2018 Nationwide Conference USSSA
"Windy City" Invitational
West Chicago, IL
Dan Smith against Smash It Sports in the championship at beautiful McCaslin Park
Smash Its Josh Riley bats against Dan Smith's Mike Nino in the semifinals Saturday
The Windy City Major started on Friday night with the 29 teams playing the first two rounds of the tournament in cool temperatures. The top of the bracket had no Major teams and the upsets came early and often. TG Brand (MI-A) beat Precision/3rd Street/Bull Dawg (IL-AA) 35-20 on the main field. Premier/Easton/HDLNS (OH-A) beat Racks/Worth Astros/Klutch/Troupe (IN-AA) 40-34. And in the lower part of the bracket Comatose/S2N/Subway (WI-B) knocked off Vivid/Killbombers/OA/Easton 33-32. Bay Area Legends/Miken (CA-TBD) beat Newbreed/Steel Sports/Demarini (WA-AA) 48-39. And in the biggest upset of the tournament Rapid Fire Athletics/Sports Lounge (VA-A) run ruled Resmondo/RDD/HAuto/All In/Sprizzi (FL-M) 28-13!!! That is a LOT of upsets! Meanwhile TDB, Pure Sports, Smash It Sports, and Dan Smith all advanced as well to the final 8.
On Saturday Dan Smith scored 23 in the first inning against Bay Area Legends who closed the gap to 23-27 at one point before losing 39-23. Smash It Sports likewise struggled with Rapid Fire in a game that Rapid Fire had every chance to challenge but botched a couple of infield plays and then used up too many solo homers and SIS scored what seemed like the last 10 runs and won 31-21. In the top half of the bracket the 'A' teams were at it again as TG Brand won 33-27 over TDB who didn't use their home runs well and benches cleared after some middle shots, but nothing came of it. And Premier with the wind blowing in led 22-19 and got a popup and a double play against Pure Sports to win it in the 7th.
This advanced the two 'A' teams at the top of the bracket to the semifinals. There TG Brand steadily pulled away from Premier and won 36-26. And in the other semifinal the two Major teams played. Smash It Sports got off to a hot start as they scored double digits in each of the first 3 innings and led 46-18 at one point and won 46-32. Luis Reyna was 6-6 with 3 HR including a grand slam and 10 RBI. In the loss Steven Lloyd was 4-4 with a walk, 3 HR, and 5 runs scored.
The winner's bracket finals was a bit anti-climactic as TG Brand who's starting pitcher had been hit too many times decided to pitch seldom used James Sparrow and it was all Smash It Sports from the beginning and they won easily 32-11.
The loser's bracket was interesting with Vivid, Chanticlear, Pure Sports, Resmondo, TDB, and Dan Smith all on the top side and Precision, Bay Area, Seminoles, Racks, and Premier on the bottom half. On the top side Vivid won 2 in a row including sending home Newbreed 49-32 early Saturday. And then Vivid got off to a huge lead on Chanticlear only to see Chanticlear score 24 runs on just 2 home runs in one inning and beat them 41-36. Then TDB dropped down and beat Chanticlear 33-26 in a hard fought win. Also, Pure Sports ran into Resmondo early on in the 3 PM game and put up 24 runs before the 1st out in the top of the 1st inning, and ended up with 34 runs on 11 home runs! It had to be the biggest inning a Major team has ever allowed in the history of the Conference, at least at a non-Smoky Mountain Classic event. Resmondo didn't give up but they lost 36-15 and then Pure Sports put away rival TDB 39-34 after leading 36-15, before Dan Smith dropped down and beat them 39-30. In the lower half of the loser's bracket Racks won 3 in a row and Precision won 3 in a row including an overtime win over Bay Area Legends to meet each other. Bay Area actually scored 5 runs to tie that one in the bottom of the 7th on a Laser Dave homer. Precision then came from behind to beat Racks 35-33 before losing a close one to Premier 33-29 when Premier had better home run management. Late Saturday night in the loser's bracket semifinals Premier jumped out to a nice lead on Dan Smith using up all of their home runs but Dan Smith made a steady comeback and eventually run ruled Premier 43-28.
On Sunday morning in the loser's final Dan Smith was up on TG Brand 6-2 when a hard shot up the their third pitcher and they ended up forfeiting after some sort of ejection. In the championship Dan Smith and Smash It Sports traded double digit innings. Dan Smith with 13 in the first and 10 in the 4th. SIS with 10 in the 2nd and 18 in the 3rd. Dan Smith used their 16 home runs more efficiently though and going into the bottom of the 6th Dan Smith led 44-35 and Smash It Sports had no home runs left. But Smash It Sports had kept the lead to 9 with some great infield defense in the 5th and 6th innings. In the bottom of the 6th SIS took advantage of Dan Smith infield errors and a number of walks caused by the strong winds and scored an amazing 10 runs on no homers with the big singles coming from Kyle Pearson to tie and Ryan Harvey to take the lead 45-44 and the defense got Dan Smith to go 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th for the win and the tournament championship! Defense, base hitting, and the will to find a way to win has returned to the Smash It Sports team.
The weather was near perfect for softball except for the wind that kicked up on Sunday. The classic M balls were a little too much for the 300 foot fields but the park is beautiful and scenic and the games were high scoring except for the wind blowing in on MC2 a little bit on Saturday. The umpiring was solid and the number of upsets was probably the most of they year.
I would like to thank director Brian Mayfield and his crew for their hospitality.
Championship game final score and boxscore
Dan Smiths Andrew Collins homers in the final game
29 Teams Overall
17 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
3 Major Teams
5 'AA' Teams
8 'A' Teams
6 'B' Teams
7 'C' Teams
Benches cleared in the TDB vs TG Brand and Smash It vs Dan Smith games but nothing came of it…
TDB's Kyle Pearson homers in their loss to Pure Sports in a battle of 'AA' teams
Premier's Cory Boothe adds to their lead against Precision late Saturday
Co-MVP Luis Reyna homer's against Rapid Fire
TG Brand defends TDB in their upset victory
Smash Its Andy Purcell, SS Don Dedonatis, MI Luis Reyna, and outfielder Brandon Dillon
Chicago Major Final Standings and Awards
Smash Its Luis Reyna and Filip Washington were co-MVP's…
Smash Its Andy Purcell was Defensive MVP as once again his ERA in the late innings was the difference.
Andy was also 6-6 with 6 singles and a walk in the championship.
Dan Smith second baseman Steven Lloyd was the Offensive MVP