Saturday May 15th, 2021

A look back at the 2020 USSSA “Cactus Classic” – Phoenix Major tournament report!







2020 Nationwide Conference USSSA


"Cactus Classic"


Glendale, AZ


May 29-30


Arizona's own Jordan Spaulding homers for Bay Area Legends in the championship game against Classic Glass!

SoftballCenter Phoenix picture album link


Link to Phoenix Westcott Pictures on Facebook once available


2020 Phoenix bracket and results link


2020 Phoenix Major stats link once available


2020 Phoenix archived games link

Bay Area Legends starts their 5 game run through the loser's bracket


The 2020 Nationwide Conference USSSA season was delayed from March 27th until May 29th due to the Covid-18 pandemic.  But thanks to Victory Lane Sports Park in Glendale, Arizona who became the last minute host of the opener we were able to get the season started finally!  32 teams in the men's Major division took to the 6 field complex to battle it out in extreme heat conditions with temperatures both days reaching 110 degrees.  There were 8 conference teams including the defending USSSA Major World Series champions Dan Smith and the defending USSSA 'AA' champion Bay Area Legends in attendance!  

The games got started on Friday morning at 11 AM where all 8 of the Conference teams advanced with Express Athletics (OR-B) holding off AJC a California 'C' team 17-16 on the last at bat when the AJC hitter flew out to the warning track on what would have been a game winning homer.  And L&S Glass (CA-A) used a walk off homer by Brian Fong to beat Bay Area Legends 'C' team 16-14 after Bay Area had come from a 14-3 deficit to tie the game going into the bottom of the 7th.  Fong hit it like it was a baseball.  The other 6 Conference teams advanced easily by the run rule.

In the "round of 16" which started early Friday evening 7 of the 8 Conference teams advanced as Dan Smith (CA-M) run ruled a tough Abey/CSC/Salt Riot (WY-B) team 34-13 led by Tyler Marshburn who was 4-4 with 3 HR and 8 RBI.  L&S Glass won a long contest with Express Athletics 39-35 in the first matchup of Conference teams.  Cheap Suits (CA-A) smashed Prodigy (AZ-C) 37-7.  Competitive Edge (FL-A) continued their hot hitting with a 36-30 win over Dirty Sports (WA-B).  Bay Area Legends (CA-AA) run ruled Lund Mortgage (AZ-B) 42-15.  Classic Glass (CA-A) run ruled TA/STR8Play (CA-B) 51-32 in the highest scoring game of the night.  Levels (CO-A) beat LazerSports (NV-B) 38-34 in one of the better games to watch on the first day.  Stricker the middle infielder made a couple of great defensive plays for Levels.  And in a battle of non-conference teams Felix Solutions/Onyx Bats (CA-C) beat 2 Down Run It 25-4 to advance to the final 8.

In the "Final 8" Classic Glass continued their offensive onslaught with a 31-19 win over Levels.  Bay Area run ruled Felix Solutions 26-11.  Cheap Suits used a walk off 3 run homer by Chris Terry to beat Competitive Edge 26-23 in a battle between two teams that desperately needed a final 4 appearance after down years in 2019.  And in what became one of the biggest upsets in Conference history L&S Glass knocked off Dan Smith 37-33.  Dan Smith used up their homers too early and were out base hit by L&S Glass down the stretch.  L&S outscored them 18-8 from the 3rd inning on.  Josh Moore was 5-6 with 3 HR and 9 RBI and Joey Smith was 6-6 in the win for L&S.  But credit the defense because when it comes to those late innings and an 'A' or 'B' team has a shot at beating a Major team and the Major team is the home team it isn't easy.  Usually the lower team cracks with walks, errors, or they choke at the plate.  But L&S Glass fielded the hot shots, turned some big double plays, and hitters like Moore and Nick Robertson hit clutch multi run homers at the right time for the victory!

The "Final 4" was played at the peak of heat on Saturday at 2:30 PM Pacific time.  Classic Glass shocked a flat footed Bay Area team 31-16 with a surprising run rule victory.  And Cheap Suits bats got hot in a 37-17 stomping of L&S Glass who may have had a little victory over Dan Smith "hangover" going on from the previous night.  The winner's final was played at 6:30 PM between the two Northern California 'A' teams Classic Glass and Cheap Suits.  Cheap Suits scored 18 runs in the top of the 1st inning and the game played for nearly two hours as Classic Glass somehow came back and outlasted Cheap Suits 53-47 which was the highest scoring game of the tournament, 100 runs!

Meanwhile the loser's bracket a few teams, umpires, and players were overheating which is understandable.  There was a bench clearing skirmish and a trash can tipped over and an umpire or two that overheated.  LazerSports started a long run through the losers bracket with wins over Locked N Loaded, Tunie Sports, Felix Solutions, Lund Mortgage by 2, and a "flip flop" come from behind win over L&S Glass to win the top of the loser's bracket.  In the bottom half Dan Smith won two games against non-conference opponents before losing by 20 to Bay Area Legends as the game ended on a double play with Dan Smith needing a run to keep the game from ending on the mercy rule.  That win by Bay Area Legends over Dan Smith rejuvenated them and they proceeded to shut down LazerSports 28-5 and Cheap Suits 38-8.  I had to leave during the LazerSports game to catch my flight but Bay Area went on to then "double dip" Classic Glass 43-38 and 38-17 to win the tournament!  Those games are available in the archived games section on

Link to final Saturday night games

Link to final Saturday night games part 2

Overall I was impressed with Arizona softball and the teams from the region as they played well against the out of state teams.  And how about the success of the Northern California teams?  Impressive.

The tournament was the result of the tireless efforts of Conference Commissioner Strojan Kennison, Arizona director Bob Fuller, and the help of California director Chuck Shimels as well as a big effort by regional umpires.  The fields were hard but for the most part had true hops.  The weather was close to dangerous conditions with the heat but not completely unbearable unless you were an umpire.  The umpiring was as good as it can get considering the number of veteran conference umpires that the league lost in the offseason.  All of these newer umpires did the best they could under the conditions and the teams just learned to adjust to differing strike zones.  There are also all of the strange Conference rules that newer umpires have to deal with like the runner for the pitcher, home run rules, and the flip flop rule.  The teams have to take some responsibility when it comes to the umpires since they helped run off the top umpires from past years with their behavior and treatment of them.  The ball performed very well compared to the typical ZN used in past years.  Scores were high, almost too high.  Scores were also a little bit field dependent depending on the wind and field size.  The Conference season continues Thursday morning at 8 AM eastern time in Viera, Florida when the Hall of Fame Classic begins with 28 of the top Conference teams in the country.


Bay Area Legends Mark Krueger homers.  Rumor had it his parents own Victory Land Sports park.


Nick "Noodle" Robertson hits a key 7th inning homer in the L&S Glass 37-33 upset victory over Dan Smith!

L&S Glass celebrates their quarterfinal victory over Dan Smith


AJ Montano who is from Phoenix hits a homer for Bay Area Legends


Team Breakdown:
32 Teams Overall
8 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
1 Major Teams
1 'AA' Teams
7 'A' Teams
3 'B' Teams
1 'C' Teams



Key Winner's Bracket Games

Classic Glass overcame a 19-0 1st inning deficit against Cheap Suits to win the winner's bracket championship 53-47!


L&S Glass infielder Brian Fong hits a walk off homer to beat the Bay Area Legends 'C' team


In lieu of the handshake line after the game, teams simply waved to the other team.

Cheap Suits middle infielder Chris Terry hit a walk off homer Friday night to beat Competitive Edge.

AJC a California 'C' team nearly upset Express Athletics but the park held the last out

Lazer Sports in the purple was flip flopped by L&S Glass and came back and beat them 42-30.

I did ask and it turns out as long as one of the teams is non-conference then the flip flop rule is in effect.

If both teams are conference teams there is no flip flop.

Ryan Harvey knocked the 3rd baseman for Abeytu's glove off and beat the throw.


We had a mid day Saturday mini dust tornado

Classic Glass is not short on offense this year putting up 53 runs Friday night.

There was full bat bucket testing


The Dudley Thunder ZN Pro M ball was used



A huge majority of Oldscout readers went with Dan Smith to win



Video Highlites brought to you by:

2020 Phoenix Major Men's Day One Video Clips Link

2020 Phoenix Major Men's Day Two Video Clips Link

2020 Phoenix Major Women's Video Clips Link



Long Bombers of the Week


Ryan Harvey had 10 HR and some real crowd pleasers but I'm giving the Long Bomber of the Week to Jose Ventura the veteran pitcher from the Wyoming based AbeyTu 'B' team who crushed one off of Dan Smith and still continued to pitch the next day after being drilled up the middle.



Phoenix Major Final Standings and Awards


Bay Area Legends pitcher Jose Flores and Mike Nino were Co-MVP's



Team by team notes brought to you by:



1st Place – Bay Area Legends/Easton

Conf 'AA' from CA  8-1 Record

Somehow I didn't get much Bay Area content so I apologize for that.  But what a come from behind weekend for them.  After the tournament "opened up" for a non major team to win when Dan Smith lost to L&S Glass, it was Bay Areas tournament to lose and thats exactly what they did in the semifinals losing to Classic Glass by the run rule.  But they regrouped and won 5 straight games basically without leaving the field.  They run ruled Dan Smith 46-26, Lazer Sports 28-5, Cheap Suits 38-8, and "double dipped" Classic Glass 43-38 and 38-17 to win the tournament!  Nino and Flores were co-mvp's and shared the pitching duties.  Steve Lopez was lead off for awhile.  Jordan Spaulding, AJ Montano, CF Chad Erickson, newly added Ryan Ramirez, and hometown player Mark Krueger were all tournament.  And shortstop Brandon Raines was Defensive MVP.  I missed most of their games but they seemed to win for the most part with defense.

Trending Up!

Bay Area Lineup vs Classic in Championship
Joe Spaulding
AJ Montano
Joe Dorton
Ryan Ramirez
Mike Nino
Chad Erickson
Brandon Raines
Mark Krueger
Lex Ramirez
Brandon Traylor

Lex Ramirez is also from Phoenix


Lead off hitter Steven Lopez and Brandon Traylor


Jordan Spaulding and AJ Montano are both from Arizona


Joe Dorton and Ryan Ramirez





2nd Place – Classic Glass/Easton

Conf 'A' from CA  5-2 Record


Classic Glass beat Levels, Bay Area, and Cheap Suits scoring over 50 runs twice!  The offense was on fire and even in the first game of the championship they only lost 43-38 to Bay Area.  A big weekend for Classic in the heat and showing that they were the top team in their class.  David Bare and I think it was Brian Atchison shared the pitching duties.  Hollingsworth set the table at the top of the order.  Billy Waltrip who I think is from Texas and Travis Tucker the new shortstop from the southeast seemed to fit in well.  The 300 foot fields and the new Pro-M ball seem to fit this teams style.

Trending Up!

Classic Glass Lineup vs Str8
DJ Hollingsworth
Cameron Cox
Tim Martinez
Billy Waltrip
Chris Hansen
Travis Tucker
Kade Christensen
Brandt Eaton
David Bare
Brian Atchison
Tommy Formosa


CF DJ Hollingworth is back setting the table for Classic Glass this year


Chris Hansen and Billy Waltrip hit against Cheap Suits in the winner's bracket finals


Veteran Cam Cox and SS Travis Tucker


Cox again and Tim Martinez


Brandt Eaton and former Tradesmen pitcher David Bare

Kade Christensen



3rd Place – Cheap Suits/Republic Realty/EA

Conf 'A' from CA  4-2 Record


Cheap Suits beat Tunie and Prodigy and then beat Competitive Edge on a walk off homer by Chris Terry on Friday.  On Saturday in the semi finals they knocked off L&S Glass by 20 runs.  In the winner's final they jumped out to a 19-0 lead but lost 53-47 to Classic Glass.  In the loser's bracket they had a long wait before Bay Area Legends sent them home 38-8.  Cheap Suits has added some name players this year like Sal Formosa, Chris Terry, and Demario Boyd to go with Devin Denholm and Ben Falcone.

Trending Up!

Cheap Suits lineup:
Ben Falcone
Sal Formosa 
Devon Denholm
Chris Terry
Mateo Pacheco
Kirk Rocha
Matt Burrows
Joshua Robinson
Julien Castaneda


Ben Falcone and Sal Formosa are the 1-2 punch at the top of the order


Devin Denholm was getting it done on defense and offense




4th Place – LazerSports/FIG

'B' from NV  6-2 Record


LazerSports was one of the top 'B' teams in the nation a year ago and are again this year.  They lost a close battle with Levels 38-34 in the second round in Phoenix and then fought through a soft spot in the loser's bracket to win 4 games before running into a Conference team.  In that game they were "flip flopped" by L&S Glass but came back to beat them 42-28!  Then out of gas they put up a 5 spot against Bay Area in a 28-5 loss.  A great weekend for Lazer Sports who has found success in conference events now each of the past two years.   They are a bit of a "no name" group and I believe played without slugger Dan Norquist and former major leaguer Mike Aviles.  But that didn't stop them from a gutty 4th place finish.  Also the middle man Stricker had the best diving play of the tournament.  I need to guy find that play on the livestream and post it here.






Tied 5th Place – L&S Glass

Conf 'A' from CA  3-2 Record

L&S Glass recently moved to the 'A' division in Conference and after winning an early game against a 'C' team on a walk off homer by Brian Fong they then upset the Dan Smith Major team 37-33 using better home run management, some timely hitting, and some great defense on those hard grounders to finish off the win.  Then they ran into a hot hitting Cheap Suits team on Saturday afternoon in the final 4 and lost 37-17.  In the loser's bracket they went up on LazerSports by enough runs to "flip flop" them but LazerSports came back to beat them 42-30 after L&S had a number of offensive and defensive chances to put them away.  Overall a great tournament though for L&S who picked up Arizona outfielder Nick Robertson and added impact players like Brent McClure, Orlando Cano, infielder Josh Moore, and Nick Price among others.  Veterans Brian Fong, pitcher John Brown, and Joey Smith all returned to the team this year as well for the Ledeit brothers who put together the team and sponsorship.



Josh Moore had some big hits against his former team Dan Smith  5-6 with a grand slam and 9 RBI


Veteran pitcher John Brown was aided by the defense of shortstop Nick Guillen

3rd Base Orlando Cano



Tied 5th Place – Dan Smith/Menosse/Steven Smith/FAI

Conf 'Major' from CA  4-2 Record

Dan Smith went 4-2.  They beat SOB a scrappy local team 41-23 and then AbeyTu 34-13 before that upset loss to L&S Glass 37-33 when they mis-managed their 12 homers and couldn't base hit well enough.  In the loser's bracket looking at having to win 7 games in a row Saturday in the 100+ degree heat, they beat A3 28-6 and AbeyTu again 37-17 before Bay Area sent them home 46-26.  They grounded into too many double plays.  They aren't built well for the 300 foot fields.  And its probably for the best they didn't play 5 more games with the Hall of Fame Dual coming up this Thursday.  Dan Sanchez pitched the first game Friday and Rafael Hidalgo played some 3rd base but for the most part the lineup listed below was the starters.  Collins, Matte, Matusik, Racobaldo, and Hidalgo were all over .800 on base and Marshburn was 20 for 20.

Trending Down!

Dan Smith Lineup vs L&S Glass:
Andy Purcell
Andrew Collins
Ryan Harvey
Jason Matusik
Argen Dodds
Luis Reyna
Richard Racobaldo
Jo Jo Bennett
Phil Matte
Ben Dunn
Tyler Marshburn

Andy Purcell led off and did most of the pitching


Collins and Harvey


Matusik and Dodds


Reyna, Racobaldo, and Bennett


Dunn and Marshburn.  Marshburn was on base 20 out of 20




Other top finishing Conference teams



Tied 7th Place – Lund Mortgage/Easton/WhoAreYou

'B' from AZ  4-2 Record

5 of Lund Mortgages 6 games were decided by 2 runs or less and ended up with Lund winning on walk off hits I believe 3 times.  This Phoenix team made some memories with wins over Sportsnetic, EA Athletics, Bay Area C team, and Levels.  They lost to Bay Areas AA team and LazerSports by 2. 


Isaiah Brown? sets up Michael Josephs game winning homer against Levels



Tied 7th Place – Abeytu/CSC/Salt Riot/Savon

'B' from WY  4-2 Record

Abeytu beat everyone they played including Competitive Edge except Dan Smith who they had the misfortune of running into twice.  They had a few of the old Salt Riot players and a tough pitcher named Jose Ventura.




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Some more pictures for you:

Tied for 9th – Competitive Edge/M&T BLDRS/Adiktiv (FL-A) 2-2 – Competitive Edge put up some big numbers on homers in their first two games where they beat Locked 'N' Loaded 29-0 and Dirty Sports 36-30.  But then they lost late Friday night 26-23 to Cheap Suits on a walk off homer and then lost to a solid AbeyTu team 23-17.  Competitive Edge is more athletic than last year.


Tied for 9th – A3 Mafia (NM-B) 3-2 – Mafia lost to TA/STR8Play then beat Bloodline and Prodigy before having the unfortunate luck of running into Dan Smith deep in the loser's bracket.


Tied for 9th – Levels (CO-A) 2-2 – They run ruled Brew Crew then outlasted LazerSports 38-34 before dropping a 31-19 decision to Classic Glass and losing to LundMortgage 26-25 on a walk off homer.  


Tied for 9th – Felix Solutions/Onyx Bats/Elite (CA-C) – 2-2 – Felix Solutions won their first two games then dropped two in a row to Conference teams.



Rolando Rodriguez hits a triple for Dirty Sports out of Washington. 

Pat Paschal, Chris Benigno, and former Classic Glass pitcher Nathan Newman pictured above and below.  

They were 2-2

The Bay Area Legends had a 'C' team and the pitcher threw some "Church League" spinners – a lost art


Bay Area 'C' team is managed by Joel Gonzalez and Gary Perez


Express Athletics is a conference 'B' team from the Northwest. 

They have Daniel McClement (Monsta) and pitcher Frankie Longello (Pure) pictured above.

And they are put together by Kyle Garrison who plays middle infield and hit this bomb!

They went 1-2 but played 3 close long games.

Some of the Express Athletics Lineup:
Kyle Garrison
Kody Garrison




MyAutoJack went 2-2 and beat Express Athletics in a long 41-30 game.

Remember when a conference class 'A' team or above is not in the game, then both teams only get 8 homers.  This rule seemed to be in disput during this game.


MyAutoJack had some monsta players

Classy/SourceOne was 0-2 on their home turf

My old Church Softball coach Randy Beamish would say "that's a hit on a round field"


Lipman and Smylie were playing for TA/STR8Play a 'B' team out of California

Daniel Cayton was there but did not play.

He is playing for…wait for it…Resmondo!

This usually results in a 2 game suspension as per the conference code of conduct rules.

There was quite a bit of shade considering it is a desert

Sunset pic

USSSA is Back!

Thank you one more time to Victory Sports Park for their hospitality and hosting the tournament on last minute notice.

They had a youth field which would be sweet for whiffle ball or stick ball.

A High School volleyball game was going on for a good part of the weekend.  2 on 2 and those girls were good.

I don't know who Montes is but he has some super fans!

A Dust/Rain/Lightning/Wind Storm almost wiped us out Saturday night but just missed the park.

A few vendors had tents.

Stro didn't get any sleep, stayed til the end of each day and then when he landed in Seattle was called in to work the riots.

Stay safe Stro!

One of the hardest working usssa directors Chuck Shimels from California delivering the bats for the next game.

I'm not sure how anything grows in that suffocating desert heat?




3 responses to “A look back at the 2020 USSSA “Cactus Classic” – Phoenix Major tournament report!”

  1. Scott Boeshans says:

    Great to see softball back!
    Looking forward to the rest of the year now.


    Hell of a job DW! Glad to hear you made it through that heat! Thank you for all you do Sir!!

  3. DW says:

    Thanks Bill!

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