Thursday April 18th, 2019
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2011 Conference USSSA Michigan Tournament Recap

 

 

 2011 Conference USSSA

"Last Chance"

Sterling Heights, Michigan

August  5-7

 

Michigan really was the "Last Chance" for Taylormade to get to the World Series.   Shoppe pitcher Shane Spicer pitches to Taylormade's Johnny Bailey

 

The final Conference regular season tournament of the 2011 season was played this past weekend in Sterling Hts, Michigan.  The tournament on Friday night and Saturday morning went as predicted with none of the local non-conference teams winning any games against Conference teams the whole weekend.  This was probably the weakest field of non-conference teams all year. 

In the second round there were some great match ups but the two that stood out was the R&M Metals vs Combat/Pharmapar marathon game that R&M held on to win 34-27 and the Shoppe vs Taylormade game where Shoppe jumped out with a 20 run first inning on only 3 homer's and won 26-18.

In the third round the 3 big Major teams all lost to 'A' teams and this round of games was delayed for over 2 hours by rain.  Famous Sports beat Resmondo 33-25 after trailing Resmondo when the rain came.  This was Resmondo's first loss to a non-major team this year (17-1).  R&M Metals also knocked off GTL 23-22 where they led before the rain and GTL came up short in their comeback bid when R&M turned a double play.  

I was over at the Team Combat/Laser Vision vs EWS game where EWS "flip flopped" Laser Vision and LV came all the way back and had a 4 run lead in the last inning when EWS came back on the power of a Brett McCollum homer and a walk-off 3 run homer by Tony Mack.  Also in this round Team 454 dominated Shoppe in a game which pitted (arguably) the two best 'A' teams in the country.  Team 454 won 24-11 and led throughout as they beat Shoppe for the 3rd straight time this year (3-0).  Lets hope we get to see this rematch in two weeks at the 'A' World broadcast live on SoftballCenter.com!

So after the "super powers" fell, the tournament was wide open for any of the 'A' teams to break through and win one.  In the semi-finals Team 454 was first to take advantage of the situation with a late night domination of Famous 24-8 when the fog rolled in and nearly postponed the tournament.  Over on the other diamond EWS was unable to come from behind against R&M Metals as newly acquired Sam Lopez, playing middle infield, made some spectacular plays including a bare hand diver off the glove of pitcher Kyle Yerkes and subsequent throw out at first.  Lopez also had a key 3 run homer and R&M beat EWS 25-20.

The late night heroics weren't over for R&M Metals as they used a walk-off homer by left fielder Nick Robertson to beat Team 454 in the winner's bracket championship 25-24.  The game began at 1:30 AM on Sunday morning and ended after 3 AM.  In the game Team 454 led most of the way and there was some pushing and shoving on a close play at third base in the 5th.  R&M closed the gap and trailed by one going into the bottom of the 7th and got a single by Greinert and the walk off by Robertson to win.

Meanwhile in the loser's bracket, played on the back fields, Team Combat/Laser Vision marched through Pharmapar 36-21, then had a seesaw win over GTL 39-35 and sent Famous packing 27-10 very early on Sunday morning to meet Resmondo in the loser's semi-final.

Resmondo knocked off Linedrive 36-15 in a game that had some middle war shots going on.  Then they run ruled Sinister and EWS after midnight on Saturday by a combined score of 69-30.

In the loser's semi-finals Resmondo batted around two and a half times in the 2nd inning but Laser Vision came back to make a game of it before Resmondo held on to win 30-29.  In the loser's championship Resmondo hammered Team 454 by a score of 38-18 and advanced to the finals against R&M Metals.

Before the finals a banged up R&M team that saw the previous nights hero's Sam Lopez and Nick Robertson leave on a plane because of early flights, decided to just play one game for the championship.   Resmondo held an early 8-4 lead and extended the lead to near "run rule" territory before R&M showed some real heart and closed the gap to 19-17 going into the 7th.   Resmondo then scored 8 in the top of the 7th and I believe R&M went scoreless in the bottom half and lost 27-17.   Although the bracket online says 27-10 which is wrong.

Overall it was still a great weekend for the 'A' division which finally broke through with some wins over the big 3 major teams.   The weather was warm and had the traditional Michigan rain storm and subsequent late night fog.

The next Conference event is the Conference Championships over Labor Day weekend and of course we have the 'A' worlds coming up September 19-21 before that.

Note: Justin Geiner #16 from R&L Concrete won the home run derby and Vince Bisbee was second.

R&M Metals celebrate Offensive MVP Matt Alberts big run

Team breakdown:   4 – Major,   7 – 'A',  4 – 'B',  7 – 'C',  5 – 'D',  5 – 'E'

14 teams were from the Conference USSSA

10 different states were represented!

T

Resmondo celebrates during the championship game

 

Here are some action photos from around the "Last Chance" tournament

Columbus Pipe pitcher Roger "Dancing Bear" Bias gives it the old "hide the ball on the back of your glove" trick

R&M Metals center fielder Brian Zirkle makes another diving stop

Combat/Pharmapar picked up Geno Burdick

R&M Metals Sam Lopez tries to break up the play at 2nd base as GTL's Matt Pesso avoids the collision

EWS Right Fielder Scott Kirby climbs the fence to try and rob Laser Vision of a key home run

Sinister's Chris Kirian batting against Shoppe


All 7 of the fields used had 300 foot fences and NO WORKING SCOREBOARDS!

The fog nearly postponed the games late on Saturday night

YouTube Preview Image

Random video clips from the tournament

Full bat testing was in effect

 


Michigan "Last Chance" Tournament Awards and Final Standings: 

Player Tournament Awards
Players Name
Plays For
Tournament CO-MVP
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
Tournament CO-MVP
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
Offensive Tournament MVP
R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton
Defensive Tournament CO-MVP
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
Defensive Tournament CO-MVP
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
All Tournament Team
Team Combat/LaserVision/D2E/Supreme
All Tournament Team
Team Combat/LaserVision/D2E/Supreme
All Tournament Team
R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton
All Tournament Team
R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton
All Tournament Team
R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton
All Tournament Team
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
All Tournament Team
R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton
All Tournament Team
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
All Tournament Team
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
All Tournament Team
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
All Tournament Team
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
All Tournament Team
Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth
 
No Online Roster = No Points (Once roster is added allow one day for point updates)
Place
State
Team
Team
Class
Wins
Loses
Ties
Runs
Scored
Runs
Allow
Avg
Runs
Avg
Allow
Avg
Diff
Max
Runs
1
FL
SPMensMajor
9
1
0
280
152
28
15.2
12.8
40
150
2
IA
SPMensA
5
2
0
144
125
20.5
17.8
2.71
34
220
3
VA
SPMensA
4
2
0
138
105
23
17.5
5.5
24
180
4
WA
SPMensMajor
5
2
0
216
147
30.8
21
9.85
39
80
5
CAS
SPMensA
3
2
0
89
92
17.8
18.4
-0.5
33
140
5
IL
SPMensA
3
2
0
129
133
25.8
26.6
-0.8
40
140
7
MI
SPMensA
4
2
0
117
78
19.5
13
6.5
32
120
7
WA
SPMensMajor
3
2
0
115
79
23
15.8
7.2
35
60
9
WA
SPMensMajor
3
2
0
123
98
24.6
19.6
5
27
50
9
MI
SPMensB
3
2
0
82
81
16.4
16.2
0.19
21
150
9
WA
SPMensB
3
2
0
81
72
16.2
14.4
1.8
39
150
9
TN
SPMensA
2
2
0
77
78
19.2
19.5
-0.2
26
100
13
VA
SPMensA
2
2
0
71
56
17.7
14
3.75
20
80
13
OHC
SPMensB
2
2
0
74
65
18.5
16.2
2.25
31
80
13
MO
SPMensB
2
2
0
43
72
10.7
18
-7.2
15
140
13
MI
SPMensC
2
2
0
49
69
12.2
17.2
-5
18
80
17
MI
SPMensD
1
2
0
39
50
13
16.6
-3.6
22
40
17
MI
SPMensE
1
2
0
27
52
9
17.3
-8.3
22
40
17
MI
Repo Monkey Qualified berth
SPMensE
1
2
0
30
64
10
21.3
-11.
15
40
17
MI
SPMensC
1
2
0
30
40
10
13.3
-3.3
19
40
17
MI
SPMensE
1
2
0
14
49
4.66
16.3
-11.
7
40
17
MI
SPMensC
1
2
0
48
51
16
17
-1
27
40
17
MI
Bright Horizon Qualified
SPMensE
1
2
0
7
27
2.33
9
-6.6
7
40
17
OHN
R&L Concrete Qualified berth
SPMensC
1
2
0
48
65
16
21.6
-5.6
21
40
25
MI
SPMensD
0
2
0
16
42
8
21
-13
12
20
25
MI
SPMensE
0
2
0
22
48
11
24
-13
18
0
25
MI
SPMensC
0
2
0
0
14
0
7
-7
0
0
25
MI
SPMensC
0
2
0
11
29
5.5
14.5
-9
11
20
25
MI
Sand Baggers Qualified
SPMensD
0
2
0
9
31
4.5
15.5
-11
9
20
25
MI
SPMensD
0
2
0
5
38
2.5
19
-16.
5
20
25
MI
SPMensC
0
2
0
43
51
21.5
25.5
-4
32
20
25
MI
SPMensD
0
2
0
24
48
12
24
-12
13
20
 

Team by team notes brought to you by:


1st Place Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth  GTGG 

Conf 'M' from Winterhaven, FL   9-1 Record

Resmondo-Specialty Tank / Worth comes out of the loser's bracket, winning 6 straight games and holding off R&M Metals in the championship to take their 9th tournament of the season and 4th in a row.  They are now 53-4 in their last 57 games and the loss to the Famous in Michigan was their first loss of the season to any team not named GTL.

In my opinion Bryson Baker was definitely the MVP as he laced line drive single after single all over the park and played the game the right way all tournament long.  The Bisbee pick for Co-MVP feels more like a hometown pick but maybe he had a huge on base percentage, not sure.   Note: the stats are out and Bisbee had a huge .824 on base percentage with 12 homers and is more than deserving of the Co-MVP!

 Resmondo's Don Dedonatis Jr. set the table for Connell and Baker


  

Resmondo takes a time out during R&M's comeback in the Championship game


2nd Place R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton   GTGG 

Conf 'A' from Waterloo, IA   5-2 Record

R&M Metals/Troupe/TCP/Easton finally got on a roll for once as they knocked off more quality opponents in a row in this tournament than they had beaten all year in Conference play.  From the near perfect offensive tournament of second baseman Matt Albert to the timely game winning home run by left fielder Nick Robertson to beat Team 454 in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday to go to the championship game, R&M put it all together for the first time this season.  And they did it just in time to build momentum for the 'A' Worlds.

R&M picked up Sam Lopez who was being held by EWS on a roster freeze until this past weekend.  Lopez was flashing the leather at middle infield and showed some great athletic ability playing a position he has not played recently.  Lopez was the first baseman and 3rd baseman on the last two 'A' World Champion GTL teams.  When this team has all of their players and are healthy, they are collectively capable of stringing 3 'A' wins together in a row.  Look for R&M to add a final piece to the puzzle for the stretch run.

Top of the Lineup
CF Brian Zirkle
P  Kyle Yerkes
MI Sam Lopez
C  Nate Staats
RF Chris Greinert
EH Ron Fields

 

Sam Lopez had a great start with his new team

R&M celebrates their win over GTL

Former EWS infielder Keith Anderson was moved to shortstop for R&M

R&M slugger Chris Greinert played some 3B and RF

Click Wegs or Helmer for Easton equipment

 


 

3rd Place Team 454/Emerald/Worth  

Conf 'A' from Glen Allen, VA   4-2 Record

Team 454 Emerald/Worth beat Shoppe and Famous impressively before coming up one play shy of the winner's championship game against R&M, losing 25-24.  Then they were sent home in a blowout against Resmondo on Sunday morning. 

454's 13-5 record against 'A' teams bodes well for them come 'A' Worlds where they will be the number one seed.  With the even competition amongst 'A' teams this year and the peaks and valleys most of them have gone through in 2011, the number one seed at 'A' worlds this year may not mean as much as it did in past years.

Team 454 has done a lot of celebrating this year and finish the season as the #1 'A' team in the country

Phil White throws out the Linedrive runner



 

4th Place Team Combat/Laser Vision/D2E/Supreme  GTGTeamG 

Conf 'M' from Kent, WA    5-2 Record

Team Combat/Laservision/D2E/Supreme was flip flopped by EWS in the third round and came all the way back to a 4 run lead in the top of the last inning before losing.  In the loser's bracket they showed some real heart in beating Pharmapar, GTL, and Famous before losing one to Resmondo in a game they were down big but came back to within 1 run.

Rick Baker didn't seem to be playing (although I didn't see many of their games).  Helmer was playing right field and made a tough catch in that EWS game to give them a chance.  Rumor has it that some 'top of the line' pitching help is on its way…

 

Laser Vision LF Johnny McCraw was on it in the loser's semi final game

 Legends on the corners for Laser Vision – Dennis Rulli and Rusty Bumgardner

Combat Sports Hummer


Tied 5th Place Famous Sports/Wood Law/Easton  GTGG 

Conf 'A' from Alta loma, CA   3-2 Record

Famous Sports/Wood Law/Easton knocked off Sinister and Resmondo impressively before apparently sitting back and enjoying their monumental win (first non-GTL team to beat Resmondo this year) and dropped two in a row.   Famous has an interesting mix of players and will be a tough out at the 'A' Worlds, but out they will go.

 

After the rain, Chad Munger and the Famous team came from behind to beat Resmondo

Famous 2B Steve Whaley with the mountains in the background


Tied 5th Place EWS/ShirtsandLogos/Drgraphx/Easton  GTGG 

 Conf 'A' from Chicago, IL   3-2 Record

EWS/Shirtsandlogos/Drgraphx/Easton beat a very good R&L Concrete team in their opener, then crushed Doerflingers hopes of improving their #16 seed, before using a Tony Mack walk off homer to beat Laser Vision in what may have been the best game of the tournament.  Then they never could catch up to R&M Metals as the middle was closed by a rash of great plays by Sam Lopez (their former player) and then they were smashed by Resmondo well after midnight Saturday.

EWS has played an old school schedule of great tournaments, has made many roster moves since the beginning of the season, and has positioned themselves for a run at 'A' Worlds.  But if you look at the team page they just don't have the resume to string together enough wins in the 'A' to win it.  I think this is a 3rd or 4th place team with 1st place talent.  Underachieving here.  The "Laser Vision" of the 'A' division if you will?


YouTube Preview Image

EWS celebrates Tony Mack's walk off homer against Laser Vision

 

I'm a big Todd Ankney (EWS Manager) and Eric Weller (EWS Sponsor) fan but pinch running Weller in a key spot against Laser Vision in wet conditions and wearing tennis shoes?

Lets just say if he doesn't kick the ball away, he is OUT!

EWS outfielder Gary Lofton took a header into the outfield fence and separated his shoulder


Tied 7th Place Sinister/Pritchard/Miken  GTGG 

Conf 'A' from Livonia, MI   4-2 Record

Sinister/Pritchard/Miken lost to a short handed Famous team 22-16 on Saturday morning and then rebounded some and beat Shoppe 25-18 on Saturday night before getting run ruled by Resmondo.  Sinister has enough talent to make a Sunday appearance at the 'A' World.  Maybe 4th.  Kevin Kull has been a nice addition for them and he seems to be moving his way up the lineup.

 

Sinister's Reggie Schulte, Todd Wallace, and Mike Rose

Sinister CF Brandon Dillon

 


Tied 7th Place GTL Cartel/Demarini  GTGG 

Conf 'M' from Othello, WA   3-2 Record

GTL Cartel/DeMarini lost their third round game against R&M after drumming Columbus Pipe.  Then they run ruled Doerflinger before a late night back and forth slug fest loss to Laser Vision 39-35. 

GTL had former 'C' World Champion Casey Bailbonds All World outfielder Kaeo Rubin playing RF and it was obvious they were trying to rest some guys.  GTL is 13-8 in their last 21 games and hasn't won more than 3 games in a row since they were double dipped in Minnesota at the Dudley.   Of course they were playing top 10 teams in almost all of those 21 games.

It will be fun to see GTL get back to the stadium tournaments.

Sean Mcdonald playing in front of hometown fans

Kaeo Rubin got picked up to play outfield for GTL

Player/Sponsor Don Wilson got a lot of playing time for a change

Donovan Pokraka (below) talks to Brendt Newbill about his homer (above) that was ruled a triple



 

The rest of the Conference Teams:

Linedrives new pickup Shaun Fleming hits a homer

Tied for 9th Linedrive/Triple SSS Sportscards competed with Team 454 in an entertaining game at 11 AM Saturday morning and had a good shot at winning but lost 24-16.  Then in the loser's bracket they came from 9 runs down with I believe 2 outs and beat Taylormade 15-14 on a Jason Ford walk-off homer.  This dramatic victory gave them a match up with Resmondo who had lost unexpectedly.  In that game Linedrive got a little chirpy when a middle war broke out but couldn't keep pace with Resmondo and lost 36-15.

Team Canada's Todd Cadenhead makes an appearance in Conference play

Tied for 9th Combat/Pharmapar/Transat Holiday had a fun game but lost against R&M Metals early Saturday then had a nice run rule win over Columbus Pipe before being sent home by fellow Combat team Laser Vision.  Pharmapar had some new faces getting some swings like Geno Burdick and Todd Cadenhead.

Hank Bassett from TPS looks on at his top TPS team

Tied for 9th Shoppe / Team TPS / D2E / Elite kept their winning streak from North Carolina going as they beat a good P&P team 22-11 and controlled Taylormade from start to finish 26-18.  Then the wheels came off the wagon and the offense went away in "in-class" losses to Team 454 and Sinister.

Tied for 13th Taylormade/TM Sports/Mizuno was hurt again by a poor seed and wasn't able to muster a comeback against Shoppe on Saturday morning and thus their season is basically over as far as USSSA goes unless a bunch of teams drop out of the Major?  Taylormade was knocked out by Linedrive who came from 9 runs down in the bottom of the 7th to win 15-14 on a walk off homer.  I think Taylormade should add the ASA 'A' to their schedule because they are too good to call it quits this year and the young players might benefit from the experience.

Doerflinger LF Joey Smith tracks down a long fly

Tied for 9th Doerflinger/TSC/Pro-Coat/Combat put up some big runs against the B and C teams they played but only single digits against EWS and GTL.  Not being able to compete for 7 innings and against top pitching could be a bad sign come 'B' Worlds.  Somehow Doerflinger managed to hold on to that 16th spot in the Major World Series which would mean they would play Resmondo in the first round.

Tied for 13th I was glad to see DMC/Resmondo Sports finishing out the season but the offense just isn't consistent enough to be a threat this year at 'B' Worlds.


 

alt

More Pictures Below  


A big thanks to my sponsor's – USSSA, Down2EarthSports.com, GameTimeSupply.com, MojoSportsGear.com, TPS, Easton, DSSBats.com, SoftballToday Magazine, BatReviews.com, and BPAthletics

I will be at the 'A' Worlds in two weeks and broadcasting the stadium field. 

Click here for Broadcasting Donation Information Link

2011 Michigan Major pictures link

Link to the  Bracket/Stats for the Michigan Major

Link to the 'A' World tournament when ready

Link to the USSSA Point Standings and Stats

Broadcasting Update:  The broadcast from Michigan was not very good as expected.  The internet speed was ok but not having a power source and having to rely on just two laptop batteries wasn't a very good plan.  In the future to broadcast at places like Michigan I will have to purchase a generator which of course you can't take on a plane. 

Thank you to all of those who have donated money towards the broadcasting business.  I am keeping all funds received in a separate account to be used for broadcasting expenses in the future.   If everyone that enjoys the broadcasts chipped in $20, we would be able to keep it going for the rest of 2011 and all of 2012.

Chat Room Update:  The chat room that has been used during my broadcasts is going to have to be changed over to a "Registration Approved" chat room unfortunately.  This is because of the guy that keeps chat bombing the board with all kinds of explicit nonsense.  I apologize for what has been happening on the otherwise great tournament chat that we had going the last couple of weeks.


Here are some other pics from the Michigan Major:

GTL's Chris Larsen hits a "no doubter"

A little dust tornado kicks up



 

 

Isenhower tells Webb he needs to get an arm sleeve thingy

Repo Monkeys were in the game for 5 innings against Pharmapar before losing 23-13

Local Conference Umpire Tony Walczak.  Note, the umpiring for the tournament was exceptional.

 

As always send question, corrections, comments, suggestions, and criticism's to

DW@softballcenter.com


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