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2008 Conference USSSA Championship Preview

 

2008 USSSA Conference Championship Preview

 

Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida

 

August 29-31

This years Conference Championship will be broadcast live by SoftballKingdom.com! There are 3 "Major" teams and 5 "A" teams in the upper flight brackets and 8 "B" teams in the lower flight brackets. The upper flights will be played at the Osceola County Stadium which is the spring training home of the Houston Astros and the home office of the USSSA. They will be using the Stadium field and field #1 which is located beyond the Stadiums left field.

The "B" division which is being played over at the Fortune Road complex should have better games in the flight part of the tournament. Unfortunately noone is going to be there to see them.

At the end of this one, plan on seeing a Resmondo vs Dan Smith final. These two teams have really only lost this year to one another. Of course the format is a 3 game flight tournament followed by a single elimination final four bracket. So anything could happen in the "one and done" part of the tourny.

Other possible contenders are Long Haul, who has enough power that if the wind is blowing right they could pull an upset. The other is Jean Shoppe who has enough defense to score some big upsets if the wind is blowing in and the scores are low.


Osceola County Stadium features a baseball field with 330 390 410 390 330 dimensions


The "B" division will be playing at the Fortune Road softball complex


At the end of this tournament look for a Resmondo celebration?


Or maybe a Dan Smith celebration?


Link to Major Conference flight information:
http://www.usssa.com/sports/Bracket….rnament=496312

Link to the class "B" Conference flight information:
http://www.usssa.com/sports/Bracket….rnament=496313

Link to the Conference USSSA Point Standings:
http://www.usssa.com/sports/Conferen…=4&SeasonID=12

Major Flight A consists of:
#1 seed Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth out of Florida
#4 seed Long Haul/Phonemasters/Miken out of Minnesota
#5 seed GTL/Creative Stucco/Worth out of Washington
#8 Seed Suncoast/RBK out of Florida

5 Fri 8:00 PM Stadium [FL] resmondo/specialty tank/worth VS. [FL] Suncoast/RBK
6 Fri 8:00 PM F1 [MN] long haul/phonemasters/miken VS. [WA] gtl/creative stucco/worth
7 Fri 9:30 PM Stadium [FL] resmondo/specialty tank/worth VS. [MN] long haul/phonemasters/miken
8 Fri 9:30 PM F1 [WA] gtl/creative stucco/worth VS. [FL] Suncoast/RBK
11 Sat 9:30 AM Stadium [FL] resmondo/specialty tank/worth VS. [WA] gtl/creative stucco/worth
12 Sat 9:30 AM F1 [MN] long haul/phonemasters/miken VS. [FL] Suncoast/RBK

Major Flight B consists of:
#2 seed Dan Smith/Menosse/Benfield/Combat out of California
#3 seed Jean Shoppe/Easton out of Tennessee
#6 Seed ABS/Easton out of Maryland
#7 seed Ropeclub/Hennesys/OnQclub/Easton out of Illinois

Game# Time Field Match Up Score
1 Fri 5:00 PM Stadium [CAN] dan smith/menosse/benfield/combat VS. [IL] ropeclub/hennessys/onqclub/easton
2 Fri 5:00 PM F1 [TN] Jean Shoppe/Easton VS. [MD] ABS/Easton
3 Fri 6:30 PM Stadium [CAN] dan smith/menosse/benfield/combat VS. [TN] Jean Shoppe/Easton
4 Fri 6:30 PM F1 [MD] ABS/Easton VS. [IL] ropeclub/hennessys/onqclub/easton
9 Sat 8:00 AM Stadium [CAN] dan smith/menosse/benfield/combat VS. [MD] ABS/Easton
10 Sat 8:00 AM F1 [TN] Jean Shoppe/Easton VS. [IL] ropeclub/hennessys/onqclub/easton

Team by Team Comments:

#1 Seed Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth (Conf-M from Winterhaven, Florida)

63-8 Overall 2008 Record
12-5 vs "Major" teams
21-2 vs "A" teams

Resmondo is the king of the Baseball Stadium tournaments. Their defense always rises to the occasion and this tournament should be no exception. Resmondo has timely power on the stadium fields but will need their defense to overcome Long Haul and Dan Smith. A big question will be whether or not LF Brian Rainwater is healthy after pulling a hamstring back in Michigan in early August. Rainwater doesn't just provide the best defense in the nation in left field, but his left handed power will be missed if he is unable to play. We may see an appearance from the semi-retired Scott Striebel if Rainwater isn't ready.


If Resmondo LF Brian Rainwater isn't 100% it could throw the Resmondo defense off balance


#2 Seed Dan Smith/Menosse/Benfield/Combat (Conf-M from California)

47-10 Overall 2008 Record
10-8 vs "Major" teams
14-1 vs "A" teams

Dan Smith should make the Championship game this weekend. Their defense seems to let down whenever they play Resmondo. With the format of the final four being single elimination, Dan Smith has their best shot at unseating Resmondo as king of the baseball field tournaments. Dan Smith has plenty of power and scoring should not be a problem. Look for them to crush ABS and Ropeclub, and handle Jean Shoppe on their way to the finals bracket. In the final 4 they will probably have to beat Long Haul to get to Resmondo. Defense will tell us if they will make it and what they will do when they get there.


Dan Smith's Brett Helmer will provide the left handed stadium power


#3 Seed Jean Shoppe/Easton (Conf-A from Tennessee)

47-15 Overall 2008 Record
1-8 vs "Major" teams
17-5 vs "A" teams

Jean Shoppe/Easton is coming off their class "A" World Championship where they seemed to put a lot of extra pressure on themselves to win. This tournament should be different as they are not expected to win, and should come out and play the fun "Shoppe" ball we witnessed early in the year. Shoppe which has one of the best defensive infields in the game, should have enough defense to keep them in the stadium games. They also have CF Matt King who can patrol the gaps and hold runners from getting too many extra bases. Shoppe earned themselves a nice seed and should come out 2-1 and make it to the final four this weekend. Look for Shoppe to handle ABS, give Dan Smith a run for a couple innings and win a close one against Ropeclub.


Jean Shoppe will try to add their second Championship trophy of 2008 to the collection


#4 Seed Long Haul/Phonemasters/Miken (Conf-M from Minnesota)

26-11 Overall 2008 Record
1-10 vs "Major" teams
12-1 vs "A" teams

Long Haul is capable of putting up some big numbers on the stadium fields. With power from both sides of the plate and experienced Long Haul bombers Denny Crine and Geno Buck in the lineup, look for LH to run rule Suncoast and outscore GTL. Their game against Resmondo on Friday night should be the best game of the night. Long Haul lost 21-20 to Resmondo back at the Hall of Fame Classic on the Stadium field. I think Resmondo will win this one with their defense. Long Haul should go 2-1 in their flight and make it to the final four where they will face their seasons long struggle with beating Major teams.


Long Haul has plenty of Stadium Power with the likes of Hank Garris and company

#5 Seed GTL/Creative Stucco/Worth (Conf-A from Washington)

50-21 Overall 2008 Record
1-2 vs "Major" teams
16-9 vs "A" teams

GTL/Creative Stucco/Worth has only played 3 games against Major teams all year and no games on baseball fields. Look for GTL to try and outslug Resmondo and Long Haul. I don't believe they can and it is unfortunate they wound up in this flight. GTL should have enough outfield defense to keep them in the game enough to play a full 7 innings. Hopefully Mike Bowlin will be back in action as the leadoff hitter, to give the lineup some extra depth. The Major brackets are using the ZN softballs on the Stadium field. Might be a good weekend to start pinchhomerun hitter Nathan Holcomb.


Sam Lopez will try to help GTL outslug the Major teams


#6 Seed ABS/Easton (Conf-A from Maryland)

31-16 Overall 2008 Record
0-1 vs "Major" teams
6-9 vs "A" teams

ABS/Easton is another team with very little baseball field experience. They lost 20-8 to Combat USA on the baseball field at the Maryville College in the Smokey Mountain Classic. Hopefully Jimmy Devine will be able to play and ABS can work on some upset wins. I feel ABS will be overpowered in this tournament.


ABS shortstop Anthony Defrancesco will have to field some hot shots this weekend for ABS to have a chance


#7 Seed Ropeclub/Hennesys/OnQClub/Easton (Conf-A from Illinois)

31-19 Overall 2008 Record
0-8 vs "Major" teams
8-6 vs "A" teams

I believe Ropeclub/Hennesys/OnQClub/Easton is new to the baseball field tournaments. If they don't adjust quickly, they will lose by the run rule before they know what hits them. Look for Ropeclub to take a beating from Dan Smith, recover and gain confidence in their game against ABS, and give Jean Shoppe a run for their money on Saturday morning. Ropeclub has players with stadium power but they need to relax and get themselves going with base hits first.


Much like a football coach, Ropeclubs Dan Kwilas will have to keep the hogs focused on first downs instead of touchdowns


#8 Seed Suncoast/RBK (Conf-A from Florida)

25-17 Overall 2008 Record
0-5 vs "Major" teams
11-6 vs "A" teams

Suncoast/RBK proved me wrong at the "A" Worlds with their upset win over Jean Shoppe. Suncoast also played ok on the baseball fields at the Hall of Fame Classic when they beat Hit Squad and FBI. Look for Suncoast to struggle scoring runs against Resmondo and Long Haul in pool play. They might stay with GTL for awhile if they continue to get good pitching from Johnny Dykes.


Suncoast's Johnny Dykes will have to continue his great pitching for Suncoast to pull an upset

Class "B" Flight A consists of:
Taylormade/Floyd Environmental/Mizuno out of Virginia
365 Fitness / Easton out of Arkansas
Line Drive/Triple SSS Sportscards/Pole Position Auto Body, out of Michigan
Canes/Worth out of Arizona

5 Fri 8:00 PM 1 [VA] taylormade/floyd environmental/mizu VS. [AZ] Canes/Worth Softball
6 Fri 8:00 PM 2 [AR] 365 Fitness / Easton VS. [MI] line drive/triple sss sportscards/p
7 Fri 9:30 PM 1 [VA] taylormade/floyd environmental/mizu VS. [AR] 365 Fitness / Easton
8 Fri 9:30 PM 2 [MI] line drive/triple sss sportscards/p VS. [AZ] Canes/Worth Softball
11 Sat 9:30 AM 1 [VA] taylormade/floyd environmental/mizu VS. [MI] line drive/triple sss sportscards/p
12 Sat 9:30 AM 2 [AR] 365 Fitness / Easton VS. [AZ] Canes/Worth Softball

Class "B" Flight B schedule consists of:
Team Bud Light/Easton out of Michigan
Blitz/Watanab/Bull/Minges Drywall out of Ohio
Angle Inn/Easton out of Maryland
Mike Foulks Auto Body/Team Insanity out of Kentucky

1 Fri 5:00 PM 1 [MI] Team Bud Light/Easton VS. [KY] mike foulks auto body/team insanity
2 Fri 5:00 PM 2 [OHO] blitz/watanabe/bull/minges drywall/ VS. [MD] ANGLE INN EASTON
3 Fri 6:30 PM 1 [MI] Team Bud Light/Easton VS. [OHO] blitz/watanabe/bull/minges drywall/
4 Fri 6:30 PM 2 [MD] ANGLE INN EASTON VS. [KY] mike foulks auto body/team insanity
9 Sat 8:00 AM 1 [MI] Team Bud Light/Easton VS. [MD] ANGLE INN EASTON
10 Sat 8:00 AM 2 [OHO] blitz/watanabe/bull/minges drywall/ VS. [KY] mike foulks auto body/team insanity

Taylormade/Floyd Environmental/Mizuno (Conf-B from Virginia)

35-16 Overall 2008 Record
9-5 vs "B" teams

Taylormade/Floyd Environmental/Mizuno is the number one seed in the "B" division. If Taylormade can use all of their homers (8) they should make it to the championship game. I have them going 2-1 in their flight.


Taylormade will try to defend their #1 "B" team Conference ranking


Team Budlight/Easton (Conf-B from Michigan)

32-26 Overall 2008 Record
11-7 vs "B" teams

Team Budlight/Easton has done well against "B" teams this year. I feel they will go 2-1 and make the final four. Bud Light has yet to put it all together for one weekend this season.


Team Bud Light has more than enough experience on their team to bring home a Championship


Canes/Worth (Conf-B from Arizona)

28-27 Overall 2008 Record
4-10 vs "B" teams

Canes has just a 4-10 record against "B" teams this season. It will take 4 wins against the best "B" teams to win the Conference "B" Championship. Look for Canes to struggle offensively and possibly wind up 0-3. If they somehow made it to the championship on the stadium field though, lookout! as they nearly upset Dan Smith on that field back in April before losing late 13-12. Maybe Greg Zayas can get them "kick" started.


Canes will need to put together 4 big wins which they haven't strung together all year


Linedrive/SSS Sportscard/Pole Position Auto Body (Conf-B from Michigan)

38-17 Overall 2008 Record
10-5 vs "B" teams

Linedrive should be one of favorites and they have beaten Angle Inn, Taylormade, MFAB, and Bud Light this year. I believe Linedrive will be in the finals against Taylormade. It would be fun to see these two teams battle it out on Sunday in the Stadium.


Linedrive will try to relive this win over Taylormade at the "A" Worlds. They may have to do this twice to win this weekends Championship


Blitz/Watanabe/Bull/Minges Drywall (Conf-B from Ohio)

42-17 Overall 2008 Record
11-8 vs "B" teams

Blitz reminds me a lot of Taylormade except they have more depth which may not help them in a short tournament such as this. I have no feeling about what Blitz will do but if they find themselves needing a win Saturday morning it may be a dogfight with MFAB whom they beat the first 3 times they played this year, but lost the last 3 times they have played them this year. It is unfortunate that 2 teams that have played each other 6 times this year, have to be in the same flight.


Blitz/Watanabe will try to bring some Cincy magic to the Florida heat


365 Fitness/Eastont (Conf-B from Arkansas)

41-25 Overall 2008 Record
4-5 vs "B" teams

365 Fitness may be a bit of a wild card in this one. They struggled early in the season in Conference play. Then they reclassified to "A" and won the Arkansas Conference tournament. Then strangely reclassified back to "B". I have no idea what type of team will show up this weekend. They could be the favorites, they could be the doormat. We'll see, but with Kirk Stafford, Brent Gigerich, and Brandon Bates, they should be competitive.


Which team will show up for 365 Fitness?


Angle Inn/Easton (Conf-B from Maryland)

25-15 Overall 2008 Record
6-8 vs "B" teams

Angle Inn is another team that hasn't really put together a big run in a Conference event. With just a 6-8 record against "B" teams this year, look for them to continue the 1-2 weekends. Hopefully Rick Leith, Willie Allen, and John Robinson will help to reverse the trend.


Angle Inn had a 3rd place finish at last years "B" Worlds


Mike Foulks Auto Body/Team Insanity (Conf-B from Maryland)

40-19 Overall 2008 Record
11-10 vs "B" teams

MFAB has their work cut out for them. Team Bud Light, Angle Inn, and Blitz all in their flight? Ouch. If MFAB makes it to Sunday, the first round of drinks is on DW. MFAB needs to make sure they play 21 innings in their flight and see what happens.


MFAB's 2Bag7 needs to put some pants on!


As always these are the opinions of DW and not necessarily softballkingdom.com. Good luck. Lets see all games go 7 innings, and lets have some major upsets!

DW


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