2014 Nationwide Conference USSSA
Miken “Last Chance”
Sterling Hts, MI
Laservisions Steven Lloyd tries to beat a throw from Resmondo SS Don Dedonatis in the championship game!
The “Last Chance” Major lived up to its billing as 32 teams including 28 teams from the Nationwide Conference USSSA played the double elimination tournament to try and score the last points of the regular season. There were some of the biggest upsets of the season, some near upsets, a rash of walk off homers and game winning hits, a triple play, A NO HITTER, extra inning games, and huge comebacks. But when it was all said and done it was Laservision/H Auto/JJ’s/Easton who went an undefeated 6-0 to win the prestigious season finale and did so all weekend with big innings and suffocating offensive firepower. They beat Resmondo Specialty Tank Worth 50-35 in the final game.
The tournament began amidst perfect weather on Friday night at 6:30 PM with 6 games and the upsets began right away. Cooper/Yuengling/Easton, a ‘B’ team from Ohio upset Major Team Combat/Softball.com 18-10. At 7:45 PM TG/Mush a local ‘C’ team knocked off the #4 ranked Baugh Ford/Doerflinger/National Pawn/Easton 27-26! TG Brand also beat Bad Draw by 1 run in a spirited game back on field #1. The rest of the favorites won their first round games on Friday. Then the annual home run derby began. The derby was held in front of the largest crowd we have witnessed at Liberty Park in the Conference era and the crowd got to see some long homers by many of the players including big Dave Miller from Line Drive Sportz who hit 6 of 7 balls in the first round over the trees in right field on the 300 foot fields. But as the derby went on it was the consistent hitters that kept going and Louisville Slugger’s Neil Haglund ended up defeating Eastons Scott Kirby by one homer in the finals and Neil won the $1,000 prize money!
The tournament continued on Saturday morning bright and early at 8 AM with some more first round games and the string of great games continued when H Auto LLC/Easton beat Combat/Blockers/PT Design/Bat Brigade 30-29 on a base hit by Ryan Allanson. Then in the second round 4 The Fallen/Miken/Evo9x who was trying to score enough points to slip into the Major World Series top 16 was “flip flopped” meaning they were losing by the run rule in the 4th inning and became the visiting team so they could bat twice to speed up the game and had a huge comeback and beat #3 ranked Team Albicocco/The Scene/Easton 30-29! This dropped #3 Albicocco into the section of the loser’s bracket where they would end up playing #4 Baugh Ford. Meanwhile back in the winner’s bracket the top seeds took care of business in the second round as Precision, Laservision, Line Drive, and Resmondo all won fairly easily. The last two teams to make the final 8 were Red’s Astros who knocked off their fellow Louisville Slugger team Backman/Shoppe 33-32 on a John Sullivan walk off single! And upstart Cooper beat Xtreme to go to the final 8 as well as B&B Drywall/Easton who pulled out a come from behind win over TG/Mush 18-17.
In the final 8, Precision pitcher Andy Vitcak assisted by some great defensive plays NO HIT 4 The Fallen in 5 innings and won 16-0. This after 4 The Fallen had just come off their biggest win of the season beating Team Albicocco. And with 4 The Fallen re-classifying to Major both teams had 12 homers to use? Elsewhere in the final 8 Laservision handled Line Drive Sportz 35-20, Red’s Astros continued their point’s pursuit with a 24-14 win over B&B Drywall, and Cooper who was on a roll jumped out to a 15-3 on Resmondo on the show field. Resmondo then came back with a big 20+ run inning late and held off a top of the 7th inning comeback by Cooper to win 34-31.
In the final 4 of the winners bracket Precision jumped out to a nice lead on Laservision and held that lead until late in the game when Laservision pulled out a 39-37 win. And over on the main field the hot Red’s Astros put one on Resmondo and ended up run ruling them 34-17. This was only Resmondos second loss to a non-major team all season. In the winners bracket championship game Laservision with its offense clicking on all cylinders beat Red’s Astros 46-23.
The loser’s bracket ended up having 7 games decided in the last at bat including the last game of the night Precision and Backman who played into extra innings after Precision took a 32-0 lead. The final score was Backman 53 and Precision 51! B&B Drywall also made it far enough to unseat Above All Landscaping (who didn’t play Michigan) from the 16th spot in the points and qualify for the USSSA Major World Series. 4 The Fallen, Broughton, Combat/Blockers, and others came up short.
On Sunday at 8 am in the final games it was Resmondo run ruling Backman 30-15 and then knocking off Red’s Astros 41-26 to get back to the showdown with Laservision once again. A fresh Laservision team though would not be denied and ended up taking a 15 run lead on Resmondo through 4 complete innings. In the top of the 5th with two out and no runners on and Resmondo facing a 5 inning run rule loss they scored 10 runs to extend the game. But in the bottom of the 6th a strong Laservision offense finally finished off Resmondo 50-35 on a base hit by Dale Brungardt.
The Championship game coin toss between team representatives
News and notes:
– The infields were groomed but rock hard making even the best infielders look bad. It was a rough weekend for infielders on all teams.
– The best diving catch of the tournament was Red’s Astros RF Buddy Wolf making a full out dive toward the RF foul line against Resmondo.
– Longest homers during the daytime were 4 The Fallens Denny Crine and Resmondos Greg Connell.
– Tony Mack turned triple play for Combat/Blockers against Broughton in a key spot late in a one run game.
– The weather was perfect with no rain and low humidity
– There were so many walk off homers I can’t even remember who all hit them.
– Laservision has picked up former Combat outfielder Rick Baker.
– B&B Drywall has picked up former ASPNation slugger Stuart Snell.
– There are 15 teams as of now for the ‘A’ worlds. 6 ‘A’ teams, 2 ‘B’ teams, and 5 local host teams.