2009 USSSA B World Tournament Recap Part 2
Team by Team Comments:
1st Place Northwest Combat/Trojans (Conf-B from Seattle, WA)
"B" World Record 5-0
2009 Overall Record 27-15
Wins – DO, FBI, PRI, Blitz, Blitz
NW Combat looked like a well oiled offensive and defensive machine as they rolled through this world tournament. For a lot of these players I believe this is their first championship?
The NW Combat team was built defensively up the middle with pitcher Derek Warren (recovering from a broken wrist), shortstop Jon Oram (an original member of my top 10 non-major players), defensive minded secondbaseman Ryan Goodman, middle infielder Josh Fulton and centerfielder Brian Plenkovich. Then you throw in the speed, power, and hitting of the Canadian contigent of right fielder Francois Henry and 3rd baseman Jeff Gare, to go with veterans like Shane McCullough and left fielder Danny Clemans and you have a recipe for success. This team wasn't all about having the perfect 'B' roster though, it was about chemistry and a team that fed off of each others success.
Oh and their was pinch hit power phenom Andre Francoeur who may have the sickest bat speed of any player I've ever seen under 200 pounds! This kid will be fun to watch at the Major World Series this week.
I have a challenge for the NW Combat team. Somehow reach deep down and bring the same intensity and focus to every at bat you have at the Major World Series this week like you did at the 'B' Worlds and lets see if this team can win some big games to close out the season.
Oh and one more thing. Although you (meaning NW Combat team) have some guys with good power, please enter Andre in the homerun hitting contest Friday night. This guy DESERVES it after sitting the bench and coming in once a game and hitting absolute BOMBS. When the crowd gets behind this guy ANYTHING can happen. If you have already entered another player, call Don and cancel them and enter Andre…do it now!
NW Combat celebration pics
2nd Place Blitz/Watanabe/Weller/Minges/Easton (Conf-B from Cincinnati, OH)
"B" World Record 4-2
2009 Overall Record 49-23
Wins – Corbell, WCS, AJS, WCS
Losses – NW Combat, NW Combat
Blitz finishes 2nd and only lost to NW Combat. They knocked off a tough WCS team twice and put up a 24 spot on AJS which is hard to do. Blitz falls just short of their goal but made a great run and one that was a true team effort. Blitz struggled a little hitting homer's when they needed to, but some great defense by center fielder Brian Alexander and middle infielder Rob Menke and timely hitting by offensive MVP Jason Roesch picked them up.
Blitz plays Jean Shoppe in the first round of the Major World Series. Could be a good game as Shoppe does not play all that great on stadium fields.
Blitz's Minges, Cannup, and Alexander all homer in comeback
Blitz assist wins game
The Blitz secondplace run was a true team effort that started with them getting the number one seed
Pinch hitter Brad Tabler! Psst…Brad…the third base line looks wide open!
West Coast got their money's worth this weekend. They finish 6-2 and every at bat of every game meant something. A real team effort to finish 3rd (which could have just as easily been 2nd). WCS jumped out to an 11-0 lead early against Primetime in their first game and held on 17-13. Then they beat Showcase solidly 13-9 early Saturday morning before dropping a 9-5 loss to Blitz in the heat of the day. In the loser's bracket WCS sent home DO (13-4) with the wind blowing in strong, survived ATS 18-15 and PRI 21-15 to make it to the final four Sunday morning.
Sunday morning WCS came from behind over FBI with some great homerun management, a bases loaded two out triple by Chuck Shimels, a horizontal diving catch by middle infielder Carlos Vasquez and a linedrive stab by pitcher Brendt Newbill.
Then in the loser's championship they used a 2nd inning grand slam by Bo Miller to take an early advantage over Blitz. Blitz fought back with 3 homer's in the top of the 7th and WCS had the tying run thrown out at the plate for the 3rd out and an 11-10 loss.
There has been a lot of talk of WCS being an 'A' team. They are not. They are a team built for the 'B' division and they play great ball.
Cal Ford powered WCS all weekend long
WCS scores two
4th Place Fence Brokers/Illustrated Sportswear (Conf-B from Conway, AR)
"B" World Record 5-2
2009 Overall Record 38-18
Wins – Off Regularly, Logo, Showcase, Peak, AJS
Losses – NW Combat, WCS
FBI used a "runner left early appeal" and a clutch 3 run homer by Tim "I'm going on a softball cruise cuz I hit BOMBS" Bowser to defeat Off Regularly late in their first game 19-17. After handling Logo 15-10 early Saturday morning, FBI gave NW Combat their only close game in losing 7-5 in the heat of the day. FBI then pulled out a late inning come from behind win over Showcase (11-10), a late Saturday run rule over Peak (27-12), and an 18-8 thumping of AJS to make it to Sunday. Sunday morning they played what I have already termed the best game of the tournament against WCS but came up short 25-17.
FBI had the perfect roster for this tournament. With very little changes, FBI already has basically a class 'A' offense and can play solid D. With Keene, Gigerich, Glidewell, and Bowser the team could easily compete well in the 'A' division in 2010.
FBI skates by Off Regularly
FBI shortstop Pat Burton
FBI's Tim Bowser hits a clutch homer
AJS used a good seeding to squeak past their first three games then got Blitzed 24-6. The offense never recovered and they played to a 18-8 loss to FBI immediately following the Blitz game. Just one of those things with the offense disappearing.
I feel AJS still had a great year and have a great mix of veterans and young players and a great defense. Much like PRI, AJS should build their bench, add a veteran power hitter, and try to keep the team mostly intact for 2010.
AJS pitcher Billy Barrett's championship streak came to an abrupt end
AJS shortstop Luis Reyna may have the quickest hands defensively in the Conference
Tied 5th Place PRI/MFAB/Insanity (Conf-B from Cincinnati, OH)
"B" World Record 3-2
2009 Overall Record 34-26
Wins – Adrenaline, AK Tile, Tri-State
Losses – NW Combat, WCS
PRI finishes an unsatisfying 5th as they won their first round game by forfeit, shut down fellow Cincinnati team AK Tile 9-3 in the second game, and shut down a hot hitting Tri-State team 6-1 in the third game. Then in the showdown with NW Combat the wheels came off early when some tough defensive plays were botched. After falling to the loser's bracket, PRI fought hard but lost to WCS 21-15 as the toll of a long season showed through with some injuries.
PRI had a great year, for the most part played up to their competition, and is much more athletic than people probably give them credit for. Of all the teams in the Conference, this is probably the team that needs the fewest offseason tweaks. These players are still learning the game and are at the age where they will automatically have a better year next year if the nucleus is kept in tact. Build the bench, maybe add some veteran leadership and power = top 16 team in the nation.
David Kessler hits a bomb for PRI
Mike put a real competitive and athletic team on the field this year
Tied 7th Place ATS/Combat/TYJA Sports (Conf-B from Phoenix, AZ)
"B" World Record 3-2
2009 Overall Record 43-20
Wins – Anchor Down, Diamond Blade, Linedrive
Losses – AJS, WCS
ATS won two close games over Anchor Down and Diamondblade before dropping a heartbreaker to AJS 11-10. Danny Lopez may be the hardest working pitcher in the 'B' division and he was keeping teams off balance most of the weekend. Offensively, catcher Jose Nunez was one of the few "heat of the day" homerun hitters and ATS was able to knock off Linedrive 13-11 before dropping a late Saturday night game to WCS. ATS was trying to make their 3rd final four run in as many years but came up just short. ATS was missing the hot hitting Matt Albert and had a few new faces in the lineup.
With a few tweaks and some more sponsorship, ATS could probably be right at the top of 'B' division in 2010. Keep mining that Arizona talent pool.
Danny Lopez working hard on the mound for ATS. Danny we need to see the fun D-Lo from the YMR days!
ATS celebrates a "go ahead" homer over Linedrive
Tri-State slugger Calvin Butcher hits a walk off homer over Eagle Bonding
DO wins over EWS on walk off hit
MAD beats PDC
John Robinson learns how to slide
WCS super fan!
Mighty Mike Macenko was onhand for the 'B' World
I like the DCS and MAD team uniforms with the camo. Both teams will be tough draws in their respective World tournaments
Fortune Road needs to get rid of the cinderblock dugouts and add some shade over the grandstands
AK Tile was one of 4 Cincinnati 'B' teams at the Worlds. Impressive for one city.
Off Regularly "beat" themselves
After a season of frustration, Diamondblade wasn't able to "turn it on" like GTL did at the 'A' Worlds
Tri-State put up the biggest numbers in the "heat of the day" of any team in the tournament
STL Swing catcher Wayne Habermehl hit a couple bombs
Linedrives 'B' title hopes wilted in the midday heat
Link to 'B' World tournament information:
Link to 'B' World Picture Gallery:
I would like to thank this weeks sponsor LinedriveSportz.com for their support. Thank You!