Sunday February 25th, 2024

2018 USSSA ‘A’ World tournament report!




2018 USSSA 'A' World Tournament


Viera, Florida


Space Coast Complex 


August 31st – September 2nd


USSSA 'A' World Championship Sunday!

Rapid Fire Athletics/Bad Draw vs Pauer Sports/JBL/Tailgaters/B&E!

Winner's bracket finals between Pauer and Rapid Fire


SoftballCenter USSSA 'A' World picture album link


2018 'A' World bracket and results link

Sunday morning final 4

The 2018 USSSA 'A' World Tournament was played at the new USSSA headquarters in Viera, Florida at the Space Coast Stadium and surrounding fields on 325-foot fences with the Dudley Classic M ball.  The 25-team tournament began on Friday at 3 PM in hot and humid weather on the all turf fields.  The first round consisted of 9 "play in" games and for the most part scores depended on which of the 5 fields you were on as the wind blew out on 2 of the fields and in or across on the other 3 fields which kept the scoring down.  Each team was allowed to hit 8 home runs per game.  In the opening set of 4 games Sports Reach from Kentucky out slugged Regulators from Colorado 26-17, Rebel Sports a 'B' team from Michigan shut down Stars from Colorado 12-2, SNI/Easton/SDA from Florida out slugged and upset OI Livingston/Adiktiv from Georgia 27-25 with the wind blowing out, and La Famiglia/Easton from Pennsylvania beat Wiley's Supreme from Florida easily 21-9.  At 4:30 PM Tradesmen/Louisville Slugger from Utah beat Aire from Arizona 8-6 and Team Fan Apparel from Arkansas a non-Conference 'A' team beat Smash It Sports from New York 9-4.  Both of those games were with the wind blowing in strong.  Infamous/Salt Riot a 'B' team from Colorado upset Seminoles from Oklahoma 25-12, and Nally's from Missouri beat Fish Head from Maryland 22-19 with the wind blowing out on "Red" Rawlings field.  The first round closed out with Chanticlear Pizza from Minnesota beating CTC/Southshore 9-2.

In the second round the top 7 seeds began their 'A' Worlds starting at 6 PM.  #1 seeded Baugh Ford/Pure Sports/Kincaid from Alabama run ruled SNI 28-11.  #2 seed Premier/Easton/HDLNS from Ohio run ruled Team Fan Apparel 27-11.  #3 seed Rapid Fire Athletics/Bad Draw from Virginia just did get by Tradesmen 16-14.  #4 seed Pauer Sports/JBL/Tailgaters/B&E shut down Chanticlear 13-4.  #5 seed Bay Area Legends/Miken from California beat Nally's 7-2 with the wind blowing in strong on "White" Rawlings.  #6 TG Brand from Michigan won easily over Sports Reach 16-5.  #7 Classic Glass/Easton became the first big upset of the tournament when 'B' team Rebel Sports beat them 9-6.  And #8 La Famiglia/Easton/Elite from Pennsylvania crushed Infamous 25-3.  So, 7 of the top 8 seeds advanced.

The "Final 8" of the winner's bracket was LOADED with top teams, most of whom were expecting to win 'A' Worlds.  As this round began Friday evening at 9 PM the sun set, and the temperatures dropped to where the ball was flying a little better.  Premier over on the "White" Easton field made short work of Rebel Sports as they "mercy ruled" them 27-12.  La Famiglia shocked #1 seeded Baugh Ford with a 19-4 run rule win.  And in the game of the night which had the most intensity and some good natured "chirping", TG Brand jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the strength of a 7 run 2nd inning against Rapid Fire Athletics.  But Rapid Fire never gave up and grabbed a late lead and held on with the gloves in a 21-18 victory.  The final game of the "Round of 8" was played Saturday morning when they opened up the Stadium field using a temporary home run fence set at 325 feet and Bay Area Legends lost to Pauer Sports 13-6.  It was not Bay Area's weekend as they had one of the strongest offensive teams in the 'A' division but scored just 15 runs in their 3 games.

The "Final 4" of the winner's bracket and the remainder of the games were played in the Stadium.  In the first semifinal at 11 AM Rapid Fire Athletics and Premier could not get the offense going with strong winds blowing across the field from left to right.  Neither team could score more than 3 runs in an inning but Rapid Fire did score in every inning.  Rapid Fires Rich Racobaldo homered to start the game and he and Chris Nann homered in the middle of the game to push them out to an 8-6 lead by the 5th inning.  Rapid Fire would score 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th on sacrifice fly's and hung on to win 10-7.  Racobaldo was 3-4 with 2 HR in the game.  In the other semifinal Pauer Sports got on an offensive roll and powered past La Famiglia 18-7 when La Famiglia did not get a hit in the last 4 innings.

The winner's bracket championship game was then played at 8:30 PM in front of the biggest crowd (if you can call it that) of the tournament as players that were done with the Conference Awards Banquet stopped in to watch the big game.  Pauer Sports may have put the perfect game together as they used adrenaline and momentum combined with great defense and big innings to pull away from Rapid Fire and held off a late run to win 19-15.

In the loser's bracket Seminoles, Team Fan Apparel, Infamous, and Chanticlear all made some mini runs with 2 or 3 wins.  But it was OI Livingston who had lost their first game of the tournament that beat Sports Reach by 5, Seminoles 4 to 3, Bay Area Legends 7 to 2, and their arch rival Baugh Ford 14-2, before losing to Premier 15-0 early Saturday evening to finish tied for 5th.  On the other side of the loser's bracket TG Brand knocked off Chanticlear 8-6, and used a walk off single by Brady Hightchew to beat fellow Michigan team Rebel Sports 13-12, before La Famiglia dropped down and sent them packing 9-6 and a 5th place finish.

So, on Sunday morning at 8 AM it was La Famiglia playing Premier for 3rd place.  The game began with some incredible defense by both teams outfields as La Famiglia robbed Cory Boothe's home run down the left field line and Eric Challburg made two incredible catches in center field.  But Premier right fielder Ryan Disbennet made a great diving catch and Premier's offense pushed them to an early 3-2 lead.  However, it was all La Famiglia the rest of the way as they took advantage of 4 Premier errors and outscored Premier 21-4 down the stretch and at one point all but one of the batters in their order all scored in a row.  They put up 15 runs (the most of any team) in the 4th inning and won 25-7.  Pitcher Tim Bouch who isn't known for his hitting was 4 for 4, leadoff man Dave Durso was 3-5 with 2 doubles and a homer, and shortstop Josh Fyffe was 2-3 with a homer and a walk.

The loser's final was next as Rapid Fire the more rested team jumped out to an 11-0 lead after 4 complete innings against La Famiglia as the temperatures started to rise.  But La Famiglia reached down deep and scored 1 in the 5th inning, 4 in the 6th, and 3 in the 7th and had 2 on when Rapid Fires MVP pitcher Cam Byars got a foul out to end the game with the tying run at the plate!  Rapid Fire had advanced 11-8 led by Rich Racobaldo, CJ Jacinto, and Chris Nann who all reached base safely 3 times.

The championship then began around 10:45 AM as Rapid Fire aimed to beat Pauer Sports the undefeated team twice and thus Pauer was the automatic home team in the first game as per USSSA World tournament rules.  Rapid Fire jumped out to a 3-1 lead until the bottom of the 3rd inning when big Mike Mallory from Pauer Sports hit a grand slam to give his team a 5-3 advantage.  But some outfield misplays gave Rapid Fire a 6-5 lead and Chris Idip took advantage with a big triple.  Pauer Sports would not score the rest of the way and lost quietly 8-5.

The final and deciding game started at high noon for the 'A' World title and scores were expected to be low.  But both teams came out of the gate with a big offensive inning.  Rapid Fire scored 9 in the 1st which was capped by leadoff hitter Rich Racobaldo's home run.  Pauer Sports answered with 6 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning but they left the bases loaded and Pauer Sports would only score 2 runs the rest of the game.  Meanwhile Rapid Fire scored in every inning but the 4th including a big back side pinch hit homer by Jess Maloney in the 6th to make it 16-7, on their way to a 21-8 win and the 'A' World title!  David Forbes and Jess Maloney each homered in the 3 spot in the lineup, Chris Idip collected 3 hits, and the entire team pitched in on both sides of the ball to pull off the "double dip"!

The tournament was well played over all, although the wind did cause havoc with some bad swings and the heat and humidity kept the ball from flying on most fields.  The USSSA 'AA' Worlds coming up September 15-16 will be played on the stadium as well with a temporary fence set at 325 and the Dudley Classic M ball.  They will also use one field (White Wilson) in the back with which faces the same direction as the stadium so there will be similar conditions.

Congratulations to Rapid Fire sponsors Mark Katz in his first year in the Conference and their other sponsor Brandon Cashwell from Bad Draw who has definitely been through some ups and downs in upper level softball and this has to feel really good for both of those guys.


Rapid Fire Athletics/Bad Draw from Virginia wins the USSSA 'A' Worlds!

Team Breakdown:
 25 Teams Overall
 19 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
21 'A' Teams
 4 'B' Teams

Premier takes on Rapid Fire in loser's final

Rapid Fires Jess Maloney gets one past Pauer pitcher John Dombrowski


The agony of defeat.  Pauer Sports outfielders may have been this close to winning 'A' Worlds in the 1st Championship game.

Rapid Fire finishes off La Famiglia to go the Championship game

TG Brand beats Rebel Sports on a walk off single by Brady Hightchew

TFA's Tim Howard gets a double against Smash It Sports

The Saturday evening loser's bracket matchup between TG Brand and La Famiglia ended up being for the berth to the USSSA Major World Series #17 seed.  Because the winner would be the highest finishing non qualified conference team left in the 'A' Worlds!

La Famiglia won 9-6 and accepted the berth!

Nally's hits against Wiley's

The temp fences set at 325 worked very well.  Much better than those little plastic fences used at Disney.

They were about 5.5 or 6 feet high.  The games felt the same as the ones in the softball quad except there was a little more foul territory.


A huge 2nd round Friday night matchup between two of the favorites to win 'A' Worlds – TG Brand vs Rapid Fire was won by Rapid Fire 21-18 after Rapid Fire only beat Tradesmen 16-14 in the first round.  Things got a little chippy in the handshake line.

Pauer Sports sends La Famiglia to the loser's bracket in the semi finals 

CTC takes on Chanticlear Pizza

After the awards banquet some of the players stuck around and watched the 'A' Winners Finals.




Oldscout pollers had Premier and Rapid Fire to win! 



Video Highlites brought to you by:

Link to the 2018 USSSA 'A' World video clips!



Long Bombers of the Week

Long Bomber of the week is Rapid Fire middle infielder Rich Racobaldo.

He was often hitting 2 per game when some teams weren't hitting 2 the whole game.

He also hit one onto Red Marucci from the White quad.



  'A' World Final Standings and Awards

Rapid Fire pitcher Cam Byars won the MVP

Pauer Sports 3rd Baseman Ryan Roppel was Offensive MVP

Rapid Fire 2nd Baseman Freddie Bynum was Defensive MVP


Rapid Fire manager Toby Williams was Manager of the tournament.  Sponsor Mark Katz receives the Championship Trophy

Rapid Fire and Pauer Sports All Tournament Selections



Team by team notes brought to you by:


1st Place – Rapid Fire Athletics/Bad Draw

Conf 'A' from VA  6-1 Record

Rapid Fire at times was the best 'A' team in the nation this year but they had an up and down season for the most part and was the #3 seed for the 'A' World.  They did finish 2nd at Maryland and was a surprise 4th at the Smoky but they really put it all together this past weekend.  The lineup was tweaked just right, Racobaldo set the tone, the pitching and defense from Cam Byars was superb, and the defense led by Defensive MVP 2nd baseman Freddie Bynum got it done. 


Final Stadium Lineup for Rapid
MI Rich Racobaldo
SS CJ Jacinto
1B David Forbes / Jess Maloney
3B Anthony Chavis
C Chris Nann
2B Freddie Bynum / Chris Issenock
CF Chris Idip
RF Peter Seiden
P Cam Byars / Evan Jarman
LF Hunter Young / Travis Fields

Rapid Fire sponsors Mark Katz and Brandon Cashwell celebrate


Rich Racobaldo may be the best hitter in the 'A' division and played a nice middle infielder.  SS CJ Jacinto


David Forbes and Jess Maloney


Chris Idip and Anthony Chavis


Peter Seiden and Hunter Young



2nd Place – Pauer Sports/JBL/Tailgaters/B&E

Conf 'A' from OH  4-2 Record 

Pauer Sports played perfect for 2 days but couldn't come all the way back on Sunday in the first championship game and then couldn't keep pace with Rapid Fire in the "if" game.  What a great run but a lot of "what ifs" that will haunt the Pauer players for awhile.  They came so close.  The defense was turning big double plays and they got some great catches in the outfield.  They scored big in that winner's bracket finals.  Just came up short, and that happens.  Good luck at the Major.


Final Stadium Lineup for Pauer
RF Frankie Andriola
1B Tim Bowser
EH John Radich
C Mike Mallory
3B Ryan Roppel
MI Jon Roberts
CF Phill Matte
P Jon Dombrowski
SS Aaron Sandoval
LF Anthony Dominick
2B Ryan Fant / Chris Miller

Thank you to sponsor Bill Lewis for supporting Conference USSSA.


Mallory celebrates a big home run

Roppel and Sandoval on the left side

Pauer pitcher John Dombrowski has one of the lowest releases in the game


John Radich and 

Tim "bye bye" Bowser



3rd Place – La Famiglia/Easton/Elite/Sports

Conf 'A' from PA  5-2 Record


La Famiglia finished 3rd.  They had a lot of energy led by middle infielder Pedro Sanchez and veteran pitcher Tim Bouch.  They also had some great catches in the outfield and that huge offensive outburst against Premier on Sunday morning.  1st year Conference team with a lot of new names to the league coming up big. 

La Famiglia Stadium Lineup
RF Dave Durso
3B Zach Ross
2B Clayton Farrar
C John Robinson
SS Josh Fyffe
EH Cody Collins
1B Don McDuffie
LF Justin Lutheran
MI Pedro Sanchez
P Tim Bouch / Mike Evans
CF Eric CHallburg

John "Word" Robinson hitting on Friday night

Middle man Pedro Sanchez gave La Famiglia the spark they needed


Tun==im Bouch and shortstop Fyfe (I think)

Center fielder Eric Challburg had a string of highlight catches on Sunday



4th Place – Premier/Easton/HDLNS

Conf 'A' from OH  3-2 Record


Premier won the GSL 'A' World and were a favorite for the USSSA 'A' but came up short.  La Famiglia made them pay for too many errors on Sunday morning.  What could have been?

Premier Stadium Lineup
LF Clay Norton
RF Ryan Disbennett
C Cory Boothe
CF Ryan Uckotter
1B Brad Bruns
3B Pat Foster
2B Ryan Noe
EH Chuck Lack
MI Rocky Staton
SS Joe Horsley
P Kyle Center


Premier middle man Rocky Staton tries to get a tag out at 3rd base

Premier righ fielder Ryan Disbennet makes a nice diving catch


Clay Norton robs a home run

Kyle Center has really come on strong with the pitching and hitting since coming over to Premier



Tied 5th Place – OI Livingston/Adiktiv

'A' from GA  4-2 Record

OI was the highest finishing non-conference team.  They may have had the most experience of any team in the tournament though, led by veteran pitcher Chad Loudon.

OI Livingston's team was loaded with ex-Conference talent




Tied 5th Place – TG Brand

Conf 'A' from MI  3-2 Record

TG Brand pitcher Tyler Kincaid snaps off a liner

TG Brand finished 2nd at 'A' Worlds a year ago but just didn't quite have "it" this year and finished 5th.  The key was that close loss to Rapid Fire on Friday night or I think most thought they could have won it. 

TG Brand Stadium Lineup
RF Ryan Morrow
LF Brady Hightchew
3B Adam Kaminski
CF Josh Kirsten
2B Justin Geiner / Josh Greer
1B John Franklin
MI Justin Evans
C Nate King
SS Tony Payne
P Tyler Kincaid / Clay Paul / Josh Onstott



Other top finishing Conference teams



Tied 7th Place – Rebel Sports/Dirty Sports/Miken

Conf 'B' from MI  3-2 Record

Rebel was the highest finishing 'B' team and if not for a close call at 3rd base in the stadium against TG Brand, may have been undefeated going into the final 4!

Rebel Sports Stadium Lineup
1B Steve Zemanek
2B Will Block
EH Joe Dorton
3B Justin Aldora
C Tom Luna
RF Kevin Raisor
MI Will Weakley
LF Robert Hendren
SS Branden Blake
CF Gabe Caride
P Matt Chromy / Brett Melton



Tied 7th Place – Baugh Ford/Pure Sports/Kincaid

Conf 'A' from AL  2-2 Record

Baugh had that cursed #1 seed and the target on their back.  They also had some injuries and missing players but just didn't win.

Tommie Baugh throws a between the legs strike

John Sullivan turns a big doublplay

Tom Crump added some power



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Link to the Youtube channel

Link to all 2009 to 2018 Tournament Reports and Previews

Nationwide Conference USSSA Points and information link



Some more pictures for you:

Tied for 9th – Chanticlear/J&H/P5/JEC/Miken-Worth (MN-A) 2-2 – made a nice little 2 game run in the loser's bracket.

Tied for 9th – Infamous/Salt Riot/Double Cup (CO-B) 3-2 – Infamous beat Seminoles, Aire, and Regulators!

Tied for 9th – Team Fan Apparel (AR-A) 3-2 – This is Center fielder Kevin Bryant.  Conference teams should check him out.

Tied for 9th – Bay Area Legends (CA-A) 1-2 – Scored just 15 runs in 3 games…

This picture sums up Smash It Sports 'A' season.  They went 0-2.  Back to the drawing board.

Nally's tied for 13th at 2-2.  They were missing players with injuries and having babies.

Sports Reach was also undermanned with only 10 players and went 1-2

Tradesmen middle infielder Chris Arredondo goes for a double play.  They went 1-2.

Rick Sills pitched for SNI but they went 1-2

Regulators from Colorado 1-2 eventhough they averaged 21 runs a game

Classic Glass from California went 0-2

CTC who upset so many teams a year ago at 'A' went 0-2.  Scored 5 runs in two games…

Fish Head who did well at GSL 'A' went 1-2

Seminoles from Oklahoma went 2-2

Stars from Colorado went 0-2

Premier had another set of uniquely Headlines uniforms

The wind blew across from left to right all 3 days on the stadium

Conference umpires for the 'A' Finals

There is plenty of shade at the white softball Quad and they will eventually put this shaded seating back at the Red quad.

This ball did bounce and should have been ruled a double instead of a solo homerI know its hard to see with the temp fence.


Scotty O'Neil's leg after being hit while umpiring.  This SIS player played with one leg.  jk


One of the teams rental cars went into the pond







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