Wednesday September 20th, 2023

2018 USSSA Chattanooga Major tournament report!






2018 Nationwide Conference USSSA


Chattanooga Choo Major


Chattanooga, TN 


May 4-6

Championship Sunday with Riot Sports rookie Taylor Nichols hitting against TG Brand!


SoftballCenter Chattanooga picture album link


2018 Chattanooga men's and women's bracket link


Winner's bracket finals Sunday Riot Sports Scotty Langford hitting against TG Brand

The 19 team Chattanooga major started with everyone playing on Friday night.  After the 7 PM play in games by the lower non-conference teams were over, the 12 Conference teams took to the fields.  The cooler temperatures and light "top of the mountain air" led to high scores which were expected.  Riot Sports/Broughton/Beckham/Worth a Florida 'AA' team jumped out to a 19-1 lead on Nally's/D&D/Beserk (MO-A) and beat them easily 26-4.  The Smash It/Thunder Major team took some batting practice against MugShots Grill & Bar in a quick 32-12 win.  Racks/Worth Astros (IN-AA) run ruled Primetime/Easton/Evolution (GA-A) 35-20 after Primetime had jumped out to a 16-3 lead.  TG Brand (MI-A) out base hit Baugh Ford/Pure Sports/Kincaid (AL-TBD) 34-28.  TDB/FAI/Klutch/Miken (NC-AA) run ruled an Indiana 'D' team called Pork Pistols 37-21.  Nightmare/Miken (MO-AA) survived a legit scare from Southern Mayhem (GA-B) but held on to win 29-27.  Xtreme/Miken/ASP/Athlon (MN-AA) crushed SNI/Easton/Dynasty (FL-TBD) 38-15.  SNI actually had too many bats in the bucket so they would have had to pass the bat tester on all of their bats had they won.  And in the game of the night Eagle Paint a tough Georgia 'C' team gave the Dan Smith Major team everything they could handle.  Eagle Paint got off to a 26-4 lead, but Dan Smith fought back, and the game went to extra innings where Dan Smith hit two balls that could have been fielded but went through for hits and Dale Brungardt won the game with a walk off single for Dan Smith 38-37.

In the second round (round of 8) in the winner's bracket Xtreme and TDB were locked in a high scoring war that went 9 innings.  In the 8th with a runner in scoring position and only 1 out, Xtreme shortstop Toby Letak made a diving stop which started a double play to force the 9th inning.  Xtreme then scored 8 runs in the top of the 9th and held on to beat their 'AA' rival 54-51, a whopping 105 total runs scored!  Xtreme hitters batted 9 times and Pat Ellwanger had 10 RBI.  TG Brand meanwhile took it to Nightmare and never let off the gas in a 45-29 win.  And then in the top of the bracket were the two marathon games on field #1.  First Riot Sports shocked Smash It Sports Major team with a 21-15 lead after one inning.  Riot then shut down Smash It 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the 4th with one of the outs being a diving catch by the new Riot right fielder Taylor Nichols.  In the top of the 5th Riot Sports then scored 15 runs to cut the Smash It lead to 38-36.  Riot would outscore Smash It 8-4 the rest of the way as both teams struggled without homer's and held on to win in extra innings 44-42.  Next it was Dan Smiths turn to be upset as Racks Astros led 38-37 in the bottom of the 7th and got a comebacker to veteran pitcher Carl Blank, who was just picked up last week, to end the game!

So, the two Major teams were dropped to the same side of the loser's bracket and they met with Dan Smith beating Smash It Sports by 1 run on a safe slide at the plate in the last inning 44-43.  There was a theme in these high scoring games and that was: 1) Every team fought to get as much as they could out of their 12-homer's early in the game.  2) You had to field hard shots, both line drives, and bad hop sizzlers in the infield.  3) You had to close out the game with base hitting.  Solid ball striking up and down the lineup became a premium and the teams that got into a base hitting offensive rhythm when the homers were gone ended up winning.  You must give credit to the teams, there were very few run rules and I didn't see many teams giving up even when down double digits.

In the final 4 of the winner's bracket meanwhile TG Brand handled Xtreme 29-19 after Xtreme had just scored 54 runs on the same field against TDB?  And Riot Sports beat fellow 'AA' team Racks Astros 34-26.  Then the winner's bracket final which was scheduled for 8 PM was moved up to 6 PM because of an incoming storm.  Riot Sports and TG Brand were tied 26-26 after 5 innings and Riot got a big 3 run homer by Scotty Langford to finally take a lead and never looked back as they outscored TG Brand 10-3 in the last two innings to win 36-29.

In the loser's bracket Kut4/Sports/FBC/Worth a non-conference 'C' team from Alabama made an unlikely run as they beat Primetime 38-37, Eagle Paint 31-15, and Nightmare 27-24, before running out of gas against TDB 18-4.  Kut4 was the highest finishing non-conference team as they tied for 7th.  Xtreme jumped on Dan Smith and never let up in a 51-40 win.  Racks Worth Astros sent home TDB 39-21.  And then late Saturday night in the rain Xtreme surpassed the 50-run mark for the third time in the tournament as they beat Racks Astros 55-41 to advance to Sunday.  Racks Astros finishing 4th.  Colin Baartman was 8-9 with 3 HR and 11 RBI in the game for Xtreme.

On Sunday morning in the loser's bracket finals at 8 am, Xtreme had a 2 out rally in the top of the 1st as Matt McGowan hit a big homer and they grabbed 6-4 after 1 inning.  TG then went up 21-16 after 4 innings when they scored 10 runs.  In the top of the 5th Xtreme's Joe Skyles hit a clutch 3 run homer after a little chirping between the two teams which gave Xtreme a 22-21 lead.  Xtremes Pat Ellwanger added a 2 out 3 run homer to increase the lead to 6 and a nice catch by Colin Baartman in center field held TG Brand scoreless in the bottom of the 6th.  In the top of the 7th with both teams having 3 homers to hit, Xtreme scored just 3 runs and TG Brand needing 9 to win got on an offensive roll and Justin Geiner hit a walk off homer to send TG Brand to the championship.

In the first game of the championship Riot Sports who had to be beaten twice grabbed a 9-3 lead after one inning but used 6 homers to do it.  Then TG Brand scored 16 runs in the 2nd to take a 19-9 lead on 7 homers and got a 1-10-3 double play on Riot to hold them scoreless.  Riot would hit into a number of double plays trying to conserve homers and never could catch up as TG Brand added grand slams from Josh Kirsten in the 4th and Nate King in the 5th to force the "if" necessary game 39-18.

In the final game Riot Sports scored 9 on just 2 homers in the first inning and TG Brand scored 10 on 3 as Josh Kirsten hit a 2 out 3 run homer to give them the lead, and it was 15-13 Riot Sports after 2 complete innings.  But it was all Riot Sports the rest of the way as they led 22-13 after 3 innings and run ruled TG Brand 35-14 in the 4th to win their first Conference tournament ever!

The tournament was full of hard hitting smash mouth softball as I mentioned it would be in the preview.  The games were long, high scoring, and felt different – unlike any other softball played anywhere in the country.  The high altitude made the 300-foot fences play 270, infielders had to contend with nasty grounders, pitchers had to survive the laser like middle shots, and teams had to play the game and basehit when the homers were gone.  And to their credit all of the teams bought in to the style of play that was needed and gave a great effort.

TG Brands Justin Geiner hits a walk off homer to beat Xtreme in the loser's final

Team Breakdown:
19 Teams Overall
12 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
2 Major Teams
5 'AA' Teams
4 'A' Teams
3 'B' Teams
5 'C/D' Teams


The men's tournament used the quad at the top of the picture

All fields were 300 feet


TG Brand manager John Golich gives the "just keep having fun speech". 

Riot Sports manager Dal Beggs gives the "play with heart" speech.

First pitch Sunday morning TG Brand and Xtreme


Riot Sports gets the last out in their 44-42 win over Smash It Sports


Racks Astros pitcher Carl Blank backhands a hot shot to secure the 38-37 win over Dan Smith

Dan Smith's Mike Nino singles to center field for the game winner. 

The throw home beat Dunn to the plate but a nice slide made him safe and gave Dan Smith a 44-43 win!



Dan Smith was down 26-4 against Eagle Paint but Dale Brungardts single up the middle capped a 38-37 come back win for DS!

Xtreme's Cory Large hits against TDB's Faron Miller in in their 54-51 extra innings win.

Below Xtreme shortstop Toby Letak makes a diving stop to turn a double play to force another extra inning.

Late Saturday Xtreme pitches to and beats Racks Astros 55-41 to advance to Sunday


The Classic M is too much ball for Chattanooga's light air but we already knew that



Oldscout pollers went with Smash It and Dan Smith.

2% had Riot Sports. 



Video Highlites brought to you by:



Long Bombers of the Week

It is Chattanooga, everyone is the Long Bomber of the week!  🙂



  Chattanooga Major Final Standings and Awards

Riot Sports pitcher Dan Sanchez was MVP

TG Brand outfielder/lead off hitter Ryan Morrow was Offensive MVP

Riot Sports rookie outfielder Taylor Nichols was Defensive MVP



Team by team notes brought to you by:


1st Place Riot Sports/Broughton/Beckham/Worth

Conf 'AA' from FL  5-1 Record

Riot Sports slayed the dragon (Smash It Sport) and did it with clutch hitting and defense when the homers were gone.  They had contributions from everyone, experimented with different lineups on offense and defense, and when they made the mistake of using up too many homers early in the first championship game against TG Brand, they came back in the 2nd game and used them the right way early on and won the tournament.  Pitcher Dan Sanchez was the MVP probably for his offense and his defense.  The team got some big double plays, Nichols was making great plays in the outfield, and Bolden fantastic catches on the fence.  Even when they made mistakes, teammates were picking each other up.  A great weekend by an underdog that wasn't expected to do much this year and a manager Dal Beggs that has been able to get the most out of young and old talent!  Some people in the chat asked about Scotty Langford, he had a pulled hamstring on Sunday. 

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Riot Sports Lineup:
3B Scotty Langford
P Dan Sanchez
C Keith Martin
IF Keith Laski
LF Mike Ortiz
MI Jeff Roxby
LF/2B Jo Jo Bennett
RF Taylor Nichols
1B Craig Rodriguez
CF Eddie Bolden
SS Pat Donohue


Keith Martin is a professional line drive hitter and runs like Fred Flintstone. 

Manager Dal Beggs has pieced together an impressive team and has had a great start to the season.


2nd baseman Zane Trammell and infielder Keith Laski


CF Eddie Bolden made some great catches on the fence and was All Tournament


Mike Ortiz slaps one through the infield


Roxby and Rodriguez


Langford and Donahue



2nd Place TG Brand

Conf 'A' from MI  5-2 Record


TG Brand never seemed to break a sweat.  They took on whatever team was in front of them and played as if it was a league game back home by staying loose and hitting liners all over the place, hitting homer's when they needed them, and making the plays on the hard shots that you have to make to win in those Chattanooga "conditions".  Kincaid at pitcher often seems like he has a magnet for a glove and he somehow held down Xtreme to 19 runs at a time when they scored 50+ in the games before and after?  Morrow set the table and the tone with extra base hits and Kaminski, King, and Kirsten did a lot of the home run hitting.  Geiner, Pichiotino, and anyone they brought in seemed to contribute, and they nearly pulled off a tournament win when they closed the gap to 15-13 early in the "if" game.  Evans got hurt at some point and didn't play on Sunday.  And Josh Onstott did a nice job at EH and pinch hitting as well.

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TG Brand Lineup:
RF Ryan Morrow
CF Josh Kirsten
1B Adam Kaminski
C Nate King
2B Justin Geiner
3B John Franklin
MI Jesse Solomon
P Tyler Kincaid
SS Tony Payne
LF Brady Hightchew
Onstott, Pichiotino, Evans all contributed as well.


Josh Kirsten was racking up the homer and rbi


Jesse Solomon the TG middle man or pitcher Tyler "The Snake" Kincaid could have been Defensive MVP

John Franklin at 3rd and Tony Payne at shortstop.  I think I called John, Kaminski a couple times  Sorry!


Kaminski and Hightchew


No, that isn't Dan Feichtner it is Justin Evans



3rd Place Xtreme/Miken/ASP/Athlon

Conf 'AA' from MN  4-2 Record


Xtreme played without pitcher Dan Evans who probably knows better than to go to Chattanooga where pitchers take a beating.  🙂  They did just fine though as they picked up pitcher Austin Green and scored 50+ runs in 3 different games, beat Dan Smith, and beat Racks/Astros and TDB.  A great weekend of ball but they did leave 20 Conference points on the table with that top of the 7th where they didn't use their last 3 homer's against TG Brand, and then had the chance with the gloves to shut down the rally that eventually sent them home Sunday morning.  Letaks play at SS on that diver against TDB to extend the game was the biggest play of the weekend.  And pitcher Dirk Updike was hit hard like 5 times but was still playing well on Sunday, he is one tough customer.  Xtreme scored 245 runs in 6 games!

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Xtreme Lineup:
OF Cory Large
RF Pat Ellwanger
3B Shannon Smith
CF Colin Baartman
2B Joe Skyles
MI Dylan Smith
LF Matt McGowan
1B Alex Bremer
EH/P Austin Green
MI/C Brandon Newman
SS Toby Letak
P Dirk Updike


McGowan and Bremer

Letak and Smith were bodying up the hard shots


Updike and newly acquired Austin Green did the pitching




4th Place Rack's/Worth Astros/Klutch/Troupe

Conf 'AA' from IN  3-2 Record


Somehow I didn't see that much of Racks but they did beat Dan Smith by 1 and sent home TDB by 18 without Bill Pinkham pitching (still out with arm injury).  They used Lizcano a lot at 3rd, Ramirez at SS, Faria up the middle, and Edwards at 2nd, with Brambilla at 1st.  The outfield was Kirkwood, Newman, and Stephany.  Doing a lot of the pitching was Carl Blank who is in his 50's but still effective eventhough he has been out of the conference for a few years.  And the big guys Brambilla and Nelson provided a lot of power.  Edwards had an onbase of almost .900.  Racks should challenge Resmondo in Columbus, Indiana next week.

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Super utility man Alexis Ramirez led off and played shortstop.  He has a great backhand.



Tied 5th Place TDB/FAI/Klutch/Miken

Conf 'AA' from NC  3-2 Record


I didn't take many pictures of TDB, I must have taken too many in North Carolina, lol.  TDB could not finish off Xtreme even though they had the hammer, then looked like they were cruising through the loser's bracket before Racks held them to just 21 runs.  They did get pitcher Faron Miller back and slugger Donnie Hammonds.

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Donnie Hammonds



Tied 5th Place Dan Smith/Menosse/Steven Smith

Conf 'M' from CA  3-2 Record

Dan Smith played 5 long games, 3 of which were decided by 1 run.  At this point of the season it seems Dan Smith is their own worst enemy.  They need to play the conditions and play their game and not worry who the opponent is.  They need to play every inning of every game with the same enthusiasm and hustle regardless of who the opponent is, and everything will fall into place for this team.  Sort of like a Nascar driver at certain race tracks they have to race the track and not get caught up racing the other cars.  They have to make the adjustments to the car to make it better rather than worry about how fast the other cars are going.  This week they played without middle infielder Steve Whaley who had nose surgery after getting hit with a line drive at the HOF Classic.  Steve was available to play but they decided to give him a break and try new middle infielder Josh Moore who was picked up from Seminoles.

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Collins hits against Eagle Paint

These two fans had no idea they would be watching the two Major teams meeting in the loser's bracket



Other top finishing Conference teams



Tied 7th Place – Kut4 Sports/FBC/Worth

'C' from AL  3-2 Record

Kut4 went 6-2 and finished 2nd at the prestigious Tripp Roth tournament down in Louisiana 6 weeks ago, so they are no stranger to playing quality teams.  They lost their opening game in Chattanooga but beat Primetime, Eagle Paint, and upset Nightmare in the loser's bracket to finish tied for 7th.




Tied 7th Place – Smash It/Thunder/Backman/S&S/Miken/Worth

Conf 'M' from NY  2-2 Record

Smash It has already lost more games this year (8) then they did all of 2017 (7).  But, and there is a but: they keep losing very close games, mostly by 1 run.  So they are only a handful of runs from having had a very good year.  As it stands though, they are 7th in points which could mean they are digging a hole for themselves.  Last year they did not lose a game to an 'A' or 'AA' team.  This year they have 1 loss to an 'A' team and 2 losses to 'AA' teams.  And they are 0-5 vs Major teams this year.  That is the bad news.  The good news is they are getting healthy and every player is more than capable of turning this thing around.

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Purcell is getting healthy although he looked a little ragged after a head first dive into first base.

Briggs, Dedonatis, and Reyna usually have the advantage on the hard infields.

Smash It was out early on a Saturday.  I'm not sure they know what to do because this never happened before.



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Some more pictures for you:


Nightmare was just 1-2.  Too much talent here for so many poor showings.  They should get it going soon.

Mugshots pitcher pitched with a towel around his neck?  It was humid but was not hot…

Primetime was 0-2 and will look to regroup in Atlanta

Nally's had another rough weekend going 1-2 and getting beat by Mugshots 46-34

Baugh Ford went 1-2

Baugh Ford caught and released Shawn Jones.  Picked him up last week and released this week?

SNI went 2-2 and had the unfortunate luck of drawing Smash It early in the loser's bracket

This was a tie in the Xtreme game.  So the umpire is correct if he calls out or safe.

Riot manager Dal Beggs and TG Brand manager John Golich have a difference of opinion on chirping.

These young teams are no longer affected by attempted intimidation.


Dynasty and were on hand



Clay Dickey was the tournament director!

Conference Umpires all over the place!

They did a nice job of giving the scores!  Thank you!

Allen Hunter Photography!


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