Tuesday October 25th, 2016

2015 USSSA Toys for Tots Palm Springs tournament report!




2015 USSSA Toys for Tots


29th Annual


Palm Springs, CA


December 11-13


Toys for Tots and Heroes is what it was about!


Link to the Softballcenter.com picture album of the Toys for Tots


USSSA Toys for Tots Open tournament info and bracket link


The 29th Annual Toys for Tots featured over 160 teams across 5 divisions of men's and women's play.  The tournament is known for the strength of its "Open" division which had 24 teams, 10 of which were 'A' and higher in classification.  The 24 teams were broken out evenly over 6 flights of 4 teams each with the top 2 in each flight going to the Championship single elimination bracket and the bottom 2 in each flight going into the Consolation single elimination bracket.  Games started on Friday night and pool play games continued on Saturday until late afternoon.  Then Saturday evening when the temperatures dropped the single elimination began with the bottom 8 seeds playing into the main bracket.  In those games Team Miken won a slugfest 36-35 over All American Athletics.  AZM crushed a surprised CDZ Apparel team 49-16.  FBI scored 24 runs in the 2nd inning to beat West Coast Ballers 44-24.  And OC Swats beat Classic Glass by the 20 run rule.

On Sunday morning AZM got off to a strong start with the sun facing the batters and held on to beat Nightmare 35-31.  Crazy Girls out hit Team Miken and led 21-3 and won 37-23.  FBI jumped on Elite (the team that had beaten them in pool play on Saturday) and won 36-21.  And GTS and OC Swats battled the whole game and GTS won on a bottom of the 7th walk off homer by Nick Utley to advance.  In the semifinals GTS jumped out to a big lead on FBI but FBI came all the way back and GTS needed 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th to win which they got with only 1 homer left.  In the other semifinal AZM was losing big to Crazy Girls when they won on a protest of an illegal player and advanced to the finals.  In the finals it was all GTS 37-17.

GTS center fielder Scott Rockwell made the best home run rob of the tournament.  John Sullivan the middle infielder for CDZ made the best diving stop and throw out of the tournament.  Jared Hunt won the home run derby.  Miken beat Worth in a home run challenge.  Teams were allowed to hit 12 HR per game.  Doc, Tony, and Mike were conference umpires in attendance.  And the weather was very nice during the day and cold at night.

And best of all hundreds of toys and donations for toys were made!

Game winning hits when GTS beat FBI


Team Breakdown –  Team Totals

 2 Major
 3 'AA'
 5 'A'
 14 'B/C'



Victor Cordova hits a big homer against Swats setting up Nick Utleys walk off later in the game!


OC Swats defends GTS in the quarter finals

Collins hits a double against Elite

FBI's Andy Purcell hits a big 3 run homer against Elite/Lockdown in the quarter finals

Crowds were made up of players from other divisions

Demuth #7

Demuth #8

Sun affected the batters for most of the CDZ vs OC Swats game at Demuth #8

Pawtucket fields odd outfield fence in right center

Fenway Sunday morning, AZM defending Nightmare




Oldscout pollers picked FBI 54%



Video Highlites brought to you by:




Long Bombers of the Week

AZM's Jared Hunt won the home run derby on Friday night!

Miken beat Worth in the Home Run Challenge – Vega, Foster, Collins, Santana, and a lucky fan

Dan Norquist was mentioned as hitting the furthest ball of the tournament over at BLD Friday night




 Toys for Tots Awards and Final Standings

Open Division Final Standings
1st Place GTS/Bues Excavating/AGD
2nd Place – AZM/Easton
Tied 3rd Place – Crazy Girls/Hustledank
Tied 3rd Place – Fence Brokers Inc/Buzini/Worth
Tied 5th Place – Team Miken
Tied 5th Place – Nightmare/Miken
Tied 5th Place – Elite/Lockdown Sports
Tied 5th Place – OC Swats Doerflinger/Miken
Tied 7th Place – All American Athletics/Pro Stytch
Tied 7th Place – CDZ Apparel
Tied 7th Place – West Coast Ballers
Tied 7th Place – Classic Glass/Easton



Team by team notes brought to you by:




1st Place GTS/Bues Excavating/AGD

'AA' from WA  -0 Record

GTS run ruled Toe2Toe and Magz Premier and beat AZM to win their pool.  Then in the single elimination they used a Nick Utley walk off homer to beat OC Swats 34-31 and scored 5 runs with no walks and only 1 homer left to beat FBI.  Then run ruled AZM in the finals.  GTS played with great focus and chemistry.  They had great pitching from Cole Patterson and although they made errors the team picked each other up every time.  Another impressive tournament win from the 2015 ASA 'B' champs!

GTS Lineup:
RF Donald Hollingsworth
LF Jon Gastineau
EH Chris Hoshaw
1B Michael Powers
C Rolando Rodriquez
MI Ryan Goodman
2B Victor Cordova
SA Nick Utley
3B Chuck Garmon
CF Scott Rockwell
P Cole Patterson


Outfielder Jon Gastineau and pitcher Cole Patterson


Chuck Garmon played third base for GTS



2nd Place – AZM/Easton

'B/A?' from AZ  -2 Record


AZM won their first 5 games of the tournament including a 1 run win over Magz, a blowout 49-16 win over CDZ, and a nice 35-31 win over Nightmare.  To make the finals though they had to win by forfeith when an illegal player was protested on Crazy Girls.  

AZM is a good line drive hitting team with some of the biggest players in the tournament and a bunch of the smallest players in the tournament.

Ronald Noyola
Charlie Case
Flaco Salazar
JR Estes
Ken Tracy
Johnny Garcia
Andre Magallon
Mike Rauma
Jarred Hunt
Justin Thayer
Eric Lezano

AZM pitcher Andre Magallon is a tough pitcher taking a lot of hard shots up the middle





Tied 3rd Place – Crazy Girls/Hustledank

Major from CA  -2 Record


Crazy Girls won their first 4 games scoring no less than 35 runs in any of the games and winning the first 3 by the run rule.  In their semi-finals game on Sunday they were leading AZM big when they were protested for having an illegal player and the protest was upheld.  Crazy Girls definitely were a contenter up until that point and had a great lineup.  Kirkwood caught due to a sore elbow.  Watson pitched the whole way on the mound, and Keith Laski and Steve Whaley seemed to be on it offensively.

Crazy Girls lineup:
CF Brian Zirkle
LF Filip Washington
MI Steve Whaley
1B Chris Greinert
SS Keith Laski
C Dan Kirkwood
3B Jason Ferguson
2B Chris Arredondo
RF Trey Gilliland
P Lloyd Watson

Lloyd Watson pitched for Crazy Girls.  He is a free agent for 2016!


Tony Verdugo put together the Crazy Girls team.  Chris Greinert pictured left.


Brian Zirkle played CF and Filip Washington played LF




Tied 3rd Place – Fence Brokers Inc/Buzini/Worth

Major from AR  4-2 Record


FBI was the favorite on paper but lost in pool play to Elite (the police all stars) by 7.  That made them 2nd place in the flight and they had to play West Coast Ballers (Racks) late Saturday night which they won 44-24.  Scoring 24 runs in the 2nd inning…

On Sunday they got a revenge win over Elite 35-21 and then got knocked out by eventual winner GTS when they couldn't shut down GTS with a 4 run lead late after a big come back by FBI.  Sanchez and Bridges did most of the pitching.  The team had some big offensive innings and Jr was gloving some hard shots at shortstop.  I think if they were on the other side of the single elimination bracket they would have made the finals but quite possibly with the same result.  It was GTS's weekend.

FBI Lineup
SS Don Dedonatis
2B Dennis Rulli
3B Andy Purcell
RF Andrew Collins
MI Orlando Castillo
CF Nic Santana
LF Lee Payne
1B Howie Krause
P  Dan Sanchez
EH Chris Walker
C Jason Bridges

Andy Purcell played 3B, Dedonatis SS, Orlando Castillo MI


Jason Bridges and Dan Sanchez did most of the pitching for FBI




Tied 5th Place – Team Miken

'A' from NV  3-2 Record

Team Miken finished 2nd in their flight when they were beaten by Nightmare 31-28.  In the play in round of the single elimination they squeaked by All American Athletics 36-35 Saturday night before losing to Crazy Girls by 14 when the offense sputtered early on Sunday morning.  McClanahan did a lot of the pitching.  

TEAM MIKEN (A) roster
Johnny Bailey
Jay Hill
Jesse Dominquez
Niko Vasquez
Joe Styles
Bryan Nicholson
Nick Sansone
Ryan McClanahan
Denny Crine
Marieo Foster
Dan Norquist
Jim Kulovitz

Denny Crine



Joe Skyles and Johnny Bailey

Jay Hill is a free agent, striking it well!



Tied 5th Place – Nightmare/Miken

'A' from MO  3-1 Record

Nightmare won a top 4 seed after going 3-0 in pool play including a big 31-28 win over Team Miken.  In the single elimination they played the early morning sun in the eyes game on Fenway field vs AZM and came up short in a 35-31 loss after a slow start.  Wes Newell did all the pitching.  Zane Trammell and Justin Beal were in the outfield.  Cory Briggs was given the shot at third base for manager Bob Ellis.

Nightmare (A) roster
Nolan Fogle
Reb Smith
Wes Newell
Zane Trammell
Jason Trammell
Cory Briggs
Justin Beal
Tre Gothard
Argen Dodds
Clay Smitherman

Nightmare left side Cory Briggs, Reb Smith, and Jason Trammell

Nightmare celebrates a Nolan Fogle homer





Tied 5th Place – Elite/Lockdown Sports

'B'   3-1 Record

Elite was a police all star team led by pitcher Jeff Graus.  They upset FBI 31-26 after leading big most of the game and hung in their single elimination quarterfinal rematch vs FBI but came up short 36-21.  They just didn't adjust defensively to the FBI team speed on a couple of crucial defensive plays.  Overall a nice showing and the huge win over FBI in pool play was the talk of the tournament.

Elite-Lockdown (B) roster


Matt Tindell and Jeff Graus played for the police team



Tied 5th Place – OC Swats Doerflinger/Miken

'AA' from CA  3-2 Record

OC Swats looked good, they just did not play great or finish strong in their two losses.  One was an 8 inning walk off loss to a good CDZ team and and the other was a walk off loss to GTS in the quarterfinals Sunday morning.  Mitschke was a difference maker with the glove up the middle for Swats.  Newcomers Dustin Roberts and outfielder Brandon Loudermilk led the team in hitting.  And Matt Fox who is a Demarini sponsored player has been released because he cannot play on a fully sponsored Miken team, no hard feelings on either side.  I know Henri wanted to keep Fox on the team.  Overall this team may have the most power of any AA team but they need to control it better and "play the game".

OC Swats Doerflinger / Miken – California (AA) roster
Ed "The Kid" Vega
Dustin Roberts
Mike Brambilla
Isaac Gonzales
Paul Winner
Matt Fox
Chris Stamper
Nick Mitschke
Pilar Amaya
Eli Aguilar
Charlie Hinojosa
Brandon Patzig
Mike Beldon
Brandon Loudermilk
Manager – Henri Nuber
Coach – Ric Doerflinger
Coach – Tim Taylor
Darick Publishing
Doerflinger Software

Matt Fox, Isaac Gonzalez, and Nick Mitschke across the left side of the infield for OC Swats.

Chris Stamper in center field.


Dustin Roberts and Brandon Loudermilk led OC Swats in hitting






More pictures below





Hot Links section brought to you by:

I would like to thank USSSA, the SoftballCenter and Oldscout advertisers, and director Sean Melvin for their help!

Send corrections to dw@softballcenter.com

Link to the SoftballCenter.com Youtube channel

Link to the 2015 Tournament Reports

Link to the 2014 Tournament Reports

Link to the 2013 Tournament Reports

Link to the 2012 Tournament Reports

Nationwide Conference USSSA Points Link



Some more pictures for you:

Directors Chuck Shimels and Sean Melvin

Jerry Ramsey the father of the Toys for Tots tournament he started 29 years ago!

Seminoles from Oklahoma won the Open Consolation bracket!

Seminoles roster



Johnny McCraw and Franc Henri played for the Ace Pro Gloves team that finished 2nd in the Consolation Open bracket


#HTBH won the women's 'A'!

Womens 'A' Bracket

Link to Toys for Tots Womens D Bracket


This girl being hugged hit a nasty line shot homer just under that red building in left field


Product won the men's 'D'

Link to Toys for Tots D Bracket

OTW won the men's 'E'

Link to Toys for Tots E Bracket


Clif Williamson put together a nice CDZ team that beat OC Swats in extra innings in pool play.

TJ Webb hit a walk off homer for CDZ in their 8th inning win over OC Swats.

CDZ (A) roster
Clif Williamson
Tj Webb
Brian Logan
John Zorich
Brian Lipman
Josh Buckner
Chris Hansen
Paul Garcia
Billy Messina
John Sullivan
Brandon Logsdon
Jay Hill

Toe 2 Toe remembers Olivier Moreau

Classic Glass (A) roster


Johnny Bailey, Denny Crine, Marieo Foster, and Johnny McCraw


Cal Ford and Sean Boldt played for the West Coast Ballers team that had a lot of the Team Racks players on it

West Coast Ballers (AA) roster
Steven Lopez
Brett Rettenmeier
Sean Bolt
Calvin Ford
Sammy Christensen
Stuart Snell
Nick Price
Tyler Esplanade
Aaron Martinez
AJ Montano
Daniel Lopez
Adam Alva
Lex Ramirez
Daniel Cauthen


L/S Glass roster



Coed is coming back the 2nd weekend of Toys for Tots in 2016 along with Senior ball!

After covering 27 tournaments in person in 2015 across 14 States and Canada I take my last flight home for a long winters nap.

Texas looking very wet down below…



One response to “2015 USSSA Toys for Tots Palm Springs tournament report!”

  1. Johnny White says:

    When can we register for the 2016 Toys 4 Tots in Palm Springs?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *