2012 McQuade/Budweiser Classic tournament report!
2012 Sam McQuade Sr.
The largest crowd in softball takes in the 37th annual McQuades Classic
The McQuades tournament is an event as much as it is a softball tournament
The 2012 McQuades Classic featured huge crowds, 460+ teams in 15 different divisions, and showcased the Team USA men's slowpitch and Future Stars national teams.
The tournament began on Friday night with an opening ceremony featuring a military flag corps, the national anthem, and the introduction of the USA Future Stars and the North Dakota military all-star teams. Then the two teams took to the field. The Future Stars made short work of the ND Military team and won in 5 innings.
Then Team USA was introduced as the crowd grew into the thousands and they played the McQuade All Stars who were a group of 'A' and Major players from some of the top teams. The McQuade Stars kept the game interesting early on but Team USA separated mid way through the game on some great defensive plays by shortstop Don Dedonatis Jr, second baseman Greg Connell, and an incredible leaping stab of a hard line drive by pitcher Andy Purcell. Team USA won the game but not without a fight from the McQuade all stars.
Following the exhibition games was the finals of the homerun derby. Brian Wegman put on a show, hitting 17 home runs on 3 "outs" including some crowd pleasers.
Brian Wegmans home run streak starts at the 12 minute mark of the video
On Saturday at 11 AM the "Pool Play" began for the tournament's top division 'A'. Nordkap Construction hammered Reebok/LongHaul/TYJA 36-15 in Pool A's only game. This is because the third team in Pool A, Sonny's, did not make the trip. Those games against Sonnys were considered forfeit wins.
In Pool B, Annihilation Easton scored 26 runs in the first inning against Team Combat before Combat called on Bobby Nifong to pitch in relief. Bobby was working at the Combat sales trailer and had to put on his uniform. He came over to the game and put out the fire in 3 batters. The damage was done though and Annihilation/Easton run ruled Team Combat 38-8.
Team Combat then lost to O&S 23-22. O&S then played the last game of the pool play and beat Annihilation/Easton 25-20 behind good pitching by Andy Purcell and some good infield defense by SS Bubba Mack and middle infielder Kevin Bazat.
The double elimination started on Saturday afternoon with Reebok/LongHaul/TYJA losing to Combat after leading the entire game. Combat was down 6 runs going into the bottom of the 7th. With the wind blowing in from RF, left hand hitting Joey Smith went opposite field for a walk off grand slam homer and 28-25 Combat victory.
Easton then "annihilated" Nordkap by an inexplicable score of 21-1? Then O&S Cattlemen used some more stellar defense and pitching to drop a less than sharp Combat team 28-25 and then O&S captured won the winner's bracket championship over Annihilation/Easton by the run rule 37-22 on Saturday night.
The loser's bracket didn't start until Sunday morning at 8:40 AM with Nordkap beating Reebok/TYJA 28-25. Nordkap kept on rolling as they hammered Team Combat 27-5 and made it to the loser's bracket championship where they gave away a nice lead against Annihilation/Easton but still led by 5 runs going into the bottom of the 7th inning. Michael Melton for Annihilation hit a clutch 2 out, 3 run homer to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Brett Helmer pitching for Annihilation in place of Geno Buck who had to leave, shut down Nordkap in the top of the 8th when Nordkap was out of home runs, and in the bottom half of the inning center fielder Reggie Schulte won the game for Annihilation with a walk off home run.
This sent Annihilation/Easton to the championship game against O&S Cattlemen. They beat a fresh O&S team in the first game of the championship with a solid win, and the two teams decided that missed flights and a delayed Team USA bus trip wasn't worth it and they finished as co-champions.
Bats were tested at the beginning of the tournament. The 52 core ball was fair for the conditions and didn't' take as many bad hops as expected although Bazat might think differently. The weather was perfect and the atmosphere at the tournament was top notch.
The McQuades 'A' division is part of the ASA 2K Series – Click the logo for more information
Team USA plays for the first time in 2012 on their 10 day journey to take on Team Canada at this years "Border Battle"
Team USA poses with the McQuade All Stars after their game
This is the Team USA vs McQuade All Stars game. Again the quality of the livestream was poor because North Dakota doesn't have the internet yet.
USA Future Stars pose with the North Dakota Military All Stars after their exhibition game
Combat takes on Reebok/TYJA in the first game of the double elimination bracket for the 'A' division
Brett Helmer negotiates the peace treaty with O&S and it is decided not to play the "if" game of the 'A' division championship
(the quality of the video at the McQuades isn't good because of a very slow internet connection)
Clem Kelley Park had some scenic views
Some serious hardware was given out
The special olympics played a game on Sunday. Softball looked like a great game for them and they looked to be having a fun time.
Video Highlites brought to you by:
Team USA highlites
McQuade highlites, Special Olympics, Futures team
Baden .52 core balls were used and were fair balls for the conditions
"McQuade" Tournament Awards and Final Standings:
Tied for 1st Place – Annihilation/Easton from Cicero, NY 4-2 Record
3rd Place – Nordkap Construction from Evergreen, CO 3-2 Record
4th Place – Team Combat from Seattle, WA 1-4 Record
5th Place – Team Reebok/Longhaul/TYJA from Parrish, FL 0-3 Record
Team USA 1-0
Purcell tries the "no look" second strike
Brian Wegman put on a show in the home run derby hitting 17 of 20 balls out of the park
Johnny McCraw is a bully.
Future Stars 1-0
A special photo for the Zirkle haters
Tied 1st Place – O&S Cattlemen Nolkjdsa;lkajsdlkgajaljnresmondo-specialty tank worthresmondo-specialty tank worth
from Eagan, MN 4-1 Record
Fans were calling O&S Cattlemen "bananas"
Outfield Jared Krasselt, Jeremy Isenhower, Jason Madsen
Infield Lee Powers, Bubba Mack, Kevin Bazat, Don Dedonatis Jr, Ryan O'Connell
Pitcher Andy Purcell
Catcher Geno Burdick
All of the teams at the McQuades had near perfect teams with a good mix of RPL (restricted players list) and 'A' and lower players that brought speed and defense. O&S is a well put together team. We got our first look at Wisconsins Jared Krasselt whose outfield abilities and crafty stick translate well to the upper level. Mack, Bazat, and Don Jr give them a very strong infield. Purcell on the mound gives them the 'X' factor that the other teams just do not have on the defensive side.
O&S played well, didn't close out in the championship but would of had a good shot to win had they played the 'if' game. If O&S brings this team to OKC in September they will have a great shot to dethrone Helmers team for the 'A' title!
Bubba Mack (above) played some great defense at SS, as did Kevin Bazat (below) in the middle
Tied for 1st Place – Annihilation/Easton
from Cicero, NY 4-2 Record
Annihilations Michael Melton hits a game tying 3 run homer in the loser's bracket championship to send the game to extra innings
Outfield Brad Reckart, Reggie Schulte, Brian Wegman
Infield Chris Hansen, Michael Melton, Bryson Baker, Greg Connell, Dan Feichtner
Pitcher Geno Buck and Brett Helmer
Catcher Brett Helmer and Ben Cosgrove
Annihilation gets a tie for the McQuades championship. They won the two big games Sunday with Helmer on the mound. SS Michael Melton was impressive with the stick, great speed, and an infectious hustle. Bryson Baker and Helmer actually looked human at times but a number of the major players on this team were probably pushing the .800 on base percentage for the weekend. Wegman was a machine on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Reggie Schulte was getting doubles and triples in every game and playing a solid center field. Schulte should catch the eye of the ASA for the futures team next year. Chris Hansen and Greg Connell played some great defense. Brad Reckart was hurt late in the first game of the championship and was moved to catcher.
Annihilations center fielder Reggie Schulte was running for extra bases on about all of his hits and made some great plays in the outfield
3rd Place – Nordkap ConstructionGTGG
from Evergreen, CO 3-2 Record
Outfield Nick Robertson, Brian Zirkle, Brandon Dillon
Infield Scott Zaciewski, Mike Umschied, John Gallegos, Anthony Dress, Brett McCollum
Pitcher Travis Clark
Catcher Keith Anderson
EH Kevin Filby
Nordkap came up short in their goal of winning this event. They had the inexplicable 1 run performance against Annihilation/Easton, and then opened the door for Annihilation in the loser's bracket championship. Nordkap might be a little light on the "automatic" hit guys you need in ASA at the top of the order but have good balance throughout the lineup and could be a Sunday finisher at the ASA.
Nordkap's ASA team is a mix of Nordkap regulars and players from R&M Metals
4th Place – Team Combat
from Seattle, WA 1-4 Record
That isn't Scott Brown, it is BJ Fulk
Outfield Davis Bilardello, Rick Baker, Joey Smith
Infield Frank Yeilding, Dal Beggs, Jake Gallery, BJ Fulk, Jake Myers
Pitcher Derek Warren
Catcher Mike Dill
EH Johnny McCraw
Combat somehow pulled out that last inning win against Reebok/TYJA on the game winning grand slam to the opposite field by Joey Smith. Other than that they competed in a couple of their other games and not so much in a couple, found a backup ASA pitcher in veteran (retired) Bobby Nifong who was a major play back in the day, and we even watched BJ Fulk, who looks an awful lot like Scott Brown when he wears a Combat uniform, make a nice play at second base.
Dal Beggs played SS for Combat
5th Place – Team Reebok/Longhaul/TYJA
from Parrish, FL 0-3 Record
Reebok/TYJA team members Victor Cordova, Perry Hensley, Michael Stephany, Dustin Roberts, and Future Stars member Luis Reyna
Outfield Victor Cordova, Michael Stephany, David Kessler
Infield Dennis Rulli, Luis Reyna, Matt Crawford, Terry Rosenbalm, Jason Baxter
Pitcher Perry Hensley
Catcher Brian Rainwater
EH Chris Larsen
Reebok/TYJA should have had the best chemistry of any team at the McQuade 'A' tournament but never looked very good in the tournament. ASA may not be this team's forte?
Get your Reebok Vector ASA bat now!
TYJA had a tent wear they were selling some sweet shoes, hats, power necklaces, shirts, bags, and arm sleeves
Close Plays, brought to you by:G
BJ was actually safe!
These are consecutive frames off the video. It looks like a catch but is in no ways conclusive
More pictures below
TPS rep Dennis Turner had the Louisville Slugger tent hopping with sales of their new hats, gloves, and Z2000 bats
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I would like to thank all of my sponsors for their support, USSSA, and the tournament directors as well!
I will be at the Arkansas Major in Little Rock July 6-8!
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Some more pictures for you:
The Combat women's team from Seattle, Washington called "Derby Girls" won the 'C' division
Women's 'C' highlites
Unfortunately an umpire decided to park in my spot all weekend, getting me in trouble with the directors.
Or maybe the umpire just happened to be named Dale Weiser also?
Fans were hoping Helmer would hit the Staples building behind TYJA first baseman Jason Baxter. When Helmer came up I heard a number of local fans saying he was the one that could hit the building.
This group was playing some sort of crazy drinking game
Jack Jones (third from left) celebrates his over 50 men's championship. Thanks Jack for all your help with my last minute travel plans!
Softballers from Ireland and Austria were there to observe the tournament and follow Team USA
Men's 'C' Division had some great teams and competition as well as a bigger crowd for the championship than the 'A' division had!
"Softball Guy" picture of the week was a tie between the guy in the photo above and below
The Team USA bus heads on down the road towards Oklahoma for the Team USA vs Future Stars game on Wednesday night on ESPN2 and Saturdays "Border Battle" with Team Canada, also on ESPN2!