A look back at the 2013 ASA Super National Tournament Report!
2013 ASA Super National
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Winner's bracket championship game, Sonny's Jeremy Davis hits against Hortenbach's Geno Buck!
The ASA Super National Softball Tournament returned after a 10 year hiatus with Hortenbach Auto/Easton sweeping an 8 team double elimination bracket which was played on baseball fields in and around the St. Paul Minnesota area. The Hortenbach Auto team was comprised of most of the Laservision/Desert Falls/Easton team with the addition of middle infielder Kevin Bazat, SS Luis Reyna, and outfielder Brandon Dillon. Hortenbach defeated Sonny’s Softball Club 22-20 in the winner’s bracket championship on Saturday morning after jumping out to an early 11-0 lead. Hortenbach 1st baseman Scott Kirby and centerfielder Chad Durick each collected 3 hits and 2 home runs. Sonny’s then dropped to the loser’s bracket championship against Rip City/Iron Hawk/Demarini. Sonny’s trailed Rip City the entire game and trailed 18-12 going into the bottom of the 7th where their first two batters made outs. With no one on and down 6 with two outs they plated 8 including two clutch homers, the first by Charles Cunningham, and a dramatic walk off homer by outfielder Westy Guill to win the game 20-18! Chris Greinert was also 3-4 with 2 HR and 4 RBI in the win. Sonny’s victory in the loser’s bracket championship advanced them to the “winner’s take all” “made for TV” championship game against Hortenbach Auto.
Sonny's Westy Guill hits a clutch 3 run homer to win the game against Rip City in the bottom of the 7th!
In that final game both Sonnys and Hortenbach began with an impressive offensive display and the game was tied early on at 8-8 going into the bottom of the 2nd. Hortenbach hit 4 homers in the first inning (Wegman, Buck, Lopez, and Rainwater). Then Laservision continued to pressure Sonny’s by taking leads into each new inning and finally stretched their lead to 15 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning on a walk off “run rule” homer by Brian Wegman to win it and leave Sonny’s on the field.
Hortenbach Auto (left) and Sonny's (Right) go through player introductions before the final game
The tournament started with 8 teams on Thursday night over at a pair of large baseball fields in Fort Snelling, Minnesota. All 8 teams played their first round game that night with Rip City/Iron Hawk/Demarini having the only upset 24-15 over Team Combat. Rip City is one of the top ‘B’ teams in the country with some of the old TCP players like Brian Barnett, Andy Shilz, Chris Byrns, Noah Wethington, and Shaun Beutner. Then they added 3rd baseman Dale Brungardt, catcher Chris Larsen, and outfielder Donovan Pokraka who hit for Demarini on the Long Haul Bombers tour. These 3 provided the power all weekend long as Brungardt tied for the most home runs with 7, Larsen had 6, and Pokraka had 6 homers and led the tournament in batting at .800. The three mashers combined for almost 50 RBI. In the other Thursday night games Shoppe beat Tharaldsons 17-8, Hortenbach beat Whalers 28-13, and Sonnys beat Xtreme 21-15.
On Friday the tournament continued in the loser’s bracket at 8 AM with Tharaldsons knocking off Xtreme 14-11 and Team Combat coming from behind down 15-8 to beat Whalers 27-15 after scoring 12 runs in the top of the 6th and holding Whalers scoreless in the last 3 innings. Combat infielder Jared Goetz was 5-6 with 4 RBI and third baseman Frank Yielding was 4-5 with 5 RBI as Combat scored 27 runs on just one homer (Kendrick).
In the winner’s bracket semi-finals Friday morning Hortenbach Auto outslugged Rip City 38-28 in the longest game of the tournament (2 hours). Brett Helmer started at pitcher for Hortenbach as their regular starter Geno Buck was unavailable until Saturday and backup Travis Clark was playing hurt with an oblique tear. Scott Kirby of Hortenbach hit the longest home run of the day over at the Fort Snelling fields. Both teams put up some impressive numbers and hit some big home runs on some of the biggest fields used in softball 330 down the lines, 375 to the gaps and 380 to center field. And they used the 52 core Hycor ball instead of a stadium ball. Horetenbach totaled an amazing 14 homers in the game. Teams were allowed 16. Helmer and Filby each had 3, Wegman, Kirby, and Bryson Baker had 2 HR each. In the other winners final Shoppe who struggled all weekend scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 6th to close tie Sonny’s Softball Club at 16-16 going into the 7th. Sonny’s took the lead on a Chris Greinert triple and Westy Guill sacrifice fly. Shoppe had one last chance to win in the bottom of the 7th but came up short 18-16. Dan Bean who was pitching for Sonny’s was 4-4 in the game.
Friday play continued with a Team Combat win over Shoppe 21-20 when Shoppe again had the bats in their hands in the bottom of the 7th with a chance to win and came up short. Kendrick and Landon Helm each had 4 hits for Team Combat and with the wind blowing in the two Major teams combined for just one homer (Scott Brown). Rip City also beat Tharaldsons 14-11 to advance to the loser’s bracket semi-final against Team Combat. As the wind began to blow in strong on both fields, Rip City beat Team Combat 14-9 for the second time of the tournament. Rip’s Chris Byrns was 4-4 in the game. Over on the other field Xtreme beat Tharaldson 12-7 for the Consolation Bracket Championship.
Then the Friday night the action moved to St. Paul’s Midway Stadium for an Independent League Baseball game in front of a large crowd. After the game the Long Haul Bombers put on a show as Denny Crine and Brett Helmer tied for the individual championship with 12 points each out of 15 pitches! In the tie breaking hit off it was decided to allow pitcher Gary Jost to pitch as many pitches as the two hitters wanted before they swung. Each player would take a couple of pitches and then hit a bomb. Helmer hit his first 3. Crine hit his first 3. Then on the 4th swing, Helmer mishit his and Crine used his smooth but powerful home run stroke to win the Long Haul Bomber Championship and the $5,000 prize that came with it! After the Bombers hit, there was a nice fireworks display and the 3 remaining teams in the tournament waited until Saturday morning to come back at Midway Stadium to see who would be crowned ASA Super National Champion!
Denny Crine hits the final homer for the win in the Long Haul Bomber Championship!
Hitter's participating in Manufacturer's Cup only:
Scott Kirby 11
Donovan Pokraka 7
Dale Brungardt 7
Hitter's participating in Individual Championship:
Denny Crine 12 (4 more in hit off)
Brett Helmer 12 (3 more in hit off)
Brian Wegman 10
Chris Larsen 9
Chris Greinert 9
Kevin Filby 9
Team Easton (Helmer 12, Kirby 11, Wegman 10) – 33
Team Demarini (Pokraka 7, Larsen 9, Brungardt 7) – 23
John Daniels the owner of the Long Haul Bomber tour and sponsor of the ASA Super National!
Team Easton won the manufacturers cup – (Scott Kirby, Brian Wegman, Brett Helmer)
The final 3 games will be broadcast on CBS Sports cable channel on Tuesday, August 28th and Wednesday August 29th. Check your local listings for the channel and game time in your area.
The tournament was played on some big fields in warm sunny weather. The ball which was in question by many including me did perform pretty well in the heat and although the wind blew in for the most part at the Snelling fields it did blow across from right to left at Midway Stadium and there was actually a little “jet stream” going out to left. The games were entertaining, the umpiring was fairly consistent, and the tape delay airing of the three TV games this week will be worth tuning in for.
Shoppe's Robert Blackburn scores in front of Sonny's catcher Chris Greinert's tag!
Half of the crowd stuck around for the bombers
Beautiful Midway Stadium home of the St. Paul Saints – Sonny's takes on Hortenbach
As Saturday went on the wind was gusting at 25 mph out to the left field corner
The crowd didn't pick up Saturday until the St. Paul Saints game
Video Highlites brought to you by:
Note: Video Clips will be added to the report after the games air on CBS Sports due to rights issues.
Hortenbach's Brett Helmer pitches to Rip City on Friday at the Fort Snelling baseball fields
Natalie interviews ASA's Craig Cress for Softball360
ASA Super National Final Standings & Awards
1st – Hortenbach Auto/Easton: 4-0
2nd – Sonny's Softball Club: 3-2
3rd – Rip City / Iron Hawk / DeMarini: 3-2
4th – Team Combat / Derby Boys: 2-2
5th – Xtreme/Miken: 2-2
6th – Tharaldson/Easton: 2-3
7th – Shoppe/Backman/TYJA/LouisvilleSlugger: 1-3
8th – Whalers / CAGear: 0-3
August 22 – 7:30 p.m. Tharaldson Easton 8 – ShoppeBackman 17
August 22 – 7:30 p.m. Rip City 24 – Team Combat 15
August 22 – 9 p.m. Xtreme/Miken 15 – Sonnys 21
August 22 – 9 p.m. Whalers/CAGear 13 – Hortenbach Auto 28
August 23 – 8:30 a.m. Xtreme/Miken 11 – Tharaldson Easton 14
August 23 – 8:30 a.m. Team Combat 27 – Whalers/CA Gear 15
August 23 – 10 a.m. Sonny's 18 – ShoppeBackman 16
August 23 – 10 a.m. Hortenbach Auto/Easton 38 – Rip City/Demarini 28
August 23 – 11:30 a.m. Team Combat 21 – ShoppeBackman 20
August 23 – 11:30 a.m. Rip City 13 – Tharaldson 11
August 23 – 1 p.m. Whalers/CA Gear 6 – Tharaldson 20
August 23 – 1 p.m. Rip City/DeMarini 14 – Team Combat 9
August 23 2:30 p.m. Xtreme/Miken 12 – Tharaldson 7
August 24 – 11 a.m. Hortenbach Auto 22 – Sonny's 20
August 24 – 2 p.m. Rip City 18 – Sonny's 20
August 24 – 5 p.m. Hortenbach Auto 29 – Sonny's 14 – Championship
Matt Pesso – Sonny's
Bryson Baker – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Andy Shiltz – Rip City/Iron Hawk/DeMarini
Scott Kirby – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Bryce Oliveira – Sonny's
Donavan Prokraka – Rip City/Iron Hawk/DeMarini
Westy Guill – Sonny's
Brian Rainwater – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Brian Wegman – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Chad Durick – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Landon Helm – Team Combat/LBG/Derby Boys
Brett Helmer – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Dale Brungardt – Rip City/Iron Hawk/DeMarini
Chris Grienert – Sonny's
Dan Bean – Sonny's
Kevin Bazat – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
MVP: Brian Wegman – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
Natalie shows us the MVP Award in honor of "The Old Scout" Gordie Heagle!
Batting Champion: Donavan Pokraka – Rip City/Iron Hawk/DeMarini – .800 avg
Co-Home Run Champion: Dale Brungardt – Rip City/Iron Hawk/DeMarini
Co-Home Run Champion: Bryce Oliveira – Sonny's – 7 HR
Team by team notes brought to you by:
1st Place – Hortenbach Auto/Easton
from New York 4-0 Record
Hortenbach wins the tournament fairly easily. They out powered their opponents and their defense was bolstered by the infield gloves of Reyna and Bazat. Lopez at third also chipped in some great plays and they never really trailed their opponents in any of the 4 games. Maybe this was a peek at their new roster for 2014? Time will tell.
2B – Bryson Baker had 6 HR as did 1B Scott Kirby
Brett Helmer pitched a few innings on Friday
Catcher Kevin Filby launches one and 1B Kyle Moyer
Pitcher – Geno Buck and RF – Brian Rainwater
3B – Sam Lopez and SS – Luis Reyna
MI – Kevin Bazat and manager Rob Humphrey
2nd Place – Sonny's Softball Club
from Wyoming 3-2 Record
Sonny’s never gave up. They won big games with the glove and pitching at the end against Shoppe. They won with no runners on, down 6, against Rip City. They were down early in both games against Hortenbach but came back in both games. The team and its players are continually underrated by the rest of the softball world. They picked up Dan Bean to pitch, and Chris Greinert to add some power. They let go Tyson Steele. This team will be amongst the top favorites at the ASA ‘A’ Nationals at the end of September as they defend their championship there.
If there was a defensive MVP award it would have had to go to Matt “The Magician” Pesso as his smooth defense and quick turn at second base on the double plays kept Sonny’s in a couple of games. Matt has the unusual talent to somehow tell his muscles to do things while other parts of his body are still completing the previous task. I’m not sure if you understand what I am saying here but he is very “Omar Visquel like”.
Chris Greinert celebrates another homer with teammates
Sonny's celebrates Westy Guill's walk off homer to advance to the championship!
Charles Cunningham hits a big grand slam in the bottom of the 7th against Rip City
3rd Place – Rip City / Iron Hawk / Demarini
from Iowa 3-2 Record
Rip City/Iron Hawk/Demarini fed off of the power provided by Brungardt, Larsen, and Pokraka. They beat Team Combat twice, should have beaten Sonnys to go to the championship, but came up a little short. Rip City played without their center fielder Chad Hook and leading hitter SS Joey Bulens. There are some big hitters on this team that haven’t gotten a lot of press like Brian Barnett (not sure how teams let him get out of the Conference), Andy Shilz, and Chris Byrns. And they are led by veteran pitcher Shannon Arnold who can also hit the ball well. An extra base hitting team that adjusted to the big fields very well.
Rip City is looking for an additional sponsor to help them get to the ASA ‘A’ Nationals where they should again be helped by Chris Larsen and Donovan Pokraka.
Rip City/Iron Hawk/DeMarini
Chris Larsen hits a grand slam against Sonnys
Donovan Pokraka hits a grand slam against Sonnys
Veterans Brian Barnett and Andy Shilz
Brungardt and Larsen
MI Shaun Beutner and professional hitter Chris Byrns
4th Place – Team Combat/LBG/Derby Boys
from Washington 2-2 Record
Team Combat lost their first and last game to Rip City which isn’t as big an upset as you would think. They played without outfielder Johnny McCraw (broken ribs), and Bryce Oliviera who played with Sonnys. The team had a big win over Shoppe and positioned themselves to make the final 3 and be on TV but came up short. Combat played without Joey Formosa who's brother Sal who plays with Line Drive Sportz got married. Congratulations Sal.
Team Combat/LBG/Derby Boys
Combat celebrates a big Frank Yeilding hit
Some of Combat's new blood Alex Henry and Jared Goetz
IF – Cameron Cox
Tied 5th Place – Xtreme/Miken
from Minnesota 2-2 Record
XTreme was 5th as they won the consolation bracket over rival Tharaldson. Xtreme was under powered for the big fields but they always make the best out of tough situations.
Miken's Adam Peterson and Long Haul Champ Denny Crine
The Rest of the Teams
6th – Tharaldson/Easton: 2-3 – Tharaldson was led by Chaun “00’s” Demars and Reggie Schulte. They got to play 5 games and is another team with a lot of talent that can win on any given day against any team. They have one of the best infielders in the game in Scott Roen.
7th – Shoppe/Backman/TYJA/LouisvilleSlugger: 1-3 – Shoppe had a terrible weekend losing two games they could have won in their last at bats. The ball did not bounce their way as they had a couple of bad calls at first base, some bad hops, and they played without Tim Cocco. Shoppe skipped the Consolation bracket games which they probably could have used just to get back to their winning ways.
8th – Whalers / CAGear: 0-3 – Whalers went 0-3 but did have Team Combat on the ropes big time as they led 15 to 8 going into the 6th inning. But Team Combat had a marathon inning and Whalers only chance to win slipped away.
More pictures below
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I would like to thank all of my sponsors, ASA, the SoftballCenter and Oldscout advertisers!
A special thanks to Chris Sebren, Dan Pfeffer, and Craig Cress for their hospitality!
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Some more pictures for you:
Neil Haglund and Victor Cordova give the baseball fans some Long Haul Bomber balls!
ASA's Chris Sebren gets Natalie's phone number (jk)
The umpires for the final game
"Softball Guy" threw out the first pitch
Bill Murray who is part owner of the St. Paul Saints stops by to check out the Super Nationals!
Knuckle deep! And I'm not talking about the pitch!
There was plenty of entertainment between innings at Midway Stadium
They had some unique seating areas out in Left Field
Don't ask don't tell
This building is used by the nearby fire department to practice.
Kimster and Softball360's Joe Harewicz (hope I spelled that right)
Dan Pfeffer of Minnesota ASA below
This guy took his girl to an Independent League Baseball Game. No second date for you!