2018 Nationwide Conference USSSA
6th Annual B.A.T.S. Major
Argen Dodds from Dan Smith hammers another homer in a 22 run 6th inning against Pure Sports in the finals!
The Lou Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio will have 30 turf infields in 2019.
They currently have 11.
The Columbus "Last Chance" Major was loaded from top to bottom with the countries best teams and they took to the baseball quad at Lou Berliner park hitting the Conference Dudley Classic M ball in hot and humid conditions. This made for low scoring games and upsets! On Friday night all the regional non-conference 'B' teams (Floors Unlimited, Old Bag, Tropics, and Titans) all lost. So, the round of 16 out of the 29 teams (22 Conference) was all Conference teams and they played the 2nd round on Friday night. TDB/FAI/Klutch/Miken (NC-AA) knocked off Rapid Fire Athletics (VA-A) 17-10 which is a team TDB has had trouble with this year. Pure Sports/Monsta (SC-AA) run ruled Nightmare/Miken (MO-AA) 31-15 after a slow start. Dan Smith (CA-M) knocked off Seminoles (OK-A) 24-16 in a sluggish performance with the wind blowing in on field #16. Precision (IL-AA) beat Baugh Ford (AL-A) by 14. And Newbreed (WA-AA) run ruled Riot Sports (FL-AA) 25-10. Then came the upsets as Ohio 'A' team Pauer Sports put it on #1 Resmondo leaving them on the field in the 6th inning with a 2 out barrage of hits 42-27. Resmondo played very poor defense and had bad home run management. Then shortly after that Premier, another Ohio 'A' team, shocked #2 Smash It Sports 12-11 when Ryan Disbennett doubled, Uckotter singled, and Chuck Lack singled with two outs to win the game in the bottom of the 7th. The last game of the round of 16 was played Saturday morning at 10 AM as Racks/Worth Astros (IN-AA) shut down Xtreme (MN-AA) 16-2.
On Saturday as the temperatures climbed into the mid 80's with high humidity and the balls became "mush" the final 8 took to the field at 1 PM. Dan Smith shut down Precision 20-6 on field #15 where the outfield bows out to 350 feet very quickly on both sides and Precision just did not have the horses against pitcher Mike Nino. On the show field Premier behind the entertaining pitching and defense of Rocky Staton and a big home run by Clay Norton upset Newbreed 15-14. In the 2:30 PM games Pure Sports dominated arch rival TDB 18-1 on the "valley of death" field #15 and Pauer Sports shocked Racks Astros 24-15 on the show field.
In the semifinals which were played back to back at 6 PM and 8:30 PM, Dan Smith run ruled Premier 32-17 (Dale Brungardt was 6-6 and Bilardello and Collins each had 7 RBI), and Pure Sports shut down Pauer Sports 21-6. In the winner's bracket finals as the temperatures cooled off some and the ball started to fly a little bit, Dan Smith handled Pure Sports fairly easily 34-16 as Argen Dodds went 5-5 with 4 HR, 6 runs scored, and 6 RBI.
In the loser's bracket it was the two Major teams Resmondo and Smash It Sports "surviving and advancing" as they each won 5 games over those poor 'A' and 'AA' teams who were trying to get those last 10 points to make it into the top 16. Resmondo knocked off Smash Its 'A' team 23-6, Xtreme 25-5, Precision 16-15 on a walk off hit by Bryson Baker, Newbreed 29-17, and Pauer Sports 28-13 to make it to Sunday. And Smash It Sports beat Bay Area 27-6, Riot Sports 25-13, TDB 25-20, Baugh Ford 27-11, and Premier 33-15 to make it to the final 4.
On Sunday at 8 AM Smash It Sports jumped out to a 27-11 lead after breaking an 11-11 tie with a 16 run 3rd inning against Resmondo. But Resmondo answered back and tied the game at 30-30 going into the bottom of 5th. Then Smash It got a big 2-out 2-run homer from pitcher Andrew Vitcak to "roll the top" and that led to a 12 run lead and they held on to win 46-36. In the loser's bracket finals Smash It Sports and Pure Sports were tied at 15-15 in a game that moved rather quickly as the ball started to soften up in the increasing humidity. Then in the top of the 6th Pure Sports grabbed a 24-19 lead and increased the lead to 28-19 going into the bottom of the 7th. In that final half inning Pure Sports let up a 2-run homer and got an out to start the inning. Then Smash It loaded the bases and with one out Kyle Pearson who had dominated the tournament (31-41) hit a sharp grounder through the 5-6 hole, but somehow 3rd basemen Chente Granados made a diving stop and from his knees backhanded a throw all the way to 2nd base where Ryan Mcclanahan released it to first base about as fast as anyone in the game and they got the double play to end the game!
The championship started around noon when the temperatures were in the 80's with high humidity. Dan Smith was the undefeated team and both teams traded some smaller "crooked numbers" and some zeroes through the first 4 innings. But when Pure Sports blanked Dan Smith in the top of the 5th and scored 9 runs themselves in the bottom of the 5th, it looked like they would force the "if" game. But Dan Smith didn't give up and batted for 20 minutes in the top of the 6th and scored the biggest inning of the tournament – 22 runs and ended up beating Pure Sports 36-18 and winning the Columbus Major! Steven Lloyd was 5-6 in the championship with 5 RBI. Dodds was 5-6 with 3 home runs. And Collins, Bennett, Spaulding, and Dunn all had 4 hits apiece.
They normally use the "bad batch" stadiums on the Columbus baseball quad, but went with the Dudley Classic M ball this year. I thought as a fan we really got to see some pure softball on the big fields with the Classic M. There were many players that did not hit a home run in Columbus and only the real home run hitters hit them which made for interesting games and adjustments. The humidity really mushed up the ball and gave new meaning to the believers that think "anyone can hit a homer".
There was a full contingent of Conference Umpires and the tournament ran without any weather delays. A great weekend all the way around. Pauer Sports and Premier played their way into the top 16 knocking Bay Area Legends out. And Nightmare and Rapid Fire hung onto the #15 and #16 spots.
29 Teams Overall
23 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
3 Major Teams
8 'AA' Teams
10 'A' Teams
7 'B' Teams
Championship coin toss…
Justin Mucciarelli at pitcher, Zach Messer at SS, and Ryan Mcclanahan at shortstop could make a case for being the best defensive trio in the conference?
In the loser's bracket championship 3rd baseman Chente Granados makes an incredible 1 out bases loaded stop of a hard grounder, back hand flips it all the way to 2nd base where middle man Ryan Mcclanahan turns the game ending double play and Pure Sports advances to the championship!
My pano of the championship game
Pure Sports and Dan Smith battle in the winner's bracket finals Saturday night
Smash It right fielder Kyle Olsen robs a home run from Payne
Pure Sports Jared Hunt hits another one for extra bases against SIS
Premier's Chuck Lack gets a 2 out game winning hit Friday night to beat Smash It Sports in the 1st round!
Pauer Sports John Radich hits a walk off run rule single against Resmondo Friday night in the 1st round.
Field #16 has that mini "Green Monster" in left field
340 Greenlawn Ave, Columbus, Ohio – Central 43223
The 4 main fields at the Lou Berliner Park are baseball fields #14-17 and are of varying fence distances. These fields although they are baseball fields they play more like the Smoky main field at Sandy Springs Park in that they are high school sized baseball fields and not MLB sized baseball fields.
Approximate Field Dimensions
#14 305-330-350-353-296 (Main Field – upper right in picture)
Video Highlites brought to you by:
2018 USSSA Columbus Major video clips
Sights and sounds of the final Saturday night and Sunday games.
Lots of great plays and hits and middle shots.
At the end I grabbed some highlites from the livestream.
Saturday clips of various teams/games
Friday night featuring the Premier and Pauer Sports upsets of the Major teams
Long Bombers of the Week
Smash Its Kyle Pearson won the season long Conference batting title and hit the most home runs.
Pearson had the best numbers for the Columbus tournament .756, 19 HR, 50 RBI
Dan Smith's Argen Dodds had a 4 home run game and hit some impressive shots into the wind on Friday night on Field #16.
Jon Nelson hit a bomb on Friday night and Dan Kirkwood hit one over the road on Field #17. Over the road at its shortest distance is 428 feet.
Premier's Cory Boothe hit the building on field #16. At the shortest distance on google earth from home plate to the building is 440 feet!
Columbus Major Final Standings and Awards
Dan Smith pitcher Mike "Nino" Echeverria pitched every game and was tournament MVP!
Dan Smith CF Ben Dunn was Defensive MVP of the tournament
Pure Sports Jared Hunt and Donnie Hammonds were Co-Offensive MVP's