2021 Nationwide Conference USSSA
Smash Its Dale Brungardt hits against Sports Reach in the championship game on Saturday night!
Team Breakdown: 13 Teams Overall 10 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams 1 Major Teams 2 'AA' Teams 5 'A' Teams 4 'B' Teams 1 'C' Teams
"Play In" Games
The Nationwide Conference USSSA circus rolled in to Columbus, Georgia's South Commons Softball Complex for a 13 team one day Major event. There were 5 "Play In" games and plenty of upsets. Pictured above the Juno Athletics/MPT Rentals (NJ-A) team jumped out to a double digit lead before non conference 'B' team Kut4 Sports/OI Livingston/D2E came from behind and won an a Allen Ponder walk off homer.
D&S a non conference 'B' team from Florida upset Primetime Easton/FAI (GA-A) 33-30 on the stadium field. All 8 fields at South Commons Softball Park are 300 feet.
Westpoint Softball (IN-A) in the grey held off Showtime/Hummingbird/Kut4 (GA-C) 32-26.
And in other play in game action Baugh Ford/Grzy/Klutch/ASP (AL-A) led the whole game against Team Bryce/GTF (FL-B) in a 26-24 win. GTF playing in honor of their former manager Bryce Johnson who passed away recently. Also Nightmare/Benefit the Badge/Miken (MO-A) advanced past LSR (IN-B) who no showed?
"Round of 8"
The "Round of 8" was played early on Saturday and Smash it Sports/Newbreed (NC-M) run ruled Nightmare 31-15.
Baugh Ford upset a tournament favorite S&E/Friendly Trans/Worsham (NC-AA) 28-26 when S&E ran out of homer's late and played without their normal starting pitcher Brian Renner.
In other "Round of 8" action Sports Reach broke open a 12-12 tie vs Kut4/OI Livingston in the 2nd with 10 runs and scored 10 more in the 3rd and won in 4 innings 37-17. Ira Brown, Zach Watts, and Kaden Watson each had 4 hits in the win. And Westpoint beat a feisty D&S team 39-26.
Before the "Final 4" could start a huge rain storm hit and delayed the tournament for 2.5 hours.
When they resumed Smashit in the orange pictured above jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Westpoint but after 4 complete innings Westpoint led 31-21 and Westpoint was out of home runs while Smashit still had 4. In the 5th Smashits Dale Brungardt, Andrew Collins, and Jason Martel each hit a 3 run homer and Smashit scored 13 runs to take the lead. Westpoint would tie the game and force extra innings but Smashit got a 2 out 2 run double from Ben Dunn and an RBI single from Luis Reyna in the top of the 8th and shut down Westpoint in the 7th and 8th to win 37-34.
In the other semifinal Sports Reach broke open a close game against Baugh Ford with a 15 run outburst in the top of the 5th and won in 7 innings 30-21. Ira Brown was 4-7 with 3 HR in the win and Sports Reach out homered Baugh 12-9 in the game. The ball was flying all tournament long even though the humidity was high. They used the Dudley Pro-M ball and 240 bat compression testing.
In the winner's final early Saturday evening Sports Reach went up 12-3 on Smash It Sports in the top of the 2nd inning scoring 7 runs with 2 outs. But the SIS offense came back with 7 in the 2nd, 8 in the 3rd, and 7 more in the 4th to go up 25-14. Then Sports Reach's Ira Brown hit the 2 out grand slam pictured above to get them back in the game 20-25 but Smash It held on to win 31-24. Sports Reach left 3 homer's on the table. Buddy Wolf was 5-5 with 3 HR and 8 RBI and Dale Brungardt 4-4 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in the victory.
Smash it Pitcher Ryan Mcclanahan shut down the middle in the winner's final against Sports Reach!
Mcclanahan doubles off the pinch runner on a liner.
In the loser's bracket D&S upset Juno Athletics 24-22 and Primetime, S&E, and Nightmare who had all lost their 1st game each made a run. S&E beat Primetime, Westpoint, and scored 11 in the 4th inning to beat Nightmare to make it to the loser's bracket finals against Sports Reach.
If you like offense the loser's bracket final between Sports Reach in the blue and S&E in the grey was a good one. Sports Reach looked like they would roll through a tired S&E team after scoring 13 runs in the top of the 1st and blanking S&E in the bottom of the 2nd. But they didn't put S&E away and S&E's offense got rolling with at 21 run bottom of the 4th to climb back in it. As you can see by the box score below Sports Reach answered with a 10 run top of the 5th on the strength of a Robert Blackburn grand slam and emergency pitcher Edmund Locklear who is normally the S&E 1st baseman shut down S&E in the 6th and 7th to come from behind late and win 35-34. Zach Watts had 6 hits and 8 RBI in the win.
The championship game started around midnight as both teams got off to slow starts. But the ball flew the rest of the way and both teams scored 12 runs in the 3rd. Smashit who was the visitors out scored Sports Reach down the stretch 19-16 and won 33-30 when Sports Reach decided not to use their pinch hitters in the bottom of the 7th with the bottom of the order coming up and the dreaded "if" game was avoided :). Tyler Marshburn for Smash It and Jason Gilfillan for Sports Reach each had 8 RBI in the game.
The winning bat bucket
Oldscout pollers had Smash It to win over S&E.
Long Bombers of the Week
Smash It's Andrew Collins and Sports Reach's Chivas Clark were the long bombers of the week hitting these pitches into the top of the trees in the same inning!
Chattahoochee Major Final Standings and Awards
Smash it Sport 3B Dale Brungardt was tournament MVP
Smash It pitcher Ryan Mcclanahan was Defensive MVP
Sports Reach catcher Robert "Robo" Blackburn was Offensive MVP
Team by team notes:
1st Place – Smash It/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3
Conf 'M' from NC 4-0 Record
TDB was on the ropes against Westpoint in their second game but won in extra innings and they gutted out two good wins against Sports Reach to win the tournament, the last two without Purcell to hang the magic donuts. Even though they won the tournament they didn't actually gain any points and just need a decent showing at the Conference Championships in two weeks in Columbus, Ohio to wrap up the #1 seed. It looks like there are 29 teams in the Conference Championship tournament!
Andy Purcell did pitch early on until a bad back took him out. Marshburn at SS, Reyna at MI
Williams and Wolf were all tourny
Neil Haglund was all tournament
Early on it was Marshburn at 3rd, Mcclanahan at SS, Reyna MI, Dunn CF. Pretty good defense right there!
2nd Place – Sports Reach/Worth/CT/Grizzy
Conf 'AA' from KY 3-2 Record
Robo, Gillfilan, and McDowell in a pinch hit role all were .800 or better. Gilfillan and Brown also hit 8 HR, and Gilfillan had 23 RBI. The defense led by Pinkham, Miller, and Lendenski up the middle was solid and they looked like a 'AA' team that can compete with S&E and SNI for the 'AA' World title!
Pitcher Bill Pinkham has helped Sports Reach return to what they were early in the year.
MI Aaron Miller makes a leaping stab.
Tre Porter and Zach Watts were all tournament
Cornett at 3B, Watson SS, Miller MI, Watts RF.
3rd Place – S & E/Friendlys Trans/Worsham
Conf 'AA' from NC 4-2 Record
S&E persevered without Renner at pitcher and after being upset by Baugh Ford did everything but finish against Sports Reach. Their offense continues to be #1 in onbase percentage and runs scored per 7 innings.
Edmund Locklear did a lot of the pitching.
Tyler Wiles was all tournament
Welborn at 3B, Sanchez SS, Marquez MI
4th Place – Nightmare/Benefit the Badge/Miken
Conf 'A' from MO 4-2 Record
Nightmare pulled off a couple wins over GTF, D&S, and Baugh Ford to finish 4th which some oldscout poster claimed would never happen, lol. Trey Gilliland had a monster tournament .864, 13 HR, 23 RBI, Buckshot was .824, and Dexter Jordan .800, while Zane Migues was .727 with some great diving catches, and Myles McGhee was .762.
Nightmare CF robs a homer
1B McGhee, MI Migues
Tied 5th Place – Baugh Ford/GRZY/Klutch/ASP
Conf 'A' from AL 2-2 Record
All of Baugh Fords games were close and they pulled off that huge win over S&E which is a step in the right direction. Cole Campbell is now the manager/player.
The RED on the front of the uniforms stands for "Remember everyone deployed".
Tied 5th Place – Westpoint Softball
Conf 'A' from IN 2-2 Record
Westpoint had Smash It on the ropes and just needed a base hit to win it in the bottom of the 7th. But they let them off the ropes and then got knocked out and then lost to S&E in the loser's bracket thus coming up just short of qualifying for the USSSA Major World Series. They will try again at the Conference Championships.
Kyle Johnson isn't just the pitcher, he hits at the top of the order.
Some more pictures for you:
D&S is a 'B' team out of Orlando, Florida and they upset Prime Time 33-30, hung with Westpoint, sent Juno home 24-22 and then lost to Nightmare 28-21. The team is looking for sponsorship and should be a tough out at the USSSA 'B' Worlds.
OI Livingstons Allen Ponder hit a homer just like this one to walk off Juno.
GTF Cartel was put together by the late Bryce Johnson who fielded teams across the southeast every weekend. He will be missed…
Juno was 2 and Q
Primetime playing on their home turf was 2-2