Conference USSSA Sin City Season Opener

2018 Nationwide Conference USSSA

8th Annual "Sin City" Classic

Las Vegas, Nevada

April 6-8

Winner's bracket championship between the two heavyweights Resmondo and Smash It Sports!

2018 Las Vegas men's and women's bracket link

Crowd for the winner's final

The 13th season of the Nationwide Conference USSSA began in Las Vegas, Nevada this past weekend with the 40 team 8th Annual Sin City Classic double elimination tournament played at the Big League Dreams park and its 6 replica major league fields.  The fields had artificial turf infields and short home run fences.  The games that had 2 major teams in it played with a 16-home run limit, the games with an 'A' team in it played with a 12-home run limit, and the games with no 'A' or above teams played with an 8-home run limit.  The weather was perfect, although windy on Saturday and Sunday, and temperatures were in the 80's but pleasant and sunny.  The tournament featured 16 Conference USSSA teams, all 3 Major level teams, and 7 very good 'AA' teams.

The Sin City Classic began on Friday afternoon at 4 PM with 16 lower local type teams playing to get into the round of 32.  Most all of those games went the full 7 innings and a 'C' team called Kava out of California scored 44 runs in one win.  The round of 32 in the winner's bracket began at 5:20 PM and 6 PM and each game had a non-conference team playing against a conference team.  In 14 of the 16 games a Conference team won the game as most Major and AA teams cruised through their first game of the season, but a pair of Conference 'A' teams were upset.  PonyTail Express a California 'C' team with veterans Chris Arredondo and Dan Norquist playing knocked off Conference 'A' team Tradesmen 48-32 over on Crosley field.  And a young Product team from California run ruled Chanticlear Pizza (MN-A) 33-18.  Product was the USSSA 'D' World champs at Disney last fall and has now been bumped to 'B' after a 30-4 overall record to start the season.

So, the round of 16 in the winner's bracket featured 14 Conference teams, the 'C' team Ponytail Express with its former conference player pickups, and upstart Product Factory who was becoming the talk of the tournament.  This round was played as well on Friday night and the most anticipated matchup was the two new 'AA' teams Pure Sports/Monsta from South Carolina playing TDB/FAI/Klutch/Miken from North Carolina.  In that game the #7 team TDB in the Softball Center pre-season rankings got off to a slow start against #6 Pure Sports as Pure went up 11-3 in the first inning.  But TDB in the bottom of the 2nd used some nice base hitting by BJ Fulk, Jason Matusik, and Jason Martel to set the table for a Kyle Pearson grand slam and a 13-run inning led TDB to a 14-11 lead.  Pure responded though with a huge 24-8 inning in the 3rd and went up 35-22 and only a great stab by TDB pitcher Faron Miller was able to stop the bleeding.  But with the homer's gone for Pure Sports, TDB made a slow – never give up – comeback and had just enough homer's left to get a lead going into the bottom of the 7th and hung on to win the game 41-40.  As one chat room poster commented it was an "instant classic".  Check out that game on the archived video on youtube!  In the rest of the action the Major teams all run ruled their opponents – Smash It Sports over Cheap Suits (CA-B), Resmondo over L&S Glass (CA-B), and Dan Smith over Wileys (FL-B).  But the 'A' and 'AA' teams had some close games.  Nightmare (MO-AA) was in a battle against Classic Glass (CA-A) as Classic had 5 base hits in a row in the top of the 7th with no homers left to take a 32-30 lead.  But in the bottom of the 7th Nightmare shortstop Pat Burton doubled to tie the game and player/sponsor Nolan Fogle hit a sacrifice fly to win it 33-32!  Bay Area Legends (CA-TBD) in the last game of the night after midnight took Xtreme (MN-AA) to the wood shed 36-20.  Newbreed (WA-AA) held on to beat PonyTail Express (CA-C) 37-36.  And in the biggest upset of the tournament The Product (CA-B) just would not quit chipping away at their deficit against Racks' Astros (IN-AA) and finally broke through and beat Racks 35-32 when Racks could not stop hitting home runs for outs after they used up all 12 of their home runs.

So, the final 8 of the winner's bracket was set for Saturday's 3:30 PM showdowns.  #2 Resmondo who's offense with or without home runs left was starting to create an online buzz jumped all over Bay Area Legends and crushed them 51-20 in 3 or 4 innings (can't remember) with the wind blowing out on Fenway.  Newbreed held down the Product Factory 19-3 over on Dodger to advance to the final 4.  TDB got off to a great start offensively and defensively against #1 Smash It Sports but with the wind blowing in very strong on Yankee field Smash It was somehow able to come back, take a 1 run lead 20-19 and hold TDB scoreless in the bottom of the 7th to win…  And #3 Dan Smith had all they could handle with Nightmare over on Wrigley field but persevered and hung on to win 37-35 as Nightmare went down with the bats in their hands.

The final 4 began at 8 PM again with wind blowing in on Yankee and out on Fenway.  Resmondo used dominating offense to get Dan Smith down 24-5 and then closed them out a couple innings early 33-13 with defense and the 20-run mercy rule.  On Yankee Newbreed 1st baseman Victor Cordova and SIS middle infielder Luis Reyna traded great infield plays early on and Newbreeds Blake Lively and SIS's Adam Ussery the 2nd basemen made a bunch of plays and it was a 4-3 Newbreed lead after 2 innings.  Smash Its offense continued to struggle against Newbreed pitcher Cole Patterson and Smash Its defense and pitching by Andrew Vitcak did just enough to hold the line until their offense woke up and Smash It separated in the top of the 7th with 7 runs to go up 32-21 and held on 32-24.

The winner's bracket championship was then played at 9:30 PM with #1 Smash it taking on #2 Resmondo in their first of many meetings in 2018.  Resmondo's offense was clicking on all cylinders this weekend and they went up 12-5 on Smash It Sports in the first inning.  As the game went on it became clear that Resmondo's offense would be too much, although Smash It to their credit even though they were struggling with the bats they never gave up and made you think like in years past that they could pull off a miracle.  But it was not to happen as Resmondo was able to keep up the offensive pressure and win 40-32.  For Resmondo Wegman was 5-6 with 3 HR – Connell was 6-7 with 3 HR – Yates was 6-6 with 3 doubles – and Co-MVP Steele Lewis was 5-6 with 2 HR.  For Smash It Jason Branch was 5-6 with 4 HR.

In the loser's bracket Saturday Pure Sports/Monsta made a big run winning 4 straight including "in class" wins over Nightmare 34-20 and Racks Astros 49-34 in a game where they scored 18 runs in the 2nd inning.  Then they ran out of gas against Newbreed who sent them home 32-15 late Saturday night.  In the bottom of the bracket Classic Glass won two in a row before TDB sent them home and Xtreme won 3 in a row before TDB got off to a 16-2 lead and sent Xtreme packing 50-35.  The loser's bracket at these big conference events can be brutal as the next bigger dog drops down and knocks off the hot teams and Dan Smith late Friday advanced to Sunday with what appeared to be an easy win over TDB 40-14.  In that game TDB pitcher Faron Miller got DRILLED up the middle in his big catcher's gear shin guards to the ooh's and awes of the fans that were left.  Thank you shin guards!

Sunday morning bright and early at 8 am with perfect weather, although very windy and sunny, the final 4 teams battled it out.  Dan Smith used a great backhand by 3rd baseman Dale Brungardt to finally get Newbreed out early in the game and came in with a 16 run bottom of the 2nd inning to go up 23-21 and Dna Smith was up 38-27 as they got 9 runs without using their homer's much in the bottom of the 4th.  Newbreed never did give up even though they were playing shorthanded as a few players had to catch flights, but Dan Smith advanced to the loser's bracket finals 45-35.

Loser's Final – Dan Smith used their home runs better it seemed and held down Smash It Sports with some defense and double plays and good pitching by LC Watson.  The game could have gone either way most of the way, but Smash It never had that huge inning they needed in almost every game they played, and Dan Smith advanced to the championship with a long 38-29 win.  LC Watson was hit in the pitching hand in this game and backup pitcher Mike Nino started the championship against Resmondo.

Championship – In the top of the 4th inning Mike Nino the Dan Smith pitcher got a glove on a Resmondo line drive then dove for the loose ball and pitched it to 2nd base for the force out.  On the next play he stabbed a hard grounder and turned a double play to hold Resmondo to zero runs which didn't happen often at this tournament.  Dan Smith then grabbed a 20-19 lead on Smash It Sports in the bottom of the 4th on a Dale Brungardt home run.  But Resmondo scored 20 runs on 5 homer's in the 5th and 15 more on 2 homer's in the 6th to run rule Dan Smith 56-31 in a game where Dan Smith never gave up and seemed to still be in it until that last marathon run by Resmondo.  Resmondo's Brian Wegman was on base 8-8 (2 walks) in the championship game.  Co-MVP Jeremy Yates was 8-8 (all hits) with 3 HR.

Championship game handshakes

Team Breakdown:
40 Teams Overall
16 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
3 Major Teams
7 'AA' Teams
5 'A' Teams
6 'B' Teams
19 'C' Teams

Resmondo's Greg Connell hitting against Dan Smith in the semifinals

Resmondo in the blue finishes off Smash It Sports by 8 runs in the winner's final

All tournament performer LC Watson from Dan Smith homers against Newbreed on Sunday morning

Pure Sports John Williams hits

Pure Sports Filip Washington in that grudge match game against Faron Miller and TDB

Xtreme's Dirk Updike homer's in a 50-35 late Saturday loss to TDB

Pure Sports in the red knocked out 'AA' peer Rack's/Astros 49-34 to finish 5th

Smash It gets one by Newbreed pitcher Cole Patterson in their 32-24 semifinal win


 Las Vegas Major Awards and Final Standings

Resmondo outfielders Jeremy Yates (above) and Steele Lewis (below) were tournament Co-MVP's

Resmondo middle infielder Brett Rettenmeier was Defensive MVP

Dan Smith LF Jordan Spaulding was Offensive MVP


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