MANSFIELD, TEXAS – “Everything is bigger in Texas,” is what they say. But it was one of the gentle giants of Conference USSSA from North Carolina that made a Texas-sized impression at his namesake tournament on April 24-25 at Big League Dreams in Mansfield, TX.
North Texas players and fans had the opportunity to meet one of the premier sluggers in the game, when B.J. Fulk came to Texas for the WORTH B.J. Fulk Shootout. The tournament is part of the WORTH Lone Star Shootout State Championship Series.
Fulk met with players and discussed his rise through the different levels of soft¬ball, and answered questions from the crowd. He also put on a hitting clinic and hung around the ballpark to visit with players individually throughout the tournament.
Fulk, age 33, is from Greensboro, North Carolina. Last year, he was one of the top hitters in Conference USSSA when he helped Resmondo/WORTH win first place in both the Conference Championships and USSSA Major World Series. Fulk was named to the All-World Tournament Team at the Major World Series.
The B.J. Fulk Shootout games got started late, thanks to Friday night thunderstorms which could have easily been caused by one of Fulk’s towering home runs. But when it did get started, the action at the fabulous eight-field complex was fast and furious.
In the 27-team Men’s D Division, the largest bracket of the tournament, Entourage from nearby Waxahachie went undefeated through six games to capture first place. Entourage defeated the Louisiana By-Yous (18-7), Absolut Softball from Oklahahoma City (16-8), Turmoil Softball also from Oklahoma (8-7), and Maui Built/Sagnasty (11-7) to reach the championship game.
After winning their first game, Bass Tools from Shreveport, La. lost their second game to Back 2 Basics from Amarillo (15-12). But Bass Tools dropped to the loser’s bracket and won seven straight games to make it all the way back to the championship game, where they ran out of gas and lost a squeaker to Entourage (12-11) to settle for second place with an 8-1 record. Maui Built/ Sagnasty from Saginaw came in third at 3-2, followed by E.C.R./Natty D’s from Ft. Worth in fourth at 5-2, and Turmoil Softball and A3 Construction/Famoso tied for fifth.
Jesse Martinez of Entourage was named Most Valuable Player of the division, while Will Neeles of Bass Tools was the Gold Glove winner. Other players named to the All-Tournament team were Caleb Escabedo, Brandon McCawley, Chris Perkins and Chris Cruz, of Entourage; Brady Bascle, Doug Finley and Dustin Hemperley, of Bass Tools; Todd Hawpe, Brad Sisk amd Ryan Tomasi, of Mauli Built/Sagnasty; and Luis Mora and Shane Mack, of E.C.R./Natty D’s.
In the 18-team Men’s E Division, Sanchos from Dallas pulled off a two-scooping of Players Union from Waxahachie on Sunday afternoon to win the title. Players Union had posted wins over Sentenced 2 Life (26-4), El Norte/ATW Bail Bonds (13-10), Balco Inc. (17-6) and Sanchos (9-8) to reach the championship game undefeated. Sanchos had victories over the Drillers (13-6), Southern Boys (19-8) and Texas Crew/O’Reillyauto.com (12-8) before losing to Players Union. After the loss, Sanchos dropped to the loser’s bracket and beat Showtime (15-13) to get back to the finals, where they beat Players Union twice (14-9 and 12-0) to claim the crown.
Sanchos ended the tournament with a 6-1 record, while Players Union was second at 4-2. Showtime from Wichita Falls came in third at 5-2, followed by Balco Inc. from Ft. Worth in fourth at 3-2, and Southern Boys and Texas Crew/ O’reillyauto.com tied for fifth.
Michael Miller of Sanchos was named MVP of the division, and Jimmy Taylor of Players Union was the Gold Glove winner. Others named to the All-Tournament team were Cody Duncan, Adrian Morales, Richard Warren and Felix Hernandez, of Sanchos; Joe Adams, John Delagarza and Matt Green, of Players Union; Nathan Wheeler, Brett Kieth and Joeseph Delgado, of Showtime; and George Castillo and Kevin Shotts, of Balco Inc.
There were only eight teams in the Co-ed Division, but there was still some exciting action. Ronoco/Maverick and Midnight Express advance to the winner’s bracket finals, which was won by Ronoco/Maverick (17-14). Midnight Express dropped to the loser’s bracket and was eliminated by Chemsitry/Elite from Oklahoma (22-10). Chemistry/Elite then gave Ronoco/Maverick a tough battle in the championship game before coming up short (18-17).
Ronoco/Maverick claimed the crown with a perfect 4-0 record, while Chemistry/ Elite was second at 4-2. Midnight Express came in third, and Driven was fourth. Jason Allen of Ronoco/Maverick was the MVP of the division. Others named to the All-Tournament team were Autumn Petrino, David Cremeans, Tammy Martinez and Charlie Russell, of Ronoco/ Maverick; Melissa Bean, Bradley Clay and Colleen Gillaspy, of Chemistry/Elite; Levi Lynch, Nancy Myers and Candace Felts, of Midnight Express; and Blake Wade and Monica Garza, of Driven.
More About B.J. Fulk
During the 2009 season, Fulk helped Resmondo/WORTH to a 63-8 season record, which is one of the best records of all-time. The team won first place at 9 of their 13 tournaments. Fulk was the Tournament MVP at the Music City Major N.I.T. in Nashville, and the Defensive MVP of the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Denver. He made All-Tournament in 8 of the 13 Tournaments and was also named First Team All-Conference USSSA.
For the season, Fulk posted a .757 On-Base Percentage and belted 57 Home Runs with 164 RBIs. He ranked in the Top 20 in the nation in all three categories. He plays exceptional defense in right field, despite his 6-foot-5 frame and hulking size.
Fulk is one of a select few players in America with a bat named after him. The WORTH SBMBJ – aka B.J. FULK MAYHEM – is a 1.20 BPF multi-layer 100% composite bat designed to provide exceptional rebound and maximum durability. The balanced weight distri¬bution offers maximum bat control and consistency. The bat comes in 26-, 27-, 28- and 30-ounce weights. Its color is appropriately Carolina Blue, since Fulk hails from the Tar Heel State.
Fulk broke on the scene in 2004 with Benfield/Alesium/Reece/Easton. The following year he played with AMLasVegas/Benfield/Reece/Belcher. In 2006, Fulk helped Specialty Tank/ Stucco/K&G/Worth to a third place finish at the USSSA Major World Series. He played on his first Major team in 2007, when he helped BellCorp/Belcher/TAI/ Backman to a third place finish at the Major World. In 2008, Fulk played for LongHaul/Phonemasters/Miken, before joining the heralded Resmondo/WORTH team for the 2009 season.
Fulk has participated on the Long Haul Bombers Stadium Power Tour for the past two years, where he has displayed his power hitting ability in front of thousands of fans prior to Major League Baseball games. In 2008, Fulk teamed with fellow North Carolinian Jeff Hall to win the Manufacturers Cup for WORTH Sports.
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!