2016 USSSA 'A' World Tournament
The traditional touch the cup for BHR
Link to the picture album of the A World
2016 'A' World bracket link
2016 'A' World tournament information
Winner's bracket finals - Thunders Chris Goyette singles against BHR
The 2016 'A' World Tournament began on Friday and was played in hot and humid conditions but it never did rain. They started with 16 teams, 14 of which were 'A' teams and 14 of which were from the Nationwide Conference USSSA. Each team played one game on that first night starting at 6:00 PM and the upsets started early and often as #14 seeded Classic Glass from California upset #3 seeded AllOut from Texas 25-19. #15 seeded All American Restoration from Minnesota upset #2 seeded JBL/Tailgaters from Ohio in the best game of the night (maybe the tournament). All American came from 8 runs down in the bottom of the 7th and forced extra innings where they held JBL scoreless and then walked them off with an Eric O'Connell single down the right field line to win 27-26. #12 seed Steel Athletics from Texas upset #5 Bay Area Legends from California 17-13 after Steel jumped out to a 15-0 lead after 4 innings. #13 Primetime from Georgia came from behind and got a walk off grand slam in the bottom of the 7th from infielder JB Jennings to beat #4 Nightmare from Missouri. I guess they may not have followed SoftballCenter from the previous week because they walked a batter to get to Jennings who was the "Long Haul Bomber" of the week at Military Worlds. And also in the first round higher seeds Bad Draw from North Carolina, Thunder/Miken from New York, Above All Landscaping from New Jersey, and #1 seeded BHR/Coppermine Lodge from Texas all won their games by the run rule.
In the second round of the winner's bracket which was played at 11 AM and 12 noon on Saturday Bad Draw run ruled Classic Glass by 20 runs 23-3. Thunder/Miken jumped on All American 22-7 out of the gate with some big innings to win 31-16. Steel used a Toby Letak grand slam to get back into the game against Primetime and ended up winning 16-15 on a Steven Malay walk off homer. And BHR had some good defense and pitching late against Above All Landscaping trailing by 4 runs going into the bottom of the 6th. They closed the lead to 1 in the bottom of the 7th and got solo homers from Matt Schrage and a game winner by Tyler Driskell to win 18-17.
The final 4 of the winner's bracket started around 6:30 PM Saturday with Thunder/Miken jumping out to an 18 run top of the first inning against Bad Draw. An inning where they scored 11 runs with two outs prompting a young Thunder fan to repeat the phrase "keep this two out nightmare going". It was exactly that to Bad Draw who to that point had not been challenged. Thunder ended up winning 31-14. In the other semifinal BHR separated mid game and knocked off fellow Texas team Steel Athletics 30-20.
In the winner's final which started after dark on Saturday BHR took a 9-6 lead in the third inning on a Jason Ferguson 3 run homer but Thunder would outscore them 12-8 the rest of the way and came up with a few more plays on those late evening hard grounders to win it 17-14. Fans in attendance and the teams themselves definitely thought it would take 35 or 40 runs to win that game but both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm and Thunder went to Sunday in the driver's seat.
In the loser's bracket Bay Area Legends basically played most of the day and won 4 games on Saturday including a late night extra innings win on a walk off homer by Luis Gonzalez to beat Steel 23-20 and then won their 5th straight game Sunday morning over Bad Draw 29-12 getting big homers from Rick Cornu, Dan Simental, Cal Ford, and Cal Ford again send home Draw. But Bay Area ran out of gas finally against BHR in the loser's bracket finals 23-16 after leading 5-2. A base running mistake cost them late in the game and BHR got homers from Chris Potts, Cooper Vittitow, Chris Terry, Jason Ferguson, and Matt Schrage in a 9 run inning to separate and lead the rest of the way.
That set up the rematch between BHR and Thunder for the hardware. BHR and Thunder were even in runs and homers after two innings in the first game of the championship. Thunders Snyder opened things up with a 2 run homer and in the 4th inning Thunder held BHR scoreless and in the bottom half big Dennis Nourry hit a grand slam to give Thunder a 15-11 lead! BHR then held Thunder scoreless with a nice catch on the fence by Ethan Stuckly in center field and 3rd baseman Tyler Driskell made a nice play and throw and a Tim Bowser pick at first ended Thunders 5th inning. BHR then grabbed a lead as pinch hitter Sean Boldt hit a 2 run homer and lefty MVP Mike Brown hit a big 3 runner. Things got interesting in the 7th when Thunder came back and Offensive co-MVP Kyle Olsen broke a 21-21 tie with a two out two run homer. So BHR was facing elimination in the bottom of the 7th down 23-21 when the top of their order who had been "money" all weekend had Tyler Driskell and Mike Brown set the table for a Tim Bowser first pitch, walk off, no doubter and BHR had forced the "if" game and had taken the momentum away.
The final game was all BHR as they dominated the game in every phase - offense, defense, and pitching and BHR won in one of the quickest games of the year 23-2 in 4 innings, ending the game with a string of solo homers and a final blast by Mike Brown and the CELEBRATION WAS ON!
Congratulations to BHR on the well-deserved title. Hats off to Thunder who was just a half inning away from the title and a thank you to Bay Area Legends for showing us what true heart is and to all the teams that provided so many great finishes!
Tim "bye bye" Bowser hits a 3 run walk off homer to beat Thunder in the first game of the finals!
MVP Mike Brown hits a walk off homer to beat Thunder by the run rule in the final game!
16 Teams Overall
14 Nationwide Conference USSSA Teams
14 'A' Teams
1 'B' Teams
1 'C' Teams
BHR's Cooper Vittitow gets one past Thunder pitcher Matt Zurawel in the winners final
Classic Glass bats against Bad Draw in the quarter finals
The Stadium ZN "bad batch" balls were used. They have a compression that is in between a Conference Classic M ZN ball and a true stadium ZN ball.
At night it was a little too much but as usual made for some great come from behind wins. No lead was safe.
'A' Worlds Awards and Final Standings