BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, TX – Texas softball history was made April 29 through May 1, when a whopping 315 teams converged on Bryan-College Station for the 26th Annual Budweiser Softball Festival, making it the state’s largest adult tournament ever held.
“When this tournament began with 24 teams back in 1986, I never dreamed it would eventually turn into this,” said event organizer Greg Huchingson. “Slowpitch softball is alive and well in Texas, and Bryan-College Station just happens to be located in the center of the state so it is easy for everybody to get here. The avid players of Texas, along with great sponsors like Jack Hilliard Distributing and Worth Sports, are responsible for making this happen.”
Last year, the Budweiser Softball Festival was named 2010 USSSA Midwest Division Tournament of the Year, when it attracted 301 teams.
Festivities began Friday night, with the popular Home Run Derby held at the Bryan Regional Athletic Complex, and the Men’s 35 & Over Division held at Veterans Park in College Station. The rest of the divisions began at 8 a.m. Saturday on 17 fields at five different complexes and continued non-stop around-the-clock for 40 consecutive hours until after midnight Sunday night.
“This tournament is a marathon and it takes discipline to navigate through the bracket,” said Huchingson. “People come here to have a good time, and many consider it a big party. But it’s no fun to lose on Saturday then have to stay up all night playing ball, and have to keep going again on Sunday. Staying undefeated as long as possible is defi¬nitely a more preferable way to go.”
The event began with Lt. Pedro Tagle, Jr. of the U.S. Army presenting an award and American flag to Huchingson and Lone Star Softball for helping troops start a softball league in Kandahar, Afghanistan last year by donating equipment. The equipment was collected at the annual Support Our Troops Shootout in Mansfield, Texas as well as other donors.
“It was an honor to be able to contribute toward making a softball league for our military personnel in Afghanistan happen,” said Huchingson. “Those folks put their lives on the line every day for our freedom, and if they just want to be able to enjoy this great sport that we all love in their spare time, it’s the least we could do. The Texas softball community really stepped up to make this happen.”
Following the presentation, a record 128 participants hit in the popular Budfest Home Run Derby. With over $2,000 in prize money at stake, 32 hitters per field competed in a head-to-head, bracketed format on each of the four fields at BRAC. Then the winner from each field advanced to the Final Four Hit-Off. The winners from each of the fields were Joseph Reed, Jr. on Big Bend, Austin Peacock on Yellowstone, Derek Norris on Glacier, and Argen Dodds on Grand Canyon. The eventual grand champion and winner of the $1,000 first prize was Dodds. The other three finalists also received cash prizes.
At the same time the Home Run Derby was being held, the inaugural Budfest Men’s 35& Over bracket was held at Veterans Park. This was the first time 35 & Over was offered at the Budweiser Festival, and the division was played to completion Friday night so that players could compete on their regular teams on Saturday, although there were some tired old-timers on Saturday as the division didn’t end until after 2 a.m. All-Out from Houston went 4-1 to win first place, but not without a scare. All-Out won their first game over Spurs/ ASPNation.com (17-9) then went on to defeat Ol’ Tribe (17-12) and DYD Crew (19-11) to advance to the championship game. After losing to All-Out, Spurs/ ASPNation.com went to the loser’s bracket and defeated Dirty Old Men (24-9), Wasted Talent (19-6) and DYD Crew (20-14) to get another shot against All-Out in the finals. Spurs/ASPNation.com came out smoking in the first games and posted a 29-7 win to force the “if” game. But All-Out rallied in the rubber match for a narrow 15-14 win to claim the champi¬onship in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Many of the same players who battled for the 35 & Over crown would meet again in the 32-team Men’s B/C “Upper” bracket played at Veterans Park in College Station. After Zamora’s All-Out/TPS won their first two games over Texas Ice/RIP Sports (20-0) and Strictly Performance (14-13), and Sagnasty/ ASPNation.com/Miken won their first two games over Houston Express (22-8) and Elite Screen Print (17-16), they met again in the quarter-finals of the winner’s bracket. Zamora’s All-Out/ TPS advanced with a 6-2 over Sagnasty, then defeated Olimto Heat/Rios/CR Bar (23-14) to advance to the winner’s bracket final, where they lost to Cash Money (33-16). Meanwhile, Sagnasty/ASPNation.com/Miken dropped to the loser’s bracket and posted consecutive wins over the BTX Outsiders (18-14), Fidelity Medical (26-14), Austin Speed (16-1) and Budweiser (27-13) to advance to the finals of the loser’s bracket against their new nemesis Zamora’s All-Out/TPS.
The battle would be important, because undefeated Cash Money inexplicably made the decision to drop out of the tournament and begin their seven-hour drive back to the Rio Grande Valley rather than play the championship game at 10 p.m. That made the loser’s bracket finals essentially a one-game battle for the championship. Sagnasty/ASPNation.com/ Miken, from Saginaw, defeated Zamora’s All-Out/TPS (34-10), then was awarded two forfeit wins over Cash Money to claim first place with a 9-1 record. Cash Money, from Harlingen, settled for second place with a 5-2 record, and Zamora’s All-Out/TPS, from Rosenburg, came in third at 4-2. Hometown favorite Budweiser, from Bryan, took home fourth place at 5-2. Austin Speed and Olmito Heat/Rios/CR Bar, from Olmito, tied for fifth place; Fidelity Medical from League City and Old School from Spring tied for seventh; and Strictly Performance/ TPS from Ft. Worth, Apaches from Crystal City, BTX Outsiders from Beaumont, and Clutch/SaveSecond.com from Euless tied for ninth.
Zane Trammell of Sagnasty was named Most Valuable Player of the division, and Rocky Galindo of Cash Money was the Gold Glove winner. Players named to the All-Tournament team were Brad Sisk, Lyf Nimmo, Corey Large and Matt Vern, of Sagnasty; Josh Murphree, Encarnacion Guajardo and Daniel Luke Evans, of Cash Money; Abelardo Lerma and Donte LaPoint, of Zamora’s All-Out; and Ricky Tubbs and Jeff Januse, of Budweiser.
In the Men’s D Division, there were 80 teams in the bracket – including most of the state-ranked teams from the Lone Star Softball State Rankings – and it was played predominantly at the Bryan Regional Athletic Complex. The Woodpeckers from Galveston went undefeated at 7-0 to capture the crown. The Woodpeckers defeated the Fighting Cocks (18-2), Misfits (19-3), Wildbunch (15-10), Freaks (18-6), DFL Construction (22-14) and Dream Street (15-4) to advance to the championship game, where they defeated DFL Construction again (19-13). The Woodpeckers scored 126 runs in their seven games (18.0 per game) while giving up just 52 total runs (7.42 per game) for an average margin of victory of 10.5 runs per game.
DFL Construction from West Monroe, LA came in second place at 7-2, while Dream Street from Nederland finished third at 5-2, and Urban Assault from Austin came in fourth also at 5-2. Twisted/Specialty Metal Products from Magnolia went 8-2 to tie for fifth place with Dem Doods from Killeen who went 6-2. CTM Softball from Laredo and Lethal Assault from Keller tied for seventh; while the Hurricanes from Corpus Christi, Hustlers from San Antonio, Triumph from Houston, and Freaks from Leander all tied for ninth.
Cory Simpson of the Woodpeckers was named MVP of the D Division, and Drew Pendarvis of DFL Construction was the Gold Glove winner. Others named to the All-Tournament team were Andrew Whittington, Robert Orozco, Andrew Kidd and Donald Kemmerling, of the Woodpeckers; Lee Wallace, Chris Shaw and Mike Cervantes, of DFL Construction; Phillip Jones, Jarrod Hughes and Ruston Kennedy, of Dream Street; and James Hamilton and Ryan Frank, of Urban Assault.
Men’s E was the largest division of the tournament, with 118 teams in the bracket. The majority of the games were played at Central Park in College Station, which has 275-foot fences, so it takes a team with bat control to be able to keep the ball in the park. Bad Decisions of San Antonio had that skill and went undefeated through seven games to take the title. Bad Decisions defeated Trendsetters (26-14), Dynast (15-14), Hometown Heroes (26-0), Scrappers (12-9), TX RIP (20-11) and 3 Lefts Softball (20-14) to advance to the championship game, where they beat TX RIP again (18-16) to claim the crown. Bad Decisions averaged 19.5 runs per game in the tournament, and won their seven games by an average margin of 8.42 runs. TX RIP from Humble was runnerup with a 7-2 record, while 3 Lefts Softball from Austin came in third at 6-2, and the Scrappers from College Station came in fourth at 7-2. Super Freaks from San Antonio and Young Guns from Ingleside tied for fifth place; DC Outlaws from Houston and Ditry Sox from Conroe tied for seventh; and Hardfeathers from Houston, Cold-Blooded from Lake Jackson, Texas Crew/T.S.G.H. from Mansfield, and Wharton’s Worst Nightmares from Wharton all tied for ninth.
Ben Rizzo of Bad Decisions was named MVP of the E divi¬sion, and teammate Brian Gilroy was the Gold Glove winner. Other players named to the All-Tournament team were Rocky Villarreal, Dave Morales, Dave Ramirez, and Jerrod Steinbach of Bad Decisions; John Gowen, Jose Vazquez and Daniel Stumpf, of TX RIP; Brian Simms, Joe Levias and Mike Turnipseed, of 3 Lefts Softball; and Jaime Sepulveda and Matt Ash, of the Scrappers.
The two women’s divisions were played at Bee Creek Park in College Station. The Women’s C Division was played on the 275-foot field, and there were still plenty of home runs cranked out of the park. The Lady Canes II from Cedar Hill went undefeated through five games to win first place. The Lady Canes II knocked off the Ball Busters (18-10), Lady Top Dog (13-8), Unknowns (13-5) in a game with a controversial ending, and Lady Terror Squad (19-3) to advance to the cham-pionship game, where they beat Lady Top Dog again (13-6) to capture the crown. After the game against the Unknowns, during the handshake line, one of the Lady Canes was punched by one of the Unknowns and a brawl ensued. After order was restored, the principles involved were ejected from the tournament and play resumed. Lady Top Dog from Beaumont made a nice run in the loser’s bracket to take home the second place trophy. After losing to the Lady Canes in their second game, Lady Top Dog defeated RBI (7-4), Connection (21-10), Team Dallas Women (10-5), Lookouts/Mizuno (14-12) and Lady Terror Squad (13-6) before losing in the championship game and finishing with a 6-2 record. Lady Terror Squad from Bryan took third place at 4-2, while Lookout/Mizuno from Deer Park finished fourth at 4-2. Team Dallas Women and Unknowns from San Antonio tied for fifth place; Ball Busters and Connection, both from San Antonio, tied for seventh; and Texas Collision from Houston, Quiet Storm from Killeen, Houston Blaze, and RBI from Houston all tied for ninth.
Sandy Sanchez of Lady Canes II was named Most Valuable Player of the Women’s C Division, and Rosie Anderson of Lady Top Dog was the Gold Glove winner. The rest of the All-Tournament team consisted of Tasanee Wood, Nikki Jones, Anntron Barrett and Demtria Keys-Johnson, of Lady Canes II; Voncia Ducre, April Garcia, and Deandre Walton, of Lady Top Dog; Jacque Thornton, Sara Gatlin and Kaitlin Coleman, of Lady Terror Squad; Mya McRae and Gina Perez of Lookouts/Mizuno; and Venus Dukes, of Team Dallas Women.
The Women’s D Division was played on the 250-foot field and teams were allowed no home runs, so it was more difficult on them. Fully Loaded from Dallas went undefeated through five games to win first place. Fully Loaded defeated the San Antonio Aces (10-0), HD Softball (7-3), PS (10-3) and Killer B’s (13-8) to advance to the champion¬ship game, where they beat J.F.F. (5-4) to win it all. J.F.F. from Spring finished second with a 5-2 record, Killer B’s from Baytown came it third at 3-2, and PS from Galveston finished fourth also at 3-2. HD Softball from Ft. Worth and Lady Warhawks from San Antonio tied for fifth; Bad Apples from Corpus Christi and Knockouts from Austin tied for seventh; and Corrupt from Houston, WYW from San Antonio; ETX Mood Swingers from Longview, and San Antonio Aces tied for ninth.
Barabra Zernick of Full Loaded was named MVP of the Women’s D Division, and Pondray Mathis of J.F.F. was the Gold Glove winner. Other players named to the All-Tournament team were Sarah Hickey, Skylar Barnett and Jana Milton, of Fully Loaded; Edith Langford, Lauren Newcomb, and Sommer Salamanca, of J.F.F.; Nanci Gregory, Lauren Davis and Sam McCord, of Killer B’s; and Jessica Lopez and Celeste Ibanez, of PS.
The Mixed C/D Division was played at Haswell Park in Bryan, and Smack That from Euless went 6-1 to capture first place. Smack That defeated You Tell Me (14-0), Angels & Demons (13-7), Absolut/ KOK (19-8), Team C-No-Evil (10-6) and Does It Matter/Whut It Dew (15-5) to advance to the championship game. Does It Matter/Whut It Dew emerged from the loser’s bracket, and then even beat Smack That (16-14) to set up a winner-take-all “if” game. Smack That bounced back for a narrow 24-23 win and the championship. Does It Matter/ Whut It Dew from San Antonio settled for second place with a 6-2 record. Half- Cocked from Nacogdoches came in third with a 7-2 record, and Stop Looking from Longview came in fourth at 5-2. Team C-No-Evil from San Marcos and Texas T’s/ASPNation tied for fifth place; ASC/Buffalo Wild Wings from Euless and Wicked Moose Knuckles from Temple tied for seventh; and Team Wades from Austin, Squeeze Play from San Antonio, The Show from Belton, and Absolut/ KOK from Mesquite all tied for ninth.
Allison Kennewell of Smack That was named MVP of the Mixed Division. Other members of the All-Tournament team were Julia Hernandez, Krystal Garnica and Joseph Urrutia, of Smack That; Garvin Mikesh, Deborah Marinez, and Randell Mikesh, of Does It Matter/ Whut It Dew; and Ricky Brown and Troy Netardus, of Half-Cocked.
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