Friday May 14th, 2021
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2020 USSSA Atlanta Kut4Sports Major tournament report!

 

 

 

2020 Nationwide Conference USSSA

 

Kut4Sports Atlanta Major

 

Marietta, GA

 

August 28-29

 

Premier MVP Cody Roton taking on Sports Reach in the Championship!

SoftballCenter Atlanta picture album link

 

2020 Atlanta bracket and results link

 

2020 Atlanta Major stats link once available

 

2020 Atlanta archived games link

 


 

Video Highlites brought to you by:

2020 Atlanta video clips link

 

CONDENSED GAME – 2020 ATL Championship link

 

 


 

Championship Game!

 

The Premier pitcher Rocky Staton and Sports Reach pitcher Brandon Jonas each snap off a middle shot and the war of words/actions is on!

Until the umpires put a stop to it or tried too.  🙂

 

The 2020 Kut4Sports Conference Major was held at the Al Bishop 5 field complex in Marietta, Georgia on Friday night and Saturday.  The tournament featured 18 teams including 8 from the Nationwide Conference USSSA league and they came from 6 different states.  They used the Dudley Pro-M ball and the home run fences were 300 feet.  The tournament was played under the threat of rain which never materialized and the weather was great from beginning to end.  The men's Major played on all 5 fields Friday for two rounds plus the play in games.  In the "round of 16" Conference teams Worksteer (NC-A), Riot Sports (FL-AA), Sports Reach (KY-A), and Bad Draw (NC-M) all run ruled non-conference opponents.  Meanwhile Premier (OH-A) was in a battle with Bigger Den Me when Premier broke a 14-14 tie on a Steve Hendrickson 3 run homer and a pinch hit homer by one of the sponsors Todd Roush!  Premier then used a 1 out double play in the top of the 7th to end Better Den Me's upset bid.  On field #3 Primetime went 7 innings with a good Georgia 'C' team Merchants but won 28-19.  Baugh Ford barely survived a 28-27 win over BullDawg Trucking/Exit 47 after BullDawg had an 18 run lead and a homer advantage.   But when BullDawg was unable to hold off Baugh from getting below the 15 run mercy rule cutoff, Baugh came back and won in the bottom of the 7th on a Chris Potts walk off single.  And a very good Kut 4 Sports (GA-B) non-conference team run ruled SVC (OH-A) 21-5.

The "round of 8" played out at 10 PM Friday on 4 fields simultaneously as things cooled off and the ball started really flying.  Worksteer over on field #1 jumped all over Riot Sports and carried a 10 run lead into the 6th inning.  But Riot scored 7 to close the gap to 3 before Worksteer used the rest of their homers to go up 12 and held on to win 31-24.  On field #5 Sports Reach found themselves down 14-6 to Kut4Sports before stepping on the gas and scoring 16 in the bottom of the 5th and 12 in the bottom of the 6th to win 34-19 by the run rule.  Leadoff hitter Zach Watts was 5-5 and Aaron Miller hit a grand slam in the comeback.  On field #4 the #1 seed Bad Draw unleashed the highest score of the tournament (45) on Baugh Ford and won 45-24.  Adam Ussery leading the way with I think at least 3 homers.  And on field #3 Premier trailed Primetime 20-13 going into the bottom of the 6th when Premier scored 22 runs to leave Primetime on the field 35-20.  Cory Boothe, Clay Norton, Steven Hendrickson, and Cody Angus all had 4 hits in the game.  Two years ago at the USSSA Convention I tried to institute a rule that if the visiting team is winning going into the bottom of the inning then they cannot be run ruled that inning.  This game shows exactly why that would be a good conference rule.

The semifinals were played at 12:30 PM on Saturday as the final 4 teams got to rest up for a long day.  Worksteer jumped out to a 30-15 lead on Sports Reach after 4 complete innings.  But Sports Reach has played so well this year that to beat them a team almost has to beat them twice in one game.  Meaning you need to get out to that big lead and then weather the storm when they come back and then put them away again late.  Sports Reach came back from the most unlikely of deficits with a 21 run top of the 5th and their defense kicked in with double plays and the relief pitching of Robbie Fow and they shut down Worksteer the last two innings to win 37-34.  Jason Hatley was 5-5 with 3 HR and 10 RBI and the top of the order Watts, Fow, and Blackburn all had 4 hits for Sports Reach.  In the other semifinal Premier who had escaped with two close victories on Friday night jumped all over the Bad Draw Major team with a 17 run 1st inning.  Both teams scored in every inning and Bad Draw closed the gap to 25-34 in the top of the 5th but Premier scored 8 in the bottom of the 5th and 11 in the bottom of the 6th to leave Bad Draw on the field 45-30.  Cory Boothe and Jordan Rosenbalm were each 6 for 6 in the win with Rosenbalm collecting 10 RBI.

The winner's bracket championship was played during the heat of the day right after the semifinals which it still wasn't all that hot compared to the 90's that we have had most of the regular season so far.  In that game Premier went scoreless in the top of the 1st but scored 17 in the top of the 2nd and pushed the lead out to 26-7 in the 4th with some good defense and pitching.  Sports Reach never had their normal double digit comeback inning and Premier put them away 28-13 in the 5th by the "mercy rule".  Ballard and Norton were each 4 for 4 and Norton hit a grand slam. 

In the top half of the loser's bracket SVC won a game then lost to Baugh Ford 25-16.  Then Primetime dropped down and beat Baugh 27-12 and Worksteer 25-10.  In the lower half of the loser's bracket Bigger Den Me won 2 in a row until Riot Sports crushed their hopes 34-6 and Riot was able to hold on and beat Kut4Sports 34-31 and then did everyone a favor and beat Bad Draw 41-40 on a walk off single by Andrew Vitcak before Primetime beat them by the run rule 42-27 with a big 5th inning.  In the loser's bracket finals late Saturday night Primetime scored 17 in the top of the 2nd and Sports Reach 12 in the bottom of the 4th to make it 28-20 Sports Reach.  But Primetime caught a second wind and outscored Sports Reach 19-11 in the 5th and 6th to tie the game but lost on a walk off single by Robert Blackburn in the bottom of the 7th.  Robbie Fow (4 HR) and Blackburn were 6-6 and Kenneth Cooper 5-5 in the win.  Ira Brown and Chivas Clark were each 6-6 in the loss.  Both teams used all of their homers.

The championship started after 1 AM Sunday morning and ended around 2:45 AM.  Sports Reach held leads of 9-8 and 14-12.  Neither team put up a double digit inning to take control.  But as the game wore on Premier got stronger and an understandably tired Sports Reach team watched their bat speed decrease and Premier outscored Sports Reach 18-8 in the final 3 innings to take home their 1st tournament win of the season in a game that truly could have gone either way.  Premier leadoff man Mitch Lendenski was 4-4 while 2 hitter Jackie Corn set the table for a number of Cory Boothe bombs and 7 RBI.  And Kevin Ballard went 5-5 in the win.

The tournament had too much run scoring.  The Pro-M ball is just too much for 300 foot fields.  The dirt infields were damp from all the rain they had during the week but still that 2nd and 3rd hop was rough on the infielders.  All of the teams put up some big runs and innings.  There were only a few conference umpires in attendance but I was told that some of the new umpires that were there have great promise.  With 3 'A' teams finishing ahead of the AA and Major teams there were some good upsets and a little drama at the end of some of those high scoring games which were won by the team with the hammer for the most part.  There was also a spot in the loser's bracket where two games could have been played simultaneously and instead were played back to back which backed up the events end time.  In those situations you have to drop an 'E' team or two from the bracket and make it work better.  Just my opinion.  Somehow we avoided the rain.

 

Premier finishes off Sports Reach for the ATL win!

 


 

Team Breakdown:
18 Teams Overall
8 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
1 Major Teams
1 'AA' Teams
6 'A' Teams
3 'B' Teams
7 'C/D/E' Teams

 


 

Key Games

Baugh Fords Chris Potts hits a walk off single to beat BullDawg/Exit 47 after trailing by 18 runs two innings earlier

Premier in their opener turns a double play against Bigger Den Me.

Bigger Den Me had two on and two outs with homers left down 2.

Worksteer pulled off a big 31-24 upset of Riot Sport in the quarterfinals.

Worksteer got off to a 30-15 lead on Sports Reach in the semi finals then Sports Reach turned the double play below and then scored 21 runs in the top of the 5th and went on to win 36-34

Sports Reach turns a key double play with the bases loaded

Robert Blackburn hits a big homer in their 21 run inning

In the other semi final Bad Draw's Brian Zirkle hits a 3 run homer against Premier but they could never get over the hump losing 45-30.

Riot Sports Andrew Vitcak hit the walk off single to beat his old team Bad Draw 41-40 in the loser's semis

Robert Blackburn gets a walk off single against Primetime to win 40-39 in the loser's finals

  

The weather was perfect for softball in Atlanta

 


 

 

The old scout pollers had Bad Draw 53% and Premier 4% to win

 


 

Long Bombers of the Week

Premier's Cory Boothe hit the longest night time homers consistently.

Bad Draw's Jason Martel hit the longest during the day that I witnessed.

 


 

Atlanta Major Final Standings and Awards

Premier 2nd baseman Cody Roton was MVP

Premier pitcher Rocky Staton was Defensive MVP

Sports Reach 3rd baseman Jason Hatley was Offensive MVP

 


 

Team by team notes brought to you by:

 

 

1st Place – Premier/T&W/Easton/BAF

Conf 'A' from OH  5-0 Record

Premier upset Bad Draw and then beat Sports Reach twice after starting the tournament with two close wins on Friday night.  Most of the team had an onbase percentage over .700 and Corey Boothe 10 HR and 21 RBI and Steve Hendrickson 9 HR and 19 RBI cashed in the runs.  Rocky Staton on the mound is another Bill Pinkham and his middle stabs energize the team in an old fashioned Mike Foulke's Auto Body sort of way.  🙂 

A lot of disgruntled 'A' teams think this is Premiers team that won the 'A' last year but it is really T&W from 2019 with 4 guys from Premier.

Trending Up!

Premier Championship Game Lineup:
RF Mitch Lendenski
3B Jackie Corn
C Cory Boothe
C Kevin Ballard
LF Clay Norton
MI Steve Hendrickson
1B Cody Angus
P Rocky Staton
SS Jordan Rosenbalm
2B Cody Roton
CF Devin Conley

 

Mitch Lendenski has a nasty left handed whip swing.  Jackie Corn has become a complete all around hitter.

 

Jordan Rosenbalm at SS and Steve Hendrickson at MI

P Staton, SS Rosenbalm, LF Clay Norton

 

C Kevin Ballard and LF Clay Norton

 

1B Cody Angus and CF Devin Conley

 


 

2nd Place – Sports Reach/Crunchtime/H&H/Grizzy

Conf 'A' from KY  4-2 Record

 

Sports Reach had another great weekend, an epic come from behind win over Worksteer "watch this", and they just couldn't quite match Premier in the two big games but did beat Primetime, Worksteer, and a good Kut4Sports team along the way solidifying a top seed for 'A' Worlds.

Trending Up!

Sports Reach Championship Game Lineup:
CF Zach Watts
LF Robbie Fow
C Robert Blackburn
1B Chris Scott
EH Kenneth Cooper
2B Curtis Cornett
RF Justin Mackey
SS Kaden Watson
3B Jason Hatley
P Brandon Jonas
MI Aaron Miller

P Jonas, SS Watson, LF Fow, MI Miller

  

Zach Watts at leadoff and CF has helped this team turn the corner

  

Chris Scott beats Angus to the bag

Hatley celebrates another homer in the Worksteer comeback

 


 

3rd Place – PrimeTime Easton/F.A.I./Riot/Klutch

Conf 'A' from GA  5-2 Record

 

Primetime playing in their home state where they have pulled off some big upsets in the past (think Jean Shoppe) and had some Sunday finishes, almost had Premier beat on Friday night before the wheels came off and Premier scored 22 runs on them in the 6th inning and left them on the field.  They played without rookie sensation Bill Cullen in the outfield but did pick up Zach Messer to lead off and play shortstop.  They fought through the loser's bracket and picked up some high scoring wins along the way before Sports Reach put them out by one.  Best of luck to Primetime at the BSC Worlds this coming weekend where they should have a good shot at the title. 

Trending Up!

Top of the Primetime lineup:
Messer
Armour
Brown
Clark
Riggins
Jackson

 

Zach Messer lead off and played SS.  Rod Armour pitched and played 2nd base.

Ira Brown still in the top 10 in hitting.

  

 

 


 

4th Place – Riot/Klutch/Treedem/Pure

Conf 'AA' from FL  4-2 Record

 

Trending Even – had that big win over Bad Draw in the loser's bracket which opened up the tournament to be won by a non major team.

1B Kaminski, 2B Laski

Hightchew sets up Vitcaks winning hit

 

 


 

Tied 5th Place – WorkSteer/Bell's LawnCare

Conf 'A' from NC  2-2 Record

Worksteer opened with a huge win over Riot Sports adding to a deep 2020 wins resume.  Then they blew a HUGE lead against Sports Reach and then lost to Primetime by the run rule.  Teams around the park are impressed with the Worksteer team which has some really good pieces, some veterans getting a second wind, some rookies and young players contributing at a high level, and some pinch hitters off the bench that make them good.

Trending Even

 

Worksteer pitcher Brian Renner has had a great season

3B Ross, SS Dezern, MI Marquez

Ty Cobb lays out for one.  Check out this catch in the video clips.

 


 

Tied 5th Place – BadDraw/TDB/RapidFire/T2/BAF/Pauer

Conf Major from NC  2-2 Record

Bad Draw has played too many weekends in a row and just couldn't out slug or get an out when they needed it against Premier or Riot.  There might have been some bad karma there with Vitcak and Boothe their former players doing well against them.  They will try again this weekend in the Virginia Dual, one of the sponsor Mark Katz's home park. 

Trending Down

Bad Draw Lineup:
Wilson
Williams
Mullins
Martel
Stewart/Radich
Ussery
Zirkle
Wolf
Stovall
Pearson
Pinkham

3B Brady Stewart, SS Ryan Stovall

Tyler Wilson is back from his hand injury

Martel at 1st base and Pearson at 2B

Ussery seemed to have the home run stroke going

 


 

Other top finishing teams

 


 

Tied 7th Place – BaughFord/HDLNS/Hubs Pub

Conf 'A' from AL  2-2 Record

Baugh Ford had a team building come back against Bulldawg Trucking (where was Donnie?).  Then Baugh lost to Bad Draw and then beat SVC and lost to Prime Time.  Sort of a so so weekend for Baugh who needed a good run with all the moving pieces and different players coming together.

Trending Even

 

Tommie Baugh collects a hit

Potts, Thornton, Sullivan

 


 

Tied 7th Place – Kut4 Sports/OI/D2E Trailers

Conf 'B' from GA  2-2 Record

Kut4Sports has some big time players with ex conference players Adam Tennyson, Sean Greer, Allen Ponder, and Johnathan Raspberry.  They will be a tough out at the 'B' Worlds and a good addition to the conference in 2021.


Sean Greer from the old D2E teams


Allen Ponder from the old OI Livingston teams

 


 

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Send corrections to dw@softballcenter.com

Link to the SoftballCenter.com Youtube channel

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Link to all 2009 to 2020 Tournament Reports and Previews

Nationwide Conference USSSA Points and information link

 


 

Some more pictures for you:

Bigger Den Me who beat Southern Monsta at the USA 'AA' last week was at it again when they almost upset Premier on Friday night.

SVC went 1 and 2 losing to a very good Kut4 team and then Baugh Ford.  Alisha's Westpoint "good luck" didn't rub off on them this weekend.

Exit 47 pitcher worked hard on the mound

ASP Nation had their trailer

Gilfillan hit the runner at 1st on a line smash

"Mareck"? hustled!

Georgia State director Carlton Griffin in his perch

Umpire group

The livestream was pretty good although they would come unplugged when people tripped over the chord or plugged in their smartphone instead.

 

 

 

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