2010 USSSA 'B' World Tournament Preview!
The USSSA 'B' World Tournament will be played this coming weekend in sunny Florida at the Fortune Road Softball Complex. The bracket this year features 26 teams, 22 of which are classed 'B' and 4 which are classed 'C'.
2009: 30 Teams, 21 'B', 7 'C', 2 'D'
2010: 26 Teams, 22 'B', 4 'C'
For starters, there isn't one team in this years tournament that cannot beat any other team in the tournament. There is a lot of quality for sure. The difference between the top teams and the bottom is that the top teams can win the necessary 5-7 games that it will take to be champion.
Fortune Road Softball Complex features 4 beautiful fields with 325 foot homerun fences. Infields are slightly small in size forcing infielders that play deep to have to contend with the lip of the grass/dirt on hard grounders. Lighting is ok, outfields are excellent. Dugouts are like dungeons. I think its time to bulldoze those things. The Dudley Classic M ZN Balls doesn't normally carry well during the heat of the day, however we did see a lot of offense at the 'B' Conference Championships at Fortune 2 weeks ago. The 'B' division plays with a 4 HR limit.
Typical Florida weather expected. Bring sunblock, gatorade, and a fresh supply of dry batting gloves. Hurricane Igor shouldn't be a factor unless your playing ball in Bermuda.
Fence Brokers/Gametime Supply/Worth - (9-1) vs Conference 'B' teams and (13-3) overall in class. The record speaks for itself. FBI is the favorite to win the tournament. They have a veteran laden team with the likes of Gigerich, Keene, and quite possibly the Conference's best 3rd baseman John Glidewell. Add to this, one of the best pitcher's in Perry Hensley, a centerfielder in Tim Howard that can go get it, Bowser and his "heat of the day" homers, and the "mighty midgets of speed"… McCorkle, Chad Walker, Pat Burton, Farrar, and Cardenas and you have a formula to win. When EWS hits this team in the mouth though, they'd better hit back…
EWS/SHIRTS and LOGOS – Fresh off of their 'A' Conference Championship win comes into the 'B' World a bit over revved and quite possibly overconfident? I'm looking for a letdown. If they can use their good seeding to get to the Darkside noon showdown, game could be on and EWS may fulfill their goal. Back to the basics. Homerun management, defense first, and using the whole bench.
Darkside/TYJA – Darkside gets a good draw except for the 8 AM second round game. They should quickly dispose of Full Tilt and roll to the 3rd round matchup with EWS. The TYJA sponsored team is coming off their Conference 'B' championship from just two weeks ago on the same fields and should be at full strength which could mean trouble for the rest of the competition.
AJS/Easton/Supreme/Mike Foulks/Mojo – Finished 2nd at the 'A' Conference Championships and more than capable of rolling off 5 wins this coming weekend.
LOGO EXPRESS - I've been amazed and surprised at Logo's consistency all year. They should use their top seed to get to the final 4 unscathed. Then their new found "win when tired" persona could propel them to the promised land.
Blitz/Watanabe/Weller/Minges/Easton - The experience, the veteran players, and the runner up finish in the 2009 'B' Worlds. Blitz thinks they have what it takes. Most of the rest of the country doesn't think they have what it takes. They should be a good story line. Should have picked up one more big stick. Nice seed but could have been better.
Classic Glass/Easton/DSS – A good younger? team that will have to leave it all on the field to pull off a couple wins. KTI in the first round should be a fun one.
KTI/Cartel DeMarini – Probably the best non-Conference 'B' team in the tournament. Seattle based teams have dominated recent USSSA World Tournaments. Pitcher Brendt Newbill, Outfielder Danny Clemans, utility man Chris Breer, and veteran Wes Archie make for a great 'B' roster and their 6-3 in class record show they have the ability to compete. KTI starts against Classic Glass in what should be a great game. I have them beating Classic then playing EWS who they beat in Seattle 31-8 earlier this year. I'll take EWS in a battle.
Peak Contracting/TLG – Peak played their best ball of 2009 at the 'B' last year, however they have managed only one win in class this year. Could be a 2 and Q weekend.
Hub's Pub – Hub's gets a great seed which should lead to a "high noon" showdown with AJS. Look for the high noon game to be low scoring though and Hub's to lose 9-7. This is another team which should win a couple in the loser's bracket before bowing out.
FamousSports.com/Easton – An ever changing roster for Famous throughout the season. Looks like they added some power in Ed Vega and Dan Norquist if those guys are there. Famous is an entertaining team, but a good show doesn't necessarily turn into wins. Look for Famous to knock off A&K then lose to Pipac before making a run in the loser's bracket.
Pipac/TCP/Easton – An enigma wrapped in a riddle shrouded in mystery. Ok, I don't really know what that means, but this represents Pipac. They were the team that couldn't play utrip in 2009. Then this year they join the Conference and stomped most of the teams they played. Then the 5th ranked team in the country decides to skip the Conference championships and Major World Series? Ok, so how does this team that hasn't played utrip since July 18th, win the 'B' World? I don't know, but I'm not betting against them. One of the hardest hitting teams in softball should have a puncher's chance, and although they are highly ranked, should be the top darkhorse.
Desert Falls/Elite/Miken – Dirty? No Dirty? I'm thinking no Dirty Sanchez. A solid team on paper, they didn't have the best of showing at the Conference championships. If they can survive a charge by Marty's Boys, they'll have their hands full with Darkside and then make a run in the loser's bracket before heading for the showers late Saturday afternoon.
Fowl Ball Sports/Gas-it/Easton – Fowl Ball has played some good competition this year in the Conference, however they were just 1-6 in class. After a tough win over T's 13 they will probably fold like a tent.
RFC/SYNDICATE/Elite – I know very little about RFC. They are from Nebraska and they can pull an upset. I think they will beat ATS and lose to Logo.
MidWest Swing – A fun opening matchup…a short weekend…and a bright future for the boys in orange. Lets get down and dirty and see some hustle out of this team! It might lead to some emotion and a big upset victory.
MWC/Pipe/Mojo/DSS Bats/Easton – Edwards, Pease, Squ, and McCoy are going to have to carry this offensively top heavy team. And the Bear will have to keep his emotions in check. Did anyone ever answer the old scout post about "how many games can a bear pitch in the Florida heat?" I like MWC's draw in the bracket. They may have two win's in them, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
Elite Sports U.S.A./Combat – Elite should handle BSM in their opener and then rematch from the Conference loser's championship with Blitz. Elite scores runs but has a sketchy defense and outfield range for the big fields. 8 AM second round game could be rough for the west coaster's.
Bestrans – Should be an even matchup with Midwest Swing in their opener. I'll take Bestrans to win, but either team will drop quickly to the loser's bracket against FBI. Bestrans is still a year or two and a few roster moves away from the top of the 'B' division.
A&K Tile/3rd Street Financial – This team always plays up. 0-3 in class this year. No major roster changes from 09'. I have them 2 and out but rooting for an upset.
T's 13 – Hasn't played utrip since the Dudley. Hasn't beaten a 'B' team this year? Could be a tough tournament. Looks like they have some ex-Pipac players and should battle for 7 innings in their losses.
Quality Vault/ Guinns Electric – Looks like a couple of ex-T&R Stucco players slipping into the 'B'. Although they are playing on their home turf and should put up a healthy number of runs, I'll take them to finish 1-2. Should be fun though.
ATS/LG/TYJA SPORTS/EASTON – ATS doesn't have the big name roster of years past. Although they have a history of finishing top 4 at the 'B' Worlds, I think their only win will come in the loser's bracket. As with all 4 of the 'C' teams in this tournament, it should be a good prep tournament for 'C' Worlds.
Full Tilt Softball – Full Tilt comes all the way from Illinois to drop 0-2 and their first round game against Darkside. I have a feeling this might be one of the smart 'C' teams who are staying the whole week and playing both the 'B' Worlds and 'C' Worlds. Pull up a chair and see if your hometown EWS can bring home a World title to Chicago.
Remember Marty's Boys has Obama on their side.
martys boys – We've already seen Marty's knock off Albicocco and ATS at the 'A' Worlds, so an upset is a definite possibility. This is a gritty team that has no fear and no big name players. Desert Falls will need to travel well to beat the local Marty's in the first round.
bsm sports - I see a couple veteran names on the roster. Very little utrip played. Should be a good warmup for 'C' Worlds.
The top 4 teams from the 'B' Worlds in 2009 had twice as many "in class" wins as they did "in class" losses as far as their season record. I am going to take that into consideration when I pick my top 4 Sunday finishers:
1) FBI 2) EWS 3) Pipac 4) AJS Tied 5th) Logo Tied 5th) Darkside
Lets hope the "garbage can" bat testing is in place so that teams don't save their hot sticks and cracked sticks for that one big homer they need before it gets confiscated like they did last year. Lets get the hot sticks out for the whole tournament.
On a side note, you can follow the game scores on my homepage on softballcenter.com in the twitter section on the right hand side.
I also emailed the tournament facility at Fortune Road about having a webcam setup in the building between the fields. They have not responded but I will bring it with me and see if we can get it up and running for the main field from the press box. I'd say 50/50 chance and it won't be a great view but it would be something.
This was Northwest Combat, the 2009 'B' World Champs celebrating their undefeated run. It has been a long time since I've witnessed a team that had as much focus, fire, and execution at a World Tournament.