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2010 Conference Championship Preview

 

 

2010 Conference Championships

Preview

 

The 2010 USSSA Conference Championships take place this coming weekend (September 3-5) in Kissimme, Florida.   This tournament has been trying to find a format that works for all classes since the inception of the Conference in 2006.   The general feeling from tournament teams is that the Conference Championships just don't mean anything and are just a way to give the Major teams a warmup before the Major World Series at the end of the month.

This years format has 3 different tournaments:

In the first tournament, the Major division, Resmondo takes on Dan Smith in a grueling best of 5 series starting Friday night and finishing up Sunday.    All of these brackets are tough to pick because you don't know who is taking this tournament seriously.   So I will go with Resmondo to beat Dan Smith in 4 games because I think Resmondo has a more professional mentality where they play the game that’s in front of them and don't really think about the future (which is the way everyone should play).   Dan Smith always has a chance because of their power and this is a good opportunity for them to gain some confidence against Purcell's pitching.   Dan Smith also plays better when they have some injuries for some reason, probably because the starters are getting regular at bats?

 

In the second bracket, 12 of the top non-Major A/B teams in the nation slug it out on the baseball fields starting Friday night and ending Sunday.   This tournament is a 3 game guarantee.

The 'A' bracket is absolutely LOADED and completely impossible to predict except for the fact that GTL is the favorite.  

First Round Predictions:
Shoppe over FBI:  We haven't seen FBI since early July?  Rust?

Team Combat over NW Combat: Team Combat builds on 'A' World runner up?

AJS over Logo:  Pretty much an even game.  AJS will have to forget about the homer.

Aubrey's over Wood Law:  Aubrey's won the 'A' bracket in 2009 and have been playing better of late.  I don't particularly like Wood Law on baseball fields but this game is close to even as almost all games in the 'A' bracket this year are.

Second Round:
GTL over Shoppe
Team Combat over EWS
Albicocco over AJS
Aubreys over Sinister

Semi Finals
GTL over Team Combat
Aubreys over Albicocco

Winner's Finals
GTL over Aubreys

Final 'A' Bracket Predictions
1) GTL
2) Aubreys
3) Sinister
4) Team Combat

 

               
  [WA] GTL CARTEL/WORTH              
[TN] JEAN SHOPPE-EASTON-DOWN2EARTHS Fri 9:30 PM Std.   (5                
Fri 5:00 PM F #1   (1                  
[AR] FENCE BROKERS/GAMETIME SUPPLY/WORTH   Sat 9:30 AM Std.   (17              
  [IL] EWS/SHIRTS AND LOGOS              
[WA] TEAM COMBAT / LASER VISION Fri 8:00 PM F #2   (6                
Fri 5:00 PM Std.   (2                  
[WA] NORTHWEST COMBAT/ CJ FINANCIAL     Sat 2:30 PM Std.   (23            
  [NYD] ALBICOCCO'S/THE SCENE/WORTH              
[GA] LOGO EXPRESS Fri 6:30 PM F #2   (7                
Fri 5:00 PM F #2   (3                  
[FL] AJS/EASTON/SUPREME/MIKE FOULKS/MOJO   Sat 9:30 AM F #2   (18               
  [MI] SINISTER/LINE DRIVE/SSS/WORTH/              
[VA] AUBREY'S/TAYLORMADE/MIZUNO Fri 8:00 PM F #1   (8                
Fri 6:30 PM Std.   (4                  
[TXN] WOOD LAW/MIKEN                
            Sun 11:00 AM F #2   (26      
                 
  Loser's Bracket            
                 
  L-9              
L-7 Sat 8:00 AM Std.   (16         L-23      
Fri 9:30 PM F #2   (12*                   
L-4   Sat 1:00 PM F #1   (20           Sun 12:30 PM F #2   (27    
  L-11              
L-5 Sat 9:30 AM F #1   (14      Sat 2:30 PM F #1   (22     Sun 9:30 AM F #2   (25         
Sat 8:00 AM F #1   (10*                   
L-2     L-18          
  L-10              
L-8 Sat 11:00 AM F #2   (15       Sun 8:00 AM F #2   (24           
Sat 8:00 AM F #2   (11*                L-26  
L-3   Sat 1:00 PM F #2   (19              
  L-12              
L-6 Sat 11:00 AM F #1   (13      Sat 2:30 PM F #2   (21             
Fri 9:30 PM F #1   (9*                   
L-1     L-17          
                 

2009 'A' bracket Conference Champions Taylormade/Mizuno

In the final bracket, the top 6 'B' teams that didn't have enough points to qualify for the 'A' bracket will battle in a 3 game guarantee bracket over at the Fortune Road softball complex.

The fact this tournament is played at Fortune Road should help teams for the 'B' Worlds which will be played there in 2 more weeks but if they use the stadium balls (which they usually do for Conf Champs) it may not matter.

Final 'B' Bracket Predictions (Flip a coin on the top 4 in this tournament)
1) Darkside – have a good record against upper level teams this year.   3-5 vs 'A' and 9-2 vs 'B'.

2) Elite – reformed with veterans Julio Salazar, Cal Ford, Jason Hill, Kelly Hoekstra, Rafael Robledo Jr, and the nations most underrated leadoff hitter Chuck Shimels!

3) Desert Falls – 7-4 vs 'B' division.   Looking for a breakout tournament.

4) Blitz – won the B/C Ohio State Tournament and they return to the site of their 2009 'B' World runner up with many of the same players.   6-2 vs 'B' teams this year.

5) Hubs – 13-13 vs the upper level in 2010.   Playing better with Sunday finishes in their last two tournaments.   Still looking for the "Hubs vs Goliath" mentality from years past.

6) Art Explosion – 0-7 vs upper level, look for them to win at least one game in the 3 game elimination bracket.

 

             
  [MO] HUB'S PUB          
             
  Fri 8:00 PM F1   (3            
[CT] DARKSIDE/TYJA            
Fri 6:30 PM F1   (1              
[OHO] BLITZ/WATANABE/WELLER/MINGES/EASTON            
    Sat 1:00 PM F1   (9          
[UT] DESERT FALLS/ELITE/MIKEN            
Fri 6:30 PM F2   (2              
[FL] ART EXPLOSION/DRASH            
  Fri 8:00 PM F2   (4            
             
  [CAS] ELITE SPORTS U.S.A./COMBAT          
        Sun 10:00 AM F1   (12      
             
             
  Loser's Bracket      
             
      L-9      
  L-5       Sun 11:30 AM F1   (13    
L-1 Sat 11:00 AM F1   (7     Sun 8:30 AM F1   (11         
Sat 9:00 AM F1   (6*               
L-4   Sat 1:00 PM F2   (10           
  L-6          
L-2 Sat 11:00 AM F2   (8             
Sat 9:00 AM F2   (5*            L-12  
L-3            

Most Conference managers agree that something needs to be done to make this tournament worth coming to.   The awards banquet is great, the weather is usually perfect, and the fields are the biggest used in softball today.   But what this tournament needs is a prize.   And that prize should be for the 'A' bracket, and it should be a free 2011 Conference entry fee to the winner.

The perception/reality that this tournament doesn't mean anything definitely brings down the competition level.   As a fan of the game, I have gone on record as saying the 12 team A/B non-Major bracket for this years Conference Championships is one of the best tournaments as far as quality of teams that I have been to in my 22 years of following upper level softball.   It may even be better than the 16 team USSSA 'AA' Worlds in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1994.   That tournament featured Hague, Bunca, Spectrum, and O&S Cattle.   Every game of this years tournament is a GREAT matchup, matchups we have been waiting to see all year.  

As far as the tournament not meaning anything.   It does count as a 7th tournament for points which seeds these teams in the Major World Series.  It also counts towards a teams final computer rankings (although I know noone cares about that).   The tournament is missing one of the top teams of 2010, the surprise 5th ranked team in the country Pipac/TCP who decided to play the ASA 'B' in Texas instead.   This is unfortunate.

DW commentary:

Looking forward to 2011, there are rumors of as many as 6 sponsorship groups attempting to put together Major teams!   In the end we will probably just end up with 3 or 4, but in my opinion we need either 4-6 or none at all.

Also the "meat market" mentality or what I call "silly season" is in full swing with the musical chairs of players going to new teams for 2011 has begun.   Lets not let this interfere with the great tournaments remaining.   Keep your eye on the prize.

I also think it is time to make a complete separation between Conference teams and Non-Conference teams.   Conference teams from 2011 on, need to be classed Major or 'A' only.   Then take the non-conference C and B teams and class them ALL 'C' with an increase in homer's from 2 to either 4, 6, or 8 (I prefer 8).

At the end of the year for Worlds, hold the 'B' World and the 'C' World at the same location.   Take the top 32 C teams (based on "in class" record from that year with a minimum of 15 games played to qualify) and those 32 teams play the 'B' World.

The remaining C teams not in the top 32 play in the 'C' World on the same dates in the same city.

Give the winner of the 'B' World an automatic bid to the Major World Series and allow them to pick up any available players to fill in for players that cannot get off of work on short notice.   Also give them a free Conference entry fee for the following year.

Let the 'A' Conference teams have their 'A' World with whoever else wants to play in it, as normal.

 

Teams are not motivated because all they are playing for is a trophy.   Come on fellas, its softball!   Bring it!

 

The monster left field fence on diamond #1 in the back is the highest and longest in all of softball.   If the wind is blowing in on that field, its best to go for singles.

 


And now a blast from the past

1994 'AA' World Tournament – Kalamazoo, Michigan

Kiracofe Park

Note the amount of close games.   There was great game after great game.   Remember this was when 'AA' used the 6 homerun hitter rule.

 

Labtec / Demarini  16                
  A/N Whips 5              
A/N Carbide Whips  20                
    O&S  21            
O&S TPS  25                
  O&S  10              
New Const / TPS  13                
      Bunca  21          
Herbs Dynasty / TPS  13                
  Shen Valley  24              
Shen Valley Roofing  24                
    Bunca  36            
Southland / TPS  6                
  Bunca  26              
Bunca / Worth  25                
          Bunca  22      
Spectrum / Easton  44                
  Spectrum  17              
Herrin Business  5                
    Spectrum  18            
Sid Grinker/Joe Black  32                
  Dan Smith  16              
Dan Smith  29                
      Spectrum  18          
Jimmies / Easton  11                
  Rainier Beer              
Rainier Beer / Worth  16                
    Hague  15         Hague  28  
Pace / Worth  16                
  Hague              
Hague / Ohio T  38                
                 
                 
                 
  Rainier              
Labtec  26   Rainier  18     Spectrum  20      
  Labtec              
New Const  11     Southland  29         Hague
  Sid Grinker  15              
Herbs  25   Southland  30   O&S  18   Hague  24    
  Southland  16              
Southland  26     O&S  30          
  Shen Valley  23              
Herrin  3   Shen Valley  12     Hague  23      
  Dan Smith  22              
Dan Smith  27     Pace  8          
  A/N Whips              
Jimmys  7   Pace  17   Hague  38     Bunca  13  
  Pace              
Pace  8     Hague  33          
                 

Joe Foley absolutely went off in this tournament for Hague.   One of the greatest offensive performances in softball history.

1994 Hague/Ohio Transport, Columbus, OH 

 Joe Foley, Hague (33-40, .825, 20 HRs, 45 RBIs)
 Joe Foley, Hague – 20
 Joe Foley, Hague – .825

Hague
Joe Foley
Tim Linson
Tommy Thompson
Steve Dickinson
Mark Cobb
Howie Krause
Niles Richards
Kevin Birkofer
Jim Burbrink

Bunca
Brian Ward
Chuck Malorana
Bruce Wood
Bob Woldyk

Spectrum
Rich Aliotti
Ted Larson
Todd Volkers
Dennis Graser

 

 


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