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2023 ‘AA’ World Tournament
Roofx CF Brandon Yoder gets an inside the park homer against JBL.
‘AA’ World Hot Links
TRU scores against Siteman in the stadium to open the ‘AA’.
Check out all of the videos from the ‘AA’ in the links below.
‘AA’ World Team List
The ‘AA’ kicks off with Smash It’s Luis Reyna making a diving stop vs NFM Lending.
The 2023 ‘AA’ Worlds began on Sunday afternoon October 8th at the Viera, Florida Space Coast complex with a strong field of 22 teams from 15 different states. 9 of the teams were ‘AA’ and 13 teams were classed ‘A’ and all but one of the teams were from the Conference USSSA league. The weather was perfect for softball and they played the tournament in the stadium with temp fences set at 325 feet to match the two fields in the White quad that they used which were also 325 feet. They teams had a 14 home run limit and this year used the Dudley Hardcore ball which made teams have to think about home run management from the beginning of the games as the ball ended up performing better than a Stadium ZN ball at times. All of the “play in” games were ‘A’ teams vs ‘A’ teams as Str8play (CA) who had just won ‘A’ Worlds earlier in the day beat Rebel (MI-A) 27-19. LSR (IN-A) advanced by forfeit when their opponent dropped out of the tournament. Dirty Vegas (TX-A) run ruled Cheap Suits (CA-A) 38-19 out homering them 12-3, scoring 17 in the top of the 2nd and 10 in the top of the 3rd. Andrew Filoteo was 5-5 on base in the win. Non-Conference Wisconsin ‘A’ team Comatose beat Bay Area Legends (CA-A) 14-11. Epic (SC-A) knocked off ‘A’ World runner-up Seminoles (OK-A) 26-21. And TRU (VA-A) beat Siteman (MO-A) up in the stadium in a shootout 44-40 as they put up 9 runs in the top of the 7th including a grand slam by Clint Clymer, then Siteman came up short with the bats in their hands in the bottom half of the inning.
Westpoint’s Travis Tucker hits a walk off homer to beat Classic Glass to start the “Round of 16”.
In the “Round of 16” the ‘AA’ teams began play. Back in the white quad with the wind blowing out, #7 seed Smash It Sports/Bay Area (CA-AA) scored 10 runs in the top of the 4th to go up 24-15 on NFM Lending (AZ-A) and went on to win 45-25. #8 Westpoint (IN-AA) and #9 Classic Glass (CA-AA) was the only ‘AA’ vs ‘AA’ matchup in the “Round of 16” and it was a good one. Westpoint used a walk off homer by Travis Tucker in the bottom of the 7th to win 31-30. Survive and advance! Meanwhile all of the other ‘AA’ teams advanced in high scoring games vs their ‘A’ team opponent. #2 seed JBL/D1/Tailgaters (OH-AA) 20 run mercy ruled Str8play 28-8. #6 Chick-fil-a/Slugger/BAF/Shore Irrigation (VA-AA) barely survived a 44-42 win over LSR scoring 5 runs in the top of the 7th to go up 44-40 and they held off LSR in the bottom of the 7th getting a double play to end it. Patrick Center, Jacob Clifton, and Zach Sanford each had 6 hits in the win and Center had 10 RBI. #3 Nitro Circus/Candy Shop/Ataraxis (MD-AA) beat an upset minded Dirty Vegas 37-33 after leading 34-13 going into the bottom of the 4th. Both teams hit all 14 of their home runs and Jared Hunt, Daniel Herren, Zach Messer, and Joey Capparelli each reached base safely 5 times while Chris Greinert had 3 HR and 9 RBI. #5 S&E/Baugh Ford (NC-AA) was trailing Comatose 17-6 when they scored 20 in the top of the 5th and carried that momentum to a 32-25 victory in their opener. Rookie Matt Mosel and veterans Joel Sanchez and Dustin Burris each reached base safely 5 times and Rich Racobaldo hit 3 HR and had 7 RBI in the win. #4 Sports Reach/Demarini/CT/LLS (KY-AA) trailing Epic 16-5 going into the top of the 3rd put up 12 in the 3rd and 9 more in the 4th and pulled out the win 37-30. Rookie Austin Mapes was 6-6 with 5 HR and 11 RBI in the win. And up in the stadium #1 seed Roofx/Revolution/Albicocco/All Hustle (IN-AA) scored 13 in the bottom of the 2nd, 10 in the bottom of the 3rd, and left TRU on the field in the bottom of the 5th 40-25 as Jeremy Fry, Joey Miller, Kyle Miller, and Marcus Miller all reached base safely 5 times with Marcus hitting 4 HR and collecting 9 RBI, and the team had 22 extra base hits in 5 innings!
Rookie Austin Mapes was 6-6 with 5 HR and 11 RBI for Sports Reach in their win over Epic!
The “Round of 8” quarterfinals were also played on Sunday night in great weather. In the stadium Westpoint took it to #1 Roofx scoring 13 in the top of the 2nd and 14 in the top of the 3rd using up all 14 of their home runs to go up a seemingly insurmountable 31-10! But Roofx with 12 home runs left came back scoring 9 in the bottom of the 4th but Westpoint pitcher Kyle Johnson continued to hold down Roofx with some big strikeouts and foul outs. With 4 home runs to hit and trailing 36-27 in the bottom of the 7th Roofx scored 7 but came up short 36-34 with 2 home runs left on the table. Kyle Johnson was 6-7 with 3 HR and 7 RBI and the last batter in the order Daryl Yoder went 6-6, hit for the cycle, and collected 7 RBI in the win for Westpoint who with their walk off homer to beat Classic Glass earlier and a 2 run win over arch rival Roofx advanced to the “Final 4” on Monday!
Westpoint’s Kyle Johnson stabs a shot up the middle vs Roofx Sunday night.
Back in the White quad in the “Round of 8” Chick-fil-a scored 10 runs on 2 homer’s while Nitro Circus scored just 2 on 2 in the bottom of the 1st. And Chick-fil-a used this great start to run rule Nitro Circus 34-12 in 5 innings, scoring 16 more in the top of the 4th! On the field next to them Sports Reach jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the 1st inning vs S&E, went up 16-1 early on, and went on to beat S&E 34-29 even though S&E scored 14 in the top of the 5th. Sports Reach was led by Robert Blackburn, Tommy Melton, and Robert Fow who were all 5-5, Melton had 3 HR and 8 RBI, and they had 35 hits overall! Meanwhile in the stadium for the night cap Smash It Sports scored 11 on 5 in the 1st against JBL. JBL answered with 6 on 2 and then 13 on 6 to go up 19-11. Smash It then started to have problems as they grounded into a bases loaded double play in the 3rd and their outfielders touched 3 balls that ended up being extra home runs for JBL. Then JBL’s Dave Johnson and Mike Williams hit grand slams, and they went on to win 44-35. So JBL, Chick-fil-a, Westpoint, and Sports Reach advanced to the Monday morning “Final 4”!
Smash It Sports hits against JBL in the nightcap!
Final 4 Recap
JBL’s Adam Ussery taking it to Chick-fil-a in a 12 run 2nd inning.
The stadium was the place to be on Monday as the ‘AA’ World continued with the “Final 4” of the winner’s bracket. First at 9 am it was JBL and Chick-fil-a. JBL scored 2 in the top of the 1st on a homer by Brock Frentzel but was slowed by the defense of left fielder Zach Sanford and pitcher Kyle Center. In the bottom of the 1st Chick-fil-a went up 3-2 on a Jacob Clifton homer and a bomb by Ricky Moyers. In the top of the 2nd JBL base hit their way to a 15-3 lead scoring 12 runs on just 1 homer and they got a double play and a nice catch by Bradley Scott in left field to shut out Chick-fil-a in the bottom half. It was all JBL the rest of the way as they out scored Chick-fil-a 15-6 over the next 3 innings and won by the run rule 30-9. Steve Edwards was 5-5 and Mike Williams had 6 RBI in the win as JBL out homered CFA 9-6.
Kyle Johnson and Westpoint take on Brandon Jonas and Sports Reach in the semifinals Monday morning.
In the 2nd semifinal Sports Reach batted around the order in the top of the 1st and jumped out to a 9-3 lead on Westpoint while using only 3 home runs. In the bottom of the 2nd Westpoint scored 11 on 4 to go up 14-11. The seesaw battle continued as Sports Reach scored 15 on 5 in the top of the 3rd to go up 26-14 and they out base hit Westpoint when the home runs were gone to win 45-39. Robert Blackburn was 7-7, Tommy Melton 6-7, and Dagmar Pena 6-6 in the win as Sports Reach had 26 extra base hits!
Winner’s Final Recap
Robo hits for Sports Reach vs Mason Farmer and JBL in the winner’s final Monday afternoon.
The winner’s bracket final was played in the early afternoon between Sports Reach and JBL with Sports Reach jumping out to a 10-6 lead in the 1st inning (3-2 on home runs). The scoring slowed some in the 2nd and 3rd innings as the two teams traded double plays and Sports Reach led 18-11 after 4 innings. When Sports Reach blanked in the top of the 5th JBL came to life scoring 7 runs on 3 home runs including a game tying 3 run homer by John Radich. In the 6th JBL “freed up” their swings and used their remaining 4 homer’s to close the Sports Reach lead to 22-21 on a Bradley Scott 3 run homer and then grab the lead on back to back to back homer’s by Steve Hendrickson, David Johnson, and John Radich. In the top of the 7th with Sports Reach down 24-22 and having 4 home runs to hit, they put up a goose egg when JBL turned an infield lineout into a double play as they doubled off the runner at 1st? A double and a ground out later and JBL had secured an unlikely 24-22 win without having to bat in the bottom of the 7th!
JBL gets a huge double play on a lineout in the top of the 7th.
Loser’s Bracket Recap
Jason Slabach hits a walk off pinch hit homer to put Roofx past Chick-fil-a
An interesting tidbit, the ‘AA’ World usually has a number of upsets where ‘A’ teams knock off ‘AA’ teams but this year ‘A’ teams were 0-12 vs ‘AA’ teams and none of the ‘A’ teams made it into the top 8 in the final standings. The bulk of the loser’s bracket was played back in the White Quad where ‘A’ teams were taking out ‘A’ teams in the early rounds and ‘AA’ team Classic Glass knocked off Cheap Suits, TRU, and then lost 30-7 to Smash It Sports. Classic Glass finished tied for 9th with Epic, Dirty Vegas, and Bay Area Legends. Nitro Circus then beat Smash It 34-27 so Smash It finished tied for 7th. Meanwhile #1 seeded Roofx who had lost to Westpoint on Sunday night in the “Round of 8” took to the field at 10:45 AM Monday morning and knocked off Bay Area 38-6 in 4 innings – scoring at least 8 runs in each inning as they out homered them 13-4. Then they knocked off S&E in a 7 inning game 32-23 scoring a decisive 7 runs in the top of the 7th. So S&E finished tied for 7th. Then without any break Roofx trailed Chick-fil-a 29-28 going into the bottom of the 7th when the first two batters grounded out. Down 1 run with nobody on base they got a game tying home run from Kyle Miller, a bloop double by Marcus Miller, and a dramatic game winning pinch hit homer by Jason Slabach to win the game 31-29! So Chick-fil-a tied finished tied for 5th. This advanced Roofx to the stadium where they had a short wait to see who their opponent would be (Nitro Circus or Westpoint).
Westpoint takes down Nitro Circus to advance to the 4th place game.
In the stadium Nitro Circus went up 2-0 in the top of the 1st inning on a 400+ foot home run by Chris Greinert. Westpoint answered in the bottom of the 1st taking a 4-3 lead on a Canaan Baum 3 run homer. In the top of the 2nd Nitro Circus put up 13 runs including 3 run homer’s by Jared Hunt, Nick Day, and Joey Capparelli and Westpoint answered with just 2 solo homer’s in the bottom of the 2nd. In the bottom of the 3rd however Westpoint came to life and made Nitro Circus pay for too many free passes (walks) and pulled to within 2 runs 17-15 on a 380 foot homer by Nick Canfield. In the bottom of the 5th Nitro Circus center fielder Chad Erickson robbed a home run to end the inning but Westpoint held a 30-25 lead going into the top of the 7th and Nitro Circus had 4 home runs to hit. Nitro pulled within 1 run on home runs by lefties Cabot Van Til and Jared Hunt to make it 29-30 and Chris Greinert and Nick Day singled to put the tying run in scoring position but Westpoint got a flyout to end the game with a 30-29 victory! So Nitro Circus finished tied for 5th.
Westpoint’s Canaan Baum hits against Roofx in the 4th place game.
In the loser’s bracket semifinal it was Roofx who had already played 3 games in a row, taking on Westpoint who had beaten them the night before. Roofx started off the game doing what Westpoint did the night before and that is using up too many home runs early in the game. They scored 4 runs on 4 solo’s to start the game then Westpoint pitcher Jordan Patterson made a nice stab up the middle to end the inning. In the top of the 2nd they hit 4 more homer’s then settled in and started to “play the game” and next thing you knew Roofx was up 21-1. In the bottom of the 2nd Westpoint’s Patterson hit a 3 run bomb and Travis Tucker hit a long one and they scored 10 on 5 to get back in the game down 21-11. Roofx however kept up the pressure and led 29-14 after the top of the 3rd using up the last of their 14 home runs. Then Roofx made an uncharacteristic 4 errors and in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th Westpoint climbed back into the game with base hits to pull within 8 runs 30-22. In the bottom of the 5th though Roofx pitcher Justin Mucciarelli and the defense buckled down and they got Westpoint to put up a zero and Roofx held off Westpoint down the stretch winning 32-29.
Mooch snaps off Robert Blackburn in the loser’s bracket finals.
The loser’s bracket finals began in the dark with perfect weather and no humidity. Roofx looked a little gassed as they put up a zero on 3 fly outs to start the game. Sports Reach came in and put up 7 on 4 home runs including a Dylan Smith homer that went out of the center field baseball fence 385+ feet! Roofx though scored 8 on 2 in the top of the 2nd and scored at least 4 runs an inning in the 2nd thru 6th innings to take a 30-17 lead and cruised to a 34-28 victory. Brandon Yoder was 4-5 with 4 HR and 7 RBI in the win.
JBL’s Offensive MVP Steve Edwards hardly made an out in the ‘AA’.
In the championship Roofx used base hits and extra base hits and a 3 run homer by Kyle Miller to score 9 on 3 in the top of the 1st, making their third out on a runner hit by a line drive. In the bottom of the 1st JBL scored 6 on 3 as the Roofx infield made some nice plays. In the top of the 2nd Roofx extra base hit their way to 5 more runs on 1 homer, a bomb by Faron Fry that went out of center field over the baseball fence over 385 feet! Then in the bottom of the 2nd Mooch walked a few batters which led to a Brian McBryde grand slam for JBL which tied the game at 14-14. The game was basically tied in the middle innings as Roofx had 22 runs on just 5 homer’s and JBL had 21 runs on 8 home runs. Roofx scored at least 3 runs in every inning until the top of the 7th where they left 3 HR on the table when they went down in order 1-2-3. The Roofx defense and pitching did take over however in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings as JBL tried to “play the game” and conserve home runs. In the bottom of the 7th JBL found themselves down 9 with 6 to hit and got long home runs from Orlando Olivera, Steve Edwards, and Adam Ussery to pull to within 4 (32-28). But with 3 home runs left to hit the Roofx shortstop Ryan Mcclanahan made 3 incredible plays to end the game, 2 hot shot grounders to the back hand and a stab of a line shot and Roofx had forced the “if” game 32-28.
JBL 2nd baseman Dave Johnson makes a nice play.
Roofx center fielder Brandon Yoder robs a homer.
Roofx middle man Jeremy Fry climbs the ladder for an out.
Ryan Mcclanahan made the last 4 putouts vs JBL in the 1st game of the championship.
In the “if” necessary game Roofx got off to a slow start trailing JBL 6-2 going into the 3rd with Brock Frentzel hitting a 3 run homer in the bottom of the 1st inning and Roofx going scoreless in the top of the 2nd. In the top of the 3rd Justin Mucciarelli, not known for his hitting and having pitched for over 12 straight hours, singled to lead off the inning and that led to Brandon Yoder and Kyle Miller 3 run homer’s and a 10-6 lead. In the top of the 4th Mooch again led off with a single and Yoder hit an inside the park homer to make it 16-10 Roofx. In the bottom of the 4th Yoder robbed a JBL homer in center field but JBL tied the game at 16-16. In the bottom of the 5th after Roofx managed just 2 runs, JBL grabbed a 21-18 lead on a Steve Edwards 3 run homer. But from there it was all Roofx on both sides of the ball as they scored 9 in the top of the 6th on some long homer’s and used up the rest of their 14 homer’s in the top of the 7th scoring 7 runs to go up 34-22. In the bottom of the 7th with only 2 HR left to hit, JBL put up a zero due in part to a base running error, a home run rob by Yoder in right center, and Mooch stabbing a grounder up the middle to end it. Jeremy Fry was 5-6 in the win and Kyle Miller 5-5 with 3 HR and 7 RBI. Roofx had won 7 straight on Monday into Tuesday morning, had been on the field basically for 13+ straight hours, and had won the ‘AA’ World title at 1:22 AM in the morning!
Roofx wins 7 straight to take the ‘AA’ World!
Mooch celebrates with his haters salute. “Cookies & Rings”.
Long Bomber of the Week!
Long Bomber of the Week was JBL’s Orlando Olivera. He won it a couple of times during the season and in a tournament that featured some absolute bombs, Orlando had consistently the furthest homer’s!
‘AA’ World Results and Awards
‘AA’ World MVP – Roofx pitcher Justin Mucciarelli
‘AA’ World Defensive MVP – Roofx shortstop Ryan Mcclanahan
‘AA’ Wprld Offensive MVP – JBL’s Steve Edwards
‘AA’ World manager of the tournament – Mike Yoder
Team by Team Notes
1st Place – Roofx/Revolution/Albicocco/AllHustle
IN-AA Record 8-1
Roofx had the perfect ‘AA’ team with youth, speed, defense, power, and extra base hitting. Then you mix in a veteran defensive shortstop in Ryan Mcclanahan and a “manager on the field” pitcher in 6 time USSSA champion Justin Mucciarelli who seemed to have an “Andy Purcell” like ability to get big outs this year, and it just kind of put them over the top. Even after the loss on Sunday night and thinking about having to win 7 straight on Monday, it did seem that it wasn’t out of the question that they could still win it. S&E, Chick-fil-a, Westpoint, Sports Reach, and JBL, a “who’s who” of top ‘AA’ teams all gave it a shot but Roofx was not to be denied and they made a run for the ages. From the bench guys to the manager/sponsor Mike Yoder, to the starters who just about played every inning of every game this year in the same positions, they pulled all of the right strings and came through in the clutch to make this a true team effort. Congratulations to Mike, the team, and the sponsorship group on a great season. According to the views on the videos they are now the 2nd most popular team in the country behind Resmondo and they built that fan following in just 2 short years. The stats from the ‘AA’ are not complete but the team on base percentage was around .700 and pinch hitters James Miller and Jason Slabach were 11-12 in the games where stats were kept. They left it all on the field and Mooch at 49? years old pitched all day Monday and I have to say in shaking his hand he was pale, cold, and clammy, and in need of an IV! 🙂 Yet just 2 days later Roofx took to the field and made a run to 3rd place at the Major! Chris Osbourne and Mooch from Pure Sports get their first USSSA Championship as a bat company and next year Roofx moves to the Major division!
P Justin Mucciarelli, 2B Faron Fry, SS Jeremy Fry
Kyle Miller celebrating a homer.
James Miller with another clutch pinch hit.
Sponsor Toni Albicocco passed away early in January 2024 but I wanted to acknowledge his love for the game of softball as he sponsored conference teams for almost every year the Conference has been in existence since 2006. He was also a partial sponsor of the Roofx ‘AA’ team this year. May Toni rest in peace.
2nd Place – JBL/D1/Tailgaters/Ignite
OH-AA Record 4-2
JBL won the winner’s bracket and was well rested for that late night championship with Roofx. But Roofx has had their number most of the year and “double dipped” JBL for the 2nd time this year. The first time was the Chicago major back in June. But a great run nonetheless for JBL who was just a few plays away from a USSSA ring…
Adam Ussery makes a play at SS.
Brock Frentzel was back from his shoulder injury.
Steve Edwards leads a veteran laden team.
3rd Place – Sports Reach/Demarini/CT/LLS
KY-AA Record 3-2
Sports Reach came up short in the winner’s final in the top of the 7th when they kind of imploded and put up a zero against JBL. Then in the loser’s final Roofx got them by 10. Sports Reach had a perfect mix for the ‘AA’ division this year and will return even stronger in 2024 it appears.
Austin Andrews tracks one down in left center.
Dylan Smith goes way out of center field 385+.
4th Place – WestPoint
IN-AA Record 3-2
Westpoint had the upset of the tournament knocking off Roofx on Sunday night and “validated” that win by knocking out Nitro Circus Monday afternoon before losing 32-29 to Roofx Monday early evening. A nice run to 4th place for Westpoint who will return in 2024 with Alisha at the helm!
P Kyle Johnson, SS Daryl Yoder, MI Joe Horsley, LF Tyler Cowles.
Tied 5th – Nitro Circus/Candy Shop/Ataraxis
MD-AA Record 3-2
Nitro Circus lost big to Chick-fil-a Sunday night and couldn’t complete the comeback all of the way against Westpoint in the loser’s bracket 5th place game Monday afternoon with the bats in their hands. Nitro Circus had an up and down season where they had a good record vs Major teams but a dismal record against ‘AA’ teams?
Chad Erickson robs a homer.
P Jose Flores, 3B Brian Dezern, SS Daniel Herrin.
Tied 5th – Chick-fil-a/Slugger/BAF/Shore Irrigation
VA-AA Record 2-2
Pitcher Patrick Center, 2B Jacob Clifton, MI Tanai Alston.
Chick-fil-a was a man down with the Brady injury but still managed to win 2 high scoring games Sunday night to make it to the “Final 4” undefeated. But they didn’t show up offensively and lost to JBL 30-9 and then Roofx walked them off in the loser’s bracket Monday afternoon. A solid year for Chick-fil-a who had that magical run back at the Texas dual in April where they beat Resmondo twice to be one of only a handful of ‘AA’ teams to win a Conference event where all of the Major teams were in the bracket. I would like to thank John Natolly for sponsoring all of these great Chick-fil-a teams over the last few years as he is not having a team in 2024. We hope to see him back though in the future!
Matt Brady one of Chick-fil-a’s best hitters and their shortstop was injured in a work accident the week before the ‘AA’ World.
Tied 7th – S&E/Baugh Ford/Proton
NC-AA Record 2-2
S&E beat Comatose in their opener 32-25, then lost to Sports Reach late Sunday night 34-29. In the loser’s bracket they knocked off Dirty Vegas 33-17 before Roofx sent them home Monday at noon 32-23. They played without center fielder Bill Cullen (work training).
Tied 7th – SmashIt/BayAreaLegends/Baugh Ford/BD
CA-AA Record 2-2
Smash It had the star power on the roster this year but just couldn’t ever put it all together. They lost to a good JBL team Sunday night and then got knocked out by Nitro Circus Monday.
Classic Glass was the only ‘AA’ team to finish outside the top 7 as they lost their opener on that walk off homer to Westpoint and then after winning 2 games in the loser’s bracket they lost to Smash It 30-7. For whatever reason Classic Glass played better on baseball fields vs softball fields all year long.
Faces in the Crowd / More Pictures
Doc Beckwell and Phillip Taylor did the ‘AA’ Championship
They used the Dudley Hardcore Pro-M which made the 325 foot fields play like 290 foot fields at times.
Str8play hot off their ‘A’ World championship taking in the ‘AA’.
Celebrity watch – Stephen Nelson and Farhad from Competitive Edge taking in the ‘AA’ Worlds!