Saturday July 24th, 2021

2010 USSSA Conference Detroit (Last Chance) Recap



2010 Conference USSSA

Worth "Last Chance"


Sterling Hts, Michigan 

August 6-8


Conference USSSA ended their regular season tournaments with the Worth "Last Chance" Men's Major.   There were 8 Conference teams and 24 teams total in attendance with Midwest Coast/Columbus Pipe being the only out of state non-conference team present.   The tournament was held at the 11 field "Liberty Park of America" in Sterling Hts, Michigan just outside of Detroit.

The "Last Chance" was won by Dan Smith/Menosse who knocked off Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth handily in the winner's bracket championship 37-29 late on Saturday night.   Then on Sunday morning Resmondo won by forfeit (no-show) over local 'A' team Sinister to advance to the finals.    In the first game of the finals Dan Smith powered ahead with a 12 run 1st inning while using up 5 homer's.   The early offense continued as Dan Smith "flip flopped" Resmondo with nearly a 20 run lead only to have Resmondo fight back to a 41-38 victory!

Team Dan Smith before the Sunday championship games

In the final game Dan Smith scored 11 runs in the 7th inning, including a game tying homer by Brett Helmer and a walk off homer by Rick Baker to win 29-28 and take the tournament championship back from Resmondo!    This was great for softball to see two teams battle eventhough the seedings for the end of season Worlds have already been set and they were playing hard for no other reason than the love of the game.  

Dan Smith's Rick Baker (aka the best center fielder in the game) hit the game winning homer after a momentum building inning

EWS takes on Sinister on Saturday evening

The first round of the tournament was the local 'C' teams playing against each other for the opportunity to take on a Conference team in the second round.   Most of the favored teams won and the second round was full of mercy rule games as Conference teams made short work of the locals with two exceptions.   Team Combat, an 'A' team out of Seattle, Washington narrowly escaped a 36-35 win over Line Drive/SSS Sports Cards who were a local 'C' team with a nucleus of former Conference players.   Selec  t Restoration a local 'C' team knocked off Suncoast/Reebok 29-24 to continue Suncoasts dismal season.   To Selec t Restoration's credit they were loaded with veteran talent and even scored 23 runs in their next game against Dan Smith.   Also Midwest Coast crushed Wisconsin Worth 24-4 which was expected.

The third round of the tournament which started at 1:30 PM on Saturday was when the good matchups really began.   Sinister put up 18 in the first inning and blitzed Team Combat 26-11.   Jean Shoppe got a "second chance" in extra innings and beat EWS 26-22 after failing to score a walk off in the bottom of the 7th with the score tied.   Dan Smith knocked off the hot Selec t Restoration team and Resmondo basically blanked Midwest Coast Pipe.

Sinister (grey) takes on Dan Smith in the semi finals

In the semi-finals Dan Smith easily handled Sinister 26-6.   Resmondo though had their hands full of a Jean Shoppe team that needed a 3rd place tournament finish to qualify for the Conference Championships.   With the score tied at 21, Shoppe center fielder Matt King climbed the fence, waited briefly, and made a great stretching rob of what would have been a 3 run homer to give them a chance to win.   Later in the 7th inning Shoppe put up a zero and Resmondo's Dennis Rulli won the game for Resmondo with a walk off gapper 26-25

Jean Shoppe and Resmondo square off in the semi-finals

Overall there was some good softball played.   It was disapointing that teams like Darkside, Pipac, Hubs Pub, Blitz, and Midwest Swing decided to sit this one out.   I'm sure they all had their reasons.   Also the Sinister forfeit on Sunday morning cost me and a number of other fans an hour and a half sleep when we were expecting to see some good softball.   I remember in past years when teams forfeited, the USSSA front office was none to pleased and I can't say that I blame them.   It may be time to have a forfeit fee levied at the beginning of the season and unreturned fees due to forfeits could be used to fund future bat testing?

Line Drive outfielder puts his all into this throw from the fence

Liberty Park of America



"Last Chance" Tournament Awards and Final Standings:

Player Tournament Awards Players Name Plays For
Tournament MVP Geno Buck Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
Offensive Tournament MVP Dennis Rulli ResmondoSpecialtyTankPhoneMasters
Defensive Tournament MVP Brett McCollum Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team Ryan Robbins Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team Rick Baker Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team Brett Helmer Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team JD Genter Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team Don DeDonatis III ResmondoSpecialtyTankPhoneMasters
All Tournament Team Bryson Baker ResmondoSpecialtyTankPhoneMasters
All Tournament Team Greg Connell ResmondoSpecialtyTankPhoneMasters
All Tournament Team Jeremy Isenhower Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team RYAN THIEDE Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney
All Tournament Team Brian Rainwater ResmondoSpecialtyTankPhoneMasters


Place State Team Team
Wins Loses Ties Runs
1 CAN Dan Smith/Menosse/Chaney SPMensMajor 5 1 0 194 135 32.3 22.5 9.83 38 150
2 FL resmondospecialtytankphonemasters SPMensMajor 5 2 0 192 131 27.4 18.7 8.71 41 110
3 TN jean shoppe-easton-down2earthsports SPMensA 3 2 0 131 105 26.2 21 5.2 33 180
4 WA team combat / laser vision SPMensA 3 2 0 118 105 23.6 21 2.6 36 160
4 IL EWS/SHIRTS and LOGOS SPMensB 3 2 0 151 118 30.2 23.6 6.6 41 180
6 MI Selec Restoration Qualified berth SPMensC 3 2 0 86 88 17.2 17.6 -0.4 29 140
6 OHC mwc/pipe/mojo/dss bats/easton SPMensB 3 2 0 88 88 17.6 17.6 0 24 140
8 MI do/ Qualified berth SPMensE 3 2 0 53 64 10.6 12.8 -2.2 26 120
8 MI line drive/sss sport cards Qualified berth SPMensC 3 2 0 110 93 22 18.6 3.4 35 120
8 WI Wisconsin Worth SPMensA 2 2 0 37 58 9.25 14.5 -5.2 25 120
8 FL Suncoast / Reebok SPMensA 2 2 0 91 80 22.7 20 2.75 26 120
12 MI Great Lakes Xpress Qualified berth SPMensC 2 2 0 76 72 19 18 1 21 100
12 MI TG Investment Capital Qualified berth SPMensD 2 2 0 41 49 10.2 12.2 -2 22 100
12 MI Independent Bombers SPMensC 2 2 0 70 67 17.5 16.7 0.75 27 0
12 MI korody/tags sports complex SPMensD 2 2 0 70 87 17.5 21.7 -4.2 30 0
16 MI Taproom/Yard dawgs SPMensD 0 2 0 8 28 4 14 -10 8 80
16 MI repomonkey/line drive sportz SPMensE 0 2 0 27 52 13.5 26 -12. 14 80
16 MI michigan magic/tyja sports Qualified berth SPMensE 0 2 0 20 38 10 19 -9 19 80
16 MI colts 45's/ SPMensE 0 2 0 10 48 5 24 -19 10 80
16 MI Mayhem/Grafton Inn Qualified berth SPMensD 0 2 0 18 34 9 17 -8 10 80
16 MI team hogwash/murphs boys/tyja SPMensD 0 2 0 15 46 7.5 23 -15. 8 80
16 MI Detroit Phillies Qualified berth SPMensD 0 2 0 23 49 11.5 24.5 -13 18 80
16 MI vivio's pub/babisz allstate SPMensE 0 2 0 26 51 13 25.5 -12. 16 80
24 MI sinister/line drive/sss/worth/mojo SPMensA 4 2 0 139 108 23.1 18 5.16 40 40

Team by team notes brought to you by:



1st  GTGG Dan Smith Menosse 

Conf 'M' from California,  5-1 Record

Dan Smith gains some momentum and some more experience in close games and showed they can win with any 11 of their guys healthy.  Brian Wegman left the 1:30 game on Saturday with a knee injury? and didn't return the rest of the weekend.   They also played without Denny Crine, and Scott Brown was used sparingly as he continues to return from the knee injury.

Dan Smith rolled through the early part of the tournament and were not challenged until the winner's final when Resmondo took the lead from them 12-8 while holding Dan Smith to consecutive scoreless innings.   Then Smith put together a 12 run inning and never looked back as they increased their lead to 16 going into the bottom of the 7th and won 37-29.   In the finals against Resmondo they showed some heart and a huge comeback inning late to take back the tournament championship that was rightfully theirs.

This will make for an interesting end of the season with Dan Smith having a few weeks to nurse some injuries.   I believe they will and should rest some guys at the Conference Championships and keep their eye on the prize at the Major World Series where their slight? advantage in power with the unlimited homer's could be a winning factor.

Brett McCollum silenced some critics with his Defensive MVP award

C  Brett Helmer
CF Rick Baker
MI JD Genter
P  Geno Buck
2B Jeremy Isenhower
1B Ryan Thiede
LF Ryan Robbins
3B John Gallegos
RF Scott Kirby
SS Brett McCollum

Dan Smith MVP pitcher Geno Buck isn't sure how to take some of the Resmondo comments from the bench

Brett Helmer fired the team up then finished the championship with a game tying homer

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Video of the main diamond and championship Sunday

Dan Smith infielder John Gallegos got the championship start at 3rd base

Dan Smith outfielder Brian Wegman leaves the game with an injury


2nd  GTGG Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Phonemaster's

Conf 'M' from Florida,  5-2  Record

Resmondo loses their second tournament in a row (Colorado, Detroit).   Maybe they lost their edge a little here at the end of the season but they remain the undisputed #1 ranked team in the country and the favorite to win both the Conference Championships and the Major World Series.   I know they are beat up as well but don't have any major injuries going into the stretch run.    Rumors around the upper level softball community is that the Major division may expand to as many as 5 teams in 2011!    We will wait optimistically to see if this actually happens but my congratulations to all of those sponsorship groups, teams, and players if they can make this happen.

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Resmondo's Dennis Rulli hits a walk off gapper to beat Jean Shoppe.   Rulli was picked for Offensive MVP 

Lineup was something like this: (I probably messed up the bottom)
SS Don Dedonatis
2B Greg Connell
MI Bryson Baker
C  Jeff Wallace
3B Dennis Rulli
P  Andy Purcell
CF Bob Hughes
LF Brian Rainwater
EH BJ Fulk
1B Howie Krause
RF Scott Streibel

Bobby Hughes may have wrapped up the onbase percentage batting title for the Conference if he has enough plate appearances?


Resmondo pitcher Andy Purcell won the 64 man head to head bracket homerun derby on Friday night.   Is there anything this guy can't do on a softball field?

Paper (Fulk), scissors (Purcell), rock (Rector) – who wins?  Boy am I out of things to say this year.


3rd  Jean Shoppe/Easton/Down2EarthSports

Conf 'A' from Tennessee,  3-2  Record

Jean Shoppe/Easton/Down2EarthSports knocked off EWS in extra innings and then wasted that Matt King highlite film catch in a 26-25 loss to Resmondo.    They came  back and outlasted Team Combat 33-25 but dropped a late Saturday night game to Sinister 32-31 with the bats in their hands.

Shoppe still isn't playing 'A' championship type ball but history shows they will be there when it counts.   I cannot  bet against them at 'A' worlds but I wouldn't be betting on them either.

Shoppe CF Matt King may have made the catch of the year with his fence climbing homerun rob against Resmondo

Long time Shoppe 1st baseman Eric Thompson will look to lead Shoppe to a 5th consecutive 'A' World finals.

This picture makes me wonder if Sean McDonald has done some dunking in his past?  Can you tell I'm out of things to say?


Tied 5th  EWS/Shirts and Logos

Conf 'B' from Illinois,  3-2  Record

EWS/Shirts and Logos lost their second game of the tournament to Jean Shoppe 26-22 in extra innings when they failed to capitalize on a defense that held Shoppe scoreless in the bottom of the 7th.   In the loser's bracket they picked up quality wins over Suncoast and MWC/Pipe before Sinister handed them a run rule.   A solid tournament over all with a couple "what ifs" mixed in.   EWS was playing without infielder Tim Nielson.

EWS is one of the few 'B' teams that are stepping up and playing 'A' Worlds next weekend.  

One of my perennial power hitting prospects Mark Holstein finished second in the 64 man homerun derby on Friday night.



EWS right fielder Travis Clark made this LONG running catch to keep their game with Shoppe close.

EWS pitcher Andy Vitcak with his eagle impression

Tied 5th  Team Combat/Laser Vision 

Conf 'A' from Washington,  3-2  Record

Team Combat/Laser Vision beat local 'C' team Line Drive on Friday night 36-35!   Then they let up 18 in the first to Sinister and never recovered.   In the loser's bracket they run ruled Wisconsin Worth and Selec t Restoration before dropping to Jean Shoppe 33-25.

Team Combat didn't get any quality wins and this doesn't bode well for the 'A' Worlds next weekend.   I wonder if the Bill Messina rumor on old scout just now is true???

Jason Kendrick who often takes as long as Mike Hargrove to get in the box, explains why he was late for his plate appearance.

Mr. USA Softball himself, Rusty Bumgardner was on hand

Major veteran Johnny McCraw was 5-5 at the USA vs Canada border battle a few weeks ago.


Tied 7th  MWC/Pipe/Mojo/DSS Bats/Easton 

'B' from Ohio,  3-2  Record

MWC/Pipe/Mojo/DSS Bats/Easton beat Detroit Phillies in their opener on Saturday morning in a spirited contest where the Phillies hit 2 grand slams with their last two batters in the lineup.   They don't make 'D' teams like they used to?   Pipe then crushed Wisconsin Worth before being destroyed by Resmondo 30-1.   Then Pipe beat Linedrive 19-3 in what should have been a closer game, and were eliminated by EWS 33-20.

Pipe has had a down year with a rash of injuries.   It would be nice to see player/manager/sponsor Jeff Schmitt make some tweaks and rejoin the Conference in 2011.  

Pipe MI Dan Matheny has one of the better gloves in the midwest

The "Dancing Bear" put on a show en route to a 7th place finish

Go ahead and insert whatever smart ass comment that comes to mind!


Tied 7th  Selec t Restoration

'C' from Michigan,  3-2  Record

Selec t Restoration was the highest finishing…um… a 'C' team?   Ok.   They battled and beat Suncoast in their second round game and then lost to Dan Smith and Team Combat.    I still can't put the word Selec t in my report without the whole editor crashing I lose everything I typed in since the previous save.   No more teams with the word Selec t in them please.

Softball Guy was playing for Selec t Restoration






 A special thanks to my sponsors, USSSA,,, and and to Last Chance tournament director Tony Dedonatis for the hotel room.   The kids really enjoyed the water park.

Look for my 'A' World tournament preview mid week.  

As always send your corrections, comments, news and pictures to [email protected]

Link to the rest of my Last Chance pictures

Link to the Last Chance Bracket/Stats

Link to the 'A' World tournament when ready

Link to the list of teams currently entered in the 'A' World

Link to the USSSA Point Standings and Stats

Here are some other pics from Detroit: is one of the sponsor's that needs to return to upper level ball

Jack Bowker was holding down the hot corner for Sinister in place of the absent Todd Joerling

Suncoast pitcher Charlie Brown

Michigan area player Josh Frank was picked up by Suncoast.  

Looks like former Conference outfielder Jason Ford playing for Line Drive

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I am a big Helmer fan and I'm not picking on him, just happened to catch the video of him, but you get 27 inches past the front of the plate or you are considered out of the box.

Bucket testing was in effect for the last 6 games or so

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