Pitcher Andy Purcell and outfielder Guido Bindi . . . co-MVPs for Sunnyvale Valve/TPS in the 1998 USSSA Class A championship at Shawnee, Kan.
Sunnyvale Valve/TPS of Sunnyvale, Calif., won nine consecutive games, five on Sunday and four on Monday (Sept. 7) to capture the USSSA Class A championship over a 54-team field at the Mid-America Complex in Shawnee, Kan. The Sunnyvale team lost early last year at Garland, Texas, and battled back for a third-place finish behind Resmondo/TPS of Lake Wales, Fla., and Pace/TPS of Rochester, N.Y. This year, Resmondo tied for fifth in the Class AA division, while Pace managed only a 2-2 record in the Class A division. Meanwhile, Jeff Dorricott's Sunnyvale squad went all the way, posting a 10-1 record. "Our defense, straight-up defense" Dorricott was quick to answer when asked the key to the awesome run. "The defensive play of our pitcher (Andy Purcell) and our middle defense (shortstop Gary Martin and second baseman Chris Lasaca). Purcell and outfielder Guido Bindi were named co-MVPs. Bindi led the tournament with 13 home runs. Teammate Darren Wendland had 12. Big, veteran Tom Langenhorst had eight, and tears in his eyes as the celebration settled down. Dorricott had ice cold water running down his face . . . after the water bucket was dumped on him. Langenhorst had a whopping 19 last year. Mark Tremaine and Rob Overholt each added seven HRs, while Martin and Heath Lane each had six. Purcell topped the batting average totem pole with a .773 mark (34-for-44). Tremaine batted .676, Bindi .674. Reggie Stocker turned in a .783 average for W.E.T. of Niceville, Fla., while Mark Matchulat of Jimmie's/Varsity/Que's/Easton of Westland, Mich., batted .760 and Doug Kett, Gary Henry and Pat McCann of third-place Oakland Plumbing/Liberty Park/TPS of Sterling Heights, Mich., batted .758, .750 and .731, respectively. Johnny Simpson and Scott Hillie of Jimmie's each batted .714. Matt Hughes of runner-up Pov's/Line Drive/TPS of Andover, Minn., batted .704 with five HRs and was awarded the Outstanding Offensive Player trophy. The Outstanding Defensive Player award went to Martin, the Sunnyvale shortstop who made like a vacuum cleaner. Tim Lindquist and Matt Urban of Oakland/Liberty batted .686 and .680, while Bob Stewart and Bill Barrett of Calvert/Prestige of of Taylor, Mich., batted .684 and .679. Calvert/Prestige played seven games in the 98-degree heat on Sunday, winding up in a tie for fifth place with W.E.T. after being elminated 23-13 by Jimmie's, which came in as the top-ranked Class A team. Sunnyvale was No. 3 in the rankings. No. 2 was Hooters/Coors Light/TPS of Overland Park, Kan. Pov's was ranked 17th, and had finished way down the line with a 1-2 record in the ISA Class A two weeks before. Hooters was ousted 31-27 by Calvert, and finished in a tie for seventh with Easton-Minnesota. Bob Stewart had 10 home runs (in nine games) for Calvert/Prestige. Teammates Todd Wallace, Joe Gerdes and Terry Patesel had 9, 9 and 8. Doug Kett had nine for Oakland/Liberty, while Hille had eight for Jimmie's. Todd Brayfogle and Jeff Thompson each had seven for Pov's. Henry and John Hall matched that number for Oakland/Liberty. Chad Roberts of W.E.T. did too. Thompson had three of his homers in the finale -- an 18-16 loss to Sunnyvale. He was walked intentionally with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh. The next batter was called out on strikes. Sunnyvale forced an extra game with a 25-9 win over Pov's. It was 20-3 going into the bottom of the second. Sunnyvale earlier on the final day eliminated Jimmie's 26-17, jumping out 12-0 in the top of the first, and Oakland/Prestige 18-11. Sunnyvale opened with a 20-4 win over a good team, Coors Light/OPT of Midland, Texas, then stumbled 23-14 at the hands of Creative Stucco/Roosters/Easton of Columbus, Ohio. Sunnyvale won over other good teams along the way -- 16-15 over Long Pest Control/Tacoma Dodge/Grover of Tacoma, Wash.; 27-17 over northern California rival Aftershock, the No. 5 ranked team based out of Fairfield; 32-22 over Easton-Minnesota, which won three games in the losers bracket and five all total; and 26-11 over W.E.T., the winner of the ISA Class A and the team that knocked Calvert/Prestige into the losers bracket in the first round here (28-25 in a 10-inning tussle). W.E.T. won its first four games before being kayoed by Pov's 23-14 when the Minnesota outfit scored 10 in the sixth and five in the top of the seventh. Oakland/Liberty Park dropped Michigan rival Jimmie's 31-16 in the other winners bracket semifinal. Jimmie's just before tumbled Aftershock 21-10 after Aftershock rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the seventh to trip up Pace 28-27. Pov's won over two tough opponents -- 30-28 over Easton-Minnesota on a home run by Dan Yockum and 45-34 after an early 15-0 deficit against Hooters. Wins by W.E.T. included 22-16 over Minnesota Jazz, 25-24 over Long Pest Control and 19-18 over Creative Stucco. W.E.T. and Calvert/Prestige wound up in a tie for fifth, while Hooters and Easton-Minnesota finished in a tie for seventh. Karphone of Norwalk, Calif., winner of the season-opening Far West Classic in Las Vegas (beating Class AA powerhouse JWM of Riverside, Calif., in the finals) managed only a 1-2 record and wound up in a tie for 25th. So did W.W. Gay of Gainesville, Fla., the ISA runner-up and two upsets over Class AA Adams/RSH/Worth of Mississippi. Herrin/TPS of Savannah, Ga., which had high hopes, lost 19-18 in the second round to Aftershock when Todd Langdon produced a 2-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth. Herrin then lost its first game in the losers bracket -- 38-37 to Powerhouse/Easton of Hot Springs, Ark. Pace was stunned in its first losers bracket game -- 22-2 (in 4 innings) by Calvert/Prestige -- and finished in a tie for 17th. Sixth-ranked Journeyman, a Westland, Mich., team with mostly Ohio players, suffered an 0-2 fate, losing 24-22 to Easton-Minnesota when Kurt Hornnes homered with a man on in the bottom of the seventh and 25-24 to Calvert/Prestige when Larry Stob hit a 2-runner in the bottom of the seventh. Journeyman was the winner of the prestigious Springfield NIT in Ohio, beating Wessel/Hague/SoJern/TPS, now the reigning Class AA kingpin in the finals. Two former Hague players are now with the Journeyman club -- Steve Dickinson and Kevin Birkofer. Remember Hague shocked the big-time slo-pitch world by winning the USSSA World Series in 1995? Long Pest Control is another team that played here (winding up in a tie for 13th) that pulled a big upset (over the second-ranked Major power Sierra/TPS of Reno, Nev.) in the preseason Toys for Tots tournament in Palm Springs, Calif.
Thomas Bait & Tackle of North Carolina completed an undefeated run through the ASA Class A Nationals over Labor Day weekend at Lawton, Okla., by overcoming a 16-run fourth inning by Dalton Chiropractic of New Jersey to win 28-25. Thomas, with six players from the Jerry's team that won the Class B crown in 1997, breezed 20-1 over Dalton in the finals of the winners bracket en route to a 7-0 record. Defending Class A champion Coffee Cup of Minnesota was a third-place finisher this year. The favorite, Smokes/Harrison's/TPS of Maryland, finished fourth in the 62-team field. Jim Johnson of Gary's Auto Body of Michigan was the home run champion with 17 in seven games. The home run limit was six. MVP honors went to Thomas outfielder Scott Grant. His on-base numbers were 34-of-37. He reached base in his last 19 trips to the plate. He had six homers. The leading hitter was Brad Gidcumb of Jacksonville Grover of Florida with an .885 average. "Scott made some nice plays in the outfield," pointed out Thomas manager, who serves as the team's extra hitter. "Our middle was outstanding on defense -- Grant Batts at shortstop and Cullen Clark at second base. They turned a lot of double plays. And our pitcher, Bob Carter, played good defense too." Thomas had three players on the first team all-tournament -- Grant, John Dutch Jr. and Roy Jarman -- and two more on the second team -- John Adams and Hollis Brice. Dalton had two on the first team -- Tom Laska and Anthony Delarnesis. Coffee Cup had only one selection -- Mike Ritzer on the second team. Smokes had Steve Gilbert and Dewey Fussell on the first team and Steve Helewicz and Bobby Bayne on the second team. Thomas topped Smokes 26-21 and Dalton was a 33-18 winner over Coffee Cup in the semifinal round of the winners bracket. Coffee Cup eliminated L&L Paint of Alabama 17-16, while Smokes ousted Mercer of Indiana 43-23. Coffee Cup then kayoed Smokes 24-22 before dropped by Dalton 12-11. Mercer eliminated Gary's 30-15, while L&L ousted SCB/Easton of New York 34-14. L&L had a 7-2 record, Dalton and Coffee Cup were 6-2 and Smokes, Mercer and Gary's 5-2 and SCB 4-2. Ashley's of Delaware and Kentucky Tucker each went 5-2 en route to a tie for ninth with Maroadi of Pittsburgh and Scott of Iowa. Jacksonville Grover, Galyan's of Indiana, Universal Dome of Indiana and Allied Tool of Kentucky tied for 13th. Some highly regarded team finished down the line, including K&G of Indiana, Riverside/Ram and Berardi's of Kentucky, Paramount of Virginia, Deery Brothers of Iowa and Budweiser/DeMarini of Texas. One of Paramount's players was 52-year-old Don Clatterbaugh, a former Major player with such teams as Dave Carroll and Steele's. Berardi's lost 25-16 to DeVault of Missouri and Budweiser/DeMarini lost 27-14 to Easton Sportstar of Kentucky in first-round games. Berard's then lost 26-21 to Ohio Sealants. Budweiser/DeMarini went 0-2 too, being ousted 20-18 by TCBY/DeMarini of Arkansas. Deery was 0-2, losing to the Aragon Minnesota Merchants 32-23 and Barchella of New York (29-17). Riverside lost 39-28 to SCB and K&G lost 27-26 to Jax Grover in the second round. Paramount won two games before falling 29-28 to Mercer. Thomas won 45-31 and 32-11, but had two tough games in the early rounds -- 31-30 vs. Gateway Press of Kentucky and 28-25 vs. Allied Tool. Gateway built up a 27-7 lead going into the fifth inning. Thomas broke loose for 15 runs. "Then we were down nine going into the bottom of the seventh," pointed out Marion. "We got 12 straight men on without an out." Jay Lamm started things with a single and he ended it with a 2-run double. Carter went 6-for-6, Grant 5-for-6 with a homer and Roy Jarman 5-for-5 with a homer. Lamm, John Dutch, Doug Flowers and Marion had homers. Thomas won in the first round by 45-31 over Cooper Sports of Cincinnati. Grant was 7-for-7, while Adams was 6-for-7 with a homer and Dutch 6-for-7. Flowers and Brice Hollis each had two homers and Jarman one. The 28-25 win over Allied Tool saw Adams go 4-for-5 with two homers. Grant had two homers, Dutch and Hollis one each. A 32-11 romp over Scott's of Iowa saw Grant and Adams each go 5-for-5 and Jarman, Dutch, Batts and Marion each go 4-for-4. Dutch, Flowers, Hollis and Marion homered. Thomas was a 26-21 winner over Smokes. Jarman had three homers, Grant, Lamm, Dutch and Flowers one each. Grant and Lamm each went 5-5, Jarman and Dutch 4-5. Carter, Adams and Hollis also went 4-5. The easy 20-1 win over Dalton in the finals of the winners bracket saw Jarman and Dutch hit homers and Grant and Hollis each go 4-for-4. Lamm and Flowers each had three hits. So did Jarman. Dalton's only run was a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was a different story vs. Dalton in the finale. The New Jersey team scored 16 runs in the fourth inning for a 22-12 lead. The North Carolinians came back with six in the fifth and nine in the sixth. Jarman and Dutch homered in the fifth and Grant's grand slam tied the game in the sixth. The Thomas team went on to score five more after the slammer. Final score: 28-25. Grant was 5-for-5 with 2 homers, Jarman 4-for-5 with 2 homers. Hollis also had a homer. Carter, Dutch and Lamm each notched four hits. Marion made note that clean-up batter Jim Rogers had to miss the tournament. "All the guys pulled together, picking it up a little bit to take up the slack. We played really good team ball. It was real exciting. We had to come from behind in three games. We were not the best team there by far, but we showed a lot of heart. Our boys never gave up. This was our first year in Class A." Marion, whose team is based out of the central North Carolina town of Sanford, pointed out the inspiration of Jerry Sheffield, the team's enthusiastic third base coach. "He was a motivator, slinging his towel around. He keeps everybody going." SCB dropped Gary's into the losers bracket (23-14) before being bumped by Smokes 33-31. Smokes dropped L&L (37-8) and Jax Grover (30-7) into the losers bracket. Coffee Cup won four -- 27-20 over TCBY, 29-17 over Easton Sportstar, 26-13 over Las Vegas Funjet of Wisconsin and 30-17 over Maroadi -- before losing to Dalton 33-18. Dalton earlier won 34-21, 29-20, 31-26 (over B&A of Ohio) and 28-9 (over Mercer). Ashley's won four games in the losers bracket before being ousted 25-5 by SCB. Ashley's was dropped into the losers bracket by Scott of Iowa (25-13). Scott won 3 before losing to Thomas, then lost its first game in the losers bracket by 36-32 to L&L. SCB won 4 games in the losers bracket before falling to Mercer (26-6). Rounding out the first team all-tournament selections were Cliff Egan and Louis Brown of Universal, Mark Mastorovich of Maroadi, Rob Rash and Tom Shield of Grotto's of Delaware, Gidcumb of Jax Grover and Johnson and Mark Moore of Gary's. Rounding out the second team were Dean Bowrosen and Karl Komyat of SCB, Bill Gilbert and Ron Rash of Grotto's, Mike Dill and Joe Spadifino of Ashley's, Mark Hutchinson and Kelvin Gilloth of L&L, Greg Ackerbery of Gary's and Mike Engler of Maroadi.
W.E.T., a home town team, went undefeated to become the surprise winner of the ISA Class A championship Aug. 28-30 in Niceville, Fla. W.W. Gay of Gainesville, Fla., was a surprise second-place finisher, but was drowned by W.E.T. -- 17-2 in the finals of the winners bracket and 29-4 in the championship finale. Adams/RSH/Worth of Ridgeland, Miss., and Smokes/TPS of Maryland were considered the co-favorites. Adams suffered both of its losses to Gay (30-26 and 32-15). Smokes, winner of the big Pif tournamet in Canada over the July 4th weekend, lost to W.E.T. 25-24 in the third round, then later was eliminated 34-18 to McDonald’s of Georgia and wound up in a tie for ninth place. Adams was third, while Harrison’s/Worth of Virginia was fourth. Harrison’s was ousted 38-34 by Adams after eliminating Woerner/Hudson’s/TPS of Alabama 22-21. Herrin/TPS of Georgia shared fifth place with Harrison’s, being ousted 20-18 by Adams after kayoing McDonald’s 27-14. Jonesboro/TPS of Tennessee finished in a tie for ninth after being ousted by Woerner 33-27. Harrison’s was knocked into the losers bracket by W.E.T. 20-18, after wins over Woerner (32-30) and Herrin (19-16). W.W. Gay beat Jonesboro 37-32, Mizuno/DeMarini of Florida 25-8 and Lafayette (La.) Fire 44-16. One of Adams’ wins was 31-11 over Mississippi rival Fast Eddie’s. Journeyman of Michigan and Pov’s of Minnesota went out early. Lafayette Fire beat Journeyman 12-11, while Pov’s lost to W.E.T. 25-22 in the second round. Journeyman was eliminated by Mizuno 43-37, while Pov’s was ousted by Jonesboro 36-28. Mizuno was eliminated by Herrin 35-30. The MVP selection was W.E.T. outfielder Chad Roberts. He went 20-for-24 with nine home runs. Veteran John Hicks came out of retirement to hit eight homers for W.E.T., five of them in one game -- the 20-18 win over Harrison’s. The Outstanding Defensive Player award went to W.W. Gay outfielder Mike Thomas. Roberts and Hicks were joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Shane Frederick and pitcher Dan Hensley. W.W. Gay boss N.C. Ryals credited Hensley with "a great job of pitching." Other all-tournament spots went to Mike Thomas, Ken Clark, John Thomas and Billy Eurice of W.W. Gay, Russ Tatum and Craig Upton of Adams and Chuck Boyle and Charles Prekel of Harrison’s. Eurice tied for most HRs, matching Roberts' total of nine.