2023 ‘B’ World
‘B’ World Video Links!
The ‘B’ World began on Tuesday, October 3rd at 10 am eastern with 26 teams from 17 different states and Canada. The weather was good with some wind here and there and they played at the all turf Space Coast Complex in Viera, Florida using 325 foot fences and the really good Dudley Hardcore Pro-M ball with an 8 home run limit. Teams were seeded by Conference points and then USSSA points with the #1 seed going to Ohio’s Van Wert Frickers and the favorite Beechy Construction/I-57 Roofing/Rocke OHD team from Missouri getting the #2 seed. The “play in” games and “Round of 16” on Tuesday began with most of the favorites winning like the stacked Beloli/KL&R Massachusetts team knocking off TAFN/GoSports (MI-B) 29-9. LOB one of the top Florida teams beat GWA (CO-B) by a run coming from behind and taking the lead in the top of the 7th on a 2 out 3 run homer, then holding off GWA 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th. In their next game LOB beat Cornerstone by scoring at least 2 runs in every inning 25-20. In the middle of the bracket Proaxion a team from French Quebec Canada began an impressive run using timely hitting and defense with the wind blowing across on White Marucci to beat Thin Air (CO-B) 14-6 and S&S Landscaping/RDD/Kirk (CT-B) 17-2 after S&S had just finished beating PF (MA-B) a northeast rival 18-4. Also in that part of the bracket Bennett Homes/Remax/BCC (UT-B) beat Stay Schemin (FL-B) 12-3 and then upset #2 Beechy Construction (MO-B) 10-9. Beechy’s normal starting pitcher and team leader Steve Myers was sick with food poisoning and Beechy never could get on track. Beechy made a come back in the 7th but came up just short. #1 Van Wert Frickers won their opener 17-9 over a veteran Nitro Circus/Fishhead (MD-B) team. Maricopa Valley Painting (AZ-B) knocked off Ohio’s Old Bag 23-7 then lost to Sal-8/LA Lawn’s/84 Lumber (VA-B) 21-2. And in the bottom of the bracket P&P 333/TBC/Koval (MI-B) beat Tranont/Klutch 10-7 and then last years ‘C’ World Champs Coursey Realty/EliteSecurity/Anarchy (CA-B) 13-3 to advance to the “Round of 8”. Tranont was the Utah ‘B’ team that finished 3rd at the Seattle Dual #2 and Coursey picked up veteran Conference players Donald Hollingsworth Jr., Donnie Hammonds, and Josh Moore. And finally Good Boyz out of Florida beat Smoke /TopNotch/Levels (CO-B) 8-7 and #4 seed EAS/GSSports/Suncoast (CO-B) 12-9 with the wind blowing in on Red Easton. In the Smoke game they trailed 7-2 going into the bottom of the 7th winning on an infield single and in the EAS game they came back from an 8-1 deficit to win.
Bennett Homes hits against Proaxion
In the “Round of 8” early Tuesday evening at 4 PM LOB pulled off a big 34-29 win over Beloli who’s pitcher, veteran Danny Evans, wasn’t able to make it. The wind was blowing out on Red Marucci in that one and LOB put up 11 runs in the top of the 6th and out scored Beloli 15-6 down the stretch. Good Boyz pulled off a close low scoring win over P&P 333 10-6 as P&P 333 put up a zero in the bottom of the 6th and 7th innings. The bracket shows a 7-6 score for some reason? At 6 PM Van Wert Frickers rolled past SAL-8 22-4, out scoring SAL 22-0 to start the game. And Proaxion trailing 2-0 with the wind blowing in against upset minded Bennett Homes, scored 6 in the bottom of the 3rd and 6 in the bottom of the 6th to beat them 14-7. The “Final 4” teams in the winner’s bracket then had most of the day Wednesday off as the loser’s bracket played out with the semifinals and winner’s final playing Wednesday evening.
Final 4 Recap
Frickers bats against LOB in the semifinals.
The “Final 4” of the winner’s bracket was played at 5:15 PM on the main two fields in the White Quad on Wednesday evening. Proaxion scored 12 runs on just 3 homer’s in a big bottom of the 4th inning to grab a 17-13 lead vs LOB and they shut down LOB the rest of the way winning 19-13. In the other semifinal Van Wert Frickers won a high scoring 30-25 game over Good Boyz with the wind blowing out on White Rawlings.
LOB win’s on a walk off single over Beloli
On Wednesday the loser’s bracket was in full swing. In the top half of the bracket Nitro Circus from Maryland won 2 games before Beloli dropped down and sent them home 23-13. J&I from Washington beat Coursey, GWA, and Bennett Homes 16-10 before Beloli knocked them off 38-29. Then Good Boyz dropped down later on Saturday night and beat Beloli 36-35 in a wild game which ended with both teams clearing the benches in your typical softball I want to fight but I don’t want to fight chest bumping fashion. 🙂 In the lower half of the loser’s bracket Cornerstone from Kentucky knocked off Smoke, Tranont, and then Sal-8 from Virginia dropped down and beat them 16-5. And #2 seed Beechy beat Infinity Contractors 16-15 before Future 1’s from Texas sent them home 5-4. Sal-8 then knocked off P&P 333 who was making a little run 12-8 before losing to LOB 10-0 to end the evenings festivities. So on Thursday it would be the two Florida teams LOB and Good Boyz battling it out to face Proaxion from Canada to see who would be in the championship against Frickers.
Benches cleared at the end of the Beloli Good Boyz game but no punches.
Winner’s Final Recap
Proaxion catcher Shawn Proulx unloads in the winner’s final vs Van Wert Frickers.
The winner’s final began on White Rawlings right after the conclusion of the semifinals on Wednesday night. Proaxion grabbed an early lead on a Brandon Newton grand slam homer. Brandon was the lead off hitter and I believe the only American on the team as Brandon played Conference with Bay Area Legends, Tradesmen, and Str8play in the past. Proaxion increased their lead in the 4th to 14-6. In the top of the 5th Frickers opened up scoring 13 runs on 6 homer’s to grab a 19-14 lead but Proaxion tied it at 19-19 in the bottom of the 5th scoring 5 on 2 homer’s. The offensive back and forth continued as Fricker’s went up 24-19 going into the bottom of the 6th and Proaxion answered with 4 and trailed 24-23 going to the 7th inning. In the top of the 7th Van Wert Fricker’s backup pitcher Neil Smith hit one of the longest home runs of the tournament into the girls fastpitch stadium in right center field and Van Wert never looked back winning 30-24!
Van Wert Frickers Neil Smith unleashes a BOMB in the winner’s final vs Proaxion.
On Thursday morning in beautiful weather the battle of Florida 4th place game began as both teams LOB and Good Boyz pictured above were from Florida and had a mix of veteran players and young up and comers that all knew each other well. Good Boyz tried to come back mid game when their pitcher Pat Donohue made a great play on a middle shot with the bases loaded but LOB ended up winning a fun game 21-17. The loser’s bracket finals then pitted LOB vs the Canadian team Proaxion. LOB scored an impressive 10 runs on just 1 home run in the top of the 1st but Proaxion answered with a 2 out rally scoring 7 runs in the bottom half of the inning, getting 6 of those with 2 outs no one on base! In the bottom of the 2nd Proaxion grabbed a 12-11 lead on a couple of multi run homer’s. In the top of the 3rd LOB’s giant 1st baseman Kevin Wilson homered to put them up 13-12 but LOB grounded into their 2nd double play of the game in the top of the 4th and going into the 6th inning the game was fairly even with LOB scoring 16 on 5 HR and Proaxion scoring 15 on 3 HR. In the bottom of the 5th Proaxion’s consistent offensive leader, catcher Shawn Proulx homered for the lead. LOB’s Marquis Curry answered in the top of the 6th with a 2 run homer to take the lead back and then a spectacular play by Proaxion shortstop Jonathan Malo ended the inning. In the bottom of the 6th Proaxion got clutch 2 out back to back extra base hits to tie the game at 24-24, LOB went down in order 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th, and Proaxion won on a walk off homer by Lee Bellefontaine 25-24!
LOB’s Nick Manganaro hits against Proaxion in the loser’s final Thursday morning.
Lee Bellefontaine walks off LOB to advance Proaxion to the Championship!
Michael Swiatek hits against Proaxion in the Championship.
The championship was a rematch of the winner’s final from the night before between Van Wert Frickers from Ohio and Proaxion from Canada. Van Wert grabbed a 4-1 in the bottom of the 1st inning when left fielder Drew Kortokrax hit a 3 run inside the park home run. In the bottom of the 2nd Van Wert playing through a small rain shower added to their lead hitting 3 triples and 2 home runs to go up 9-2. Proaxion came to life in the top of the 3rd scoring 6 on 3 home runs to pull to within 1 run 8-9 and then in the top of the 4th grabbed a 13-12 lead on a 2 run homer by Kyle Knechtel, and increased their lead to 16-12 on a 3 run homer by the pitcher David Goulet. In the top of the 5th Proaxion scored 2 more runs on 2 triples to go up 18-15 and with two outs in the bottom of the 5th and no one on base they walked the bases loaded but got out of it without Van Wert scoring to maintain the 3 run lead. In the top of the 6th Josue Peley hit Proaxion’s last home run (8th) and they went on to hold off Van Wert Frickers and force the “if” necessary game 22-17.
Catch on the fence.
In the “if” game Van Wert Frickers was the visiting team and grabbed a lead on a Drew Kortokrax 2 run backside homer. In the bottom of the 1st Proaxion’s Lee Bellefontaine hit an RBI double to tie the game at 3-3. Both teams put up a zero in the 2nd inning as each teams corner outfielders made spectacular defensive plays. In the top of the 3rd Van Wert’s Quentin Walker hit a big homer and Kyle King hit an RBI double to go up 7-3 as they led Proaxion in home runs 2-0. In the bottom of the 3rd Proaxion’s Lee Bellefontaine struck again with a 3 run homer to pull to within one run 6-7. In the top of the 4th and 5th Van Wert got another homer from Kortokrax to go up 10-6 and hit a number of doubles and triples as they did all tournament to take a 12-6 lead into the bottom of the 5th. The two teams scored on home runs the rest of the way with Shawn Proulx hitting a 2 run backside homer in the bottom of the 5th for Proaxion, Michael Swiatek hitting a big 3 run homer for Van Wert in the top of the 6th, and Van Wert lead off hitter Greg Popatak finishing strong with a “no doubter” homer in the top of the 7th and Van Wert went on to win 18-13 becoming the 2023 USSSA ‘B’ World champions!
Diver by John Martin
Long Bomber of the ‘B’ World!
Proaxion’s Lee Bellefontaine who is new to the upper level and Frickers Neil Smith are the long bomber’s of the week as they hit balls that landed in the middle of the girl’s fastpitch field in left center, pretty much in the same spot during the winner’s final!
‘B’ World Results and Awards
‘B’ World MVP – Van Wert Frickers Dallas Allen
‘B’ World Defensive MVP – Van Wert Frickers Trevan Moton
‘B’ World Offensive MVP – Proaxion’s Shawn Prioux
‘B’ World All Tournament Manager – Van Wert Frickers John Schreves
Team by Team Notes
1st Place – Van Wert Frickers
Conf ‘B’ from Ohio – Record 5-1
Fricker’s was the #1 seed and interestingly enough had their best moments prior to the ‘B’ Worlds in games against the Roofx ‘AA’ team. As the ‘B’ Worlds progressed it was evident that this team was deeper roster wise than most including me thought and that depth was used in all of their big wins. Timely pitching, home runs, and extra base hits were used to beat Proaxion in what amounted to a best of 3 games at the end of this tournament. Congratulations to the sponsorship group and players. You are World Champions!
2nd Place – Proaxion
‘B’ from Quebec, Canada – Record 6-2
Proaxion entertained us for 5 days at the ‘B’ and ‘A’ Worlds with an almost “old school” type softball roster with a veteran pitcher and veteran players sprinkled throughout the lineup as well as some young up and coming talent that burst onto the scene at the right time. Franck Henry a long time Conference player and rep for Louisville Slugger helped put this team together with a great sponsor from the French Quebec area.
Veterans, defensive specialists, and some good power sprinkled throughout the Proaxion lineup.
Kyle Knechtel used to play for Team Canada.
3rd Place – LOB
‘B’ from Florida – Record 5-2
LOB is one of those scrappy and talented Florida ‘B’ teams that along with Good Boyz almost made it an all Florida winner’s final. They had some vets like Nick Manganaro and Chris Waterman.
4th Place – Good Boyz
‘B’ from Florida – Record 4-2
Good Boyz had some veterans like Pat Donahue pitching and the professional hitter Devin Anderson to go with a plethora of young Florida talent.
Tied 5th – Beloli/KL&R/Thunder Chosen/RF
‘B’ from Mass – Record 3-2
Apparently the Beloli pitcher Daniel Evans didn’t make it for the ‘B’ but he did make it for the ‘A’ where this team beat 5 Conference ‘A’ teams…
Faces in the Crowd / More Pictures
The Dudley Pro-M Hardcore ball was a lot of ball for ‘B’ Worlds.
LOB pitcher sells out and beats the runner to the bag!
Joel Gonzalez the Bay Area Legends player/sponsor umpired the ‘B’ Worlds along with Brandon Traylor.
Rainbows in Viera.