2021 Nationwide Conference USSSA
April 30 – May 2
The atmosphere at Texas Star Park is top notch
Resmondo Co-MVP Josh Riley laced the ball all over the Texas Star park for 3 straight days!
Conference USSSA returned to the Lone Star State for the 20th Texas Legends Major at the newly renovated Texas Star park. There were 32 teams in attendance including 19 from the Conference and 3 of the Major teams. The tournament began with each team playing on Friday night and the tournament was played under the threat of rain Friday and Saturday with cooler temperatures in the 60's and low 70's. Below is the day by day, round by round recap of the big games.
Friday Night the local teams try for upsets!
Friday night California 'A' team L&S Glass had their hands full with Ark Fabrication a Texas 'B' team until L&S Glass center fielder Kirk Rocha hit a walk off homer to win the game 24-22! L&S was down 22-18 going into the bottom of the 7th.
In a Friday night battle of Conference 'A' teams Baugh Ford from Alabama beat J&R Logistics from Arkansas 28-6.
All of the other Conference teams won fairly easily, most by the run rule including Nightmare (MO-A) who beat Conference 'B' team Dirty Vegas from Texas 26-10. Also Xtreme (MN-AA) struggled to beat All Day/Steel Sports a non conference team 27-16. In the picture above Proton/Sonny's Major team beat Smash/The Lodge 25-10. In the picture Proton lead off man Jordan Spaulding was the first to ever swing the new Proton bat in a Conference game and he doubled!
Texas Star Park was formerly known as Softball World.
Team Breakdown: 32 Teams Overall 19 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams 3 Major Teams 3 'AA' Teams 9 'A' Teams 14 'B' Teams 3 'C/D' Teams
Saturday's "Round of 16"
The round of 16 was played on Saturday at 11 AM and noon. In a matchup of 2021 Conference tournament winners Sports Reach (KY-AA) and Envy (TX-A) battled to extra innings as Sports Reach's lead off man Robert "Robo" Blackburn and Envy's 4 hitter Tim "Bye Bye" Bowser traded clutch home runs. But in the end Envy upset Sports Reach 33-32! Blackburn was 4-6 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. Two of the homers tied or gave them the lead late in the game. For Envy Bowser was 4-5 with 3 HR and Kyle Bullock and Biermaier also homered 3 times.
L&S Glass battled to a 14-12 win over Primetime (GA-A) with the wind blowing in getting some nice defensive plays from 2nd baseman Josh Tallent. Primetime had the hammer in the bottom of the 7th.
Resmondo beat GSP/Tri-State (WY-B) 28-10 after separating in the top of the 4th with a 13 run inning. Josh Riley, Greg Connell, and Jason Magnum all had multi homer games.
SNI/Thunder/Chosen (FL-AA) knocked off Levels 17-2 with the wind blowing in after Levels had a 2-1 lead in the 1st inning. SNI 2B Josh Fyffe was 4-4 with 3 HR and 5 RBI in the win.
Victor Cordova (hitting here) pitch for Smash it Sports/Newbreed in their first two games and he beat Baugh Ford 44-24. Baugh was down 15-13 before Smash It put up 26 in the 3rd inning.
In a tough 2nd round matchup on the show field Proton (AZ-M) pulled out a solid 30-22 victory over Xtreme (MN-AA). Proton had a 25-12 lead going into the bottom of the 6th when Xtreme put up a 9 spot.
The newly acquired Mike Brown, known for his hitting, pitched Nightmare to a 26-11 victory over Classic Glass (CA-A).
Thunder/Chosen (TX-B) seen here defending against Competitive Edge (FL-A) beat Comp Edge 24-18 in a wild grudge match type game when Competitive Edge scored 14 runs in the bottom of the 6th to go up 18-10 and Thunder scored 14 in the top of the 7th to win 24-18! The Thunder lead off hitter Levi Cheatwood was 4-5 in the game with 2 HR. The teams share a sponsor, Competitve Edge, as well as a lot of the players on both teams are from Texas.
Saturday "Final 8"
In the quarterfinals Envy couldn't quite keep up with Smash It Sports in a 30-20 loss but it wasn't for lack of effort. This Envy team reminds me some of WM Roofing from Ohio. They just keep playing their game and try to make the game go 7 innings and then anything can happen.
Nightmare scored 9 runs in the bottom of the 6th to take a 29-18 lead on Thunder/Chosen and held on to win 29-24. The sponsor and lead off hitter Nolan Fogle was 4-5 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in the win.
Two Major teams met in the quarterfinals where Proton upset Resmondo 31-28 as Resmondo dug a deep hole early in the game and couldn't quite make it all the way back.
Saturday's "Final 4"
In the semifinals Proton coming off their big win over Resmondo found themselves in a slugfest with Nightmare after Proton put up 17 runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning. In the picture above Alexis Ramirez hits a grand slam to give Proton a 26-25 lead and they never looked back winning 43-27. Phil Matte and Jason Matusik joined the long bomber of the week list in this game!
In the other semifinal game Smash It Sports used some good defense by pitcher Ryan Mcclanahan and left fielder Tyler Wilson to hold SNI/Thunder in check in the 1st inning. But SNI scored 11 runs in the second inning to jump out to a 15-5 lead and won easily 30-11 as Smash It Sports uncharacteristically rolled over for them.
Saturday's Winner's Final
In the winner's final it was Proton 8 and SNI 8 after 3 innings. But the rain started to come down hard in the 4th inning and it made the SNI defense a step slow and Proton took advantage by scoring 12 (mostly unearned) runs and except for a 7th inning rally by SNI, Proton won fairly easily 29-25.
Proton pitcher Bill Pinkham just barely beats SNI's Brian Zirkle to the bag.
In the Loser's Bracket GSP/Tri-State beat Soldados, Xtreme, and Thunder Chosen before Resmondo sent them home.
And Resmondo beat Competitive Edge 46-39 (Riley 10 RBI), GSP 39-15 (Jones 5-5), and Smash It Sports 45-42 on a walk off homer by Bubba Mack to make it to Sunday. Connell was 5-5 with 9 RBI and Bradley Jones knocked in 10 in the victory. In the bottom half of the loser's bracket Envy made a nice run beating Primetime 19-17, Sports Reach 30-27 (Moralez and Bullock each with 5 hits), and Nightmare 21-17 to make it to Sunday.
On Sunday it was all Resmondo and their "take the opponents breath away offense". They beat a feisty Envy team 37-19 scoring 19 runs in the 4th inning, run ruled SNI 40-16 (Jones 11 RBI), and "double dipped" Proton 38-10 (out homering them 14-3) and 39-30 (Riley 5-6 with 6 RBI) to win in really what can only be described as dominant fashion.
New lighting, turf infields, concessions, shade, and bleachers were added to the park.
The "bench clearing" between Resmondo and Competitive Edge seems like a nothing burger.
Some sort of left over feud from the HOF earlier in the year.
The Dudley Pro M ball and the 240 bat compression testing kept games on time for the most part and scores lower.
Long Bombers of the Week
Long Bomber of the week is Kyle Pearson of Resmondo for that Friday crowd pleaser home run.
It looked like a frozen rope but it was about 35 feet high and never seemed to come down.
Honorable mentions for the Long Bomber are SNI's Austin Dawe, Protons Jason Matusik and Phil Matte, and Resmondo's Bradley Jones and Bubba Mack for their Sunday "heat of the day" homer's.
Someone on the Futures field broke a window in a building across the street which is about 400 feet.
Texas Legends Major Final Standings and Awards
The sweet swinging LF Bradley Jones from Resmondo was named Co-MVP with Josh Riley
Resmondo shortstop Cory Briggs was named Defensive MVP
Proton shortstop Brian Dezern was Offensive MPV
Team by team notes:
1st Place – Resmondo/Smash it/Menosse/Thunder
Conf 'M' from FL 9-1 Record
Resmondo was the offensive jugernaut of the tournament as they continually scored over 30 runs a game on their loser's bracket run to the finish. They also showed they are a capable defensive team on the turf and "re-learned" how to win on the smaller fields. This weekends tournament win shows they are going to push the rest of the conference for that Conference Championship. Riley had over 40 hits. Connell had around 50 RBI.
3B Bubba Mack, SS Cory Briggs, MI Kevin Bazat 1B Kyle Pearson, 2B Adam Ussery
Connell is off to a hot start
Mack and Wegman
Yates and Santana. The fans were betting on what each batter would do and yelled out to Santana to hit it to the left center gap which he promptly did for a triple…lol
2nd Place – Proton/Sonny's
Conf 'M' from AZ 5-2 Record
Proton rolled through the winner's bracket and did so having the toughest draw of just about any team knocking off Xtreme, Resmondo, Nightmare, and SNI. But on Sunday they let or maybe watched Resmondo jump out to big leads. They never did give up in the "if" game and had a chance late in the game but it never materialized. An interesting tidbit about Proton – they have no left handed hitters… Bryson Baker asked for and received his release.
Sonny and Charles Darling give the team the pre-championship game speech
Matusik and Dodds
3rd Place – SNI/Thunder/Chosen/DeMarini
Conf 'AA' from FL 4-2 Record
SNI is an excellent team built well for 300 foot fields and until it poured rain in the winner's final causing the ball to skip off the turf and their defense to be a step slow, it looked like they could win this tournament. Then on Sunday they ran into a buzzsaw against Resmondo.
Mike Snyder with a big pinch hit homer
Proton, electron, whatever… 🙂
Scott Napierata and Paul Green talk things over. Paul's son Austin Green a conference pitcher who had a bad motorcycle accident in the offseason is doing well and playing league ball again. This was great to hear!
4th Place – Envy/Lifetime Diamonds/Legendary
Conf 'A' from TX 5-2 Record
A never say die young 'A' team who has been a pleasant surprise and great addition to the conference! Spencer Sangster has put together a good one here.
3B Ryan Mullen and SS Mario Moralez were all tournament
Ryan Tomasi and Larry Juarez Jr. did the pitching
Tied 5th Place – Nightmare/Benefit the Badge/Miken
Conf 'A' from MO 3-2 Record
Nightmare was left for dead at the Hall of Fame Classic. Billy Maggard departed and they scrambled to add Willingham and Mike Brown (Professional Hitter). And they shocked me and maybe themselves as they rattled off 3 big wins in a row and battled SNI well in the final 4. An outstanding team effort.
MI Zane Migues
Fogle had some big games on their way to the final 4.
Tied 5th Place – SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3
Conf 'M' from NC 3-2 Record
I didn't even really cover Smash It much during the tournament and when I walked away early in their game against SNI it looked like they were fine. But the offensive outage against SNI led to a loss and they dropped into the loser's bracket and ran into Resmondo where they lost on a walk off homer in the highest scoring game of the tournament 45-42. It is hard to say where this team is really at. I am sure disappointed but Andy Purcell was out with a 1 tournament suspension so we will get a better read on this team at the Myrtle Beach Major which starts this Friday.
E. Williams playing in his home state.
Tied 7th Place – Sports Reach/Worth/CT/Grizzy
Conf 'AA' from KY 4-2 Record
3B Brady Stewart, SS Daontre Porter, MI Kaden Watson, RF Zach Watts
Sanchez and Lendenski led the team in hitting. They didn't play bad but lost to Envy before the much anticipated matchup with Smash It Sports could come to fruition.
Ira Brown and Brady Stewart
Tied 7th Place – GSP/Tri-State Services/VBW
Conf 'B' from WY 4-2 Record
GSP resurrected their season after a really bad start by winning 4 games in the Texas Legends Major including wins over conference teams Whut it Dew, Xtreme, and Thunder/Chosen. Learning to win these long and close conference games is not an easy task and there is no manual for doing it. Both of their losses were to Resmondo. Tyler Armstrong led the offense .760, 10 HR, 25 RBI.
Some more pictures for you:
Tied for 9th – Competitive Edge/OlmitoHeat/Adiktiv (FL-A) 3-2 – Moore and Jackson were over .700. Ervine hit 11 homers. They were close to making a big run at this event and played Resmondo strong.
Donta Frazier made some great plays to keep it close against L&S Glass
Tied for 9th – PrimeTime Easton/F.A.I./Riot (GA-A) 3-2
On the video clips I said this play by the SS was made by Nick Mitschke but it was actually Angel Ortega. Sorry.
L&S survives a Friday scare on the Rocha walk off homer.
Tied for 9th – L&S Glass (CA-A) 2-2
Josh Tallent makes a diving stop
Tied for 9th – Thunder/Chosen/Competitive Edge/SOG (TX-B) 2-2 – Thunder continues to play well. Look for them to make a run at the Mansfield, Texas Major in 2 weeks. Cheatwood the lead off was .800, 8 HR, 17 RBI.
Levels struggled to create consistent offense. The defense was ok though.
Levels Pitcher Danny Lopez
Xtreme hasn't been able to beat the AA and Major teams this year.
Classic Glass was 2-2 and may have been looking past Nightmare a little bit in this one.
Daniel Larson was the MVP last weekend in Phoenix and Reid Ramirez robs an extra base hit in right field
Baugh beat who they were supposed to beat.
J&R Logistics had no offense.
Whut it Dew needs a good Mansfield tourny.
Primetime learned the hard way that if you are an on deck batter and the ball comes at you during live play, do not drop your bat and get out of the way of the ball. If the ball hits an un-held bat it is an out. And it hurt Primetime in their loss to Envy. A very unfortunate situation.
Proton was down huge in the 1st championship game and sent 3 straight batters to the plate to make outs in order to get the "if" game going as quickly as possible due to flights.
Why do we even have an "if" game in regular season conference events?
Fyffes helps the tree trimming crew with their job. They picked the wrong day to trim trees.
Mark Katz is the sponsor yet he still had to lug the bats to testing?
Anarchy factory hitters! Nimmo, Bellamy, Mike Snyder, Pearson, Zirkle
The livestream on USSSALive.com had a spectacular view!
TARZ Nation was in the house!
Steve Milani-GA, Justin Stout-OH, Joe Smith-TX, Levi Lynch-WA, David Davis-FL, Ben Davis-OR, Chris Balcazar-TX
Richard Salazar a long time Conference infielder was playing for a local team
When the turf is wet you have to slide earlier or you might slide off the other end of the bag
The turf was slick and lots of batters were taking nose dives after their swing
A pet monkey Where is LC? Brungardt crushes the whiffle ball