The 2012 USSSA Men’s ‘A’ World tourna¬ment was full of drama from the start with close games, and walk off homers being the norm. The scores were low because of the hot and humid air which kept the ball from flying out of the extra-large 325 foot fenced fields. The team that won all of their close games in the end was R&M Metals/ Troupe/Pipac/S&R/Easton based out of Waterloo, Iowa! They went an unde¬feated 5-0 to win the tournament!
R&M trailed Taylormade/TM Sports/Mizuno on Saturday night in the winner’s bracket championship game 7-3 most of the game. In the bottom of the 7th they rallied and capped off a comeback win with a walk off grand slam homer with one out by middle infielder Steve Whaley. On Sunday around noon, R&M met Taylormade again in the finals and jumped out to a big early lead and won the game and the title 25-5 in just 4 innings.
There were 17 teams from 11 different states in the tournament. 9 ‘A’ teams, 5 ‘B’ teams, and 3 ‘C’ teams. 14 of the teams were from the Nationwide Conference USSSA. The tournament had 11 games decided by 4 runs or less, and 9 of the games were decided in the last at bat including 5 walk off home runs!
The tournament began on Friday night at 7 PM and the games Friday and Saturday were played under overcast skies and a very real threat of rain. The tournament was only delayed once however, for two hours on Saturday afternoon by a down¬pour and lightning. On Friday night those first 3 games of the tournament at 7 PM were decided in the last at bat on each field. Headhunter/Cancooker/ SHSsports.com used a walk off homer by second baseman Robert Canceran to beat their in state Georgia rivals Down2EarthSports.com/SBC/Worth 19-17. R&M Metals/Troupe/Pipac/S&R/ Easton overcame an early 13-0 deficit to beat Blitz/Weller/Watanabe/K&G/Easton 19-16 on a walk off homer by third baseman Joe Gordon. And Taylormade/ TM Sports/Mizuno used a walk off gap shot by shortstop Branden Blake and the subsequent steal of home by second baseman Billy Moran on an errant throw to beat Primetime/Easton 15-14.
The Friday night upsets continued as Line Drive Sportz/SSS Softball knocked off West Coast Doerflinger – Easton 24-14, and Westshore Pizza/TPS capped the night with a walk off homer by Dan Dillingham to beat Shoppe/Team TPS/Elite 22-20. Team 454 also run ruled local Florida ‘C’ team Demarini Headbangers. TYJA – Suncoast Reebok run ruled Sonny’s / Louisville Slugger and Demarini/Dirty/3n2/ATWLDesigns came from a 19-13 deficit on the power of two Adam Rockoff homer’s late in the game to beat upstart Jolt 25-19.
With the first round over and the typical Friday night upsets occurring, the tour¬nament moved to Saturday where it became quickly evident that with the heat index hovering around 100 degrees and the home runs and scores very low, each game became just a “flip of the coin”. It didn’t matter if you were a top ‘A’ team, a lower ‘A’ team, or a ‘B’ team. With the 325 foot fences and a soft ball it was a “small ball” game with teams having to earn their home runs.
The top 4 seeds were all knocked to the loser’s bracket early on in this tour¬nament. The highlight of the day on Saturday was a loser’s bracket game where Team 454/Emerald/Worth scored 14 runs in the bottom of the 7th against Sonny’s to win 21-19 on a walk off homer by Jason Branch with two outs.
On Sunday morning in the final 4, TYJA lost to Line Drive Sportz 11-10 with the bats in their hands in the bottom of the 7th, and Taylormade then sent Line Drive Sportz home 15-9 with the help of a big pinch hit homer by Nate Holcomb setting up the re-match with R&M Metals who ended up run ruling Taylormade for the title.
By: Dale Weiser
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!