2016 USSSA ‘A’ World tournament report!
2016 USSSA 'A' World Tournament
The traditional touch the cup for BHR
Winner's bracket finals – Thunders Chris Goyette singles against BHR
The 2016 'A' World Tournament began on Friday and was played in hot and humid conditions but it never did rain. They started with 16 teams, 14 of which were 'A' teams and 14 of which were from the Nationwide Conference USSSA. Each team played one game on that first night starting at 6:00 PM and the upsets started early and often as #14 seeded Classic Glass from California upset #3 seeded AllOut from Texas 25-19. #15 seeded All American Restoration from Minnesota upset #2 seeded JBL/Tailgaters from Ohio in the best game of the night (maybe the tournament). All American came from 8 runs down in the bottom of the 7th and forced extra innings where they held JBL scoreless and then walked them off with an Eric O'Connell single down the right field line to win 27-26. #12 seed Steel Athletics from Texas upset #5 Bay Area Legends from California 17-13 after Steel jumped out to a 15-0 lead after 4 innings. #13 Primetime from Georgia came from behind and got a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 7th from infielder JB Jennings to beat #4 Nightmare from Missouri. I guess they may not have followed SoftballCenter from the previous week because they walked a batter to get to Jennings who was the "Long Haul Bomber" of the week at Military Worlds. And also in the first round higher seeds Bad Draw from North Carolina, Thunder/Miken from New York, Above All Landscaping from New Jersey, and #1 seeded BHR/Coppermine Lodge from Texas all won their games by the run rule.
In the second round of the winner's bracket which was played at 11 AM and 12 noon on Saturday Bad Draw run ruled Classic Glass by 20 runs 23-3. Thunder/Miken jumped on All American 22-7 out of the gate with some big innings to win 31-16. Steel used a Toby Letak grand slam to get back into the game against Primetime and ended up winning 16-15 on a Steven Malay walk off homer. And BHR had some good defense and pitching late against Above All Landscaping trailing by 4 runs going into the bottom of the 6th. They closed the lead to 1 in the bottom of the 7th and got solo homers from Matt Schrage and a game winner by Tyler Driskell to win 18-17.
The final 4 of the winner's bracket started around 6:30 PM Saturday with Thunder/Miken jumping out to an 18 run top of the first inning against Bad Draw. An inning where they scored 11 runs with two outs prompting a young Thunder fan to repeat the phrase "keep this two out nightmare going". It was exactly that to Bad Draw who to that point had not been challenged. Thunder ended up winning 31-14. In the other semifinal BHR separated mid game and knocked off fellow Texas team Steel Athletics 30-20.
In the winner's final which started after dark on Saturday BHR took a 9-6 lead in the third inning on a Jason Ferguson 3 run homer but Thunder would outscore them 12-8 the rest of the way and came up with a few more plays on those late evening hard grounders to win it 17-14. Fans in attendance and the teams themselves definitely thought it would take 35 or 40 runs to win that game but both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm and Thunder went to Sunday in the driver's seat.
In the loser's bracket Bay Area Legends basically played most of the day and won 4 games on Saturday including a late night extra innings win on a walk off homer by Luis Gonzalez to beat Steel 23-20 and then won their 5th straight game Sunday morning over Bad Draw 29-12 getting big homers from Rick Cornu, Dan Simental, Cal Ford, and Cal Ford again send home Draw. But Bay Area ran out of gas finally against BHR in the loser's bracket finals 23-16 after leading 5-2. A base running mistake cost them late in the game and BHR got homers from Chris Potts, Cooper Vittitow, Chris Terry, Jason Ferguson, and Matt Schrage in a 9 run inning to separate and lead the rest of the way.
That set up the rematch between BHR and Thunder for the hardware. BHR and Thunder were even in runs and homers after two innings in the first game of the championship. Thunders Snyder opened things up with a 2 run homer and in the 4th inning Thunder held BHR scoreless and in the bottom half big Dennis Nourry hit a grand slam to give Thunder a 15-11 lead! BHR then held Thunder scoreless with a nice catch on the fence by Ethan Stuckly in center field and 3rd baseman Tyler Driskell made a nice play and throw and a Tim Bowser pick at first ended Thunders 5th inning. BHR then grabbed a lead as pinch hitter Sean Boldt hit a 2 run homer and lefty MVP Mike Brown hit a big 3 runner. Things got interesting in the 7th when Thunder came back and Offensive co-MVP Kyle Olsen broke a 21-21 tie with a two out two run homer. So BHR was facing elimination in the bottom of the 7th down 23-21 when the top of their order who had been "money" all weekend had Tyler Driskell and Mike Brown set the table for a Tim Bowser first pitch, walk off, no doubter and BHR had forced the "if" game and had taken the momentum away.
The final game was all BHR as they dominated the game in every phase – offense, defense, and pitching and BHR won in one of the quickest games of the year 23-2 in 4 innings, ending the game with a string of solo homers and a final blast by Mike Brown and the CELEBRATION WAS ON!
Congratulations to BHR on the well-deserved title. Hats off to Thunder who was just a half inning away from the title and a thank you to Bay Area Legends for showing us what true heart is and to all the teams that provided so many great finishes! There was a solid crew of conference umpires on hand. The ball for most of the conditions was the right one. And we now move to the Conference Championships in just a few weeks to determine the final starting spots for the Major World Series! See you then…
Tim "bye bye" Bowser hits a 3 run walk off homer to beat Thunder in the first game of the finals!
MVP Mike Brown hits a walk off homer to beat Thunder by the run rule in the final game!
16 Teams Overall
14 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
14 'A' Teams
1 'B' Teams
1 'C' Teams
BHR's Cooper Vittitow gets one past Thunder pitcher Matt Zurawel in the winners final
Classic Glass bats against Bad Draw in the quarter finals
The Stadium ZN "bad batch" balls were used. They have a compression that is in between a Conference Classic M ZN ball and a true stadium ZN ball.
At night it was a little too much but as usual made for some great come from behind wins. No lead was safe.
Oldscout pollers had it correct with BHR getting 27% of the vote
Halfway through the tournament a number of people were telling me it would be Bad Draw and Thunder all the way yet they only got 6% and 7% of the vote in the poll?
Video Highlites brought to you by:
Long Bombers of the Week
BHR's Tim Bowser stole the show with clutch homers in a tournament filled with clutch homers
'A' Worlds Awards and Final Standings
|Player Tournament Awards||Players Name||Plays For|
|Tournament MVP||Mike Brown||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|Offensive Tournament CO-MVP||Joe Gordon||Thunder/Miken/Blowoutpicks.com|
|Offensive Tournament CO-MVP||Kyle Olsen||Thunder/Miken/Blowoutpicks.com|
|Defensive Tournament MVP||Daniel Evans||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|All Tournament Team||Chris Goyette||Thunder/Miken/Blowoutpicks.com|
|All Tournament Team||John Brown||Bay Area Legends|
|All Tournament Team||Tim Bowser||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|All Tournament Team||Matthew Zurawel||Thunder/Miken/Blowoutpicks.com|
|All Tournament Team||Marcus Thornton||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|All Tournament Team||Freddie Bynum||Bad Draw/Broughton/Worth|
|All Tournament Team||matt schrage||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|All Tournament Team||Evan Jarman||Bad Draw/Broughton/Worth|
|All Tournament Team||Richard Cornu||Bay Area Legends|
|All Tournament Team||Ethan Stuckly||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|All Tournament Team||Jeffery Renno||Bay Area Legends|
|All Tournament Team||christopher Potts||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|All Tournament Team||Arturo Enrique Barcelo III||Thunder/Miken/Blowoutpicks.com|
|All Tournament Team||Dennis Nourry||Thunder/Miken/Blowoutpicks.com|
|All Tournament Team||Tyler Driskell||BHR/COPPERMINE LODGE/ASP/WORTH|
|1||TXN – Gladewater||bhr/coppermine lodge/asp/worth||USSSA-Mens-A||6||1||0||157||105||22.4||15||7.42||30||650|
|2||NY – Wading River||thunder/miken/blowoutpicks.com||USSSA-Mens-A||4||2||0||129||100||21.5||16.6||4.83||31||350|
|3||CAN – Hayward||Bay Area Legends||USSSA-Mens-A||5||2||0||148||106||21.1||15.1||6||29||300|
|4||NC – Greenville||Bad Draw/Broughton/Worth||USSSA-Mens-A||3||2||0||112||70||22.4||14||8.4||37||250|
|5||GA – Macon||Primetime/Easton/Storm||USSSA-Mens-A||3||2||0||91||123||18.2||24.6||-6.4||26||200|
|5||TXS – Corpus Christi||steel ath/american athletics/miken||USSSA-Mens-B||2||2||0||73||81||18.2||20.2||-2||20||200|
|7||FLS – Bartow||breaking bad/parkertaxteam.com/atwl||USSSA-Mens-C||2||2||0||67||76||16.7||19||-2.2||26||175|
|7||DC – Washington||semper/demarini/klutch/timbuktu||USSSA-Mens-A||2||2||0||97||96||24.2||24||0.25||34||150|
|9||CAC – San Jose||Classic Glass/Easton||USSSA-Mens-A||1||2||0||34||68||11.3||22.6||-11.||25||110|
|9||NJ – Jackson||above all landscaping/evo9x/miken||USSSA-Mens-A||1||2||0||67||57||22.3||19||3.33||28||110|
|9||OH – Kent||JBL/Tailgaters/B&E/Worth||USSSA-Mens-A||1||2||0||75||62||25||20.6||4.33||26||110|
|9||MN – CHAMPLIN||all american restoration/unrl frozen||USSSA-Mens-A||1||2||0||55||80||18.3||26.6||-8.3||27||135|
|13||MO – Branson||Nightmare/Miken||USSSA-Mens-A||0||2||0||38||47||19||23.5||-4.5||21||70|
|13||FLS – Port Saint Lucie||shirt doctors/bomb squad/combat||USSSA-Mens-A||0||2||0||18||50||9||25||-16||9||70|
|13||TXS – Houston||allout/powerhousesportz/izzysports||USSSA-Mens-A||0||2||0||35||59||17.5||29.5||-12||19||70|
|13||KY – London||Buffalo wings and rings||USSSA-Mens-A||0||2||0||32||48||16||24||-8||25||70|
Team by team notes brought to you by:
1st Place BHR/Coppermine Lodge/ASP/Worth
Conf 'A' from Texas 6-1 Record
BHR felt like it was their weekend but Thunder nearly derailed their plans. But BHR fought back winning the first game of the championship in the bottom of the 7th for their second win of the tournament in their last at bat. Then of course they obliterated Thunder in the final game by the 20 run rule. Manager Tim Barnes put together a team that may not be done making noise in 2016 as they still have the 'A' Worlds and the Major World Series. Driskell is probably the best unknown talent in the country with his versatility and extra base hitting. He was clutch in that 7th inning win over Above All and also hitting that perfect single to start the 7th of the first championship game. Mike Brown has been an onbase machine for a few years now and set the table for Bowser who may now take over as king of the Fortune Road home run hitters. Potts and Thornton can win at all levels, Vittitow had a nice bounce back season, Ferguson returned to the Conference as a big home run hitter and newer players like Stuckly and Schrage and the veteran Sean Boldt played their roles well. Cap that off with Danny Evans crafty pitching in his final season and mix it with a Texas chemistry that the rest of us don't understand and you have yourself a world championship!
BHR Sunday lineup
3B Tyler Driskell
EH Mike Brown
1B Tim Bowser
MI Chris Potts
2B Cooper Vittitow
RF Chris Terry
SS Marcus Thornton
C Jason Ferguson
CF Ethan Stuckly
LF Matt Schrage
P Danny Evans
PH Sean Boldt
Defensive MVP pitcher Dan Evans and leadoff and All Tournament3B Tyler Driskell
BHR's Chris Potts All Tournament performer with the yearly Fortune Road sunset picture
2nd baseman Cooper Vittitow and CF Ethan Stuckly
All Tournament shortstop Marcus Thornton and right fielder Chris Terry
Sean Boldt hits a pinch hit grand slam vs Steel
Note I missed getting a picture of Matt Schrage. Sorry. Outfielders sometimes get missed. 🙁
2nd Place Thunder/Miken/BlowOutPicks.com
Conf 'A' from New York 4-2 Record
Thunder built a team out of two high finishing 'C' teams from 2015 worlds and added in the veteran Joe Gordon and the hard hitting Snyder brothers from RDD and next thing you know they had one of the best lineups in the nation. They rode that offense and their "Newbreed" type fired up attitude, and almost pulled off the championship run. If the coin bounces the other way and they are home they probably would have won. Great team, great sponsorship, and they could be one of the favorites in the Conference qualifier and it would be fun to see how some of these hitters do in the major!
Thunder Sunday Lineup
3B Joe Gordon
SS Micah Schnurstein
LF Kyle Olsen
C Chris Goyette
RF Mike Snyder
2B Ryan Snyder
1B Dennis Nourry
MI Daniel Dunn
CF Arturo Barcelo
P Matt Zurawel
1st baseman Dennis Nourry had a bunch of big homers including this grand slam in the finals
3B Joe Gordon, SS Micah Schnurstein, and MI Daniel Dunn
2B Ryan Snyder and CF Arturo Barcelo
I think I missed getting a picture of Mike Snyder so I'll put his brother in twice. 🙂
Thunder all tournament – CF Arturo Barcelo, 1B Dennis Nourry, P Matt Zurawel,
C Chris Goyette, Offensive MVP's 3B Joe Gordon and LF Kyle Olsen
3rd Place Bay Area Legends
Conf 'A' from California 5-2 Record
The legend grows as Bay Area found the magic again in Orlando and used their line drive hitting style to squeak out 5 wins. There is a lot of underrated talent on this team but to mention just a few names would not do them service. So here is the lineup below. These guys have had a great season and its too bad it had to end. Some clutch hitters on this team and one of the more entertaining teams to watch. The outfield of Cornu, Renno, and Simental had some great games defensively with diving and rangy plays.
Bay Area Legends Sunday lineup
LF Rick Cornu
MI Dameon Smith
EH Cal Ford
CF Jeff Renno
SS Carlos Vasquez
C Corey Gilbert
3B Chais Fuller
1B Luis Gonzalez
RF Dan Simental
P John Brown
2B Brandon Newton
Pitcher John Brown was all tournament
All tournament CF Jeff Renno and the man that makes softball memories for the Bay Area Legends – sponsor Joel Gonzalez
Luis Gonzalez sends Bay Area Legends to Sunday with an 8th inning walk off homer over Steel
All Tournament LF Richard Cornu with a huge 3 run homer vs Steel
4th Place Bad Draw/Broughton/Worth
Conf 'A' from North Carolina 3-2 Record
Bad Draw was on a roll and used a good draw in the bracket to win a couple games and make it to Sunday at the 'A'. We shall see if these couple of wins can get them going for the conference championships or not? This is such a talented team and I am sure everyone involved doesn't understand the lack of success (I don't) but they have one more shot and last year they made the most of it when they qualified for the Major on the last possible day.
Bad Draw Sunday lineup
RF/C Robert Blackburn
SS Freddie Bynum
MI Brian Faria
1B David Forbes
2B Tyler Wilson
LF Evan Jarman
C Keyma Wright
3B JC Romero
CF Mike Williams
P Danny Lopez
SS Freddie Bynum and All Tournament outfielder Evan Jarman
Robert Blackburn with a backside bomb vs Primetime
Romero at 3B and Brian Faria up the middle
Tied 5th Place – Primetime/Easton/Storm
Conf 'A' from Georgia 3-2 Record
Primetime showed what they are capable of for the first time this year as they came from behind against #2 seeded JBL and came from 15 runs down in the bottom of the 7th to beat rival Semper. Tony Mack was back but playing with a bad cut on his finger, JB Jennings hit some bombs for the second week in a row, and the team never gave up which is a mentality that has been missing this year for Primetime and was great to see come out here at the end of the season. Primetime will represent the Conference in the BSC worlds over Labor Day weekend and are playing well enough to take home a title there!
Lee Daniels completes the 15 run comeback win in the bottom of the 7th with a walk off homer
Tied 5th Place – Steel Athletics/American Athletics/Miken
Conf 'B' from Texas 2-2 Record
Steel played great again playing "up" at worlds and they are really learning to win in Florida in the heat with the long games. They beat Bay Area Legends, then walked off Primetime to make it to the final 4 of the winner's bracket. There they played BHR hard for 7 innings but lost then dropped to the loser's bracket and took Bay Area Legends to 8 innings but lost in the last at bat. Holsonback is another of those Texas softball die hards that knows how to put together great teams. Look for them to be a favorite at 'B' Worlds which is rumored to have more than 50 teams.
Steel MI Toby Letak tries to turn two
Malays walk off homer against Primetime, I didn't get this video in the highlight clips so I put it here
Veteran Rodney Fail did a lot of the pitching
I like the number on these Steel Athletics uniforms
Other top finishing teams
Tied 7th Place – Breaking Bad/ParkerTaxTeam.com/ATWL
'C' from Florida 2-2 Record
A bit of an unknown local 'C' team that won two games in the loser's bracket Saturday vs Buffalo Wings 26-25 and Classic Glass 26-6. They dominated the Classic Glass game. Hard nosed, scrappy, etc are words to describe this "no name" team. Good luck at worlds and thanks for playing and rounding out the bracket at 16 and finishing in the top half!
Another Florida C team we should see at the 'C' and 'B' in a month
Tied 7th Place – Semper/Demarini/Klutch/Timbuktu
Conf 'A' from USA 2-2 Record
Semper sleep walked through their Friday opener in a 26-6 loss to Bad Draw. Then they came alive on Saturday to beat Allout 34-16 and came from behind to beat Above All Landscaping 32-28 on a Trent Simms walk off grand slam! They were down 7 in the bottom of the 7th in that game as their spouses almost "willed" them to that win. This set them up against rival Primetime who they led 25-11 going into the bottom of the 7th only to lose 26-25? Ouch. Semper saw some positives this weekend and will attempt to qualify for the Major at the Conference Qualifier Labor Day weekend.
Simms hits a walk off homer to beat Above All
Tre Campbell showing the new Semper uniforms
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Tied 9th Place – Classic Glass/Easton (CA-A) 1-2
Classic showed promise with a nice 25-19 win over Allout on Friday night but only scored 9 runs in two losses on Saturday…
Tied 9th Place – Above All Landscaping/EVO9X/Miken (NJ-A) 1-2
Above All started with a run rule win over Buffalo Wings 22-7. Then on Saturday in the quarterfinals they had #1 BHR down 17-13 but failed to score in the last two innings and BHR walked them off in the bottom of the 7th 18-17. Then right away in the losers bracket they lost a 7 run lead to Semper in the bottom of the 7th and definitely have that "what if" feeling to end the season. They were so close to winning against BHR and that could have propelled them to a top 4 finish or better. SS Jesse Campanelli made a number of great diving plays in those games to keep it close.
Above All professional hitter Tom Paturzo said he is "retiring…again" Say it ain't so!
Tied 9th Place – JBL/Tailgaters/B&E/Worth (OH-A) 1-2
JBL had that epic first round game with All American on Friday night where they lost in extra innings after leading by 8 going into the bottom of the 7th. In the loser's bracket they run ruled Shirt Doctors early Saturday morning then dropped a 26-24 extra innings game with Primetime. JBL was missing a couple guys and the defense wasn't consistent but another team that goes home wondering "what if".
Tied 9th Place – All American Restoration/UNRL (MN-A) 1-2
All American was the only non-conference 'A' team at the worlds and they won a close extra innings game over #2 seeded JBL on Friday night when Eric OConnell singled to right field to win it 27-26. Then on Saturday they didn't keep pace with Thunder or Bay Area Legends in either game and lost both. All American picked up Scott Brown who last played with Combat and pitcher Dan Yochum who last played with Dan Smith to bolster the roster. Chris Bauer at shortstop also made some of the best defensive plays of the tournament and Yochums good pitching drew some comments from the viewers. Really a tough draw in both the winner's bracket and the loser's bracket for a team that had top 4 aspirations.
Tied 13 Place – Nightmare/Miken (MO-A) 0-2
Nightmare lost on a walk off homer to Primetime on Friday night and a tough 24-17 loss to Bay Area Legends on Saturday. They did crack out some nice new uniforms and will try to qualify for the major at the Conference Qualifier in two weeks.
Brad Sheffield of military world fame from last weekend and pitcher Shawn Jones
Tied 13 Place – ShirtDoctors/Bomb Squad/Combat (FL-A) 0-2
Tied 13 Place – AllOut/PowerhouseSportz/IzzySports (TX-A) 0-2
Tied 13 Place – Buffalo Wings and Rings (KY-A) 0-2
Fortune Road Athletic complex has been home to many recent USSSA Worlds but the nasty lip on the infields, the lack of field dragging, and the broken scoreboards it has seen its better days.
The Thunder sponsors son was the one you heard on the livestream giving us great commentary, a slew of softball lingo, and score updates!
Looks like a scout
Cheeze is saying good bye. He is going to start following horse racing instead of slowpitch…
Orlando is known for their spectacular sunsets
Til we meet again palm trees…in two weeks. 🙂