by Dale Weiser
The 51st annual USSSA Major World Series began on Wednesday morning October 6th at 8 AM at the Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida and was an 18 team double elimination tournament played over 4 days. The most prestigious tournament in slow pitch softball used the Dudley Stadium ZN ball and the all turf field dimensions were 325-365-385-365-325 it was unlimited home runs. The weather was good, a bit warm, and when the wind blew it went out to right field. The higher seeded team in each game was automatically made the Home team based on the seasons long Conference points standings. In the first “play in” game the number 18 seeded Homebridge/HB/Rep SVC/Brucebolt who were the USSSA Military Champions faced #15 Chick-fil-a/BAF Sports a Virginia ‘A’ team. Chick-fil-a playing in their 1st USSSA Major World Series jumped out to a 13-4 lead and held off the military champs 18-15 as the top of Chick-fil-a’s order Terrence Engles, Aaron Conrad, Jacob Clifton, and Ricky Moyers went a combined 10 for 16 with 4 home runs and 7 extra base hits and won even though the team committed 5 errors. In game #2 it was #17 Slugger/SVC/Beloli (OH-A) shutting out #16 Bay Area Legends/Easton (CA-A) the 1st 6 innings of the game and winning 13-1 as SVC out hit Bay Area 21-6 led by Brandon Newton and Hector Urbaneja who both went 4-4 and Steven Pierce who hit the only home run of the game.
The “Round of 16” began at 11 AM on Wednesday as the temperatures started to warm up. #11 Albicocco/Riot/Klutch/Broughton (FL-AA) played the 1st Major team of the day #6 MPT Rentals/Juno Athletics (NJ-M). In the early innings both teams put up some 2’s and 3’s but Albicocco struck big with 8 runs in the top of the 5th and 6 more in the top of the 6th to pull out to a 19-7 lead on the strength of home runs by lefties Jeff Bloomer, Brad Lunda, and Davis Bilardello. MPT scored 3 in the bottom of the 6th to pull within 9 runs and made a valiant effort in the bottom of the 7th scoring 7 more runs but came up short as Albicocco upset them 19-17. Lunda and Bilardello were each 3-3 in the win and Filip Washington for MPT who was the Conference USSSA batting title winner was 4-4 in the loss. At noon it was #7 MAJ/Knell/Dirty Sports/DOMN8 (WA-A) the top ranked ‘A’ team in the country taking on #10 Competitive Edge/Olmito Heat/Adiktiv (FL-A) who finished 2nd at the USSSA ‘A’ World. Neither team really grabbed control of the game until the 4th when Competitive Edge scored 5 runs on homer’s by Joe Boland and Cody Roton and they added 6 more in the top of the 5th to take a 13-4 lead. MAJ never gave up and out scored Competitive Edge 8-1 down the stretch but came up a 2 runs short with the bats in their hands in the bottom of the 7th losing 14-12. Logan Rogers the Competitive Edge lead off hitter was 4-4 and they out homered MAJ 5-1. In the next game #8 Sports Reach/Worth/CT/Grizzy (KY-AA) shut out Seminoles/TPS/NACSF.INC (OK-A) for the 1st 3 innings thanks in part to a full speed diving catch by center fielder Mitch Lendenski which was sent off to ESPN to see if it could make their “Top 10 Plays of the Day”! Sports Reach used their defense and the pitching of Bill Pinkham to slowly pull out to a 7-2 lead going into the top of the 7th. In the 7th the Seminoles bats came alive to the tune of 6 hits, the last of which was a game tying triple by Spencer Selby and they capped the run with a sacrifice fly to take the lead by pinch hitter JD Harris. In the bottom of the 7th Sports Reach could muster only a single base hit and Seminoles had pulled off the 8-7 come from behind win. David McDowell from Sports Reach hit the only home run in the game. At 3 PM #12 Classic Glass/Easton (CA-A) who had just won the USSSA ‘A’ World tournament the previous Sunday was in a 10-10 tie after 5 innings with #5 S&E/Friendly Trans/Worsham (NC-AA) who finished 2nd at the USSSA ‘AA’ World and had accumulated injuries to 3 of their starters. In the 6th though Classic Glass scored just 1 run and S&E who was the #1 offensive team in the country by average runs scored per 7 innings scored 10 runs on 9 singles and doubles with some walks mixed in and held on to win 20-12. S&E 1st baseman Justin Gregory was 4-5 with a homer and 2 doubles in the win. At 5 PM #13 Precision/3rd St/Red Athlete/Pure (IL-AA) scored just 3 runs and #4 SNI/Thunder/Chosen/DeMarini (FL-AA) who had just won the USSSA ‘AA’ Worlds on the previous Monday scored crooked numbers from the start in an 18-3 mercy rule win in 6 innings. SNI pitcher Brandon Jonas held Precision to just 6 hits and SNI’s Josh Fyffe hit the only 2 home runs of the game. At 6:30 PM as the temperatures began to slowly cool down some #2 Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder (FL-M) who most people around the game felt was the favorite to win the Major took on Chick-fil-a who had won their play in game earlier in the day. So far in the tournament teams were averaging just 1.5 home runs per game but Resmondo changed all of that as Conference Offensive Player of the Year Josh Riley led off the bottom of the 1st with a no doubter home run, Bubba Mack hit a 3 run shot, and pitcher Travis Clark hit a solo. Resmondo scored 24 runs in the 1st 4 innings but ended up going the distance (7 innings) against a Chick-fil-a team that never gave up. Resmondo won the game 25-13 hitting 13 home runs to Chick-fil-a’s 2 (both by Jacob Clifton). Mack and Clark hit 3 each and Riley and Kyle Pearson 2 apiece. At 8 PM the #1 team in the nation SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3 (NC-M) played Slugger/SVC who had won their play in game earlier in the day. After Smash It pitcher Andy Purcell got SVC to put up a zero in the top of the 1st Smash It came in and Andrew Collins and Tyler Marshburn singled and lefty Everett Williams hit a big 3 run homer followed by a Neil Haglund solo and Smash It put up 5 runs. SVC answered with 5 runs fueled by a Hector Urbaneja homer in the top of the 2nd but it was all Smash It the rest of the way as they won easily 19-6 out homering SVC 7-2. In the nightcap #3 Dan Smith/Proton (AZ-M) scored at least 3 runs in each of the first 4 innings and run ruled #14 Xtreme/ASP/Athlon/Miken/Worth (MN-AA) 20-3. Leadoff hitter Phil Matte was 4-4 with 3 HR and pitcher Dan Sanchez was 3-3 with 2 HR and 4 RBI in the win.
On Thursday at noon the “Final 8” of the winners bracket began in the heat of the day with Competitive Edge taking on Resmondo. Resmondo jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the 1st when leadoff hitter Josh Riley hit a homer to straight away center 390 feet, then later in the inning Bubba Mack, Travis Clark, Jeremy Yates, and Brian Wegman hit back to back to back to back home runs! Competitive Edge held down Resmondo through the middle innings and scratched and clawed their way back into the game trailing just 11-9 going into the 6th. But Competitive Edge put up an untimely zero in the top of the 6th and Resmondo scored 11 runs on 4 HR to pull away and win 22-12. Mack was 3-3 with 3 HR and 6 RBI and Riley and Pearson each collected 4 hits in the win. In quarterfinal #2 SmashItSports seemed to have an easy time putting up 4+ runs per inning as they cruised to a 27-10 6 inning win over Seminoles. Lefty Buddy Wolf led the way going 4-4 with 4 “howling” home runs and 7 RBI. In quarterfinal #3 Dan Smith tried to put the upset minded Albicocco away early scoring 9 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning as they hit 8 extra base hits, but Albicocco hung around and then went off in the 5th and 6th scoring 20 runs leaving a stunned Dan Smith team with a 28-21 2nd round loss. Albicocco out homered Dan Smith 5-4 as 5 different players hit one out and Albicocco outfielder Scott Hartling was 5-5 with 6 RBI and 4 runs scored. Phil Matte for Dan Smith was again 4-4 with 3 HR. In the last quarterfinal the two teams that met in the finals of the USSSA ‘AA’ Worlds SNI and SNE squared off again. The outcome was the same as SNI scored 8 runs in the bottom of the 4th to take a 12-2 lead and they won in 7 innings 13-5. Jason Branch and Josh Fyffe each hit 2 HR in the win.
Winner’s bracket action continued Thursday night with the semifinals as Resmondo crushed Albicocco 18-0 after Albicocco had beaten Major teams MPT and Dan Smith earlier in the tournament. Resmondo out hit them 18-2 and out homered them 9-0. Josh Riley and Jeremy Yates were both 3-3. In the nightcap #1 SmashItSports watched their 14-3 lead over SNI evaporate as SNI scored the last 8 runs of the game only to come up 2 runs short 14-12. Smash It had escaped to the winner’s final out homering SNI 4-0 as their 4 top hitters each had one double and one home run (Collins, Marshburn, Williams, Wolf).
At 9 PM Friday night it was the winner’s bracket finals in front of a decent crowd of about 1,500 people. Resmondo scratched across one run in the top of the 1st on a Bubba Mack RBI double and then a very focused SmashItSports team got a leadoff triple from Andrew Collins, an RBI single from Tyler Marshburn, a LOOONG home run from Everett Williams, a solo homer from Buddy Wolf, and then they made Resmondo pay for some errors to the tune of 10 runs! Resmondo answered some in the top of the 2nd with homers by Yates and Riley but Smash It Sports added 11 more runs in the bottom of the 3rd on a 3 run homer by Collins, Williams and Wolf homered, and then a number of doubles led to a 21-7 lead. Resmondo climbed back into it with homers by Connell, Yates, and Wegman in the top of the 4th but Smash It won 30-18 out hitting Resmondo 32-18 and out homering them 7-6. Smash It pitcher Andy Purcell who was Conference Defensive Player of the Year at one point in the 6th inning knocked down a hot shot up the middle and dove and pitched the ball sideways falling on his face to get a big out at 2nd base. Collins, Marshburn, Martel, Dunn, and Mcclanahan were all a perfect 4-4 and Smash It had 18 extra base hits in the game.
The loser’s bracket played out during the day on Friday and Saturday as MyAutoJack and MPT made runs in the top of the bracket only to be stopped by Albicocco who beat MPT for the 2nd time in the tournament 22-5. And the lower half of the loser’s bracket was won by Dan Smith who knocked off Sports Reach 24-7, Competitive Edge 18-17, and then they beat Albicocco (who finished 4th) Saturday afternoon 23-8 to advance to the loser’s final against Resmondo. The loser’s final was an “instant classic” and began in the day and ended in the night lasting over 2 hours. Resmondo base hit their way to a 5-1 lead in the 1st and increased their lead in the bottom of the 2nd to 16-5 hitting 4 home runs but it could have been worse had Dan Smith left fielder not robbed Wegman of a homer. In the top of the 4th Dan Smith’s bats came to life as Argen Dodds, Jason Matusik, and rookie Nick Day hit multi run homers in between a bunch of base hits to spur them to a 12 run inning and a 17-16 lead! In the 4th with the game tied 17-17 Dan Smith got home runs from Sanchez, Matte, Bennett, and Nelson which were answered by Resmondo home runs by Mack, Connell, Yates, and Santana. Both teams scored crooked numbers in the 5th and 6th and it was tied at 29-29 going into the 7th! In the top of the 7th Dan Smith’s Joe Joe Bennett and Jason Matusik homered, Nelson doubled, and Clark pitched around Dodds to get to Josh Kirsten who hit a clutch 2 out 3 run homer to put Dan Smith up 34-29! In the bottom of the 7th a very focused Resmondo team got a solo homer from Clark, a single from Bradley Jones, Connell tripled, and Yates homered to make it 33-34. Then Wegman walked, Santana singled, and with runners on 1st and 3rd and one out Kevin Bazat hit a line drive to left. The crowd and everyone in the park froze as it seemed it would be a game tying single but the ball floated and the right fielder Matusik made a running catch for out number two. Wegman at 3rd tagged and scored but Santana at 1st ran from the crack of the bat either thinking it was a hit or he mistakenly thought there were already two outs at the beginning of the play? Either way Dan Smith threw the ball to 1st for the 3rd out and Resmondo and pretty much everyone but the umpires thought the game was over and Dan Smith had won on the inning ending double play. But the rule book clearly states that the run counts if it scored before the runner is put out at 1st that didn’t tag up so the run did count and the game was tied 34-34 going into extra innings. In the top of the 8th Dan Smith regrouped and Phil Matte and Joe Joe Bennett hit no doubt home runs off the scoreboard in left field and Jason Matusik homered to right center to go up 37-34 but the inning fizzled on a controversial strike three call when the ball may or may not have hit the very tip of the plate or the black of the plate and then the next batter popped out. In the bottom of the 8th Resmondo smelled blood and Riley singled, Pearson walked, and Bubba Mack hit a 3 run homer to tie the game. Then Travis Clark stepped into one and hit a walk off homer to send Resmondo to the championship and Dan Smith to a 3rd place finish. Resmondo hit 16 home runs and Dan Smith 19 home runs in the game. Bennett, Matusik, and Yates all hit 4 each.
The crowd was abuzz as the Championship game began with the top 2 teams in the country squaring off in a much anticipated heavyweight battle! Resmondo got a walk from Riley and a 2 run homer by Bubba Mack to go up 2-0 in the 1st and that score held up until the top of the 3rd when Santana and Riley tripled and Pearson and Mack hit home runs to put Resmondo up 7-0. The one sided contest continued in the 4th when Resmondo put up 7 more runs as Mack homered again and Resmondo cruised to a 23-4 6 inning mercy rule win to force the “if” game as Smash It Sports just could not get any offense going. At one point in the bottom of the 5th Resmondo left fielder Jeremy Yates made a spectacular catch reaching into foul territory over the rail to pull back a foul ball. Smash It had just 6 hits in the game while Resmondo hit 8 home runs and Mack and Santana were each 4-4.
The “if” game started late on Saturday night and Resmondo had all of the momentum. The final game of the season ended up being the highest scoring game at the Space Coast Stadium for the year. Resmondo trailed 13-11 after two complete innings but put up 13 runs on 5 HR in the top of the 3rd to grab control of the game. They added 13 more runs on 7 HR in the top of the 5th. And even though Smash It never gave up scoring 10 runs mostly with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th and Resmondo put up a zero in the top of the 7th, Resmondo still had enough to win 46-37 and take their second USSSA Major World Series in a row! Resmondo hit a whopping 27 home runs in the final game to Smash Its 9 and out hit them 47-39. Josh Riley was 6-8 with 5 HR and 9 RBI. Kyle Pearson was 7-8 with 4 HR and 8 RBI. Bradley Jones was 7-7 with 4 HR and 3 doubles. In the loss Andrew Collins and Ben Dunn were each 5-5. An epic conclusion to a season which had 15 different winners in the top 30 USSSA tournaments came to a dramatic close with Resmondo persevering to another title.
You can catch all of the action from the USSSA Major World Series by watching the condensed games on the SW48 YouTube Channel or subscribing to USSSALive.com or following on SoftballCenter.com and Big Time Softball Magazine!
|2021 USSSA Major All World Team|
|Tournament MVP||Josh Riley||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|Offensive Tournament MVP||Bubba Mack||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|Defensive Tournament MVP||Tyler Marshburn||SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3|
|All Tournament Manager||Brett Helmer||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Daniel Sanchez||Dan Smith/Proton|
|All Tournament Team||Andy Purcell||SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3|
|All Tournament Team||Jeremy Yates||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Travis Clark||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Andrew Vitcak||Albicocco/Riot/Klutch/Broughton|
|All Tournament Team||Brad Lunda||Albicocco/Riot/Klutch/Broughton|
|All Tournament Team||Tyler Marshburn||SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3|
|All Tournament Team||Andrew Collins||SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3|
|All Tournament Team||Buddy Wolf||SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3|
|All Tournament Team||Filip Cabell-Washington||MPT Rentals/Juno Athletics|
|All Tournament Team||Jason Matusik||Dan Smith/Proton|
|All Tournament Team||Josh Riley||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Kyle Pearson||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Phil Matte||Dan Smith/Proton|
|All Tournament Team||Jeff Roxby||SNI/Thunder/Chosen/DeMarini|
|All Tournament Team||Nicolas Santana||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Jeffrey Bloomer||Albicocco/Riot/Klutch/Broughton|
|All Tournament Team||Bubba Mack||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|All Tournament Team||Everett Williams||SmashItSports/Newbreed/TDB/RF/BD/T3|
|All Tournament Team||Jon Nelson||Dan Smith/Proton|
|All Tournament Team||Bradley Jones||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|Home Run Champion||Phil Matte||Dan Smith/Proton|
|Home Run Champion||Bubba Mack||Resmondo/Smash It/Menosse/Thunder|
|Place||State||Team||Team Class||Record||Runs||Avg Runs||Total Points|
|5||NJ||MPT Rentals/Juno Athletics||SPMensMajor||(3-2)||93||93||18.6||18.6||0||260|
|9||NC||S & E/Friendlys Trans/Worsham||Mens-AA||(1-2)||41||46||13.7||15.3||-1.7||250|
|9||IL||Precision/3rd St./Red Athlete/Pure||Mens-AA||(1-2)||24||37||8||12.3||-4.3||250|
|13||VA||Chick-fil-A / BAF Sports||Mens-A||(2-2)||59||67||14.8||16.8||-2||100|
|17||CAN||Bay Area Legends/Easton||Mens-A||(0-2)||10||37||5||18.5||-13.5||40|