2021 Nationwide Conference USSSA
"Battle on the Chesapeake"
Glen Burnie, MD
S & E/Friendly Trans/Worsham is on a roll!
Video Highlights brought to you by:
Watch the video clips to see how hard Davis Bilardello hit this wicked line drive!
Team Breakdown: 29 Teams Overall 8 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams 1 Major Teams 3 'AA' Teams 2 'A' Teams 9 'B' Teams 13 'C' Teams 1 'D' Team
The 2021 Conference USSSA rolled into Glen Burnie, Maryland and the Bachmann Sports Complex for a 29 team double elimination tournament. The start on Saturday morning was delayed by over 4 hours as hard rain on Thursday and Friday soaked the fields but things dried out and the grounds crew did a nice job and the tournament was played in its entirety. Due to the fact the park and each field was locked and the tournament began at noon on Saturday on 3 fields I (DW) spent the first 4 hours getting the live stream cameras up and working before I was able to really follow the action. So I have less content than normal. Sorry about that.
The "Round of 32" was fairly uneventful as Conference teams Juno Athletics (NJ-A), Albicocco/Riot (FL-AA), Chick-fil-a (VA-A), Statewide/SMC (NC-B), and WM Roofing (OH-B) all beat local/regional teams by the run rule and the Rapid Fire/Bad Draw (VA-C) beat Deluxe Bakery (NJ-B) on a walk off homer 18-17.
"Round of 16"
The "Round of 16" began with a great matchup between WM Roofing and Loony Bin a Maryland 'B' team. Loony Bin was down 4 runs with 5 homer's to hit and hit two 3 run homer's to win it 12-11. Even though all 6 fields were 300 feet it was humid during the day and the ball did not travel particularly well until the sun went down.
Loony Bin celebrates their walk off homer.
#4 seed Albiocco which was one of 3 'AA' teams in the event run ruled Fish Head a local 'B' team 25-10. I was told that one of the Fish Head players was called out for carrying his bat into the dugout during this game. I asked the UIC Dave Maury and he said the batter should not have been called out but the bat should have been removed from the tournament.
Juno Athletics back on field #5 against Tru/Mojo (VA-B) was about to run rule Tru when Tru hit a homer to avoid the mercy rule and then batted around to climb back into the game. Juno ended up winning 25-21. And in other "Round of 16" action the #1 seed MPT Rentals Major team run ruled Bad Draw's 'C' team on the main field #1, Chick-Fil-A (VA-A) run ruled PF/Beloli (MA-B) 21-5, #2 seed Sports Reach run ruled Smash It Sports (NY-B) 33-8, #3 seed S&E/Friendly Trans/Worsham (NC-AA) run ruled CLA/BAF/ Moose (MD-B) 30-5. And non conference Platinum (MD-B) used a late power surge to beat Statewide 26-20 in extra innings after Statewide scored 11 runs in the 1st inning.
"Round of 8"
In the "Round of 8" which was pushed back to early Saturday evening due to the late start the temperatures began to cool off and the scores started rising. MPT Rentals the Major team played their 'A' team Juno Athletics on field #1 with the wind blowing across at 10 mph. MPT scored 14 runs but used up 8 of their 12 homer's in the bottom of the 1st and many of those were solo homer's. Juno answered with 10 on 3 HR in the top of the 2nd. As the game wore on Juno actually had the lead in the 5th inning but was out of home runs with MPT still having 4 to hit. In the bottom of the 5th MPT used 3 homer's to go up 34-32 and Juno grabbed the lead back 35-34 on a 3 run double by Kameron King and then got MPT to ground into a double play to go scoreless in the bottom half of the inning. The game then went to extra innings where back to back singles by Filip Washington and Bryson Baker scored Zach Messer who ran through the stop sign by the third base coach and just barely scored ahead of the throw to the plate to win the game 39-38.
Local Maryland product Chris Greinert hits one off of Mike Verbasco's shin guard in the quarter finals.
Zach Messer just barely scored ahead of the tag to win in extra innings.
Albicocco hit and hit and hit some more against Chick-fil-a beating them 40-9!
Sports Reach got an RBI double from Curtis Cornett pictured above and jumped out to a 9-0 lead on Platinum and cruised to a 23-8 victory out homering Platinum 7-3. Kaden Watson had 7 RBI.
And in the last quarterfinal over on field #4, I did not even get over to the field before S&E drummed Loony Bin 39-4.
In semifinal #1 Sports Reach went up 8-2 against S&E on a Zach Watts 2 out 3 run homer. Then the two teams traded double plays. Then the S&E defense blanked Sports Reach two innings in a row in the 3rd and 4th innings. S&E's offense finally responded in the bottom of the 4th and scored 7 runs to go up 13-8. In the top of the 6th Watts hit another home run this time a grand slam (pictured above) a no doubter on the first pitch as he was "LOCKED IN" to give Sports Reach a 17-15 lead! In the top of the 7th Sports Reach extended the lead to 23-18 but left the bases loaded with 3 home runs left. S&E then walked them down as Tyler Wiles walked, Peter Seiden hit a 2 run homer, Matthew Lloyd singled, Joel Sanchez hit a 2 run homer, Rich Racobaldo hit a homer, then a walk to Locklear, a Justin Gregory double, and a Brian Renner base hit to right field keeping the ball in the park won the game 24-23. Watts was 5 for 5 with 4 HR and 10 RBI in the loss. Gregory was 4-5 with 2 HR and 4 RBI in the win.
Gregory doubles and Renner wins it for S&E vs Sports Reach in the bottom of the 7th.
By the time the S&E and Sports Reach game was done I thought I had plenty of time to go over to the end of the Albicocco and MPT game but I was shocked to see them shaking hands as Albicocco left MPT on the field with a 29-9 run rule victory!
A number of die hard fans followed the local teams and stayed late Saturday to watch the games.
In the winner's bracket finals Albicocco's offense led by lead off man Dan Kirkwood and the hot hitting of pitcher Andrew Vitcak scored enough runs to overcome a lot of base running mistakes and what they would say were bad calls. The calls did seem to go S&E's way but Albicocco persevered and pulled out a 40-25 run rule win leaving S&E on the field 40-25 on a Jeff Bloomer grand slam. The game ended after 1 AM.
Kirkwood was like 6-6 or 7-7. Bloomer hit the grand slam to leave S&E on the field.
The loser's bracket was running simultaneously with the big winner's bracket games throughout the night starting at 6 PM so I was not able to keep up. Kramer Construction a 'C' team from Pennsylvania won 3 in a row before Loony Bin dropped down and beat them 19-4. PF/Beloli beat a who's who of northeastern upper level teams as they knocked off Deluxe Bakery, Fish Head, and Loony Bin. In the lower half of the loser's bracket Conference 'B' teams Statewide and WM Roofing made runs until Chick-fil-a dropped down and beat Statewide 34-30 and Juno Athletics dropped down and beat WM Roofing 25-24 on a walk off grand slam by Eric Christensen. And at around 4 AM in the morning PF/Beloli shocked MPT Rentals with a 32-29 win as MPT left 2 on base with home runs left to hit. And Sports Reach in a game that ended at 5 AM as the sun was coming up beat Chick-fil-a 50-8 scoring 16 in the 1st, 10 in the 2nd, and 18 in the 4th. Watts and Robo were both 6-6 and Derrick Roland had 10 RBI.
Juno's Eric Christensen hits a walk off grand slam to beat WM Roofing.
On Sunday morning at 8 AM it was two very tired teams Sports Reach and PF/Beloli but to their credit they both played a very good and entertaining game. After Sports Reach blanked PF/Beloli in the top of the 1st and then batted around the order scoring 8 runs, PF/Beloli could easily have rolled over and gone home. But they fought back scoring in every inning the rest of the game and took a 13-12 lead in the top of the 6th. In the 7th down 16-13 they scored 15 runs to win the game 28-25! PF/Beloli leadoff hitter Joe Yankee was 5-6 with 3 HR and 6 RBI and two hitter and pitcher Chuck Rohrbach was 4-4 with 3 HR and 5 runs scored.
PF Beloli's "Soup" Campbell hits a huge 3 run homer!
Kudos to both teams for putting on a great game with just 1 or 2 hours sleep.
In the loser's final it was all S&E as they went up by 9 runs in the bottom of the 2nd and then got another double play to hold PF/Beloli to zero. In the 3rd inning S&E started fence banging and cruised to a 31-7 win.
In the championship S&E went up 13-7 as they scored 10 runs on 5 homer's in the bottom of the 2nd. Albicocco grabbed the lead in the top of the 3rd on a Ricardo Lizcano 3 run homer and stretched the lead to 16-13. Then later S&E got a 2 run double from Rich Racobaldo and a 2 run homer by Emilson Marquez to take a 17-16 lead and then the two teams traded double play innings where nobody scored. In the bottom of the 6th S&E stretched their lead and Albicocco used up their homer's to pull within 1 but couldn't get the tying run on base and lost 25-24.
Kirkwood slips one past Racobaldo
Renner takes one in the gut but makes the play.
Marquez turns a big double play
In the "if" game S&E scored 13 runs on 5 homer's in the bottom of the 1st and stretched their lead to 22-5 on a 3 run homer by Matthew Lloyd and a 2 out 2 run homer by Brian Renner. In the top of the 3rd Albicocco "freed up" and hit too many solos trying to get back into the game and actually used a "green and gaps" motto to pull to within 20-22 on a Phil White grand slam. But after neither team scored in the 4th S&E pulled out to a 27-20 lead in the bottom of the 5th on a 2 out 3 run homer by Lloyd and stretched their lead to 31-21 in the bottom of the 6th which is the score they won by. S&E won their 2nd Conference event in a row!
The directors Bob Holland and UIC Dave Maury did a good job getting all of the games in after those torrential rains during the week. The umpires put in a 24 hour stint and you have to give them credit. The players still played hard with very little rest which was awesome to see. I also learned some new terminology that east coast players use. A "twisted tea" is a double play. A "loose puck" is an overthrow… 🙂
Long Bombers of the Week
I am giving the Long Bomber of the week to Chad Mullins who had some good distance on a number of his home runs. Greinert, Washington, Harvey, Racobaldo, and Marquez get honorable mention. And Zach Watts was your Offensive MVP had Sports Reach made the championship. He was hitting no doubters at will on Saturday.
Maryland Major Final Standings and Awards
S&E utility man Matthew Lloyd was MVP
S&E shortstop Joel Sanchez was the Defensive MVP
Albicocco middle infielder Ricardo Lizcano was Offensive MVP
Team by team notes:
1st Place – S & E/Friendlys Trans/Worsham
Conf 'AA' from NC 6-1 Record
S&E did not let the mid season bump to 'AA' affect them as they won 6 games including double dipping Albicocco to win their 2nd tournament in a row. Everyone contributed. The bench knows their roles. Renner was a beast with the bat and could be the best hitting pitcher in the game. The defense was solid even after a couple of bad hops on a rough infield probably cost them the game against Albicocco Saturday night. They play well when they are tired and they play well on Sundays which is a box all championship caliber teams need to check.
Locklear and Welborn
Joey Kampfer in LF and Tyler Wiles. Wiles was making that Lady Cartel sing.
Backup pitcher Kenneth Cain
Nice photo bomb by yours truly…
2nd Place – Albicocco/Riot/Klutch/Broughton
Conf 'AA' from FL 5-2 Record
Albicocco took a step forward and grabbed some much needed points. I realize they are disappointed but they never gave up and now have something to build on. There are a lot of lefties in this lineup which gives the offense a good balance. Edwards and Mullins were fighting muscle pulls.
Lefties Brad Lunda and Jeff Bloomer
Vitcak only made 3 outs coming into Sunday
Bilardello and the boys hammered Chick fil a
3B Phillip White and SS Toby Letak
LF Scott Hartling
3rd Place – PF/Beloli
'B' from MA 7-2 Record
PF which stands for Platinum Fire is a merger of sponsors between PF and Beloli who is the son of the former Ritch's sponsor. Ritchs was one of the best softball teams in the history of the game. PF Beloli made an epic run through the loser's bracket winning 6 straight and "validated" the run with that 4 am victory over MPT and the follow up 8 am win over Sports Reach as they came from behind. The team has youth and talent, a good chemistry, and should be a force come 'B' Worlds.
PF Beloli RF Joe Yankee P Chuck Rohrbach 1B Gary Levesque Jr Soup Campbell 3B Corey Batista MI John Amore Brendan Picini C Cal Maxwell / Koprusak CF Jordan Picini SS Zack George
RF Joe Yankee at lead off
Pitcher Chuck Rohrbach in the two hole.
1B Levesque and Soup Campbell
3B Batista, SS George, MI Amore
4th Place – Sports Reach/Worth/CT/Grizzy
Conf 'AA' from KY 3-2 Record
Zach Watts was putting on a show as he must have thought the ball looked like a beach ball whacking home runs against S&E Saturday night. The team was without general manager Robby Speer, manager OJ McFarland (no pilots for his flight), and a number of players. But they fought hard with what they had but just didn't have quite enough against S&E and then fell apart giving up 15 runs in the top of the 7th to PF Beloli.
MI Aaron Miller backhands a ball behind 2nd and completes the play to 1st base.
Pitcher Dan Sanchez takes one off the shin guards but stays with it and flicks it to 1st for the out.
Lendenski was all tournament
Tied 5th Place – Chick-fil-a/BAF Sports
Conf 'A' from VA 4-2 Record
Chick fil a won big and lost big with quality wins over PF/Beloli, Statewide, and Juno.
Natolly and Center pitched
Tied 5th Place – MPT Rentals/Juno Athletics
Conf 'M' from NJ 2-2 Record
MPT was flat. They pulled one out against their 'A' team Juno in extra innings and then dropped two straight to Albicocco only scoring 9 runs and then having the tying run at the plate vs PF/Beloli. They will take a big hit in the computer rankings this week with a loss to a 'B' team and no top 4 finish.
Greinert playing in front of his home town crowd.
Tied 7th Place – Loony Bin/Team 199/Nitro Circus
'B' from MD 3-2 Record
Loony Bin has the Shupe brothers and veteran pitcher Tom Bloom and they had a nice win over WM Roofing on a walk off homer.
Tied 7th Place – Juno Athletics/MPT Rentals
Conf 'A' from NJ 3-2 Record
Juno was so close to that upset win over their sponsors Major team MPT. What could have been? They did have quality wins over Tru, a 1 run loss to MPT, and they beat WM Roofing on a walk off grand slam.
Doc Kildea and Erich Ackerman do a nice job with the 2020 USSSA 'B' Champs
Some more pictures for you:
WM Roofing lost two games on walk off homers and beat 3 local teams. Maybe they need some better luck with the coin toss.
Tru always draws a crowd
Statewide can't get over the Conference hump which isn't easy to do.
Mark Katz Rapid Fire 'C' team played more games than his Major team did in Chicago.
Rapid Fire won 2 games on walk off homer's.
William Scott and Brian Titus play for Rick Schiffhaurs Smash it Sports 'B' team
Deluxe Bakery has a nice team but went 0-2
Splash down. This home run ball splashing on the other side of the fence shows how much water they got in MD.
Platinum Group had veteran pitcher Brian Garner
Bilardello's tag did miss, but was he out of the base line?
Sanchez takes a bad hop to the side of the face.
This team had Maroadi sponsorship. I wonder how Joe Baney is doing?
Outfields had some big gravel warning tracks
Kirkwood with the fake catch
JJ and Daryl the Championship umpires look more like UFC officials!