Tuesday October 22nd, 2019
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2019 USSSA Louisville Slugger/Demarini Classic (NC Major) tournament report!

 

2019 Nationwide Conference USSSA

 

Louisville Slugger/Demarini Classic

 

Charlotte, NC

 

August 9-10

Pure Sports 2nd baseman Jared Hunt makes a game saving play in the winner's final vs Briggs

SoftballCenter NC picture album link

 

2019 NC bracket and results link

 

2019 NC Major stats link once available

 

2019 NC archived games link

Pure Sports Craig Shaw and Baugh Fords Tommie Baugh yuck it up before the Championship

The 3rd Annual Louisville Slugger/Demarini Classic was played in tremendous heat and humidity by 16 teams of which 9 were from the Nationwide Conference USSSA.  It was the final regular season conference tournament so it was the last chance for teams to earn points to qualify in the top 16 and make the USSSA Major World Series.  The tournament started with 8 games on Friday night and they used the Dudley classic M ball on all fields, the 3-300 foot fields as well as the big 310-350-370-350-310 baseball field which was the main field.

On Friday all of the teams played and 6 Conference teams advanced unscathed to the "round of 8".  SNI (FL-A), Newbreed (WA-AA), Baugh Ford (AL-A), Tru (VA-B), and Pure Sports (SC-Major) all advanced fairly easily.  While non-Conference 'A' team Briggs (NC-A) who was one of the favorites to win the tournament in their home state run ruled Regulators (CO-A) 26-8.  Sal-8 (VA-B) upset Beckham Brothers who was shorthanded due to family emergencies 21-6.  And Sports Reach (KY-A) had their hands full with Timeless (NC-C) but Sports Reach scored 22 runs in the last 3 innings led by Tim Cocco, Brian Mays, and Joel Sanchez who all collected 5 hits each and won 36-29.

In the "round of 8" which was played on Saturday morning SNI advanced past a good Sal-8 team 23-7 as pitcher Shawn Jones stabbed a number of middle shots.  Briggs advanced easily past 'AA' team Newbreed 14-3 when Newbreed couldn't score on the big baseball field.  Pure Sports dominated offensively in a 21-2 whooping of Tru.  And Sports Reach got off to a 15-1 lead and run ruled Baugh Ford 28-12 scoring 11 runs in the 3rd inning and was led by Robert "Robo" Blackburn who was 4-4 with 3 HR and 7 RBI in the game.  

The semifinals was then played at 2 PM Saturday afternoon as the morning showers and clouds gave way to a blistering heat.  Pure Sports scored 9 runs in the top of the 1st inning against SportsReach on the baseball field and cruised to a 22-11 win.  Pure got a 4-4 performance from center fielder Brian Logan and won easily even though each team hit only 3 home runs.  In the other semifinal played on a 300 foot field Briggs scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th against SNI to tie the game scoring the last run on a bases loaded walk.  But they ended regulation tied and SNI scored 6 runs in the top of the 7th.  Briggs then came back again and got a walk off grand slam homer by veteran Edmund Locklear to win!

The winner's bracket championship was played at 5 PM and it did not disappoint.  Briggs held a 20-18 lead going into the bottom of the 7th in a game full of great plays, inside the park homers, and key double plays.  And they were held to just a 2 run lead by one of the best diving stops of the year by Pure Sports 2nd baseman Jared Hunt!  In the bottom of the 7th with a runner on and one out Pure Sports Donnie Hammonds hit a clutch 2 run homer to tie the game but Pure could score no more.  In the top of the 8th Pure Sports got a big double play stab by pitcher Justin Mucciarelli to hold Briggs scoreless.  In the bottom of the 8th Pure Sports loaded the bases with 1 out and hit a line drive right at middle infielder Ian Sidebottom who was playing inside the base paths just to the pitchers left for the 2nd out.  All of these plays are in the video clips!  Then the next batter was Justin Mucciarelli who took a 2-0 pitch that was called flat which won the game on a walk off walk.  Briggs was not happy as the controversial pitch had been called flat all game long but, in this situation, since it was only strike one, I guess they felt it should have been called a strike to get to the final pitch.

In the loser's bracket Tru got their biggest win of the year over Beckham Brothers 18-15 after getting off to a 16-5 lead.  Just prior to that game Beckham had beaten Lewis Lawn Care on the baseball field 23-12 and not a single homer was hit from what I was told.  In the bottom half of the loser's bracket Newbreeds run was stopped by Sports Reach who beat them 14-9.  In the top of the loser's bracket Baugh Ford knocked off Regulators, Tru, SNI, Sports Reach, and Briggs to make it to the championship after some 7 hours straight on the field.

The championship was a bit anticlimactic as a dead tired and beat up Baugh Ford team succumbed to the much fresher Pure Sports team and Pure won easily 20-4 as the temperatures cooled off late Saturday night and the ball started flying again.

I want to say thank you to Jeff Hall for the hospitality and all of the hard work by the umpires in the heat Saturday as well as Louisville Slugger and Demarini for sponsoring the event.  Also a thank you to UIC Rob Mantlow and Demarini's Mike Cornell for their help with the event.  And congratulations to Baugh Ford who made the Major World Series and to Pure Sports for winning their 2nd tournament of the season (Houston).

Baugh was in a tired but good mood after qualifying for the USSSA Major World Series!

Winners bracket finals Edmund Locklear hitting against Pure Sports

 

Hammonds ties the winners final with Briggs on a 2 run homer in the bottom of the 7th

Mooch turns a key DP

 

Pure wins on a walk off walk on a flat pitch that did go through the zone on a 2-0 count.

It was controversial but also flat. 

Note: I did talk to players on both teams that felt the flat no strike call was consistent with what went on during the game.

But yes we all wanted to see another pitch.

Team Breakdown:
16 Teams Overall
9 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
1 Major Teams
1 'AA' Teams
7 'A' Teams

 


 

Key Winner's Bracket Games

Winners semifinal Pure Sports pitching to SportsReach

Robo hits for SportsReach against Pure Sports

Briggs found ways to win

Baugh fights through the losers bracket vs Regulators

 

 

Demarini introduced the new 2020 Davis Bilardello bat

  

 


 

Oldscout pollers were correct on Pure winning

 


 

Video Highlites brought to you by:

Link to the North Carolina video clips

Walk offs, between the legs pitches, great diving catches, DP's, video clips.

Some good video of the winners finals big at bats.

 


 

Long Bombers of the Week

There were not many homers hit on the main field which was 310-350-370-350-310 so I am giving the Long Bomber of the week to Pure Sports Donnie Hammonds who launched a 2 run homer in the heat vs Briggs that tied the game in the bottom of the 7th.

 


 

NC Major Final Standings and Awards

MVP was Pure Sports pitcher Justin Mucciarelli.  His dad who is in the NJ Hall of Fame texted him before the tournament and told him if he doesn't win North Carolina to change his last name.

Pure Sports Brian Logan was the Defensive MVP but here hits one past Tommie Baugh in the championship game!

Baugh Fords John Zorich was Offensive MVP

 


 

Team by team notes brought to you by:

 

 

1st Place – Pure Sports

Conf Major from SC  5-0 Record

Pure Sports squeaked out that game against Briggs when Hunt made that incredible diving stop that is in the video clips to keep the game close.  Then the Hammonds tying homer and the walk off walk.  A lot had to go their way for them to win that game which was the key to the tournament.  They moved up to 5th in the points and if they can hold that seed through the conference championships then they will have a decent shot to make the final 4 at the Major.  Logan also made a number of great catches in the outfield and covered those huge gaps.   

Trending Up!

Pure Sports Lineup
LF Kirkwood
MI Rocabaldo
EH Hammonds
RF Hollingsworth
2B Hunt
SS Wright/Consigny
3B Mccollum
1B Bilardello
CF Logan
P Mucciarelli

 

MI Racobaldo and LF Kirkwood makes plays

 

RF Donald Hollingsworth and 2B Jared Hunt have put up big numbers

Consigny or William Wright?

Longello hanging with his son 

 


 

2nd Place – Baugh Ford/Kut4/OI/Miken/Worth

Conf 'A' from GA  6-2 Record

 

Baugh Ford got run ruled in their second game against SportsReach and then won 5 straight in the loser's bracket and was on the field for over 7 hours straight.  To their credit they did not forfeit and their wins over Regulators, Tru, SNI, SportsReach, and Briggs put them into the 15th seed for the Major.  They played without a couple of starters like Chad Folsom who's dad unfortunately passed away recently and they are banged up but hopefully 3 weeks off will get them ready for the show.

Trending Up

Baugh Ford Lineup
Cornett
Gilfillan
Hooks
Zorich
Rasberry
Griffin

OF Brandon Hooks

    

MI and leadoff man Curtis Cornett.  1B Jason Gillfillan

   

SS John Sullivan and 3B Johnathan Rasberry

 

Tommie Baugh and Rob Roop did the pitching

Adam Tennyson joined Baugh for the weekend

 


 

3rd Place – Briggs/CCP/Miken

Conf 'A' from NC  3-2 Record

 

Briggs run ruled Regulators on Friday, then knocked off Newbreed 14-3 Saturday morning on the big field and outlasted SNI 28-27 and won on a walk off grand slam by Edmund Locklear.  They came from 5 runs behind in the 7th and 8th innings!  In the winners final they pushed Pure Sports to 8 innings as well, losing on a walk off walk.  In the losers bracket Baugh Ford just outlasted them in a low scoring game 16-12.  Briggs has the veteran pitcher Mike Craven, the middle men Sidebottom and Cobb, and the lead off hitter Cory Hill that all know their roles.  After the tournament apparently there was a bit of a fight in the parking lot between sponsors and Elvin Herring the CCP sponsor has left to form his own team.  Meanwhile the Briggs/Haymak sponsor will pick up a few players from Southern Mayhem.

P Mike Craven and MI Ian Sidebottom

  

Shortstop Ty Cobb had that huge leaping catch and an inside the park homer in the winners final

 

Edmund Locklear hit a couple of homers vs SNI including a walk off grand slam in extra innings.

 

 


 

4th Place – SportsReach

Conf 'A' from KY  3-2 Record

 

Sports Reach beat Timeless, Baugh Ford, and Newbreed then ran out of gas.  There were a lot of comments from their fellow 'A' teams about how much Sports Reach has improved especially since pitcher Brandon Jonas joined the team.

Trending Up

SportsReach Lineup:
Tony Ford
Zach Watts
Robert Blackburn
Tim Cocco
Brian Mays
Jacob Clifton
Jason Hatley
Bryan Bradler
Joel Sanchez
Brandon Jonas
Kaden Watson

SS Joel Sanchez had one of the best diving plays in the video clips

 


 

Tied 5th Place – Newbreed/Cutter LLC

Conf 'AA' from WA  3-2 Record

3B Sam Christensen, MI Ussery, 2B Cordova

Newbreed didn't beat anyone big and continue to struggle.  The sum of the individual pieces (which are good) are not adding up with this team.  Maybe they can turn it on like did at the Major last year?

Trending Down

Newbreed Lineup
1B Lopez
C Ramirez
LF Traylor
EH Farrar
2B Cordova
3B Christensen
MI Ussery
SS Raines
CF Scott
P Byars
RF Kramer

 

Brandon Raines has an NFL arm at SS and MI Adam Ussery have quietly had nice seasons

2019 'A' World Champ Cam Byars came out to pitch for Newbreed

 


 

Tied 5th Place – SNI/Worsham/AllOut/ATWL/Easton

Conf 'A' from FL  2-2 Record

SNI had their chances blowing two leads against Briggs in the winners semifinals.  Too many walks late.  Then Baugh Ford sent them home.  Not a terrible weekend, they just need to do a better job of finishing.

Trending Up!

Shawn Jones and MI Nick Utley

1B Brad Sheffield and 2B Aaron Sandoval

 


 

 


 

 

 

Hot Links section brought to you by:

I would like to thank USSSA and the SoftballCenter advertisers for their support!

Send corrections to dw@softballcenter.com

Link to the SoftballCenter.com Youtube channel

Link to the SoftballCenter.com Facebook page

Link to all 2009 to 2019 Tournament Reports and Previews

Nationwide Conference USSSA Points and information link

 


 

Some more pictures for you:

 

Tru had a nice win over Competitve Edge and then their biggest upset of the year beating Beckham Brothers.

Gaskins and Kidwell are two veteran hitters.  Tru finished 2-2.

 

 

 

Competive Edge nearly had Newbreed but lost.  Montgomery has had a nice rookie season.  They finished 2-2

Competitive Edge lineup:
SS Cory Koger
LF Jeff Smith
3B Tristen Montgomery
LF ErikKoll
1B Paul Baggett
2B Derrick Knight
C Marcus Smith
MI John McAnally
RF Wesley Thompson
P Jeremy Moore

 

 

 

Regulators went 1-2.  Dustin Wager and Danny Lopez pitched.

Beckham Brothers went 1-2 and dropped out of the top 16.

Beckham middle infielder Travis Tucker

Sal-8 is never an easy game.  Just ask Beckham Brothers.

This guy must be a dentist playing with that tooth flosser in his mouth.

Losers Final Briggs hitting against Baugh is my sunset pic

Super fans

"Softball Guy" of the week with the sweet hat and a number 3.5…

Super Major Briggs fans Jason Martel and Chuck Koone. 

The kid in the middle coined the phrase "Saturday's are for the boys"

Or maybe he got it from his dad…

Tournament director Jeff Hall, UIC Rob Mantlow, and Demarini Material Scientist Mike Cornell.

Mooch does the "Karate Kid" then check out the video clips for what happens next.

To Tommie Baughs defense his left hand was so swollen he couldn't swing the bat.

Conference Umpires

Those that don't like the classification committee can go to #HaterZnation!!!

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