DW’s 2023 Pre-Season Conference Rankings!
Back by popular demand is DW’s 2023 Pre-Season Rankings. As always this is just for fun and can be used as “bulletin board” material. 🙂 I hope everyone had a good offseason and has a great 2023 and want to thank USSSA for their continued support of the Conference which is “THE SHOWCASE” of slow pitch softball. I also want to thank the sponsors and managers of these teams for all of the hard work, headaches, and stress it takes to put these teams on the field. Lets have a safe and competitive season and make great memories!
Major Division (4 Teams)
#1 MPT Rentals / Juno Athletics (NJ-Major)
MPT returns stronger than ever after winning the Major last year. They return most of their starters and add Andrew Collins, Argen Dodds, Daniel Cayton, Dale Brungardt, Ben Dunn, and Jeff Roxby. On paper they are arguably the best roster in the game. They will miss Filip Washington for the first two thirds of the season because of suspension but he should fit right in when he becomes available. With Bill Pinkham on the mound MPT should be a threat to win the points standings as well as the Major. Note: the #1 seeded team for the Major has not won the Major in many years.
#2 Monsta/Sonny’s/Worsham/RedAthlete (CA-Major)
Monsta lost Daniel Cayton (apparently) but picked up Precision shortstop Heath Barnes who probably should have been defensive MVP last year. They also picked up Mike Jacobson and LC Watson to pitch, added power hitter Jon Nelson from Proton, picked up Neil Haglund from Smash It who was hurt at the end of 2022, and they picked up 2nd year talent Tyler Storey. Most of the team returned and they should be in a strong position on a weekly basis to compete for tournament wins on any sized field. Look for Jason Matusik who may have been the best all around player on the stadium fields last year to lead the way, but their success relies mostly on how Jacobson, Watson, and Storey do but all are very capable.
#3 CompetitiveEdge/Suncoast/FBI/Olmito (FL-Major)
Competitive Edge moves up from the ‘AA’ division where they won worlds last year. They move up with a strong core of players from their past two seasons and added Bubba Mack from Resmondo, Conner Murray from MPT, Kyle Pearson from Smash It Sports, Billy Sanders from Baugh Ford, the 2022 batting title champ Brandon Streets, and veteran outfielder Brian Zirkle from Anarchy. Recently they learned pitcher LC Watson moved on to Monsta so they picked up Michael Thorbrogger. Thorbrogger, Mason Farmer, and Faron Miller will do the pitching which is probably their only real question mark since those guys haven’t pitched at the Major level yet. The highly decorated Tyler Ervine returns along with Joe Boland, Ryan Honeycutt, and the extra base hitter’s CF Mitchell Lendenski, SS Logan Rogers, and Andrew Filoteo among others.
#4 Resmondo/SIS/All-American/Menosse (FL-Major)
Resmondo in 2022 won on the small fields and lost on the big fields and now have a streak of about 15 games in a row at the Major where they could easily have lost 10 of them. So it would be hard to pick them to win the points standings or the Major but obviously no one can ever count them out. They picked up Chad Mullins who is coming off a big year with Proton, 2nd year player Kyle Overstreet from MPT who is an infielder, and left handed power hitters Everett Williams and Buddy Wolf which should help in Viera. They return many players who may be the best in the game at their positions like pitcher Travis Clark, Greg Connell, Bradley Jones, Tyler Marshburn, Phil Matte, Josh Riley, and Kyle Pearson. Their success may come down to the players returning from injury like Kevin Bazat and Cory Briggs, and the play of super utility man Brad Reckart, outfielder Nic Santana, and late 2022 pickup Scott Hartling.
‘AA’ Division (10 Teams)
#5 Smash it Sports/Bay Area Legends/Baugh Ford/Bad Draw (NY-AA)
Smash It Sports the Anarchy team from last year, won the ‘B’ in 2021, re-tooled their entire roster and won the ‘A’ in 2022. They have again re-tooled their entire roster and if allowed to play ‘AA’ they enter on paper as the clear favorite in a very good division. They have Luis Reyna, Jason Martel, Joseph Dorton, Kyle Fisher, Jason Branch, and Zane Migues who all have extensive Major experience. They also picked up some of the best ‘AA’ players from other ‘AA’ teams like Tyler Dickens from Proton, Brady Bate and Brandon Traylor from Bay Area Legends, Tom Bloom from Nitro Circus, and Tre Porter from Chick-fil-a. Finally they somehow got Josh Cardwell reclassed off the Major Watch List after just being added at the end of 2022?
#6 (6 to 12) Sports Reach/Demarini/CT/LLS (KY-AA)
The #6 through #12 teams you can put numbers in a hat and draw them in whatever order you want and you probably have just as good a chance to get them ranked correctly as me. I am picking Sports Reach because OJ McFarland returns to manage them after a year away and the fact they brought back Brandon Jonas who should have been the 2021 defensive player of the year to pitch. Then they mixed in the Precision core of Jeff Keske, Travis Houseman, Austin Andrews, Tyler Kahlke, and Tommy Melton. Then they grabbed Dylan Smith from Bay Area. The teams success and a shot at being #6 instead of #12 may hinge on the veteran bats of Robert Blackburn and Jason Gilfillan and how they hit it.
#7 (6 to 12) JBL/D1/Tailgaters/Ignite (OH-AA)
JBL has put together an impressive first year ‘AA’ team. They grabbed Jon Dombrowski, Orlando Olivera, and John Radich from MPT. Stephen Edwards, Brock Frentzel, and Adam Ussery from Proton. David Johnson from Bay Area Legends. Mike Williams from Primetime. Journeyman Bradley Scott from Bay Area. And kept a couple of their JBL ‘B’ players Fred Heiser and veteran Ryan Roppel. They also had to drop Brady Stewart when they couldn’t get anyone re-classed due to points maximums and they picked up Competitive Edge’s Cody Roton to replace him. A nice mix. A healthy Dombrowski and the return of Brian McBryde to the ‘AA’ division could be the difference between them being #6 or #12 or anywhere in between.
#8 (6 to 12) Chick-fil-A/Slugger/BAF/Shore Irrig (VA-AA)
David Durso Jr
Chick-fil-a returns after finishing 2nd in the ‘AA’ points a year ago and they are as strong as ever. They picked up Matt Brady from Monsta, Cody Collins from Premier, David Durso – Justin Lutheran – Zach Ross from Baugh Ford. The team seems to have good chemistry each year and that makes up for maybe having lesser “big name” players. Sponsor/pitcher John Natolly and middle infielder Tanai Alston lead this team.
#9 (6 to 12) S&E (NC-AA)
S&E returns with the core of their ‘AA’ team from the past two years. They add the big bat of Hunter Oliver from Primetime and Rich Racobaldo returns from Smash It Sports Major team. Their revolving door at pitcher last year hurt them but Shawn Ramsey from Competitive Edge and Justin Olgetree from Sports Reach will get their shot this year. Look for young players like Bill Cullen, Casey Jones, Joey Kampfer, Jordan Robinson and Jacob Hoskins to take another step forward while the veterans Edmund Locklear, Joel Sanchez, Peter Seiden, and Tyler Wiles feed off of the return of Racobaldo!
#10 (6 to 12) Nitro Circus/Candy Shop/Ataraxis (MD-AA)
Cabot Van Til
Nitro Circus was the #1 seeded ‘A’ team in the country in 2022 and move to the ‘AA’ division with a completely new team put together by Chris Greinert. Daniel Herren, Zach Messer, and Kevin Miller return from the Nitro Circus team last year along with the power hitting Greinert. They picked up CF Chad Erickson and Brian Dezern from Proton. Erik Kanaby from Monsta. Josh Brown and Shawn Jones from Classic Glass. Emilson Marquez from S&E. Kyle Goethe and Cabot Van Til from Str8Play. Jared Hunt from Bay Area. And Nick Day and Brian Renner return to Conference play. An interesting mix of west coast and east coast players. I actually created these rankings before I knew about the Renner pickup and he has the opportunity to be a big difference maker after the year he had for S&E in 2021. Nitro will be hard pressed to finish higher than they did a year ago but it is very possible they could finish in that 6 to 9 range.
#11 (6 to 12) Roofx/Revolution/Albicocco/AllHustle (IN-AA)
Roof-X is the Rock Run team from a year ago minus their star pitcher, their defensive minded 3rd baseman, and center fielder. But because so many of their 1st year Conference players (Jeremy Fry, Terry Lambright, Arlis Miller, Kyle Miler, Marcus Miller, Jason Slabach) got listed on the Major lists they had to move to ‘AA’ so they filled in the holes with veteran pitcher Justin Mucciarelli from Bay Area, 2022 Conference Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Mcclanahan from the Smash It Sports major team, center fielder Brandon Yoder from Westpoint, and infielder Richie Mast from JBL. The team shouldn’t miss a beat and has a very real shot at finishing much higher than 11th. And check out that loaded schedule listed above which could help them in the Conference points standings but they play a lot of non-conference tournaments which could wear them down. LOL, I just said Roof-X players could wear down. 🙂 Maybe that isn’t possible? Last year after being a relative unknown ‘B’ team they hustled their way to a win at the smaller Michigan and Kansas City Majors and was the #1 seed for ‘B’ Worlds where they finished 5th, then finished 4th at the ‘A’ Worlds, then in the same week finished 5th at the Major losing both games in the last inning. If Mooch and Mcclanahan can match the “Rock Run” energy and Brandon Yoder and Richie Mast take the next step the sky is the limit here, lets all enjoy the ride! The team is led by infielder Faron Fry and 2022 manager of the year Marcus Fry.
#12 (6 to 12) Classic Glass/Easton (CA-AA)
Classic Glass returns to the ‘AA’ division with a revamped roster after winning ‘A’ Worlds in 2021 and having somewhat of an off year in 2022. They picked up Jeff Bloomer from Monsta, Jeff Flood from a year off for work, the line drive hitting Blake Lively from Cheap Suits, Dustin Midyette who pitched the 2020 Maroadis team to the ‘AA’ title, Shannon Smith from Kut4 and previously Xtreme, Brady Stewart from Proton, and Billy Wright from Precision. An interesting mix of players from all over the country. They return Sal Formosa, Ben Falcone, Greg Downing, Dan Kirkwood, and Ryan Ramirez. Tom Formosa and the management staff need Midyette and Shannon Smith to return to form, a healthy Dan Kirkwood, and a full season of Jeff Bloomer who has been a good backup for the Major teams the past couple years and they will be in good shape.
#13 WestPoint (IN-AA)
Westpoint made the major last year so they had to start 2023 in ‘AA’. They kept their core together and I’m not sure how many roster points they have. This team usually finds their chemistry at some point during the season and push for a Major World Series bid and this year should be no exception. They will be fine in whatever class they end up. They did lose Brandon Yoder to Roof-X but picked up the extra base hitting Joseph Horsley, pitcher Jordan Patterson, Cody Pack, and Nick Canfield from Premier, Tyler Cowles from Cheap Suits, and Kenneth Cain at pitcher.
#14 Seminoles/Nacsf.Inc/TPS/RS/Anarchy (OK-AA)
Jon David Harris
Seminoles is similar to Westpoint and kept their core together. They should have a good shot at the Major and have a veteran group of conference players. They picked up Toby Letak from Bay Area, Elija Christenson from Adiktiv, and a few other names I am not as familiar with.
‘A’ Division (15 Teams)
#15 LSR/TG/BAF/NITRO CIRCUS (IN-A)
Robert Noeth IV
LSR is pushing the roster rules with Cory Boothe, John Franklin, Andrew Hall, Dave Kessler, Bishop Harris, Tyler Kincaid, Michal Rainer, and others that have played ‘AA’, played ‘AA’ last year, or were bumped to ‘AA’ in 2022. LSR starts the year TBD and if they end up ‘A’ then on paper it is the top ‘A’ team in the country.
#16 PrimeTime/Easton (GA-A)
Primetime played well at the end of the regular season and made the 2022 Major World Series. They have a chance to do so again with a similar roster. They picked up slugger Alonzo Fields, TRU OF/IF Edmund Cheatham, and Ira Brown makes a big return after two years at the ‘AA’ level.
#17 DirtyVegas/Steel/Envy (TX-TBD)
Ryan Shawn Huseman
Dirty Vegas finished 3rd at the ‘B’ last year after being rerated down halfway through the season. They retool with a number of Adiktiv players who finished 2nd at the ‘A’ and should be a top threat in the ‘A’ division as these young players get another year under their belt and it looks like James Delagarza will get more pitching time after being on the Competitive Edge team the past two years. They start the year with a TBD (to be determined) classification I assume due higher level players.
#18 TRU/Riot/Timeless/LA (VA-A)
TRU won the ‘B’ Worlds last year and return a number of those players and should have a shot at making the Major. Their team is led by ‘B’ MVP pitcher Jerry “Sport” Williams, the power hitting of big Corbin Hunt, and a gritty and capable defense.
#19 Bay Area Legends (CA-A)
Bay Area is pushing the roster rule limits as are a number of ‘A’ teams and at least one ‘AA’ team. They have put together a roster where the majority of the players played a higher level last year. They have Curtis Stewart from Precision, Donald Hollingsworth from MPT, and Randy Frederick, Dante Broome, Kenneth Chavez, and Joey Gonzalez from Bay Area ‘AA’ and a number of other players with Conference experience. It looks like Mitch Carriger who pitched for Hubs Pub last year will do the pitching along with Jacob Zarate.
Tie for #20 NFMLending/4TheFallen/KBasInc/Lund (AZ-A)
NFM is the Lund Mortgage team from a year ago with a very similar roster and could have better results than last year if they play a full schedule. Some young talent mixed with some veterans and the return of AJ Montano after that leg injury last year.
Tie for #20 Epic/Haymak/Kilmans/FLS/Koval/Pure (SC-A)
Epic returns to the conference with some roster changes picking up ‘A’ World offensive MVP Lonnie Cheatwood from Adiktiv, Clayton Farrar from Classic Glass, Kody Garrison from L&S Glass, and Derek Knight from TRU among others. They also lost Mike Thorbrogger late in the offseason to Competitive Edge and picked up Dan Sanchez to pitch. Sean Ulmer who we last saw in Conference with MPT is also on the roster. This could be a very underrated offensive team.
Tie for #22 Cheap Suits (CA-A)
Atanasio Sonny Aguilera Jr
Cheap Suits returns with the leadership of Hall of Famer Victor Cordova, slugger Isaac Gonzalez – pitcher Mateo Pacheco – Kameron King from BTR, Kenneth Duby from L&S Glass, SS Juan Castenada – OF Reid Ramirez from Classic Glass, and infielder William Marable from Anarchy among others. This team has a legitimate shot at the Major if they can do well in the smaller west coast events and get off to a good start.
Tie for #22 L & S Glass/MAJ (CA-A)
L&S re-tools for 2023 after making the Major in 2022. The Ledeit brothers running the team have been softball sponsors for decades. They picked up the entertaining Mike Nino from Classic Glass, Cole Campbell from Baugh Ford, lefty power hitters Steven Smith and Billy Waltrip, along with returning pitcher Ryan Tomasi and Adiktiv’s Misael Tavarez and Josh Guy make for an interesting mix between California and Texas players.
Tie for #22 SVC/Unified/Dudley (OH-A)
SVC who made the Major in 2021 and won GSL ‘A’ that year returns to the Conference in 2023 with a number of their 2021 players and a mix of pickups. We’ll see how they gell.
Tie for #22 Rebel/Str8play/Prime Threadz (MI-A)
Rebel returns to the Conference and has an interesting mix of players from all over the midwest and east. Infielder Brandon Bellamy from Baugh Ford, outfielder Andrew Mrozek who won ‘A’ and ‘B’ Worlds with Anarchy the past two years. Tom Osenbach from Bay Area Legends, Kyle Slicker from LSR, Mike Snyder from Anarchy, Ryan Tallon from Chick-fil-a, journeyman Chris Stamper, and others to go with a few returning players.
#26 Siteman/Pure (MO-A)
David Garland’s Siteman/Pure team has re-tooled for their 2nd year in the Conference and moved up to ‘A’ to add some Conference experience like Brent McClure and Willy Dooley from Proton, Daniel Larson, and pitcher David Bare (Adiktiv) among others. Two of these key pickups Dooley and Bare are recovering from leg injuries.
#27 Str8play/ Str8play Apparel (CA-A)
Anthony Sebastian Acevedo
Steven Trey Parr
Str8Play had an up and down 1st year in the conference in 2022 but overall made an impact finishing 4th at ‘B’ Worlds. The team this year has a lot of new names and add some Conference veterans like Ike Worlow, Jacob Willingham, Chente Granados, Demario Boyd, and returning pitcher Joshua Jones who made a big impact on their success last year.
#28 ARISTOTLE / FBI (AR-A)
Aristotle is an unknown ‘A’ team out of Arkansas with a smattering of players from past regional conference teams like Tim Bowser and players from the old JL Logistics and FBI teams. I noticed they recently added FBI to the team name which is great to see as Chris Walker is a Hall of Fame sponsor/player who was in the Conference for a decade.
#29 Taylormade/MidState/Valor Athletics (TN-TBD)
James Matthew Kisselburg
Taylormade is a new Conference team and they get the TBD (To be determined) designation I believe because they want to play ‘B’? Hunter Lemay from Challenge Cup fame, Cody Angus who played with Premier, and Bryan Bradler who played with Cornerstone are among the more “known” names.
‘B’ Division (7 Teams)
#30 Beechy Const/I-57 Roofing/Rocke OHD (MO-B)
I really don’t know much about any of these ‘B’ division teams so they should all just be ranked 30-37 with a question mark. Beechy out of Missouri finished 2nd at the Mojo this past weekend so although I don’t know really know their players I decided to give them a leg up on the ‘B’ teams below them.
#31 Beloli Bros HVAC /KL&R Construction (MA-B)
A veteran group that should be at the top of the ‘B’ division with veteran Mike Verbasco and outfielder John Rieman leading the way.
#32 Cornerstone/Rebel/Str8Play/Redeemed (KY-B)
Cornerstone returns as a ‘B’ team and has the experience to compete in that division.
#33 PF (MA-B)
Platinum Fire out of Massachusetts joins the Conference after some success in the Maryland Major a couple of years ago and a decent showing at USSSA ‘B’ Worlds. This is a good ‘B’ team so I put them at the top because of that past success.
#34 EAS/GSSPORTS/SUNCOAST (CO-B)
EAS has Brian Atchison who pitched for Classic Glass recently, the veteran outfielder Westy Guill, and some other names that have been with Conference teams.
#35 GNATS/Quad D Electric (AR-B)
GNATS is a new Conference team with a few known names like Harley Page who played with Nally’s, and Vlad Gomes and Brian Bryles from J&R Logistics.
#36 Vivid / Killbombers / Pepper Smash (TX-B)
Vivid returns to the Conference with a few players from the Bay Area ‘B’ team from 2022. Again there is a a ton of talent in Texas and I see a few names that played with Adiktiv so it is impossible to tell how good this team is?
#37 Van Wert Frickers (OH-B)
Van Wert Frickers is a new Conference teams with a couple of the guys that played with JBL last year.
#38 Coursey Realty (CA-B)
Martin Soares Jr
Coursey Realty was the 2022 ‘C’ World Champs so they could very well be the top Conference ‘B’ team in the country. I just have no idea as I know nothing about them but any new Norcal Conference team is usually better than their classification.