Saturday July 24th, 2021

2009 Combat Double Major NIT Part 1


2009 Conference USSSA


Combat Double Major NIT




Russell Sports Complex


Kent, Washington


July 3-5


Click this banner to check out for all your softball equipment needs

Mt. Rainier was visibile from the fields

The 2009 Conference features two "double" points weekends. The first was in Kissimmee, Florida to start the season and the second was this past weekend in Washington. The first tournament started at 11 AM on Friday morning and wound up finishing Saturday around noon. Dan Smith-Menosse-Benfield-Combat won the tournament and defeated Classic Glass/Easton/DSSBats 43-28 in the finals. Classic Glass used all 12 of their homeruns to build a slight lead midway through the final game but fell victim to Dan Smith's superior homerun management in the end. Showcase/All American Restoration/Worth finished third for their best showing of the season and hometown Northwest Combat/Trojans finished a solid 4th. More on all the teams later in the report.

The "Official Combat Sports Vehicle" was on display!

In the second tournament which started around noon Saturday and finished up with the final four teams on Sunday, Dan Smith again went 4-0 to take the weekend sweep. Smith beat GTL Cartel/Stucco/Worth/Elite 43-40 in the finals with WCS/LCV finishing up 3rd and Northwest Combat/Trojans finishing 4th again. I missed the 3 games on Sunday morning due to an early flight however it looks like GTL turned a bad weekend around and completed their run through the loser's bracket to get to the shootout with Dan Smith.

Congratulations to the Dan Smith team who have now swept both double points tournaments!

Don Cooper and the staff ran a great weekend and the tournaments were set up perfectly with the 9 Conference teams joined by the best 6 local "C" teams that could play. This is the way the Majors should be run. Keep the "D" and "E" teams out whenever possible. There was at least one good game going on at all times.

Bats were confiscated whenever a pitcher was hit. The bats that were taken were mailed away to the home office for testing. One umpire was drilled in the head during the ATS vs KTI game. Someone please post how this umpire is doing. The umpire unfortunately was inside the bases with a runner on first, between the pitcher and second base. Let this be a tough lesson to all umpires. Never umpire from inside the bases before the ball is hit.

Team Breakdown: There were 9 Conference USSSA teams and 15 teams overall from 5 different states at the Combat Major:

1 Major Teams,
4 Class "A" Teams,
4 Class "B" Teams,
6 Class "C" Teams,

Player's were battered and bruised after playing as many as 11 games over 3 day's

Russell Sports Complex notes: The softball complex was beautiful and the tournament featured perfect weather. 4 of the fields were all symmetrical with 300 foot fences. Homerun fences were about 10 feet high. A 5th field which was used sparingly was a baseball field with a temporary fence. In the future they should just leave out the temp fence and use the regular dimensions which were 330 down the line and 365 to center field.

Video clip of the fields from the Edge Bar behind left field of diamond #4

Field #3 at the Russell Sports Complex

Field #4 at the Russell Sports Complex

Field #1, the baseball field with the temp fence

Tournament Rules:
Homerun rules were as follows:
Major vs non-Major = 12 per game per team.
All other games were 8 per game per team.
Mercy Rules were 30 after 3, 20 after 4, 15 after 5.

The tournament homerun leader was Walter Haley from Classic Glass with 16 HR's

Team by Team Comments:

Dan Smith-Menosse-Benfield-Combat (Conf Major, San Jose, CA )
Combat Double Record 8-0
Overall Conference Record 40-11

Dan Smith out hustled the entire field of teams and went 8-0 enroute to two tournament championships. 7 of their 8 victories were against Conference opponents. Dal Beggs had the hot stick and earned MVP of the second tournament. Brian Wegman who's defensive play in the winner's final against WCS and consistent hustle earned him an MVP as well.

Brett Helmer returned from injury with an all tournament performance in the 2nd tournament after sitting out the first.

Sean McDonald had the best diving defensive stop of the tournament against Classic Glass in the finals of the first tournament.

Dan Smith played 8 games, but did themselves a favor by winning all of them and staying as fresh as possible for the Smoky Mountain Classic next weekend.

Dan Smith celebrates their winner's bracket championship victory Saturday

Dan Smith's Brian Wegman earned MVP honors in the first tournament

Brett Helmer showing no ill effects from his elbow injury

Tourny #2 MVP Dal Beggs "lets it eat" for Dan Smith

Dan Smith catcher Scott Brown hit one halfway up the roof on that building in left field

Classic Glass/Easton/DSS Bats (Conf A, San Jose, CA )
Combat Double Record 6-4
Overall Conference Record 15-10

Classic Glass put together two nice tournaments and earned some much needed points. When you figure two of their losses were to Dan Smith, they end up finishing 4-2 against non-Major Conference opponents. Classic was led by Joey Formosa who was playing shortstop for the injured Tim Uhls who moved to 3rd base. Joey put on a nice defensive show in the finals against Dan Smith and consistently gave Classic big homeruns and clutch hits throughout. The other player I may need to add to the Major Player's Prospect list is left fielder Joey Smith who made hitting look real easy this weekend.

2009 Outlook: This was my first time seeing Classic Glass play in 2009 and I feel they can go toe to toe with any "A" team in the country. The question is, can they travel to the far southeast and beat "A" teams in the Orlando heat in mid-August? If I were Classic, I'd pick up one more power bat and bring a couple extra pinch hitter's.

Classic Glass celebrates their runner up finish in tourny #1

Classic's Joey Smith hits a walkoff grand slam against Showcase in the bottom of the 9th

All in the family. Tom Formosa 3B, Sal Formosa SS, and Joey Formosa MI for Classic Glass

Classic's Joey Formosa ties the game with a clutch HR

My pick for tournament MVP is Classic Glass shortstop Joey Formosa

Tournament Defensive MVP John Molina of Classic Glass turns two

Classic Glass infielder Tim Uhls may have the best arm in the Conference

Showcase/All American Restoration/Worth (Conf B, Plymouth, MN )
Combat Double Record 5-4
Overall Conference Record 16-12

Showcase had a decent weekend and played well enough to make me think they will be a player in the "B" Worlds come September. Showcase added middle infielder Jason Landa who played well. They are getting some consitent power from Dustin Palm and top notch defense out of shortstop Tim Nielson and center fielder Ryan Anderson. They also have some good power off the bench in veteran slugger Jim Thurman.

Showcase picked up two big wins over Combat USA this weekend and beat a hot NW Combat team as well.

Showcase gathers after their 3rd place finish on Saturday

Showcase shortstop Tim Nielson made a seemingly endless amount of great plays and is my pick for Defensive MVP of the Tournaments

Showcase produced some better offense than they did in past Conference events

Showcase pitcher Andy Vitcak hits a key HR vs Classic Glass

GTL Cartel/Stucco/Worth/Elite (Conf A, Othello, WA )
Combat Double Record 7-4
Overall Conference Record 28-16

GTL had a lackluster first tournament and lost 31-13 to WCS in their first game in tourny #2. After a two game break and what appeared to be a VERY serious discussion between the players and sponsor/player Donnie Wilson, the GTL team responded by beating ATS, O&S (in extra innings), KTI, NW Combat, and WCS to make it to the championship against Dan Smith. In the finals GTL lost a shootout 43-40. Anyone who witnessed this last game, please post details as I had to catch a flight.

GTL continues to search for the chemistry they had when making their run at the "A" Worlds in 2008. The roster is A+, the effort could probably be fine tuned and the pitching needs to improve. This team may be missing JC Phelps more than they want to admit. We still have a long way to go until the big 3 tournaments at the end of the year and this team still has plenty of time to turn it around. Winning 5 in a row against top competition on Saturday is a step in the right direction although playing 11 games in Seattle may take its toll at the Smoky's this weekend.

GTL's Sam Lopez won the homerun derby Thursday night at the Combat Major

Whenever I get a late Saturday picture of the sunset you can bet GTL is still playing

Local player Chad Munger pitching for GTL was tournament #2 Defensive MVP

Northwest Combat / Trojans (Conf B, Seattle, Washington )
Combat Double Record 7-4
Overall Conference Record 12-10

NW Combat is in my view a completely different team than the one that I watched play in Kissimmee in April. They have added two of the top Canadien national players in middle infielder Jeff Gare and outfielder Frank Henry. They also have veteran pitching in Derek Warren, speed and defense in centerfielder Brian Plenkovich, great glove in 2B Ryan Goodman, and veteran sticks like Danny Van Daele, Shane McCullough, and Danny Clemans. In the words of one opposing manager "they are the Columbus Pipe of 2009". I have to agree.

NW Combat is now in my opinion a top 5 "B" team in the country. Again we will have to see how they travel. The Florida heat and games in the stadium can be a whole different animal.

Former C-Town star Jon Oram locks down shortstop and leadoff for Northwest Combat

Northwest Combat's Seth Stephens hits a big HR opposite field

Another former C-Town star Danny Van Daele of Northwest Combat


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.