the live stream and missed all of those games. Then from 10 AM to about 4 PM on Saturday it rained so I didn't get many pictures or video clips of the non major teams this week and the report is a bit shortened because of this.
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2021 Nationwide Conference USSSA
"Crown Town" Classic
MPT pitcher Mike Nino stabs a liner and doubles off the runner at 1st. A key play in the "if" game!
Team Breakdown: 36 Teams Overall 11 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams 4 Major Teams 1 'AA' Teams 3 'A' Teams 10 'B' Teams 18 'C/D' Teams
I watched the end of the "if" game from the stands
Mid America Sports Complex used to have a big restaurant with wood decks at the main quad of fields.
This picture is from the 2010 Mike Turney Memorial Conference event.
The "Crown Town" Classic Major in Shawnee, Kansas felt like a new Conference USSSA event but in reality we did play the Mike Turney Memorial Conference event at that same Mid American Sports Complex before they changed the fields to artificial turf. The tournament began with 36 teams and 11 of them including all 4 Major teams were from the Conference making the team list a little "top heavy" since there was only 1 'AA' team (Xtreme) and 3 'A' teams. On Friday it was around 68 degrees with the wind blowing in on the main diamond #1 and across the diamond on fields #2-6. Fields #1-4 were all artificial turf and the home run fences were 300 feet, they used the Dudley Pro-M ball, and the bats were tested at 240 compression. They played from 36 teams in the winner's bracket down to the "Final 8" on Friday night under a threat of rain. Conference teams Dan Smith/Proton (AZ-M), Envy/Lifetime Diamonds/Legendary (TX-A), Resmondo/SIS/Menosse/Thunder/AA (FL-M), Denver Stars/Miken/Worth (CO-B), Xtreme/ASP/Athlon (MN-AA), MPT Rentals/Juno Athletics (NJ-M), Nightmare/Benefit the Badge (MO-A), Smash It Sports/Newbreed (NC-M), and J&R Logistics (AR-A) all beat the local/regional non-conference teams by the run rule. In some cases by the 20 run rule. Meirtran/Compressor Services/TBS (IL-B) a new conference team playing their first game of the season in league play beat Regulators (OK-C) 18-6 after trailing 4-1 in the 5th. BNS-SIS-Easton (KS-B) beat Sonic (MO-C) 9-8 on a walk off homer by Brian Marsh. In non-conference matchups Synergy Sports (MO-C) upset Homebridge Financial (CO-B) 24-2, J's Southland Towing (MO-B) beat Minnesota 'B' team JEC/P5Sports/Kevitt 12-10, Twisted Lazers a 'C' team from Nebraska beat 22 A Day (MO-B) 22-14, and Performance Glass (KS-B) knocked off Siteman Cancer (MO-B) 21-6.
"Round of 16"
We had power issues on the back fields which hampered the setup of the livestream back there. This was the only game I had time to watch and it was a good one. Dudleyin the blue forced MPT to play 7 innings and the game had a vast number of great defensive plays by both teams including MPT right fielder John Radich who made an incredible leaping home run rob on the water filled warning track in right center.
The "Round of 16" games were played Friday night under the lights. Meirtran the new Conference 'B' team was beating the newly re-formed Dan Smith/Proton team 14-8 going into the bottom of the 5th when Dan Smith scored 5 in the 5th and 5 more in the 6th to take an 18-15 lead. Meitran made it close scoring 2 in the top of the 7th but lost 18-17. Meirtran pitcher Bo Andrews was 3-5 with 3 HR in the loss and they out homered Dan Smith 9-6. William Dooley was 4-4 for Dan Smith in the win. Envy run ruled non Conference team Synergy Sport 33-10. Resmondo made quick work of J's Southland Towing 33-10 as 8 different players hit home runs. Xtreme run ruled Denver Stars by 20 out homering them 12-2 as Shannon Smith and Curtis Stewart each went 4-4. MPT Rentals beat a very good Dudley/Gas team 33-23. Nightmare run ruled Twisted Lazers. Smash It rolled through Performance Glass 25-9. And BNS pulled off a nice 24-21 win over J&R Logistics scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the 7th and winning on a walk off grand slam by Charlie Coleman!
"Round of 8"
Greg Connell and Resmondo crushed Xtreme in the quarter finals
The "Round of 8" was played at 10 AM and 11 AM Central time on Saturday in rainy conditions as the rain washed out games on the non-turf fields. Dan Smith went up 15-2 after 1 inning against Envy and was up 30-2 at one point before winning 34-13. Resmondo walked through Xtreme 28-8 as Clark, Jones, Yates, and Briggs all went 3 for 3. MPT Rentals run ruled Nightmare 30-14 after Nightmare put up a zero in the 1st inning but managed to hang around for awhile and Smash it Sports with the wind blowing in pretty hard on the show field #1 beat BNS-SIS-Easton 20-10. BNS hit just 3 of their allotted 12 HR.
BNS/Easton takes on Smash It Sports
Nightmare's Mike Brown hits in the rain against MPT
The crowd Saturday night was knowledgeable, did some heckling, and enjoyed the return of Major softball to Kansas
Dan Smith pitcher Bill Pinkham with another hit against Resmondo.
You can watch the semi finals, winner's final, and 1st championship game in condensed game videos on the SW48 YOUTUBE channel which will be out this week! The semifinals were delayed until 9 PM as the rain subsided and pushed prior games back but there was still a good crowd and atmosphere to watch the 4 Major teams play at the main field. Dan Smith and Resmondo, two of the top names and sponsorship groups in softball history squared off. Dan Smith put up a quick zero in the top of the 1st inning. In the 2nd inning after Resmondo's Kyle Pearson had a strike called on him he didn't like and he then hit an angry monster homer into field #8 to tie the game at 6-6 and after 2 complete innings Resmondo led 13-6 having used up 7 of their allowed 16 home runs. In the top of the 3rd Dan Smith started free swinging to get back in the game and grabbed a 14-13 lead. In the top of the 5th with Resmondo up 22-14 they got a ground ball to 3rd where Bubba Mack started a 5-3-1 double play with Travis Clark the pitcher alertly covering third base and making the tag. Dan Smith got some momentum back in the top of the 6th when Conference rookie right fielder Tyrell Jenkins hit a 2 out 3 run homer to tie the game at 29-29 and then they held Resmondo to 6 runs in the bottom of the 6th thanks in part to center fielder Josh Kirstens assist throwing out Wegman trying to stretch a single into a double. In the 7th Dan Smith got 5 runs using up the last of their home runs but needed one more run to tie. They scratched it across and Resmondo came up in the bottom of the 7th needing just one run with no homer's left to win it but went down in order 1-2-3. In extra innings Argen Dodds hit a clutch bases loaded double to give Dan Smith a 3 run lead 38-35 and Resmondo again put up a zero in the bottom of the 8th getting just one hit from Nic Santana. Bennett and Matusik each had 5 hits in the win for Dan Smith while Kirsten, Matte, and Bennett each had 3 HR. Cory Briggs had 8 RBI in the loss.
Dan Smith's Argen Dodds hits a 3 run double in extra innings to beat Resmondo with no HR left.
In the 2nd semifinal MPT led 23-13 against Smash It Sports leading the home run management battle just 8-6 and led 37-31 going into the bottom of the 7th where Smash It scored just 5 runs to come up a run short.
Buddy Wolf hits a line drive homer for Smash It in the semi finals.
Bryson Baker is now the lead off hitter for MPT. Here he calls his shot.
The winner's bracket final started late on Saturday night close to midnight central time as it cooled down during the game into the low 60's. The wind died down some but blew in at about 5 mph. MPT scored 4 in the 1st on 3 home runs for what would be considered a bad start. Dan Smith came up and scored 14 on 8 homer's which is also considered poor home run management. MPT scored 11 in the top of the 5th to tie the game and then Dan Smith catcher Argen Dodds hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th to go up 26-22. From there Dan Smith took control of the game and extended their lead in the late innings winning 38-25.
Dudley/Gas (B) takes down Xtreme in the loser's bracket.
In the loser's bracket JEC the non conference 'B' team from Minnesota with some of the Chanticlear Pizza players from the past made a little 4 game run in the top half of the bracket in the rain before losing to Envy 30-12. Homebridge Financial won 3 games in a row before losing to Dudley/Gas who was on a 3 game win streak of their own including a win over Xtreme 32-26 late Saturday night. And then Envy dropped down from the loser's bracket an beat both JEC and Dudley/Gas before losing to Smash It 42-26 as Smash It advanced to Sunday winning the upper half of the loser's bracket. In the lower half of the loser's bracket Siteman, Denver Stars, and Meirtran all made short runs before Nightmare and Resmondo took over with Remsondo beating Nightmare 35-29 to make it to Sunday.
MPT sent the offensive line to intimidate at the coin toss.
Championship is under way with MPT's John Radich hitting against Dan Smith's Bill Pinkham.
On Sunday morning it was the 4 Major teams left standing. Smash It Sports scored 22 runs in the bottom of the 1st against Resmondo in the loser bracket semifinals. Resmondo tried to get back into it with a 13 run top of the 4th to make it 23-26 but Smash It scored 16 of the last 19 runs to win by the run rule in the 6th 42-26. Andrew Collins, Tyler Marshburn, and Jason Martel were all 5-6 and Ben Dunn 5-5 in the victory. Then Smash It's offense lost some of its consistency in the loser's bracket finals and the first 7 batters in the MPT Rentals lineup all scored as MPT went up 19-1. At one point Smash It cut the MPT lead to 4 but MPT used just 10 home runs to beat Smash It Sports 37-27 to get the rematch in the finals against Dan Smith. Big John Williams was 5-5 with 3 HR and 6 RBI and Chris Greinert knocked in 5 RBI in the win. This was an unusual tournament where it didn't feel like any of the Major teams were having a better tournament than the other major teams. Almost a situation where if you could have two double digit innings to the opponents one double digit inning then you win and advance. In the 1st game of the championship MPT led 7-6 after one inning and 25-17 with a 9-7 home run management lead as well. Then Dan Smith put up a couple of uninspired offensive innings and went 1-2-3 in the 5th and MPT hung on to force the "if" game 27-24. In the championship I had to go and pack up the live stream equipment so I missed most of the game as MPT was just a little better offensively late in the game and won the game and the tournament 30-28.
Harvey lines one over the infield
Fences were 300 feet and they had artificial turf on 4 fields.
Dudley Pro-M ball
Long Bombers of the Week
The usual suspects all hit long homers – Matte, Dodds, Harvey, Pearson, Radich, John Williams among others but Chris Greinert hit this one into diamond #8's field and I think it may have been the longest of the tournament. And it was a moon shot.
Kansas Major Final Standings and Awards
MPT pitcher Mike "Nino" Echeverria was the tournaments MVP
MPT middle infielder Zach Messer was Defensive MVP
Dan Smith center fielder Josh Kirsten and 1st baseman Jon Nelson were Co-Offensive MVP's
Team by team notes:
1st Place – MPT Rentals/Juno Athletics
Conf 'M' from NJ 7-1 Record
Mark Carucci's MPT Rentals went 7-1 and only won their first game by the run rule. They played some long battles with the other Major teams where they were down then up then down then up but overall their offense persevered and they won their first tournament of the year and first since Maryland a couple of years ago when they were an 'A' team. Donald Hollingsworth looks like he will be out the whole year with a shoulder injury suffered at the Hall of Fame. Pitcher Jon Dombrowski just had surgery on his bicep area and may be out the year. And Filip Washington, the leagues leading hitter, hurt his quad and couldn't play after the Nightmare game. They also played without AJ Montano. But they rallied with a "next man up" attitude and knocked off Smash It Sports twice and Dan Smith 2 out of 3 which is a great tournament in anyones mind.
MVP Nino threw a LOT of pitches, made plays, got key hits. The offense had so many at bats that great players went through hot streaks and mini slumps. The outfield at one point was Bryson Baker, Brock Frentzel, and John Radich with Greinert at 1st base and yet they still beat major teams and those guys all made plays. Frentzel has a Ben Dunn like motor in center field. This team finally played to its potential in spite of the injuries!
3B Williams, SS Castillo, MI Messer
Brock Frentzel was locked in
Woodrow Darling is a defensive specialist
MPT right fielder John Radich made a couple great catches Saturday night.
Filip Washington pulled a quad early on and didn't get to play much. Emilson Marquez filled in nicely when called upon.
2nd Place – Dan Smith/Proton
Conf 'M' from AZ 5-2 Record
The Dan Smith and Proton merger with Dan Smith buying out former sponsor Sonny Pilcher looks like it was a success as they won the winner's bracket by beating Resmondo in extra innings after the home runs were out and then MPT in the finals. On Sunday the offense wasn't consistent after a big 1st inning in the first game of the championship and they wound up being a runner up for the 3rd time (HOF, Euless, KC). This weekend was like watching someone buy a new car as Dan and Steven Smith and Pat Dalsanders evaluated the team and at least on the outside it seemed like the team played hard and had good chemistry.
They moved Phil Matte to lead off
2B Brian Dezern makes a leaping catch
The new sponsorship group. Dan Smith, Pat Dalsanders, Charles Darling, Steven Smith
3rd Place – SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3
Conf 'M' from NC 5-2 Record
Something was missing this weekend and I can't put my finger on it with Smash It Sports. But they did score the two highest run totals of the tournament, 42 vs Resmondo and 41 vs Envy. Just a slightly off weekend for SIS. They will be fine.
Andrew Collins and Everett Williams
Marshburn is working on another MVP season and Ben Dunn leads in doubles again.
Jason Martel goes big fly
Neil Haglund homers
4th Place – Resmondo/SIS/Menosse/Thunder/AA/RDD/Sprizzi/S&S
Conf 'M' from FL 4-2 Record
Travis Clark and Kevin Bazat
Resmondo as we have documented at length is not built for the 300 foot fields and it showed again as they finished 4th. But they did break the curse with that run through the loser's bracket and tournament win in Euless a few weeks ago. Chicago is next on their schedule. Expect more of the same.
Santana was racking up the extra bases and taking them away.
Tied 5th Place – Envy/Lifetime Diamonds/Legendary
Conf 'A' from TX 4-2 Record
Envy beat who they were supposed to beat and lost to the Major teams who they will beat at some point this year. The team had an on base percentage of .698 and scored a ton of runs. Both very impressive stats.
3B Ryan Mullen, SS Mario Morales Jr, MI Kyle Bullock has been rock steady all year.
Cyborg leads the league in positive energy
Tied 5th Place – Nightmare/Benefit the Badge/Miken
Conf 'A' from MO 4-2 Record
Nightmare ties Envy as the highest finishing non Major team in KC. They only lost to Resmondo 35-29 after a long day of playing. I didn't get to see Nightmare much but they are on a pretty good roll since that disastrous start to the season at the Hall of Fame Classic.
1B Myles McGhee and 2B Mike Brown
Migues hits one out easily
Some more pictures for you:
Siteman had a fund raiser to donate money for every run they scored. They ended up 2-2. Never did run into a conference team.
Meirtran went 4-2 with a nice win over BNS and that close loss to Dan Smith. Larsen, Andrews, Ritter, and Amedei were all over .700 on base percentage. Andrews hit 9 HR.
Denver Stars went 3-2 and had fun doing it. They had a close loss to Nightmare Saturday night. Daniel Sargent and Isaac Romero had over .800 on base percentages.
Southland won a pair of games.
JEC/P5 Sports/Kevitt (MN-B) put together by Pat O'Connell had a number of former Minnesota Conference players like his sons Ryan and Eric, Ryan Hassler, Scott Novak, Brent Sharon, Kyle Bixler, Travis Auld, pitcher Craig Arndt, and Brian Tveita on the roster. They beat 4 teams in the loser's bracket in the rain including J&R Logistics by the run rule.
Pat O'Connell and his sons Eric and Ryan
Homebridge Financial won 3 games.
J&R Logistics went 2-2 but didn't beat any Conference teams.
Vlad Gomez makes a nice catch
Dudley/Gas is one of the better 'B' teams in the country. They played MPT tough on Friday night never giving up. Then in the loser's bracket they won 3 in a row beating the Xtreme 'AA' team and then losing a 10 run decision to Envy. Nick Utley and Ken Leach play on this team.
Hometown Riley Norris for Dan Smith does another superman
Xtreme went 2-2 and didn't beat a conference team.
The beer was flowing
Groupies Sid Stephany and Colby Hughes checking out Harvey
Softball celebrity and social media guru John Kings was signing autographs for his legion of fans.
Wegman did appear out on the assist by Kirsten
The new turf made for slippery batters boxes
It is Levi Lynch on the dish ladies and gentlemen!
Greg Jones, Matt Gregory, and Joe Smith
Championship game umpires Dave Davis and Chris Balcazar
Matusik did appear safe
Jenkins did appear safe
Brian Logan guns a runner at 3rd.
Bryson Baker touched this homer for a 4 base award.
This was the only close call in the big games that the umps may have missed and it was very close plus Connell bobbled it making the call even harder.
Steven Smith argues balls and strikes and gets tossed but still looked like he was having fun.