MANSFIELD – The tournament was billed as the North Texas Winter World and the weather helped the event live up to its name. While temperatures hovered around 50 degrees most of the day on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Big League Dreams in Mansfield, the 25-plus mph wind made it seem much colder.
And a steady drizzle/rain that hung around until almost dusk eventually turned the infields into a quagmire. But with 80-plus teams, many who drove six hours or more to play in the pres¬tigious event, games marched on. The tournament finished on Sunday with the sun shining, yet the infields were still soggy from the previous day’s precipitation.
The three divisions had different, yet intriguing storylines. The upper division had more than the typical five- or six-team brackets that it has had the past couple of years; the middlle division was the most diverse; and the lower division was domi-nated by teams from the home-state of a former Southwest Conference rival.
Of the 16 teams in the Men’s B/C bracket, there were three teams that have already registered for Conference USSSA. But the heavy pre-tournament favorite, Wood Law/Miken – who was the only one of those three teams that played in the Conference last year, and did very well – did not win first place. In fact, Wood Lawn/Miken managed only a tie for fifth place, which is a testament to the strength and depth of upper teams in North Texas this year.
SaveSecond.com/Elite/Combat is a new team from Dallas that joined the Conference just two days before Winter Worlds. It is a combination of four players who were with Wood Law in 2009 and other players who were on various C teams in North and East Texas last year. After winning their opening game by forfeit, manager Tim Barnes’ bunch defeated Color Station (10-5), Dish Network Express (22-9) and Lethal Assault (10-9) to advance to the championship game.
Lethal Assault from Keller was the surprise team of the tourna¬ment. After placing ninth at USSSA D Worlds last year, Lethal Assault was bumped to C for this year. In their first appear¬ance of the 2010 season, Lethal Assault won their opening game over North Texas Hype (22-9). That drew a second round matchup with heralded Wood Law. But Lethal Assault matched punches with the heavyweight, and emerged with a 25-19 win. Then, after a 9-8 win over Vivid, Lethal Assault lost to SaveSecond in the winner’s bracket finals. Manager Jesse Champion’s squad dropped to the loser’s bracket and defeated Dish Network Express – the third team in Winter Worlds that has already joined Conference USSSA – and posted a 17-13 win to advance to the championship. Lethal Assault even defeated SaveSecond (19-18) to force an “if necessary” game. But SaveSecond was too tough to lose for a second time on this weekend, and emerged with a 23-5 championship win.
SaveSecond.com/Elite/Combat finished the event with a 5-1 record, while Lethal Assault was runnerup at 5-2. Dish Network Express from Coleman came in third with a 4-2 record while Mayhem from Rowlett, another team that was bumped from D to C for the 2010 season, posted a strong fourth place finish at 4-2. Wood Law/Miken from Dallas and Vivid from Frisco tied for fifth place, while OK Boom from Elk City, OK and The Core from Rowlett tied for seventh.
Joey Urbanek of SaveSecond.com/Elite/Combat was named Most Valuable Player of the division, while Jason Southers of Lethal Assault was named the Gold Glove winner. Other members of the All-World Tournament team were Joey Gillespie, Jeremy Craft, Bradley Clay and L.C. Watson, of SaveSecond; Daniel Evans, Paul Sciacca and Heath Souders, of Lethal Assault; Matt McFarlin, Chris Potts and Bobby Mitchell, of Dish Network Express; and Luis Vasquez and Charlie Rodriguez, of Mayhem.
The Men’s D division was the biggest bracket with 40 teams, and included six teams from Oklahoma as well as others from such distant locations Lake Charles, Louisiana, Lubbock, Odessa, Beaumont and Galveston. In the end, it was the Texas Scorpions from Houston that went undefeated through six games to win first place. The Texas Scorpions were bumped up from Men’s E to D following a successful season in 2009. One week prior to participating in the Mansfield Winter World, the Texas Scorpions went 2-2 and tied for ninth place at the STX Winter World in League City.
Manager Mike Campos’ team posted wins over the Bad Boys from Oklahoma (17-1), Webgems from Louisiana (16-3), BTX Outsiders from Beaumont (8-7), the Woodpeckers from Galveston (21-6) and Fakeouts from Ft. Worth (9-5) to advance to the championship game, where they beat Absolut Softball from Oklahoma City (11-10) to capture the crown.
Absolut Softball is based in Oklahoma City, but has several players from North Texas on the team. Manager Chad Casula’s team was runnerup in the division with a 6-2 record, while the Fakeouts from Ft. Worth came in third at 4-2 and Woodpeckers from Galveston came in fourth also at 4-2.
AdvantageSportsProducts.com and the Outlawz, both from Dallas, tied for fifth place; Turmoil from Oklahoma City and Elite/Texas Smoke/GKI Travel from Euless tied for seventh; and CSI from Dallas, Lost Koz from Tulsa, OK, Maui Built/Sagnasty from Saginaw, and BTX Outsiders from Beaumont all tied for ninth.
Jorge Gallego of the Texas Scorpions was named MVP of the division, and Alan Peters of Absolut was the Gold Glove winner. Others named to the All-World Tournament team were Rene Rosete Jr., Alex Zozaya, Phillip Melton and Dan Altman, of the Texas Scorpions; Chance Gomez, Lukus Morgan and Tony Gomez, of Absolut; Jim O’Quinn, Cody Duncan and Logan Nelson, of the Fakeouts; and Rob Carroll and Trey Strickland, of the Woodpeckers.
Arkansas teams dominated the Men’s E Division at Winter Worlds by capturing five of the top 6 places in the tournament. Orange Crush from Bentonville, AR (home of Wal-Mart) went 5-1 to win first place; Team Eastline from Searcy, AR came in second at 7-2; Bat Attack from Fayetteville, AR. finished third at 3-2; NWA Dirtbags, also from Fayetteville, came in fourth at 3-2; and HS Power from Hot Springs, AR tied for fifth at 5-2.
Orange Crush barely won their opening game in a 12-11 decision over El Norte/ ATW Bail Bonds. They also had to rally from a 10-run deficit to defeat Remember the Titans (15-12) in their second game. After that, Orange Crush crushed Balco Inc. (19-7) and Bat Attack (23-10) to advance to the championship game. In-state rival Team Eastline even beat Orange Crush once (12-9) to force the “if necessary” game. But Orange Crush rebounded for a 16-12 win to take the title.
Balco, Inc. from Ft. Worth was the only Texas team to crack the Top 5, as they tied with HS Power for fifth place at 3-2. The Compadres from Euless and Remember The Titans from Little Elm tied for seventh place, while Turn 2 from Rowlett, the Rally Frogs from Corsicana, the Separators from Tyler, and El Norte/ ATW Bail Bonds from Dallas all tied for ninth place.
Brandon Hampton of Orange Crush was named MVP of the division, while Justin Holloway of Team Eastline won the Gold Glove honors. Other members of the All-World Tournament team were Nick Wade, John Fitzgerald, Greg McMullen and Justin Spafford, of Orange Crush; Jason Quast, Mark Seitzer and Danny Hardcastle, of Team Eastline; Dennis Osborn, Chad Barber and Ryan Miller, of Bat Attack; and Jonathan Cathey and Brian McLain, of NWA Dirtbags.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World's Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!