Thursday September 20th, 2018

2018 War by the Shore preview – Final observations, updates, and predictions!


Update 3/15/2018 – Infielder Pilar Amaya has been added to the Monsta roster


Each day leading up to the War by the Shore's first game on March 16th I will preview

Below is a preview of the War by the Shore!



You can find all of the poll results here



The War by the Shore best of 5 series between Monsta and Smash It Sports
will be livestreamed at

The CHAT ROOM will be up at

All Times are Eastern Time Zone!

Game #1 is Friday, March 16th at 8:00 PM
Game #2 is Saturday, March 17th at 10:00 AM
Game #3 is Saturday, March 17th at 11:30 AM
Game #4 (if necessary) is Saturday, March 17th at 8:00 PM
Game #5 (if necessary) is Saturday, March 17th at 9:30 PM vs

What is the "War by the Shore":  West Coast Monsta who is the 2017 USA Softball Super National Champions and Smash It Sports who is the 2017 USSSA Major World Series Champions agreed to play a best of 5 series for $100,000 at the Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida.  Game #1 will take place on Friday evening March 16th at 8 PM Eastern timeGames #2 and #3 will take place Saturday morning March 17th and games #4 and #5 if necessary will take place later in the day Saturday.  Both teams put multiple deposits down on the event and there is a $15,000 forfeit fee.  The games will use USSSA rules and Conference Run Rules, and the games will be USSSA sanctioned for insurance purposes.  The ball used will be the Worth Hot Dot 52/300 with unlimited home runs.  Carl Pegnatori from Monsta picked the umpires and Rick Schiffhauer from Smash It Sports agreed to them.  Those umpires are Bill Geatches, Justin Lauby, Jason Oberlag, and Ken Hawk.  Any USSSA or USA Softball/ASA stamped/approved bat is legal and all bats will be tested before each game.  There will be a coin flip to choose home or away before the 1st and 5th game.  Home team will alternate for games 2, 3, and 4.

The series will be livestreamed on

Weather, in a word, perfect….



Final Observations, Updates, and Predictions!

The heavyweight fight between Monsta and Smash It Sports is on!

The War by the Shore features two great teams from different softball associations that are coming together at the new mecca of slowpitch, the Space Coast Stadium!  On one side we have Monsta a relatively new bat company and team who won the USA Softball Super over H. Auto (Resmondo) this past September and have a west coast flavor to their roster.  And on the other side we have Smash It Sports who won 10 of the top 12 tournaments in softball a year ago and the USSSA Major World Series and Smash It did it with a Florida/Southeastern feel to their roster.  Monsta travels across the country into the lions den of Smash It Sports to play this series on a Stadium field with 325-365-385-365-325 dimensions, with winds that have a mind of their own, and temperatures expected to be anywhere from 56 to 78 depending on the time of day.  The question marks are the wind and what factor it will play?  The rosters, which team has more players prepared and putting in the work to play at a high level at this early point in the 2018 season?  The balls?  The .52 core ball is hard and good but it is not a stadium ball and even with a stadium ball the scores last September at the Conference Championships were rather low.  The bats?  Teams will most likely use USA Softball stamped bats against the .52 core.  How will those bats perform in lower than normal temperatures and will it be enough advantage for either team to make a significant difference?

There ultimately is $100,000 at stake here so unsportsmanlike conduct cannot be tolerated and winning plays on the field, with the bat, and with the glove must decide the final outcome.  There is not one player, sponsor, manager, or fan that is bigger than this game and no one that could be ejected will be replaced with a lesser player as both teams benches are full of top talent.

My final observations.  I would like nothing better than to see this go to the 5th game and won by a spectacular play one way or the other.  All of us in slowpitch understand the perception that the pitch comes in slow and underhanded, and that "anyone can hit a home run"…etc.  But those of us that have been around the top of the game know that when you are hitting .52 core balls on a stadium field in adverse conditions against the top pitchers and defenses in the game, that each player still has to get in that box and perform, and they have to field rocket shots, climb fences, snap off 100 mph+ shots back up the middle etc.  I have been on the field during 1 run Championshp games at the Major, and I have been on the field for the finals of the Long Haul Bombers competition, and I can tell you, there are times you couldn't cut the tension with a knife.  And now throw $100,000, which has never been done, on top of that…

Here is to hoping the uniqueness of the event and the added pressure of the wager brings out the very best softball in every one involved.  And best of luck to the two teams!  Let's tap gloves and come out swinging!!!

My prediction.  I cannot get past thinking this will be a relatively low scoring series although lower temperatures could help with the offense.  The team that wins will need to be able to bat around the lineup in an inning and statistically and historically on baseball fields that is difficult to do.  Winning scores could definitely be 16 to 22 runs.  As much as I want this to go 5 games, it would be difficult to bet against Smash It Sports having it go that far.  Last year they were 69-7 for the year and only lost to Major teams.  As good as Monsta is, if they were classified today in the USSSA Conference, they would have 9.75 roster points which is just enough to be classified Major but just one player removed from being a a top 'AA' team.  And Smash It Sports last year was 21-0 vs the 'AA' division and did not lose to any team that had around 10 roster points or less.  But, this event is on a baseball field, with a .52 core ball, and both teams have a few changes in their lineups since their September success…

Use this for bulletin board material Monsta

Because I am predicting Smash It Sports in 4 games,

but will be the first to congratulate Monsta if I am wrong.

Good luck!

After all MARCH MADNESS starts today, and ANYTHING can happen!



Previewing the Manager's/Sponsors!



Monsta's Carl Pegnatori and Dennis Doerr

The manager for Monsta is Dennis Doerr and the general manager and owner of Monsta Athletics is Carl Pegnatori.  Dennis and Carl have dominated the USA Softball National scene the past couple of years and find themselves up against their toughest slowpitch task ever…trying to beat Smash It Sports 3 out of 5.



Smash It's Jason Kendrick, TDB's Tim Franks, and Smash It's Rick Schiffhauer

The managers for Smash It Sports are Jason Kendrick and John Rector who have dominated USSSA softball in recent years.  The sponsorship group for Smash It Sports includes Rick Schiffhauer from SIS, Seth Green from Thunder, Jerry Backman, Tim Franks from TDB (Tarheel Drilling and Blasting), and Scott Sunderland from S&S Landscaping.  Kendricks strengths have always been talent evaluation and lineup creation and he has had great success putting together new teams for Conference play that have instant success.  Rector was long time manager of Resmondo and there isn't anything he hasn't seen or done.  Seth Green comes over from Thunder which beat Smash It Sports in championship games twice this past year, and Tim Franks has a 'AA' team as well as his sponsorship with SIS.  Finally Scott Sunderland has sponsored and managed a couple of conference teams and was most recently with Backman and Thunder.

Both management/sponsor groups have dominated their respective associations at the highest level but the Smash It group does it on a weekly basis during the year.  

Edge goes to Smash It Sports


Seth Green and Scott Sunderland (I need a new pic of you Scotty)  ๐Ÿ™‚



Previewing the Pitcher's!


Monsta's Danny Lopez vs SIS – Andrew Vitcak

Monsta's starting pitcher Danny Lopez is a 41 year old from Arizona.  "D-Lo" as he is known came into the upper level of softball with regional teams like Yur Mama Rocks, Exterminators, Spider Pigs, ATS, and Famous Sports, before getting his big break with Sonny's.  He was then a backup pitcher for Shoppe and Resmondo before pitching full time again with Bad Draw and Monsta.  DLo is a good USSSA pitcher known for keeping the mood in the dugout loose with his sense of humor.  Danny has a lifetime on base percentage of .574 (315-549) with 26 HR and 148 RBI and in the HOF this past year he was 8-18.  Danny isn't a factor when it comes to stadium hitting and is purely there to try and keep hitters off balance and field the middle which he does well.    

Smash It's Andrew Vitcak is a 35 year old pitcher from Minnesota who came up into the Major level from regional beginnings with J&H, Showcase, and EWS, and then moved up to national teams like Shoppe, Laservision, won worlds with Team 454 and Precision, and then played Major again the last couple years with Backman and Thunder.  Andrew was the only pitcher to beat Smash It Sports last year (Chicago and the Conference Championships) in a championship game of a tournament.  Vitcak is a great pitcher who uses his defense to his advantage and can field the middle.  He is also a very good hitting pitcher 1043-1613 .647 with 175 HR and 732 RBI in his career.  He had a .607 on base percentage with 10 HR on baseball fields in 87 plate appearances last year and is a member of Team USA.

Final analysis of Pitcher:  With Andy "The GOAT" Purcell out recovering from an AC Joint (shoulder) injury, you cannot get a better replacement.  Smash It Sports picked up Andrew Vitcak to backup Purcell when none of the other Major teams offered him a spot???  Vitcak is commonly referred to as the 2nd best pitcher in the game which is a huge compliment.  With a stellar defense behind him and his advantage over Danny Lopez with the bat, you have to give the edge to Vitcak.  As far as pitching depth though, you would have to say Monsta has 3 really good options in Lopez, Losson White, and Ryan Mcclanahan while Smash It Sports backup would have to be lesser experienced position players like Josh Riley, Jason Branch, Nic Santana, and Don Dedonatis Jr all who have pitched at a high level and are capable but are not regular pitchers.

Edge goes to Andrew Vitcak



The Benches



Monsta Bench


MI Brett Rettenmeier and OF Mario Granados


UT David Johnson and Pitcher Losson White


UT John Eshleman and UT Jerrad Messersmith


Slugger Tim Martinez and OF/IF Jared Hunt

The Monsta bench is deep with a little bit of everything.  Some fast pinch runners, power pinch hitters, defensive specialists, veteran pitchers etc.  And it is led by Resmondo middle infielder Brett Rettenmeier who may work his way into the starting lineup before this series is over.  Tim Martinez is a right handed power hitter that played with MyAutoJack in some Conference events last year and has hit on the Long Haul tour.  Mario Granados of course has played for years in the Conference and is a left handed outfielder.  Hunt, Eshleman, and Messersmith have all been a part of Monsta success in USA Softball and David Johnson is an outfielder/infielder who played on their Super National Championship team in right field and can also play infield.  Finally they have left handed pitcher Losson White who along with Ryan Mcclanahan will be the backup to Danny Lopez.  White is a longtime Conference and USA Softball pitcher who was once a member of Team USA and has also won USA Softball Nationals at the highest level many times.   


Smash It Sports Bench


IF Brian McBryde and OF Lee Payne


Manager Jason Kendrick and the injured Andy Purcell round out the players for SIS


The Smash It Sports bench is a little short for this series but doesn't lack in quality.  They have outfielder Lee Payne, infielder Brian McBryde, and manager and hall of famer Jason Kendrick.  Payne came up with D2E, Albicocco, and Resmondo winning some world titles along the way and last year with Smash It was .717 134-187 with 34 HR and 108 RBI as the 4th outfielder.  Lee was 38-52 .692 with 8 HR and 27 RBI on baseball fields last year.  Brian McBryde is a slick fielding infielder who got his shot with Fence Brokers and Line Drive Sportz just a few years ago and played with Thunder last season.  Brian was 183-259 .707 with 55 HR and 155 RBI last year and on baseball fields was an impressive 57-80 .713 with 14 HR and 38 RBI.  In Columbus he was 30-38 .789 with 9 Homer's and 21 RBI.  McBryde has won multiple USA Softball Nationals and won the USSSA 'A' with Fence Brokers.  Both McBryde and Payne have been Team USA members.  The only other guy on the bench will be Jason Kendrick who will probably pinch run, manage, and if he needed to swing a bat he has over 2,000 Conference plate appearances and has won everything there is to win so he would probably get it done!

Edge goes to Smash It Sports.  If someone couldn't play or was ejected, they wouldn't miss a beat



Previewing the Catcher/EH Positions!




Monsta's Chris Greinert vs SIS – Ryan Harvey

Monsta catcher Chris Greinert is a 36 year old slugger from Maryland who broke into the Conference and upper level with Angle Inn back in 2007/2008.  He quickly moved up to play Major with Dan Smith in 2010, played with R&M Metals in 2011, Sonny's in 2012, won 'A' Worlds with Nordkap in 2013, before joining Combat as their main power hitter from 2014 to 2016.  This past year he was with Dan Smith where he was 173-244 .709 with 72 HR and 180 RBI.  On baseball fields last year he was 44-72 .611 with 14 HR and 41 RBI and had a great USSSA Major World Series going 18-25 .720 with 7 HR and 24 RBI!  Chris has seen it all at the Major level and hit on the Long Haul Bombers tour and is known for just plain hitting the ball hard.    

Smash It's Ryan Harvey is a 33 year old from Florida who played softball towards the end of his pro baseball career and then broke into the Conference in 2014 with Team Albicocco.  The next year he was with Backman at the Major level and stayed with them until 2017 when he joined Smash It Sports, won the Major World Series with them, and won the Offensive MVP of the Conference 232-307 .756 with 129 home runs, and 302 RBI.  Harvey is a premier stadium home run hitter and has improved every season.  On baseball fields last year he was 60-91 .659 with 31 homer's and 68 RBI which is one of the higher if not the highest Home Run Frequency on the big fields.  Ryan is 857-1204 .712 in his short career with 441 HR and 1031 RBI in Conference play, has hit on the Long Haul Bombers tour, and may play some right field in this series where he has a great arm and moves well for a big guy.

Final analysis of Catcher:  Both players have a national reputation for hitting the long ball, have played for Team USA, and are more athletic than their size would portray.  Harvey has improved each year and this year should be no exception.  Greinert has had big games on softballs biggest stage as well and can get the job done.  .

Edge goes to Ryan Harvey who was 18-25 with 12 HR at Space Coast Stadium in September



Extra Hitter


Monsta's Ryan Dacko vs SIS – Josh Riley


Monsta extra hitter Ryan Dacko is a 29 year old left handed power hitter from California who has won 'B' and Super Nationals with WC Monsta and has hit on the Long Haul Bombers tour.  He is playing Conference I believe for the first time this year with Vivid so we don't have a track record of stats to throw at you for Ryan.  Having almost no USSSA playing history could put him at a disadvantage against the Major pitchers, we shall see.  The left handed power at Space Coast Stadium could come in handy based upon how the wind blows there a majority of the time.

Smash It Sports Josh Riley is a 30 year old from Kentucky who broke into the Conference in 2012 with CA Sports, then played with 3rd Street, Albicocco, Red's Astros, and Line Drive.  He was with Worth Astros last year having an amazing season when SIS/Thunder picked him up for the second half of the year.  Riley is set for a breakout monster season in 2018 and in 2017 in a half year with Thunder was 81-109 .743 with 37 HR and 80 RBI.  Riley was an impressive 89-122 .730 with 32 Home Runs and 85 RBI on baseball fields last year including 7 homer's in each HOF Dual, 13 HR in Columbus, and was .778 with 5 homer's at the Major.  Riley can also play all of the infield positions and pitch.   

Heavy Edge goes to Josh Riley



Previewing the Outfield!


Left Field


Monsta's Filip Washington vs SIS – Brandon Dillon

Monsta left fielder Filip Washington is a 32 year old from Las Vegas by way of Panama City and he burst onto the softball scene just a few years ago getting his break with Classic Glass in 2014 where he was a big part of their unexpected 5th place finish at the Major World Series.  He then spent a couple years as one of Team Combats leading hitters before moving over to OA Apparel last year where he was second in the nation in onbase percentage at .822 with 61 HR and 133 RBI.  He has a career .756 on base percentage in the Conference with 226 home runs and has won both offensive and defensive tournament MVP's.  Filip has played some center field as well as left field where he has great closing speed and there isn't many as fast as him on the bases.  Last year he had a streak of 6 consecutive .800 plus on base percentage weekends and on the baseball fields he was 38-56 on base .679 with 7 homer's and 15 RBI.  Washington won USA Softball's Super Nationals in 2017 with Monsta.    

Smash It's Brandon Dillon is a 36 year old from Indiana who has done it all at the Major level.  He has won offensive and defensive tournament MVP's, won the USA Softball 'A' and Super Nationals, and won the USSSA Major World Series multiple times.  Brandon came up through the ranks with Sinister in 2010, won 'A' Worlds with R&M Metals in 2012, moved to GTL in 2013, Laservision in 2014, and has played with Smash It Sports, Scene/Albicocco, and Red's Astros in recent years.  Last year he won the Major again with Smash It Sports.  Dillon has a .694 career on base (1452-2093) with 473 home runs and 1,360 RBI.  Last year he batted in the top 4 in the lineup for the best team most of the season .717, 89 HR, 237 RBI, and went 16-17 with 7 HR and 26 RBI at the first Hall of Fame Dual tournament.

Final analysis of Left Field:  Both players are capable defenders.  Dillon has much more experience.  Washington is a young 32 and his speed and onbase percentage can be difference makers.  Both are capable of outplaying the other on a given weekend and this is about as even as it gets.

Edge goes to Filip Washington by a hair



Center Field


Monsta's Travis Houseman vs SIS – Nic Santana


Monsta center fielder Travis Houseman is a 28 year old from Iowa who has only played one year of high level softball and that was with Precision in 2017.  He broke in with OC a team that played USA Softball and was seen at the 2016 USA Softball nationals by Precision.  Last year he hit .680 with 35 HR.  Houseman was 38-60 .633 with 5 homer's on baseball fields last year.  He is incredibly talented, fast, and is a raw – younger right handed version of Nic Santana with possibly a little more power as he develops.

Smash It Sports Nic Santana is a 30 year old from Florida who has done everything there is to do in softball.  He has won the Major World Series multiple times and has been the Offensive MVP!  He has won awards in USA Softball as well and has won the Super Nationals.  He is considered the best center fielder in softball defensively (or at least top 2) and is arguably the best center fielder offensively and he can fly on the base paths.  Nic came up with Dirty Demarini in 2012 and a year later was a full time center fielder for Resmondo where he spent 4 years before moving to Smash It Sports last year where he was .729 with 42 HR and 127 RBI.  For his career he is .710 (1251-1763) with 236 HR and 796 RBI.  Last year on the baseball fields he was 59-85 .694 with 9 HR and 34 RBI.   

There is no final analysis needed.  Houseman could get hot and have a big weekend

but Santana has the Edge in this matchup!



Right Field    


Monsta's Daniel Mcclement vs SIS – Jason Branch

Monsta's Daniel Mcclement will get the start in right field for the War by the Shore.  He is a 26 year old from California and played one year with OC Swats in the Conference where he was 44-71 .620 with 14 HR and 42 RBI.  On baseball fields he was 2-7 in limited plate appearances.  He has spent most of his upper level softball career with Monsta and I believe he hit or filled in on the Long Haul Bombers tour.  Daniel is a bit of a question mark for this event, an unknown when it comes to big fields although he was a part of Monsta's Super National Championship team in USA Softball.

Smash It's Jason Branch or Ryan Harvey will most likely start in right field for the War by the Shore and they have Lee Payne coming off the bench.  Branch is a 39 year old veteran leadoff hitter who was .738 last year with 88 HR and 262 RBI.  For his career he is 1875-2584 .726 with 477 homer's and 1419 RBI.  He broke into the upper level with Team Bud Light in 2008, and played with T&R Stucco, Suncoast, won 'A' Worlds with Team 454, Nordkap, and Line Drive Sportz, and fought for a batting title with Scene/Albicocco in 2016 before winning the Major World Series with Smash It Sports last year.  Jason has played all outfield positions over his career and all infield positions and can even pitch.  He is Smash It Sports utility man and most likely to play right field for them at the War by the Shore.  We may see Ryan Harvey out there as well.    

Final Analysis of right field: Branch is as intense a player as their is and on baseball fields last year was 76-103 .738 with 17 homer's and 73 RBI.  Mcclement is a bit new to a series like this and doesn't have a lot of upper level USSSA experience.  Neither player is necessarily known for their outfield defense at this point in their careers which could definitely come into play on a baseball field with a non stadium ball.  From what I remember of Mcclement playing for OC Swats he had great potential on both sides of the ball.

A BIG edge goes to Jason Branch or whoever Smash It puts out in right field

for experience and stadium hitting.




Previewing 3rd Base!


Monsta's John Williams vs SIS – Cory Briggs

Monsta 3rd baseman John Williams is a 29 year old from Illinois who may have the quickest feet and hands of anyone his size that is playing high level softball.  John broke into the upper level with Compound Athletics just a few short years ago and has already played with Team Combat, OA Apparel, and Dan Smith.  In 2018 John will play for Monsta and Pure Sports.  In the Conference, Big John or Johndre The Giant as he is known hit .728 in 100 at bats with Dan Smith last year and .745 with OA Apparel.  He has stadium power and had an onbase of .671 with 11 homer's on baseball fields in 70 plate appearances last year including a couple of memorable homer's for OA Apparel on the stadium field at the Hall of Fame Classic.  John actually played a little shortstop at the start of 2017 and moves well for his size. 


John Williams hitting for Dan Smith at the Conference Championships

and playing 3rd Base for Precision at the USA Softball Nationals


Smash It Sports has the best defensive 3rd baseman in the game currently in Cory Briggs.  Briggs has had a meteoric rise to the top team in softball starting just two years ago with Nightmare in 2016 where he played shortstop and center field and had a rookie on base percentage of .779 with 53 Homer's and 139 RBI.  Smash It Sports then picked him up for 2017 and put him at 3rd base where many think he played the best defensively at that position since Resmondo had Jimmy Salas in his prime!  Briggs responded to the call up to Major with a .754, 74 HR, and 250 RBI season.  His arm and range at 3rd base are probably the best in the game and he has the versatility to move to shortstop or center field if there was ever an injury.  His offense has been great from the first time he stepped onto a conference team as he hit .890 or better at 6 tournaments in the past two years.  Cory could easily be the offensive or defensive MVP on any given weekend and he is one of the fastest base runners in the game.  Briggs had an onbase percentage of .714 with 10 homer's and 42 RBI in 70 plate appearances on baseball fields last year.


Cory Briggs hitting for SIS at the Smoky's and playing third in Columbus, Ohio


Final Analysis of third base: I started out thinking these two were about even at 3rd base but as I got into the research and writing I started to feel like a 55 to 45 edge to Briggs.  Williams is more than capable of outplaying Briggs in this series however and both are true stadium players.

I almost went even with this one, but decided to give the edge to Briggs at 3rd Base.

Speed on the bases and the highlight reel plays he makes are going to be important in what could be a low scoring series.



Previewing Shortstop!


Monsta's Steve Whaley vs SIS – Don Dedonatis III

Monsta shortstop Steve Whaley is a 38 year old from Texas who currently plays with Dan Smith in the Conference.  He came up with Wood Law, Save Second, won 'A' Worlds with R&M Metals and LineDriveSportz, then played with TG Brand, Scene/Albicocco's Major team, and played last year with Newbreed.  He has also played for Team USA and won the USA Softball Super Nationals with Monsta.  Whaley  has a career .656 on base with 316 HR and 999 RBI.  Last year he had a .691 on base percentage with 60 homer's.  Whaley is a consistent and professional shortstop and hitter who has improved even as he has aged.  I was a bit skeptical last year of him playing shortstop because I had only seen him play second base and middle infield but he rose to the occasion for Newbreed and Monsta and if you were evaluating him in quarterback terminology you would say "he has all the throws". 

Looks like I need to update that player page from 2012!!!



Steve Whaley playing for Newbreed in Seattle and Texas


Smash It Sports has one of the greatest shortstops of all time in Don Dedonatis III and he has been winning for what seems like two decades.  Don got his start at the upper level with Mountain Top in the early 2000's and played with Dan Smith, Bell Corp, and for over a decade with Resmondo.  He was the leadoff hitter for the 2007 Resmondo team that is considered to be one of the three best slowpitch teams of all time.  He has won multiple Conference Defensive MVP's, won the Major World Series MVP, was an original member of Team USA, and has done everything there is to do in slowpitch softball.  At the age of 42 last year he won the Conference Co-Defensive MVP and when he is healthy is still as good as it gets at making plays at shortstop and is known for getting some of the biggest clutch hits in Major World Series history.  Don has a career .688 on base percentage (2910-4231), with 243 homer's, and 1282 RBI, and still runs the bases with the reckless enthusiasm of an 18 year old.


Don Dedonatis in Columbus playing for SIS


Final Analysis of Shortstop:  When he is healthy Don Dedonatis III is still a championship caliber player and Steve Whaley is as solid as they come and like most positions on this preview anyone can outplay their opponent on a given weekend.  I am leaning towards calling this one even but am crunching the numbers offensively to see what both players did on baseball fields this past year, using the HOF Dual, Columbus, and the Major World Series for the comparison.  Lets take a look.  If the numbers come out fairly close then lets call this a draw.  If not then I'll give the edge to one or the other.

I crunched the numbers and they come out about even with Whaley having better power numbers and Don better onbase. 

Both players total onbase and batting average on baseball fields last year were at or above the average for Major players on the big fields.

Middle Infield edge goes to:  I am calling this one even, but if it comes to a game 5 – I go with history (Don)




Previewing Middle Infield!


Monsta's Ryan Mcclanahan vs SIS – Luis Reyna

The Monsta starting middle infielder is 24 year old Ryan Mcclanahan from California.  Ryan came up to the upper level playing with 4 The Fallen in 2014, won 'B' Worlds with OC Swats in 2015, and played last year with the Major team Racks and won USA Softballs Super with Monsta.  Ryan had a .671 onbase percentage in Conference play last year with 35 HR and 118 RBI.  At the Major World Series last fall he was 14-20 on base with 1 HR and 10 RBI.  Ryan is known for his versatility and can play any position on the field including pitcher.  Last year you may recall Ryan had 3 homer's and 10 RBI in one inning in the championship game and also wound up as the Defensive MVP of the tournament.  I have had prominent people in softball tell me that Ryan is "the next Rulli".  He is well on his way as his offense and defense improves every year.  



Ryan Mcclanahan fielding for Racks and hitting 3 homer's in one inning

Smash It Sports has the best middle infielder in the game in Luis Reyna.  Reyna is 31 years old and came up with AJS, Suncoast, Laservision, Resmondo, and Smash It Sports.  He has won multiple Conference Defensive MVP's for the league, tournament MVP's, Major World Series, and is a Major List player who is a member of Team USA.  Reyna may have the best glove in the game, has great range, and double play making ability and is a really special player to watch defensively, probably a once in a generation type player.  On the offensive side he gets better every year and had an onbase percentage of .763 last year with 58 homer's and 197 RBI while leading the Conference in doubles with 54!  Reyna has been streaky hitting on stadium fields but in the second dual a year ago he was 21-25 .840 with 4 HR and hit 15 HR at the Smoky Mountain Classic!  


Luis Reyna hitting at the Hall of Fame Stadium and fielding for Smash It in Columbus


Final Analysis of Middle Infield:  Luis has got to be the best middle infielder there is and has earned that respect.  Ryan is still an up and comer and is capable of great things on softballs biggest stage.  On the turf and with Reyna's ability to affect the game on both sides you have to give him the edge.  

Middle Infield edge goes to Luis Reyna




Previewing 2nd Base!


Monsta 2B Chente Granados vs SIS 2B Adam Ussery and Brian McBryde

Monsta 2nd baseman Chente Granados is a 28 year old left handed hitter from California and is a member of the Major Player's List.  He came up through the ranks with Combat, Sonny's, Albicocco, OC Swats and Newbreed and actually got his start in upper level ball with Exterminators back in 2008 at the age of 18!  He won USSSA 'B' Worlds with OC Swats in 2015, and won USA Softball Super Nationals with WC Monsta last year.  He has a lifetime .682 onbase percentage (650-953) in Conference play with 121 Home Runs.  On stadium fields at the Hall of Fame Classic this past year he was onbase 40-59 .677  with 3 HR and for the season was onbase .695 with 35 HR and 124 RBI for Newbreed.  He is known as one of the best infielders in the game and known for his quick release and range.  He can play all infield positions and even pitch if needed.  Chente has immense experience and has really picked up his stadium hitting the past two years.  


Chente hitting at the Smoky for Albicocco and playing 2B in Seattle last summer

Smash It Sports will start Adam Ussery at 2nd base.  Adam is a 28 year old career shortstop and middle infielder who locked down SS for SIS/Thunder in 2017.  He will move to second base along with Bryan McBryde a 32 year old slick fielding middle infielder who also played with SIS/Thunder a year ago.  Ussery and McBryde both have a lot of high level experience eventhough they are relatively new to the upper level.  Ussery from Arkansas broke into the upper level with Aftershock, Bear Hollow Ranch, and Line Drive Sportz, before getting a shot at Major last year with Thunder where he hit  .716 with 50 HR and 147 RBI.  Brian McBryde is from Texas and came up with Old School, ASP Nation, won USSSA 'A' Worlds and Defensive MVP with Fence Brokers in 2015 and played with Line Drive Sportz in 2016 before joining Thunder last year where he hit .707 with 55 HR and 155 RBI.  McBryde also won multiple USA Softball 'A' Nationals with ASP Nation.  

Ussery was 27-38 .711 with 8 HR and 23 RBI on the big fields in Columbus, Ohio last summer and McBryde was 30-38 .789 with 9 HR and 21 RBI that same weekend.  Both players can play any infield position at a Major or Major+ level and their hitting has gotten better every season.  Both are recent additions to the USSSA Men's Major Players List.


Ussery and McBryde in Texas

Final Analysis of 2nd Base:  This is a close one.  On one side Chente has more big game experience but has to hit against the vaunted Smash It defense.  All 3 of these guys have great range and are known for their ESPN type highlight plays in the infield and all of them continue to get better with the bat.  I think Chente probably plays a little bit better on turf as long as he doesn't play too deep to make a play and there could be a lot of hits coming there way if the wind blows its normal direction at the Space Coast Stadium.  While any of these 3 players could come away with a defensive MVP on any given weekend and have about equal power, I am going with a very slight edge to Chente Granados.  Hopefully Ussery can stay out of the pickles and this isn't being played at a BLD so Chente should be good to go!  ๐Ÿ™‚

2nd Base edge goes to Chente Granados



Previewing 1st Base!


Monsta 1B Steven Lopez vs SIS 1B Kyle Pearson

Monsta 1st baseman Steven Lopez is a 33 year old left handed hitter from California and is a member of the Major Player's List.  He came up through the ranks with TAI, WC Blaze, and broke into the Conference in 2011 with West Coast Doerflinger and continued his career with Classic Glass, won USSSA 'B' Worlds with OC Swats in 2015, and won USA Softball 'B' and Super Nationals with WC Monsta the past two years.  He has a lifetime .720 onbase percentage (877-1218) in Conference play with 131 Home Runs.  On stadium fields at the Hall of Fame Classic this past year he was onbase 31-48 .646  with 2 HR and for the season was onbase .676 with 24 HR and 71 RBI for Racks/Sonny's.  He is known as one of the best base hitters in the game and in that way is not your prototypical slugger that you would normally have at 1st base on a top team.  He is underrated defensively and has a knack for picking hot shots and bad throws eventhough he is the shortest 1st baseman on the national scene.  Steve can also play RF in a pinch.  Wherever Steven goes he makes his team better.  He was a part of that unexpected Classic Glass 5th place finish at the Major World Series a few years back.


Steven Lopez winning USSSA 'B' Worlds with OC Swats and making a run at the Major with Classic Glass

Smash It 1st baseman Kyle Pearson is a 27 year old slugger from Louisiana who has become one of the top, if not the top, hitters in all of softball.  He is also Miken's #1 factory hitter.  Kyle started his Conference softball career with Buzini by winning the USSSA 'B' Worlds in his first year at the age of 23.  He also played with Compound Athletics in 2015 where he was .750 with 9 HR at the Major, won the USSSA Major World Series in 2016 with Brett Helmer's Smash It Sports team where he won tournament MVP going 22-25 .880 with 12 HR and 22 RBI, and in 2017 with Resmondo he was .742 with 12 HR and 21 RBI at the Major World Series.  For his career he has posted .805, .777, .782, .792 on base averages in 4 full years in the Conference which was good for top 6 every year.  On the USA Softball side he won multiple National tournaments with ASP Nation playing for Coach Tim Barnes who incidentally was named to the Team USA coaching staff this week.  Pearson is a career .780 onbase (893-1145) in Conference play with 312 Home Runs. 


Kyle Pearson hitting at the Major for Compound Athletics in 2015 and getting the Major MVP in 2016

Final Analysis of 1st Base:  The edge goes to Kyle Pearson who's 6'5 frame and surprising athleticism at 1st base makes him a big target for infielders on the bigger infields.  Kyle is also a premium stadium power hitter who has had multi home run games on the biggest stage and has become a great base hitter.  Pearson once hit a ball so hard at the Major World Series that it didn't register on the flightscope speed equipment and was estimated at 492 feet.   Lopez though is one of my favorite players along with Julio Salazar and Chuck Shimels who are all those guys that don't necessarily look like your prototypical softball slugger but are unbelievable base hitters.  Lopez had an onbase of .749 in 2015 for OC Swats and hit mostly singles, doubles, and triples.  That year he was probably the best pure base hitter in the game.  In 2016 that honor went to BJ Fulk and in 2017 Andy Purcell although it could probably go to Dennis Rulli every year.  Lopez is also left handed and the wind favors lefty's at Space Coast Stadium.

1st Base edge goes to Kyle Pearson




The field – Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida

Space Coast Stadium is located at 5800 Stadium Parkway, Melbourne, Florida 32940 and was the former spring training home of the Washington Nationals.  The facility which has 15 fields was the brain child of Don Dedonatis Sr who was looking for a home base for the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association).  The USSSA moved into the Stadium and Complex in 2017 and put in artificial turf and moved in the home run fences to 325 down the lines, 365 to the gaps, and 385 to center field.  One Major Slow Pitch event has been played there which was the 2017 Nationwide Conference USSSA Championships.

The fields played rather long during that Labor Day Weekend tournament with the average team scoring just 13 runs per game and the 12 games played on the Stadium that weekend were all played by the 6 Major teams and the 2 top AA teams in the nation.  The Conference Championships used the Dudley Stadium ball (.47/450) which is livelier than the Worth Hot Dot (.52/300) that will be used in the War by the Shore. 

In speaking with some Major players that have competed and hit at Space Coast Stadium, they say the ball fly's better at night and early morning and the normal wind blows left to right across the field similar to the ESPN Wide World of Sports stadium where the Major was played for the last decade.  They said the wind could affect pitching at times as well.  Between the wind and the lesser ball used, the scores are expected to be low and 16 to 22 runs could win games with higher scores for the night games possible.

The onbase percentage and the batting averages for the Conference Championships using the stadium ball at Space Coast Stadium were in the low .500's.

The artificial turf at the Space Coast Stadium played fairly true on the hops with the Stadium ball.  We won't really know how the 52/300 does until that first game.  In the outfield the turf does cause high bounces at times and outfielders often have to get used to them when charging base hits.



The Teams:


West Coast Monsta

WC Monsta the 2017 USA Softball Super National Champions


Monstas Roster for the War by the Shore:

Pitchers Daniel Lopez and Lossen White
1B Steven Lopez
2B Chente Granados
MI Ryan Mcclanahan
SS Steve Whaley
3B John Williams
LF Filip Washington
CF Travis Houseman
RF Daniel Mcclement
C Chris Greinert
EH Ryan Dacko

Off the Bench:
Brett Rettenmeier
John Eshleman
David Johnson
Tim Martinez
Mario Granados
Jared Hunt
Jerrad Messersmith



Smash It Sports/Backman/Thunder/TDB/S&S/Miken/Worth

2017 USSSA Major World Series Champion Smash It/Scene/TDB/Miken/Worth/DirtySportsWear

Their team name for 2018 is Smash It Sports/Backman/Thunder/TDB/S&S/Miken/Worth


Smash It Sports/Backman/Thunder/TDB/S&S/Miken/Worth Roster for the War by the Shore:

Pitchers Andrew Vitcak
1B Kyle Pearson
2B Adam Ussery
MI Luis Reyna
SS Don Dedonatis
3B Cory Briggs
LF Brandon Dillon
CF Nic Santana
UT/RF Jason Branch
C/RF Ryan Harvey
EH Josh Riley

Off the Bench:
OF Lee Payne
IF Brian McBryde
UT Jason Kendrick
P Andy Purcell (Injured)

6 responses to “2018 War by the Shore preview – Final observations, updates, and predictions!”

  1. Jared Mucciardi says:

    The comparisons are great DW (small sample set, I know, but off to a great start). I love the details and specifics but mostly appreciate you sharing your personal opinion. This reminds me of the tournament wrap-up reports from a couple years ago where you provided many more specifics and shared your thoughts as well. No saying I disliked last years reports, but you definitely dialed it back…probably to appease the sensitive egos of some of the players.

  2. CM says:

    “and this isn’t being played at a BLD so Chente should be good to go!” hahahahah

  3. Andrew Henry says:

    Great stuff so far DW, keep it coming!

  4. Cody says:

    Where did Dale Brungardt go?

  5. Chris says:

    DW, Will the games be available for replay if you can’t watch them live?

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