27th Annual Budweiser Festival reigns as ‘King of Softball’ in Texas

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, TX – In an advertising campaign, Budweiser is known around the world as the “Undisputed King of Beer.” In Texas, the Budweiser Softball Festival reigns supreme as the “King of Softball Tournaments.”

A tournament that began in 1986 with just 24 teams, has grown to become the biggest USSSA adult slow-pitch tour¬nament in the nation with over 300 teams. The 27th Annual Budfest took a slight step back in numbers this year, as one of the five complexes used was closed for remodeling. But the 280 teams did play this year just started earlier and played over 50 consecutive hours on 13 fields at four complexes, starting at 6 p.m. Friday and not finishing until after midnight Sunday night.

“This is one of the most amazing events I have ever been to,” said USSSA Vice-President Kevin Naegele. “The passion these people have for softball down here in South Texas is just incredible.”

The Budweiser Softball Festival was been recognized as the 2010 USSSA Tournament of the Year by the Midwest Division, and has been featured numerous times on Fox Sports Net through the “Softball 360” program.

Festivities began Friday night with the popular $1,000 Home Run Derby. The format is a 64-person head-to-head bracket, with winners advancing from round-to-round until there are just two hitters remaining. Kris Miller won the Big Bend bracket, while Brian Bohanon won the Yellowstone bracket. Then Miller topped Bohanon, 4-3, in the battle for the big prize.

During the Home Run Derby, samples of the new Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas were provided to appreciative fans by Alan Bingham of Jack Hilliard Distributing, and were served by the lovely Bud Girls, while music from DJ Budman blared in the background.

The highest division was Men’s C, played at Veterans Park in College Station, where Steel/AYS/Glove It Sports from Corpus Christi went undefeated through five games to win first place in the 20-team bracket. Steel defeated Straight Shot (10-8), Austin Speed (13-12), Call Your Shot (14-3) and RoverPlusNine/ Texas Raiders (19-7) to advance to the championship game, where they were awarded the crown when Disturbed Softball could not field a team.

Disturbed, from Baytown, came into the tournament as the number one seed, but was upset in the first round by home¬town favorite Budweiser/Frank’s/Gooseneck of Bryan (8-3).

That sent Disturbed to the loser’s bracket where they reeled off consecutive wins over H-Town (7-0), DnDApparrel.com (20-3), Austin Speed (11-6), Old School (10-9), Bud Crew/Dream Street (8-7), Call Your Shot (17-2) and RP9/Texas Raiders (13-7) to reach the championship game. But a combination of inju¬ries and fatigue left Distubed unable to answer the bell for the title bout, which gave Steel/AYS/Glove It Sports the title. Disturbed settled for second place at 6-2.

Third place went to RoverPlusNine/Texas Raiders from Houston at 3-2, while fourth went to Call Your Shot from Round Rock also at 3-2, and fifth place was a tie between Bud Crew/Dream Street from Beaumont and Odyssey from Tomball, both at 3-2. The rest of the Top 10 consisted of the Freaks from Austin and Old School from Spring tied for seventh; and Budweiser/ Frank’s/Gooseneck from Bryan, Dem Brothers from Houston, Austin Speed from Austin, and Texas Bombers from Houston, all tied for ninth.

Pitcher Hank Martinez of Steel/AYS/Glove It Sports was named Most Valuable Player of the division, while Joey Goldstein of Disturbed was the Gold Glove winner. Players named to the All-Tournament team were Roland Salazar, Floyd Mendoza, Georgie Guevara and Richard “Flaco” Salazar, Jr., of Stee/AYS/ Glove It Sports; Manny Galvan, Javy Sauceda and Ben Dunn, of Disturbed; Kip Todhunter, Robert Harper and Tim Bolds, of RP9/Texas Raiders; and Damien Hemboldt and Barry Plessala, of Call Your Shot.

The Men’s D bracket featured 74 teams and was played entirely at the Bryan Regional Athletic Complex in Bryan. LA Classic/ Buzzini from Haughton, LA made the long trip from northern Louisiana and went 7-0 to win the biggest tournament of the year in Texas. LA Classic/Buzini defeated Aerial Assault (18-6), Lone Star Crooks (24-6), AMPM/Glove It (11-8), Dirty Habits (16-15), Weekend Warriors (16-15) and Realside Softball (23-3) to advance to the championship game, where they knocked off Wharton’s Worst Nightmares (20-10) to claim the crown.

Wharton’s Worst Nightmares from Wharton is a team to be commended. After coming from nowhere to qualify for the 2011 Men’s E “Battle for the Rings” then shocking the state by actually winning the rings, they were bumped from E to D. Rather than take the cowardly route and break up instead of trying the next level, WWN accepted the bump and met the challenge head on and are doing well in D this year. WWN won their first game at Budfest over The Hustlers (13-9) before being sent to the loser’s bracket by Realside (11-8). WWN then went to work and won nine consecutive games over Texas Pride (16-9), H&H (16-4), JV Trucking (15-0), MTS Softball (17-7), Chop-A-Holics (12-11), AMPM/Glove It (10-6), Weekend Warriors (15-10), DC/Y&R (16-6) and Realside in a re-match (23-6) to advance all the way to the championship game, before settling for second place with a 10-2 record.

Realside Softball from Dallas came in third at 5-2; DC/Y&R finished fourth at 5-2; and Dirty Habits from Weslaco (5-2) and Weekend Warriors from Dallas (4-2) tied for fifth place. The rest of the Top 10 included the Hurricanes from Corpus Christi (4-2) and AMPM/Glove It Sports from Houston (5-2) tied for seventh place; and Injured Reserve from San Antonio (4-2), Brewskies/Worth from Katy (4-2), Bass Tools from Shreveport, LA (3-2) and Chop-A-Holics from San Antonio (3-2) all tied for ninth.

Jay Arthur from LA Classic/Buzini was named Most Valuable Player of the division, and Brandon Cervenka of Wharton’s Worst Nightmares was the Gold Glove winner. Players named to the All-Tournament team were Jason Carter, Lee Wallace, Dustin Hemperley and Kyle Bullock, from LA Classic/Buzini; Damon Scoggin, Seth Thompson and Jordan Calhoun, of WWN; Joe John Hernandez, Anthony Carmona and Jim Gonzalez, of Realside; and Angel Juarez and Larry Juarez, of DC/Y&R.

The biggest bracket of the tournament was the mammoth 124-team Men’s E division, which was played at three complexes – Bryan Regional Athletic Complex, Haswell/Lions Park and Veterans Park, where it finished after midnight Sunday night. In a bracket this size, it is imperative to remain undefeated as long as possible to avoid playing multiple games in the overnight hours, then having to continue during the following day.

The Goons from Houston followed that blueprint by winning their first seven games over Smoke (8-4), Did That (18-5), WSP (13-1), Phenoms (11-9), DTA (7-5), Tapout (9-1) and Mayhem (6-4) to reach the championship game undefeated. After losing to the Goons, Mayhem dropped to the loser’s bracket and beat hometown favorite Batteries Plus (17-7) to get another shot at the Goons. Mayhem actually blanked the Goons 16-0 in the first championship game to force an “if necessary” game, which the Goons won (7-4).

The Goons won first place with an 8-1 record, despite scoring just 8.77 runs per game. In the era of hot composite bats and good-performing balls, not many teams win first place in any tournament by averaging less than 10 runs per game. The Goons’ average margin of victory was 3.33. Mayhem from Houston finished second with an 8-2 record, while Batteries Plus from College Station came in third at 7-2, and Tapout from Baytown was fourth at 6-2. The rest of the Top 10 consisted of the Devilz Rejcts from Rosenburg and GT Crew/CSC of Seguin tied for fifth place, both at 8-2; Back Alley Strokers from Spring and Dangerous Toys from San Antonio tied for seventh, both at 5-2; and Outta Control from San Antionio (6-2), Phenoms from San Antonio (5-2), Ain’t No Easy from Austin (4-2) and DTA from Houston (4-2) all tied for ninth.

Scott Vidrine of the Goons was named Most Valuable Player of the division, and Cory Moszkowicz of Mayhem was the Gold Glove winner. Other members of the All-Tournament team were Jared Dotson, Rene Salinas, Jr., Cody Robinson and Jason Beard, of the Goons; Josh Tittle, Brian Russell and Anthony Eisfeldt, of Mayhem; Taylor McGrew, James Kilpatrick and Jaime Sepulveda, of Batteries Plus; and Hector Franco and Albert Trevino, Jr., of Tapout.

The two Women’s divisions were played at Bee Creek Park in College Station. There were 21 teams in the Women’s B/C bracket and the lone B team won first place. The Derby Girls/ Combat, who made the long trip from Seattle, Washington, went 5-0 to win the crown. The team, which placed fourth at the 2011 USSSA Women’s B World Tournament, defeated Bad Apples Women (14-1), Unknowns (12-2), Bluebonnet cham¬pion Rub and Tug BBQ (11-10) and Lady Ego (19-6) to advance to the championship game, where they beat Rub and Tug BBQ in a re-match (13-3) to win the title.

Rub and Tug BBQ from Austin went 5-2 to finish second; Lady Ego from Houston went 3-2 to take third, and Lady Brokers from Houston went 5-2 to come in fourth. Lady Terror Squad from Bryan (3-2) and Lady Canes II from Ft. Worth (2-2) tied for fifth place; and Cajun Chaos from Haughton, LA (3-2) and Unknowns from San Antonio (2-2) tied for seventh. Texas Heat Legends from Austin, Lady Warhawks from San Antonio, Straight Shot/Mizuno from Spring and J.F.F. from Spring all tied for ninth.

Power-hitting Christan Dowling of Derby Girls was named Most Valuable Player of the division, and Sarah Jahan of Rub and Tug BBQ was the Gold Glove winner. Other members of the All-Tournament team were Darcy Johnson, Rochelle Carpenter and Stephanie Watt, of Derby Girls; Karie Parker, Sherri Haley and Lisa Spates, of Rub and Tug BBQ; Arizabeth Rubalcaba and Christine Howell, of Lady Ego; and Yvonne Garcia and Nicole Fiola, of Lady Brokers.

Eighteen teams entered the Women’s D/E bracket, and the Famous Freaks from Sanger in North Texas went 5-0 to win first place. Famous Freaks defeated Get Real (9-8), You Got Served (18-3), Hit It & Quit It (14-5) and B&T Express (19-6) to advance to the championship game. After losing to Famous Freaks, B&T Express dropped to the loser’s bracket and beat Goonie Proof (14-11) to get another shot against Famous Freaks in the cham¬pionship game. B&T Express put up a good fight, but Famous Freaks held on for an 8-7 win and the championship.

B&T Express, from Houston, settled for second place at 4-2. Goonie Proof, from Waco, came in third at 6-2, followed by Lady Bluejays from San Antonio in fourth at 4-2, and Lady Hard Shots from Houston and Hit It & Quit It from Houston tied for fifth, both at 2-2. The rest of the Top 10 consisted of NRL Texas Softball from Spring and Brew Crew from Kingsville, tied for seventh; and Get Real from Austin, Softball Gypsy’s from Magnolia, You Got Served from Houston and Diamond Divas from Killeen, all tied for ninth.

Jocelyn Roberts of Famous Freaks was named Most Valuable Player of the division, and Sheridan Mitchell of B&T Express was the Gold Glove winner. Other players named to the All-Tournament team were Britney Willis, Lacey Cage, Kim Fisher and Jessica Martin, of Famous Freaks; Alisa Flores, Adrienne Carr-Harper and Andrea Gonzalez, of B&T Express; Tammy Martinez, Destiny Mordecai and Jordan Vanatta, of Goonie Proof; and Melissa Mendiola and Michelle Erekson, of Lady Bluejays.
Two divisions were played to completion Friday night, and into the early morning hours on Saturday, so that their players could participate on their regular teams on Saturday and Sunday.

The Mixed C/D division featured 24 teams and the Sluggers from Friendswood went 5-0 to win first place. The Sluggers defeated Craftmasters/Half Nuts (16-7), DGKoed (15-14), Half-Cocked (17-15) and Ball So Hard/Mizuno to advance to the championship game, where they beat Ball So Hard/ Mizuno again to claim the crown. Ball So Hard/Mizuno from Sugar Land finished second at 4-2; Co-ed Connection from San Antonio came in third at 6-2; and DGKoed from Houston finished fourth at 4-2. The rest of the Top 10 consisted of Half- Cocked from Nacogdoches and Bucwild from San Antonio tied for fifth; Cen-Tex Outlaws from Harker Heights and High Octane from Carrollton tied for seventh; and Craftmasters/Half Nuts from Brenham, Google Us from Henderson, We Got This from Austin, and Texas Sports Reach from Huntsville, all tied for ninth.

Conway Waddy of the Sluggers was named Most Valuable Player of the division, and Ryan Popkin of Ball So Hard/Mizuno was the Gold Glove winner. Other members of the All-Tournament team were Jason Guillory, Mark Cridland, Cheryl Wyrick and Tracy Bougere, of the Sluggers; Jordan Martin, Joey Massey and Keri Popkin, of Ball So Hard/Mizuno; Jaclyn Vargas, Greg Perez and Greg Jones, of Co-ed Connection; and Christine Howell and Jose Molina, Jr. of DGKoed.

The final division was Men’s 35 & Over, which only had six teams. KD Logo from San Antonio went 3-0 to win first place. KD Logo defeated Odyssey (19-12) and Rocky’s (19-18) to advance to the championship, where they defeated Cen-Tex Elite, from Killeen, who finished second. Rocky’s from College Station came in third, while Guess Who from Magnolia took fourth, and Odyssey from Tomball placed fifth.

Jorge Soto of KD Logo was the Most Valuable Player of the division, and Rich Romero of Cen-Tex Elite was the Gold Glove winner. Other players named to the All-Tournament team were Tony Flores, Jessie Velasquez, Joseph Farias and Steven Barrientos, of KD Logo; Mike Zamora, George Guevara and Pete Tagle, of Cen-Tex Elite; Todd Weigand, Jeff McCoy and Chris Cahal, of Rocky’s; and Randy Stinson and Joey Ficaro, of Guess Who.

A lot of coordination goes into putting on an event of this size. The Tournament Director at Veterans Park was Roy “M.F.” Dean, while the UIC was Ben Templeton and the Assistant Director was Brian Ragan. The Tournament Director at the Bryan Regional Athletic Complex was Scott Duffy, while the UIC was Phillip Wheeler and the Assistant Director was Quentin Shutt. The Tournament Director and UIC at Bee Creek Park was Bennie Scott, and the Tournament Director and UIC at Haswell/ Lions Park was Rene Hinojosa.

The Parks & Recreation Departments from the Cities of Bryan and College Station had the fields in excellent playing condi¬tion and maintained them for the duration of the tournament, and the gigantic crew of quality USSSA umpires from across Texas pitched in to help make the event a huge success.

by Van Galeon

About USSSA:
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!


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