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1998 Class AA Championship Reports

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  • Wessel/Hague/SoJern/Ohio Transport/TPS of Cincinnati won two of three meetings with Long Haul/Grover/Mizuno of Albertville, Minn., to win the USSSA Class AA championship Sunday (Sept. 6) at the Mid-America Complex in Shawnee, Kan. Wessel won 16-10 in the finals of the winners bracket, but Long Haul forced an extra game with a 13-11 win. Wessel built up an 8-0 lead in the first three innings and went on to win 10-4 in the deciding game. Two of Long Haul's runs came in the bottom of the seventh. Wessel pitcher Jim Burbrink was an overwhelming choice for the MVP award. The tournament was played on two baseball fields. The dimensions on the main field were 325-400-325. The second field was the same except for a 310 left field that had a 24-foot screen. Ken Bean of third-place Xtreme/Hinson/Worth of Little Rock, Ark., won the home run trophy with nine. Alex Lavorico of Hendu's 42/TPS of Seattle had eight. Greg Schulte of Xtreme had seven. Wessel's big Brett Helmer was the Offensive MVP. He batted .667 with four home runs. Other Wessel pace-setters were Howie Krause at .667 with two homers, Joe Foley and Tom White each with three HRs. Burbrink helped his own cause with a .636 mark. Long Haul shortstop Richie Aliotti was the Defensive MVP. Long Haul had the tournament's leading hitter (based on 20 at-bats). Rob Darhower went 18-for-26 for a .692 average. RPM/TPS of Concord, Calif., was fourth. O&S/TPS of South St. Paul, Minn., and Resmondo/TPS of Lake Wales, Fla., tied for fifth, while Hendu's/TPS of Seattle and Brandon's of Wilmington, N.C., tied for seventh. Lavorico had five of his homers in the first game. It was on the short left field fence, but all over his homers cleared it with plenty to spare. Plus, he had a double that hit high off the screen in left center. Lavorico homered 7 times in his first 9 swings, and 8 in his first 13 (out of 18). Lamar Echols was another Xtreme HR producer with 5. The Xtreme squad by far hit the most home runs -- 35 in six games. In addition to Krause, who batted .667 with 2 homers, left fielder Dale Sensenig stood out on defense for Wessel. Long Haul's Doug Johnson and Chaun Demars each had 4 homers. RPM opened with a 16-12 win over Brandon's. RPM took an 11-5 lead in the first two innings as Ken Dain and Scott Purcell each had a homer and another hit and Bob Newman had a homer. Larry Grant had two hits in the first two innings and wound up 4-for-4 with a home run. Newman added another home run. Brandon's managed only one run over four innings, then put on a 6-run rally in the top of the seventh as Eddie Foust homered and Keith Roberts and Chris Graves tripled. Jerold Smith had a 3-run HR in the first inning. Graves and Chris Calcutt each had three hits in a losing effort. Hendu's dropped Resmondo into the losers bracket (31-18). Lavorico smacked home runs in his first three trips to the plate, totaling seven RBI, as Hendu's moved into a 14-9 lead. He finished with a 6-for-6 game, with 5 HRs and 11 RBI. His only non-HR at-bat was a double off the screen in left center. Kent Johnson chipped in with five hits and Ken Briggs and Billy Wallace four each. Hendu's totaled 11 HRs, with Joe Sposi hitting two. Jeff Vargo, Marty Dailey, Scott Alley and Ron Howard homered for Resmondo, which led 16-14 and was within 19-17 after five innings. Long Haul was a 9-3 winner over Joe Black's of Chicago. Leading 4-1 after three and 7-1 going into the bottom of the fifth, it was an easy game for veteran pitcher Ted Larson (47). Long Haul did not have a home run. Jeff Franks, Rob Darhower and John Keigley had triples. Darhower had three hits for four RBI. Mike Stanley had two walks and a hit. Jeff Ross was 3-for-3 for Joe Black's, which did not have a home run either. Adams/Worth of Mississippi knocked Xtreme into the losers bracket (12-10). Xtreme had a 6-2 lead after two innings on the strength of a homer and triple by Lamar Echols, but did not score again until the top of the seventh. Adams won it with a 9-run bottom of the fourth. Richie McAlister singled, Jody Hurst doubled, Scott Holman singled, Clay Hudson singled and Bobby Fowler doubled before the first out. Cleveland Dortch then singled, Craig Upton doubled and Richard White tripled. Fowler added a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth before Xtreme scored four runs, then left the bases loaded. Tiger was a 23-6 winner over Gil's Arizona Heat/Easton. Ten runs in the third and 10 more in the bottom of the fourth made it a run-rule game. Rich Lonquil homered in each inning, while Chris Santucci had three hits in the two innings. Mark Gabourel and Dave Koser also homered. It was Koser's second of the game. Gabourel had two other hits, Koser another. Lonquil walked twice for a perfect game at the plate. Randy Noe drew three walks. Tiger had to play without three of its Canadian players, including Jacques Millier. Santucci was 4-for-4. Manager Alan Walker had to play, and produced a 3-for-3 game. Glenn Flood homered and doubled in a losing cause. RPM beat California rival JWM/Easton for the second weekend in a row. The score was 9-6. RPM built up a 9-4 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth. Chris Alvarado and Bob Newman had hits, along with two errors and two sacs. Alvardo had three hits. Tim Jones and Dennis Rulli each had three hits for JWM. Wessel/Hague opened with a 29-5 hammering of Hendu's. Wessel pushed across 11 runs in the top of the fifth for the run rule win. Howie Krause had a 3-runner, Joe Foley a 2-runner and Tom White a grand slam. It was the second HR of the game for Krause. He was 4-for-4, plus a walk. Foley and Tim Cocco each had 4 hits. So did Chris Lashley, one of them an inside-the-park job with the bases loaded. Pitcher Jim Burbrink had 3 hits. Lavorico, Ruben Gonzalez and Rob Crane homered for Hendu's. O&S/TPS of Minnesota turned back Adams 16-6. O&S owned an early 8-4 lead, then exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh. R.J. Olson had a pinch hit double, Scott Brown and Doug Berfeldt singles, Lance Peterson a 2-run double, Mark Crandall and Tedd Lindgren singles and Scott Logan an inside-the-park homer with two on. Derrick Williams had a 2-run HR in the first and Peterson a 3-runner in a 6-run third. Brown had three hits. Long Haul rolled over Tiger 26-5 in 4 innings. Tiger was missing French Canadian slugger Jacques Millier, and a couple other Canadians. Doug Johnson had 2-run homers in the first two at-bats. Butch Smith and Shawn Demars also homered in the second inning. In fact, it was three in a row. Long Haul led 16-0 after two, then hit for 10 in the top of the fourth. Jeff Franks had a 5-for-5 game, Richie Aliotti 4-for-4. Rob Darhower had three hits, plus a walk. Demars added a double and triple. Pitcher Ted Larson had three hits. Mark Gabourel and Randy Noe homered for Tiger. Gil's eliminated Joe Black's 15-9. Gil's pushed across six runs in the top of the seventh, then Joe Black's drew a blank. Gil's big seventh saw hits by Tim Kellner, Dan Semiento, Mike Aquila, Chuck Henniger, Raith Adair and Kelly Radcliff. Adair had three hits and Curt Gleaton had a first-inning homer. Mike Bombardier, Bob Woldyk and Burgess Watts homered for Joe Black's. Xtreme sent JWM packing 25-23. James Beane's 3-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh sent JWM reeling with an 0-2 record after a third-place finish last year. Xtreme plated 10 runs in the second inning as Chris Butler and Ken Bean hit 2-run homers. Beane had two hits in the inning. Bean homered in the first and he homered again in the fifth as he had a 4-for-5 game. Beane had another homer in the fifth as he went 4-for-5 too. Rick Goyette had an inside-the-park homer and Lamar Echols homered in the 6-run fifth. Another HR was hit by Greg Schulte. For JWM, Andy Alvis and Ed Martin each had two homers and Mike Moore, Larry Carter and Bryan King each had one. JWM scored seven runs in the top of the seventh for a short-lived 23-21 lead. Tim Jones had four hits. Alvis added tow hits to his two HRs. Wessel sneaked past RPM 9-8 in an extra inning. Wessel did not score in the fifth, sixth or seventh, and had to win it with two runs in the bottom of the first extra inning. After one out, Howie Krause tripled to deep right center and Tim Linson's hit went for a triple when the right fielder misplayed the ball. The next two batters (Tim Cocco and Joe Foley) were given free passes and Dale Sensenig produced a short sac fly to left. Tom White homered in the first for Wessel and Cocco homered in the fourth. RPM tied the score with two in the top of the seventh as Larry Grant singled and, after two outs, Rich Courtney tripled and Chris Alvardo doubled. Courtney had four hits, Alvarado three. RPM got a run in the top of the eighth on a singles by Bob Newman, Ken Ritter and Grant. The latter two came after two outs. Long dropped Minnesota rival O&S into the losers bracket (29-13 in 5 innings). Scoring 10 in the second, seven in the third and eight in the fourth, Long Haul won easily. Nine of the O&S runs came in the third inning. Chaun Demars had three of Long Haul's nine HRs. Tim Magner had two, Mike Stanley, Rob Darhower, Doug Johnson and Butch Smith one each. Jeff Franks had an inside-the-park homer, two triples, a double and a walk, Smith a single, double and a walk in addition to his homer and Johnson two singles and a walk in addition to his homer. Lance Peterson had a homer, triple and walk for O&S. John Whaley, Scott Bailey and Derrick Williams homered. Brandon's ousted Adams 17-14. Brandon's pushed across three runs in the top of the seventh, and Adams did not answer. Hits by Chris Beck, Randy Calcutt, Chris Absher and Gene Lewis led to the winning runs. Calcutt and Lewis each went 4-for-4. Eddie Foust was 4-for-5 and Jerold Smith homered. Chris Gambrill had a homer and two singles and Jody Hurst a homer and single for Adams. They combined for 11 RBI. Tiger had to forfeit to Resmondo when Mike McColman left to catch a plane, leaving his teammates miffed. Resmondo was a 43-28 winner over Brandon's. Resmondo went into the bottom of the third on the short end of a 14-2 count, then went crazy with 12, 17 and 11 runs over the next four inings. Gar King had three home runs, a single and two walks. Scott Alley and Brian Arnold each had two homers and seven RBI. Arnold added a triple and single, Alley two singles and a walk. Resmondo had four triples (Marty Dailey had two and Ron Howard one). Resmondo was helped by eight free passes and three Brandon's errors. Dailey, Jeff Vargo and Charlie Brown also homered. Jeff Haag was 6-for-6. Garber, Marty Lanoux, Dailey and Howard each had four hits. Gene Lewis had four hits for Brandon's, while Eddie Foust, Chris Calcutt, Chris Graves, Chris Roberts and Chris Absher homered. Three were 3-runners, the other two 2-runners. Hendu's eliminated Gil's 14-12. Lavorico had a single, double and homer and Ruben Gonzalez a double and two homers for Hendu's, which built up a lead with five in the third and four in the fourth. Gil's accounted for seven of its runs in the fourth. Joe Sposi and Briscoe Baker also homered for Hendu's. Chad Sylte had a inside-the-parker and Tommy Shinn a double and triple. Kenny Briggs had two triples. Glenn Flood had two homers and Tom Kellner one for Gil's. Randy Medina had three hits. Hendu's then was kayoed by Xtreme (25-11). Greg Schulte had three homers for six RBI to set the pace for the Xtreme team. Chris Butler had two HRs.

    ASA Major

  • Chase/Easton of Wilmington, N.C., went 5-0 to win the ASA Major Nationals in Stevens Point, Wis., on Sunday (Sept. 6). Chase was a 30-9 winner in 4 innings over Reece/SportsWorld/Chip's/TPS of Lebanon, Tenn., in the finals. Chase beat Gasoline Heaven/Worth of Long Island, N.Y., 43-36, in the winners bracket finals, then Gasoline was ousted by Reece 32-18. Backstop/Easton of Aurora, Ind., one of the favorites, managed only a 1-2 record, losing in the first round to Armed Forces All-Stars 37-35, then being eliminated 25-23 by Planet/New/TPS. Derek Oliver of Reece was voted the MVP trophy. He batted .774 with 12 home runs. Vern Hensley of Planet/New was the home run leader with 14. The batting champion was Phil Castellano of Gasoline Heaven. He went 23-for-27 for an .852 average. Planet/New/TPS was fourth. N.A.S.T.Y. Boys/TPS of St. Louis and Central Paving/TPS of Decatur, Ill., tied for fifth. Armed Forces and Backstop tied for seventh. Jose Santiago had an on-base percentage of .840 for Chase. Tim Williamson batted .769, Bob Fisher .762, Chris Chilton .708 and Jason Fleming .704. Santiago now has played on three consecutive ASA Major championship teams. He played on the Bell II/Easton team from Tampa in 1996 and the Long Haul/TPS team from Minnesota in 1997. Brannon had 10 HRs, Santiago and Fisher 8 each. Shortstop Larry Sauceman batted .771 for Reece, while Ron Wilson had 9 homers and Keith Brady and Brian Justice 8 each. Moose White had 9 for Gasoline Heaven. Planet/New was the fourth-place finisher, winning five games in the losers bracket, including 25-23 over one of the co-favorites, Backstop/Easton of Aurora, Ind. Planet lost 44-33 to Gasoline Heaven in the first round, and finally was eliminated 49-37 by Reece. Planet catcher Vern Hensley led the tournament in home runs with 14. The batting champion was Phil Castellano of Armed Forces All-Stars. He was 23-for-27 for an .852 mark. Backstop was upset in the first round -- 37-35 by Armed Forces. The AF team then lost 32-31 to Central Paving, and was ousted 37-32 by N.A.S.T.Y. Boys of St. Louis. N.A.S.T.Y. lost in the first round to Chase (31-10), then won three in the losers bracket for a tie for fifth with Central Paving. N.A.S.T.Y. was eliminated by Reece (56-41). Planet ousted Central Paving 34-22. Watanabe/TPS of Cincinnati played three high-scoring games, winning 31-30 over Sid Grinker of Milwaukee before losing 37-21 to Chase and 38-32 to Planet. Armed Forces won one game in the losers bracket by 32-31 to the Hitmen of Traverse City, Mich. In another high-scoring game, the Hitmen lost 33-30 in the opening round to the host team -- Aldo's. The Stevens Point outfit then lost 32-11 to Reece and 22-9 to Backstop. Chase compiled plenty of big on-base numbers. The team mark was .742. Tim Williamson was 21-27 with 3 homers, Mark Weaver 12-15 with 7 homers, Kenny Carver 20-25 with 6 homers, Bob Fisher 16-21 with 8 homers, Paul Brannon 16-22 with 8 homers. Chris Chilton was 18-24 with 4 homers, Jason Fleming 20-for-28 with 3 homers, Kenny Ezzell 21-28 with 3 homers, Larry White 16-23 with 2 homers, pitcher Ed Hicks 14-21 with 2 homers and shortstop Randy Romaga 12-for-20 with 2 homers. Other pace-setters for Reece included shortstop Larry Sauceman with a .771 batting average, Keith Brady and pitcher Mark Webber each at .724 and Brian Justice at .688. Ron Wilson had 9 homers, Brady and Justice 8 each. Gasoline Heaven's Castellano got the biggest help from Andy Ahkao with a .786 average and pitcher Moose White with a .750 mark.


  • Herbís posted an undefeated record (5-0) to claim the title trophy in the NSA Class AA World Series Aug. 28-30 at the Indianapolis Sports & Fitness Center. Herbís outlasted Long Haul 56-54 in a second-round matchup, then ran into Long Haul again in the finals. The score this time was 44-27. In the first meeting, Herb's roared into a 29-3 lead, then had to survive a 22-run outburst by Long Haul in the bottom of the seventh. Herbís was a 58-57 winner over Reece/TPS of Lebanon, Tenn., in the winners bracket finals when Jeff Smith homered to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Reece then was eliminated 50-29 by Long Haul. The MVP selection was veteran Jamie Wisham of Herbís. He batted .828 (24-for-29). Jacques Millier of fourth-place Tiger/ChecKing/AirTransat, led in home runs with 17 (in 8 games). Herbís other pace-setters included Jon Meyers at .812, Dan Zenovka .774, P. J. Jones .760, Glenn Dolezal .742, Ed Starcher .727, Smith .710 and George Sampson .704. Smith and Don Copelan each had 9 homers, while teammates Dolezal, Starcher and Sampson each had 7. Wisham, Meyers and Zenovka each had 5 HRs in Herbís balanced attack. Long Haul leaders included Mike Brodzinski at .821, Rob Darhower at .800, Tim Magner at .795, Ted Larson at .765, Mike Stanley at .730 and Butch Smith at .724. Magner and Doug Johnson each had 8 homers, while Smith and Chaun Demars each had 7 and Stanley and Dan Houchin 6 each. Pete Roberts of Central Paving chalked up a remarkable average of 1.000. He was 20-for-20. Millier and Tiger teammate Dave Koser turned in .857 and .853 averages, respectively, while Joe Ambrose of Joe Blackís was at .842. Jan Moss of Central and Rick Jackson of N.A.S.T.Y. Boys were at .833. Brett Helmer, a Tiger pick-up from the Wessel/Hague team, totaled 15 home runs. Mike Lane of N.A.S.T.Y. had 12, Moss 11 and Brian Justice of Reece 10. Smith and Copelan of Herbís, Keith Brady of Reece and Dennis Turner of N.A.S.T.Y. each had 9 HRs. There were upsets aplenty. Chase was stunned with an 0-2 record. Chase lost first to a Class A team, K&G/TPS of North Vernon, Ind., 30-29, when K&G scored 13 runs in the bottom of the seventh. The other loss was 16-14 to Ultimate Sports, another Class A team from Indianapolis. Gar King, an Indiana native who plays regularly with Resmondo/Sod of Florida, won the game with a home run. JWM won one game, then was upset 40-32 by Central Paving and 30-29 by California rival RPM. Planet/New, fourth-place finisher in the ISA, was 1-2 too, losing 27-23 to Joe Blackís/Lattof/TPS of Chicago and 22-20 to a Class A team, Mercer Machine of Indianapolis. Backstop and N.A.S.T.Y. Boys, a surprising third in the ISA, each went 2-2 and wound up in a tie for 13th. Backstop lost to Reece 38-30, then was eliminated 53-31 by K&G. N.A.S.T.Y. lost to Long Haul 35-33, then was ousted 54-43 by Tiger. The "Boys" scored almost 200 runs in four games, winning one game by 63-25 in 4 innings and another by 54-33. Herbís and Tiger met in an early round, with Herbís winning 40-37. Herbís other win was over B&A of Cincinnati (43-13). B&A, a Class A team, drew a bye, then got a forfeit before upsetting Central Paving 35-30 on the strength of a 26-run top of the first. B&A tied for fifth with Joe Blackís. Tied for seventh were Gasoline Heaven and Central Paving. Tied for ninth were RPM, K&G, Mercer and Jett Door of Houston. Tís 13 of Nebraska and Galyanís of Indianapolis were in the group tied for 13th -- with Backstop and N.A.S.T.Y. Gilís Arizona Heat of Phoenix was another team that suffered an 0-2 fate. Gilís drew Backstop and lost 25-18, then ran into Tiger in the losers bracket and lost 31-10.RPM was eliminated 44-36 by Gasoline Heaven, which then was ousted by Tiger 25-20.


  • Chase won the ISA Class AA championship Sunday (Aug. 23) at the beautiful, new Diamond Plex park in Winter Haven, Fla., beating favored Wessel/Hague in two out of three meetings. Chuck Cavinessí team now has two ISA titles to its credit in 1998, having won the ISA Winter Nationals back in January in St. Petersburg, Fla. Jeff Hague was seeking his third ISA AA crown in four years, having won in 1995 and 1996. Chase won a winners bracket matchup vs. Wessel/Hague 36-19 as Jose Santiago had four homers and Jason Fleming three. Chase had a 13-run second inning and a 13-run sixth inning. A 2-run homer by Santiago enforced the run rule. Chase had two lopsided wins -- 34-3 in three innings over Reece and 38-2 over N.A.S.T.Y. Boys in three innings. Wessel forced an extra game with a 39-38 comeback win over Chase. A 2-runner with one out by Joe Foley won the game as Wessel rallied for nine runs in the bottom of the seventh. Chase then won the deciding game by 33-11 in five innings. Wessel had to play four games on Sunday, eliminating Planet/New/TPS 43-18 in three innings (Wessel scored 24 runs on 11 HRs in the first inning) and N.A.S.T.Y. Boys 37-18 in five innings. Chase's veteran shortstop Randy Romagna, who sparkled on defense as well as at the plate, was the MVP selection. He went 21-for-27 with seven home runs. Wesselís Tom White was the home run leader with 14 in 7 games on the 300-foot fences. He sizzled with 30-for-36. Wessel left fielder Dale Sensenig was named for the defensive award. Other leading hitters for Chase included Fleming at 26-31 with 11 homers, Santiago 24-29 with 7 homers, Kenny Carver 23-32 with 8 homers, Paul Brannon 21-30 with 8 homers, Tim Williamson 23-31 with 6 homers, Chris Chilton 22-29 and Larry White 21-26. Mark Weaver had a 5-for-5 game with a triple and three homers for 10 RBI in the final game. White and Brett Helmer had three big games on Sunday for Wessel. Each went 15-for-17 with 8 homers. Helmer wound up with 12 homers, while teammates Howie Krause and Tim Linson each had 11. Krause went 27-for-33, Linson 27-35 and Sensenig 23-for-32. Helmer had a tough Saturday and he was 1-for-3 in the last game, winding up 24-for-37, and seeing his on-base percentage skid to .772. He slipped from third to fifth on the OBA list. The veteran White sports a .792 OBA (Jeff Wallace of Team TPS is the pace-setter at .804) and has moved into the No. 6 slot in home runs with 156. White, Wallace and Helmer were teammates on the SoJern/TPS team out of New Jersey last season. N.A.S.T.Y. and Planet/New finishing third and fourth was quite a surprise. N.A.S.T.Y. moved through the winners bracket with a 24-9 win over Tiger/ChecKing, a 19-13 win over Long Haul and a 30-10, 4-inning win over Planet/New, which had won over Resmondo 19-4 and O&S 19-10. Planet eliminated Reece 51-45 . . . after trailing 38-14 going into the bottom of the third inning. Planet scored 22 runs in the bottom of the third. Long Haul and Reece tied for fifth. Long Haul eliminated Brandonís 8-4 and Minnesota rival O&S 27-11 in 5 innings before losing to Wessel 33-28 when Wessel broke loose for 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reece ousted Tiger 28-20 and Resmondo 35-20 in 5 innings. Chase was a 32-16 winner over Brandonís in an opening round matchup of North Carolina teams. Several Brandon's players were with Chase at the start of the season. ďI knew we had to put it together sooner or later,Ē Caviness said at the awards ceremony. Chase and Wessel are now 3-3 vs. each other this season. Eleven of the 12 entries here were ranked in the Supreme Softball Top 25. Wessel was sixth, Reece seventh, Chase 10th, O&S 11th, Long Haul 12th, Brandonís 14th, Resmondo 16th, Tiger 21st, N.A.S.T.Y. 22nd, Planet 23rd and Woerner tied for 25th. Woerner opened with a 30-19 win over Mizuno/DeMarini, then lost to Wessel 42-27 in 5 innings and Resmondo 38-28. O&S eliminated Mizuno 19-4 in 5 innings. Mizuno is a Florida team that won the state ISA and USSSA Class A titles. Roy Eppley, once one of the top hitters in the major ranks, is a member of the Mizuno/DeMarini team. The all-tournament team included Romagna, White, Chilton, Santiago, Williamson and Fleming of Chase, White, Krause, Linson and Foley of Wessel, plus Dennis Turner, Mike Lane and Rick Meyer of N.A.S.T.Y. Boys and Otis Barnes and Vern Hensley of Planet/New. Barnes went 19-for-23, while Hensley was 16-for-20 with 7 HRs. Meyers batted .656 and Lane and Turner .650 each.

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