2022 Topeka Open Tournament
Winner’s Final action between Rock Run and D&R Miller Concrete.
Periodically horse and buggy’s would pull up and watch a few innings.
Topeka Video Clips link (when ready)
17 & Under All Star Game
The Topeka Open started with an exhibition game where the top two 17 and under teams (Scotts Routing and Cedar Creek) split into 2 teams and played an All Star Game which can be viewed here in condensed form on YouTube. The two teams went at it for 7 innings putting on a nice display of speed, power, defense, and hustle for such young players. The kids told me that they start playing organized softball at 15 but start learning to hit and field as soon as they can hold a bat. A number of 17u players were then picked up by the Open teams as replacements for players that couldn’t make it.
The two teams pose for a group photo after the game.
The 2022 Topeka, Indiana’s men’s league has 43 teams spread across 3 divisions (Upper, Middle, Lower) and the Upper Division has 6 teams who played the last 7 games of their tournament on Thursday, August 25th. Not bad for a town of less than 2,000 people. I (DW) was invited out by Justin Mucciarelli who is in marketing at the Pure Sports bat company to do some promotional work as Pure sponsors a number of the Rock Run players. Unfortunately “Mooch” couldn’t make it and I decided to go anyway since I had an off weekend from the conference. I ended up livestreaming the games and creating some videos and this report from the evenings action. Softball in Topeka is a family event with fans of each team and fans of softball in general watching the games. I counted about 500 fans at its peak surrounding the two fields. The teams are all very similarly built with good speed, a defense that is quick to the ball, and some timely power making for some good games and plenty of action.
The two “play in” games in the tournament were played the week before with D&R Miller’s Concrete defeating Tirestar and Rock Run beating Cedar Creek. In semifinal #1 Thursday at 6 PM (pictured above) D&R handled Bullseye Industrial Sales over on field #1 with a nice display of long home runs (limit was 6) from the Bontrager’s.
In semifinal #2 NHC/SKS Sports came from behind to give an undermanned Rock Run team a game but came up short.
The winner’s final D&R vs Rock Run had the biggest crowd.
In the winner’s final Rock Run batted around in the top of the 1st as D&R struggled to throw strikes. Rock Runs Myron Hochstetler and Kyle Miller hit 3 run homer’s and Arlis Miller the lead off hitter in his second at bat of the inning hit a grand slam to put them up 16-0. But D&R was unfazed and scored 11 runs in the bottom of the 1st taking advantage of a few walks themselves. In the top of the 2nd Rock Run scored just 1 run on a solo homer and in the bottom of the 2nd D&R’s Glenn Bender hit a grand slam and Wayne Bontrager hit a 2 run single to give D&R an 18-17 lead! In the top of the 3rd Rock Run put on a nice display of base hitting then used their last home run (6th) to go up 24-18. In the bottom of the 3rd D&R’s Bender used their last homer to pull within a run 24-23 but Rock Run went on to a 31-24 victory.
Cheese ropes a homer in the winner’s final.
In the loser’s bracket Bullseye Industrial who I believe was the #1 seed for the tournament beat Cedar Creek and then NHC before D&R dropped down and ended their run in the loser’s bracket finals.
D&R Center Fielder robs a home run in the championship.
In the championship game Rock Run was at full strength as a number of their starters who had to attend a wedding showed up to play late in the day. Rock Run shortstop Faron Fry hit a 3 run homer in the top of the 1st inning to put them up 5-0. As the temperatures cooled off and the ball really started flying Rock Run extended their lead to 14-3 and when pitcher Erik Lehman hit a 3 run homer in the top of the 4th they were up 23-6 over a tired D&R team. D&R didn’t give up though and avoided the run rule in the 4th but not the 5th and Rock Run won the tournament. It was a great night of softball in a league that is a bit of a throwback to the “hey days” of slow pitch softball in the mid 1990’s when leagues like this existed in every city in the USA. I would like to thank Marcus Fry and the teams in the league for having me out and for putting on a nice display of softball on a great late summer evening!
Long Bomber of the Week!
Wayne Bontrager consistently hit the longest homer’s and is the Long Bomber of the week. He was given a run for his money though by D&R’s center fielder (not sure on name) who hit a bomb against Bullseye across the road, as well as Rock Run’s Kyle Miller and Myron Hochstetler.
Topeka Open Results and Awards
The real MVP was Marcus Fry who runs the league, works on the fields, and runs the Rock Run team. He also got to play some early in the tournament.
Team by Team Notes
1st Place – Rock Run Cabinetry
IN-B Record 4-0
Rock Run had the #3 seed for the Open tournament but was the favorite to win. A number of their players missed the early games due to attending a local wedding but the 17u pickups and the managers filled in and they did enough to win with a bunch of players out of position until the entire starting team showed up after which they rolled to the championship. Rock Run is headed to USA ‘B’ and ‘A’ Nationals this weekend in Oklahoma City where they finished 2nd at the ‘B’ a year ago. And then they play the Kansas City Conference event before the USSSA ‘B’, USSSA ‘A’, and USSSA Major Worlds!
2nd Place – D&R Miller Concrete
IN-B/C Record 3-2
D&R Miller Concrete had a different roster than their tournament team but they play USSSA ‘C’ and USA ‘B’ and will be at USA ‘B’ Nationals this coming weekend. Their USSSA tournament team is the team that had Anarchy on the ropes at the Michigan Major before they lost on a walk off homer in extra innings. They then proceeded to win the Michigan consolation bracket and their tournament pitcher is the pitcher that played with Silverbacks in 2021 when they beat #1 Smash It Sports in Chicago.
The shortstop and lead off for D&R’s league team Glenn Bender plays tournaments with Rock Run.
3rd Place – Bullseye Industrial Sales
It is my understanding that Bullseye who mainly just plays league and some local tournaments doesn’t really play national tournaments although some of their players pick up with D&R.
4th Place – NHC/SKS Sports
IN-D Record 1-2
NHC is one of the top USSSA ‘D’ teams in the nation and are talented enough offensively and defensively to hold their own in any ‘C’ or ‘B’ tournament.
Tied 5th – Cedar Creek
IN-E/D Record 0-2
Cedar Creek plays ‘D’ in USSSA where they are 11-5 and although they went 0-2 in the open league tournament they are now 34-0 in One Nation ‘E’ this season. A very talented young team that should move up the classifications quickly.
Tied 5th – Tirestar
IN-? Record 0-2
Tirestar was disappointed in their 0-2 performance but seem like a really young team with very good talent.
Faces in the Crowd / More Pictures
They used the Tattoo 52/300 ball
The players in the condensed games with the navy blue with white pinstripes play for the 17u team Scotts Routing.
USSSALive.com livestream was good and I would like to thank them for streaming this event for free.
Field #1 is in the lower part of the picture and is 295-300 feet.
Field #2 is the show field and was 300 feet.
Topeka, Indiana is known for their RV customization industry which most of the city works in.