2014 USSSA ‘A’ World Tournament
The 2014 USSSA ‘A’ World tournament came down to a best of 3 of sorts between eventual champion Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton based out of Michigan and Precision/Easton based out of Illinois. Line Drive lost the first game to Precision which was the winner’s bracket final on Saturday night 16-10, a game which Precision led 13-3 most of the way and only in the 7th inning did Line Drive put up a 7 run inning which was too little too late. On Sunday, Line Drive regrouped and defeated Red’s Astros 19-16 when Red’s left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th inning in the loser’s bracket final. Then in the championship Line Drive and Precision fought for almost 2 hours in the first game, trading big hits and defensive stops until the 7th inning when “Championship” Joel Ramos hit a clutch rbi single to center field to break a 19-19 tie and send the championship to the “if” necessary game!
Line Drive’s Joel Ramos breaks a 19-19 tie to win the first championship game vs Precision!
In the final game Line Drive found a second wind and used adrenaline and sheer will power to blast some big homers on the bigger fields at Fortune Road park (310-325-325-325-310) and jumped out to an 8-0 lead. Precision never matched Line Drive’s energy in the final game and was unable to use their home run advantage to get back into it and lost 21-14. Line Drive wins the prestigious tourny, “double dips” a Precision team who’s defense and pitching were dominating teams all weekend, and end up winning from the #5 seed. Line Drive won 4 of their games by 3 runs or less, and 5 of 6 wins were by 7 runs or less. Precision won all 4 of their winner’s bracket games by 6 runs or less and even beat Red’s Astros in a semi-final game by a shocking score of 8-3.
‘A’ World Championship Sunday – Precision taking on Line Drive Sportz
The tournament began with 14 teams (including all 7 ‘A’ teams, and the 2 top ‘B’ teams in the country) at 7 PM eastern time on Friday night under the threat of rain which never materialized. The normal Friday upsets did not occur as all of the favored teams won their respective games except for the #2 seeded Baugh Ford who lost to Red’s Astros 27-25. But first #7 seeded Red’s Astros had to beat a very good non-conference ‘B’ team Sonny’s. Red’s jumped out to a 21-11 lead and had a 14 run lead at one point. Red’s would beat Sonnys by a final score of 25-18. Then the Red’s Astros who only scored 9 runs in the first 5 innings against Baugh Ford came all the way back and ended up winning on a Buddy Wolf walk off homer 27-25 to advance to the final 4. In the other games on Friday #6 seed Taylormade beat R.E.M/CK a local ‘C’ team 19-10 but not before REM had closed it to 15-10 late in the game. #3 seed Precision won a low scoring game against Demarini Headbangers 11-7. And #4 Buzini, #5 Line Drive, and #8 Combat/Blockers all won their games easily by the run rule. In the night cap #1 Team Albicocco who got a bye from the first round like Baugh Ford did, ended up struggling to beat Combat/Blockers. The game was tied 11-11 mid way through the game but Team Albicocco ended up advancing 25-19 to the final 4. Survive and advance!
On Saturday morning the tournament resumed at 9 AM with all 4 local ‘C’ teams playing off against each other. Then at 10:30 AM the winner’s bracket started back up with #3 Precision easily advancing to the final 4 with a 24-9 win over #6 Taylormade. The momentum swung when Precisions big right fielder Franck Fracek pounded a home run. #4 Buzini was matched in a 2 hour long battle with #5 Line Drive Sportz over on field #1. Buzini’s Tim Bowser crushed a no doubter 3 Run homer to power Buzini to a small lead in the top of the 6th, but Line Drive came back to win when big Joey Formosa pounded a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 6th and Keith Anderson a solo homer and the Line Drive defense held in the 7th to win it 26-25.
The rain came in shortly afterwards around 1 PM and the tournament was delayed for 5 hours. When it resumed the only usable fields were #2 and #4. Over on #4 the wind was blowing in and the big fields, wind, and humidity led to some very low scores. Precision beat Red’s Astros 8-3 with great defense and pitching. And Line Drive Sportz upset #1 Team Albicocco 18-12 with a late offensive surge led by a big homer by Cory Boothe. Then in the winner’s bracket championship game, Precision used some more great defense and pitching to suffocate Line Drive 16-10 although it was just 13-3 until the 7th inning. In that game, Precision SS Keith Laski playing with an injured knee made an incredible dive to his left and made a half on the ground spinning-twisting-powerful throw to first for an out that may have been the defensive play of the year!
The tournament had a little bit of everything. A triple play turned in the Combat/Blockers vs Demarini Headbangers game. Some incredible defensive catches led by Baugh CF Brian Zirkle among many others. Walk off homers, walk off hits, and multiple walk off defensive plays to preserve wins. The heat on Saturday before the rain was about the hottest I have felt in Florida in some time. The umpiring was great. The field sizes made for a lot of legitimate close games. And the conference ZN Classic M ball was used.
Basically the tournament came down to about 5 teams (Line Drive, Reds Astros, Albicocco, and Baugh Ford) that all thought they were going to make a Sunday run at this title. And to be honest as of late Saturday night none of us knew which team that was going to be. But one thing was for sure, a rested Precision team with their incredible defense was waiting at the end of the losers brackets completion and they weren’t going to roll over for anyone, and didn’t. Line Drive though is the team that actually did make the run and complete each game and fulfill their ‘A’ World dream!
Line Drive pitcher Brendt Newbill pitching to Reds Astros in the loser’s bracket finals
Baugh Fords Brad Blankenship hits against Red’s Astros in the first game Sunday morning
Cory Boothe hits a big homer against Albicocco in their 18-12 win!
Precision hitting against Line Drive in the winner’s bracket championship Saturday night
Reds Astros Andrew Collins and Buddy Wolf hit big homers to finish off Baugh Ford on Friday night 27-25!
Primetime bats against Combat/Blockers on Friday night
‘A’ World Tournament Awards and Final Standings
|Player Tournament Awards||Players Name||Plays For|
|Tournament MVP||Ryan Parfitt||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|Offensive Tournament MVP||christopher geron||Precision/Easton|
|Defensive Tournament CO-MVP||Brendt Newbill||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|Defensive Tournament CO-MVP||Faron Miller||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Donovan Pokraka||Baugh Doerflinger Nat-Pawn/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Jason Branch||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Keith Laski||Precision/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Joey Formosa||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Andrew Vitcak||Precision/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Chris Hansen||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Andrew Collins||Red’s Astros/Louisville Slugger|
|All Tournament Team||Cory Large||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Seth Burgmeier||Precision/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Francis Fracek||Precision/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Vince Bisbee||Baugh Doerflinger Nat-Pawn/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Steve Whaley||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Keith Anderson||Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton|
|All Tournament Team||Wally Maybrier||Red’s Astros/Louisville Slugger|
|All Tournament Team||Ryan Joiner||Red’s Astros/Louisville Slugger|
|1||MI – Warren||line drive sportz/r&m metals/easton||SPMensA||6||1||0||141||108||20.1||15.4||4.71||27||650|
|2||IL – Chicago||Precision/Easton||SPMensB||4||2||0||92||70||15.3||11.6||3.66||24||350|
|3||IN – Indianapolis||red’s astros/louisville slugger||SPMensA||4||2||0||117||99||19.5||16.5||3||28||300|
|4||AL – Clanton||baugh doerflinger nat-pawn/easton||SPMensA||3||2||0||131||108||26.2||21.6||4.6||33||250|
|5||WA – KENT||combat/blocker/ptdesign/bat brigade||SPMensA||3||2||0||86||83||17.2||16.6||0.59||27||200|
|5||NYD – Hunington||team albicocco/scene/easton/elite||SPMensA||1||2||0||60||61||20||20.3||-0.3||25||200|
|7||VA – Williamsburg||taylormade/tm sports/d&i/mizuno||SPMensA||2||2||0||75||82||18.7||20.5||-1.7||26||150|
|7||WY – Casper||Sonny’s berth||SPMensB||1||2||0||72||79||24||26.3||-2.3||28||175|
|9||MS – Jackson||Buzini/BWW/Miken||SPMensA||1||2||0||77||60||25.6||20||5.66||27||110|
|9||FL – palm city||Demarini Headbangers||SPMensC||1||2||0||21||32||7||10.6||-3.6||10||110|
|9||FL – Clearwater||S2S||SPMensC||1||2||0||39||62||13||20.6||-7.6||29||110|
|9||GA – Macon||Primetime/Easton||SPMensB||0||2||0||25||46||12.5||23||-10.||15||110|
|13||FL – OCALA||R.E.M/CK||SPMensC||0||2||0||19||29||9.5||14.5||-5||10||70|
|13||FL – Melbourne||API Plumbing||SPMensC||0||2||0||20||56||10||28||-18||14||70|
Line Drive’s Ryan Parfitt was MVP!
Line Drive pitchers Brendt Newbill and Faron Miller were Co-Defensive MVP’s
Tournament Offensive MVP Chris Geron from Precision
1st Place – Line Drive Sportz/R&M Metals/Easton
Conf ‘A’ from MI 6-1 Record
Line Drive Sportz wins a world championship. They do so with great heart, a lot of top ‘A’ players who know and stay within their roles and they have a strong sponsorship and managerial group. The team has many past ‘A’ World champions like pitcher Brendt Newbill, MI Steve Whaley, and power hitter Keith Anderson who all won a few years ago with R&M Metals. They also have power hitter Cory Boothe and IF/OF Jason Branch who won last year with Nordkap. The team put it altogether with 3 big wins on Sunday after a hiccup in the offense sent them to the loser’s bracket Saturday night. Tarz Nation will celebrate this win for a long time.
Chris Hansen played what I thought was his strongest shortstop in a long time. Joey Formosa was the best “heat of the day” home run hitter in the tournament. Ryan Parfitts motor in center field never quit. Whaley, Ramos, and the infield fielded the hard shots well and when they dove for the ball they usually came up with it. Sal Formosa gave them a lot of versatilty and gap to gap hitting. Newbill and Miller share the MVP and shared the pitchers mound well.
Congratulations to the sponsorship group, managers, and entire team on a well deserved championship!
Sponsor Tarz Lanzon – Linedrive Sportz
Sponsor Roger Tompkins – R&M Metals
Sponsor Easton – Brett Helmer
Sponsor Kenny Lowell
Sponsor James Troupe
Manager Fred Budnarowski
Manager Bill Reardon
Coach Donny Sikora
Staff Andrew Wojcik
Line Drive/Sports/R&M Metals/Easton lineup:
#11 LF Cory Large
#36 1B Jason Branch
#7 CF Ryan Parfitt
#14 3B Joey Formosa
#24 EH Keith Anderson
#4 2B/LF Sal Formosa
#06 C Cory Boothe
#5 MI Steve Whaley
#8 SS Chris Hansen
#6 2B/1B Joel Ramos
Pitchers Faron Miller/Brendt Newbill
LF Cory Large
1B Jason Branch with a big home run!
3B Joey Formosa batted 4th and Keith “Dad” Anderson 5th
Sal Formosa and Cory Boothe
Chris Hansen played an impressive SS and Joel Ramos aka Championship Joel
Donny Sikora can still run. One fan in Michigan said he was a better defensive SS than Don Jr.
2nd Place – Precision/Easton
Conf ‘B’ from IL 4-2 Record
Precision won 4 straight in the winner’s bracket. They did so with a rock solid defense led by pitcher Andy Vitcak and his dazzling knuckleball pitching to his defense. They also had solid hitting, timely power, and kept pressure on their opponents by keeping a lead even if it was small in each game. On Sunday their fresh swings made it look like they could not be beat but Line Drive just never gave up and in the end Precision comes up a play or two short of an ‘A’ World title. The more we see of Precision the more we like. From the effortless power of Chris Geron to the down and dirty defense of Matt Rear at third base and Keith Laski at shortstop this team knows how to win at all levels.
Obviously Precision took it pretty hard that they lost two in the finals, but this may make them hungrier for the big tournaments to end the season.
#12 Matt Rear
#01 Chris Geron
#17 Keith Laski
1B Denis Fisher
#20 EH Mark Holstein
#31 2B Seth Burgmeier
#99 RF Frank Fracek
#3 LF Dan Kirkwood
#18 P Andy Vitcak
#11 MI Jeff Keske
#28 CF Porter
3rd Place – Red’s Astros/Louisville Slugger
Conf ‘A’ from IN 4-2 Record
In 3.5 hours of hard fought softball Friday night, Red’s Astros who had struggled most of the season beat Sonny’s and Baugh Ford to make the final 4 of the winner’s bracket of the ‘A’ World and erased a season of frustration. Then on Saturday night they put up a 3 spot against Precision and lost 8-3 when they probably should have adjusted to the wind and humidity conditions and been free swinging. They recovered in the loser’s bracket to finish 3rd and only a few runs separated them and a chance at the championship against Line Drive in the loser’s bracket championship. Collins hardly made an out (that I can remember) playing the game the right way, Sullivan-Riley-Krider in the infield are fun to watch play defense, and the big bats could have a strong world series.
The Red’s are a powerful team and I think only the fact they have no true backup pitcher is keeping this team from reaching their full potential. That and some inconsistencies offensively. Look for Reds to be one tough game the rest of the season.
Reds Astros Lineup:
2B Travis Dale
3B Josh Riley
CF Andrew Collins
LF Wally Maybrier
EH Chad Mullins
RF Buddy Wolf
1B Rob Roop
#1 CF Clay Norton
SS John Sullivan
C Tim Cocco
P Ryan Joiner
MI Troy Krider
4th Place – Baugh Ford/Doerflinger/National Pawn/Klutch/Easton
Conf ‘A’ from AL 3-2 Record
Baugh Ford didn’t sulk too long after their Friday night upset loss to Red’s Astros. They regrouped, won a couple games including beating #1 Team Albicocco Saturday night 28-26 with both the gloves and the bats late to make it to Sunday. On Sunday it looked like they might be set for a run but came up just short in the first game 28-26 to Red’s with the game winning run at the plate. Baugh got an offensive boost from veteran Vince Bisbee, and had the usual contributions from the top of the lineup. The team has fallen off some in the second half of the season but can still make some noise down the stretch.
Baugh Ford lineup:
#5 CF Brian Zirkle
# 3B JD Genter
#22 C Chris Larsen
#8 SS Brad Reckart
#24 LF Donovan Pokraka
1B Sean McDonald
EH Vince Bisbee
RF Kyle Pearson
MI Jeff Flood
2B Kevin Lucas
P Billy Barrett/Tommie Baugh