Team Stucco/K&G/TPS wins the USSSA Class A Worlds. I’ve said in the last few softball reports that this team was the hottest team in the country. I can tell you now that this team is as good as any team playing right now. Team Stucco has got everything a team needs to win. This team is solid at every position, and has people who can come off the bench and get it done. This ball club is much different than last year’s USSSA Class A Champion. The “Stucco Boys” made a lot of changes from last year’s team. I said earlier that the addition of “Big” JC Phelps would put this team above the rest of the A teams, and it sure has. JC is hitting the ball just like he did when he was with some of the best teams ever to play this game. This team has one great infield in all positions, Genter at 3B, Maddox at SS, Blunt in the middle, Huff at 2B and Gulash at 1B. The key to this infield is the pitching of Johnny Dykes, who can pick it with the best of them. The Stucco outfield is as good as it gets. I can also tell you everyone of their players can flat out hit it. The “Stucco Boys” had to dig deep in the winners bracket game scoring 6 runs to win over Barnes Logging. They then had to overcome a 5 run deficit to win the championship game over AM Las Vegas. I can tell you if you’re going to win a championship you have to win games like this, and the Stucco Boys did just that. Congratulations on winning this great tournament.
This my friends is the first time that a Class A team has repeated as a Class A World Champion in USSSA history. I am checking to see if it has happened in any other association. I will report it when I find out. Second place went to AM Las Vegas/Reece/Belcher/Shade/Easton, who believe me played their butts off after losing their second game. I have said this team was caught in a trap, but the job they did in this one was unbelievable. This team was built to try and compete with the two big teams, and they’ve done pretty good at that. I can tell you that when this team entered this USSSA Class A World I knew it was going to be very difficult to win in this 8 homerun limit tournament. I’m here to tell you they did everything possible to try and win this tournament. They adjusted and hit it backside, hitting the gaps and hitting their homeruns with runners on base. I give them a lot of credit for adjusting to this game. This ball club battled through the brutal heat playing 8 games and came up just a little short in the first game of the championship. This was truly a great team effort for the boys from Las Vegas. Third place went to Barnes Logging/Worth, who just came up short of winning this one, I guarantee you. This Barnes team is a top flight Class A team, and are a class act from the sponsors and the players. This Worth team is solid in all phases of the game. They can hit it and they can pick it. They have one of the games best pitchers in Kurt Stafford, who has played on some of the games best teams over the years. Kurt pitched a terrific tournament for Barnes, and pitched every game. This was a total team effort, no doubt about it. Congratulations on a great tournament and good luck the rest of the way. Fourth place went to Berardi’s/TPS, who may have been a surprise to some people, but to me it wasn’t a surprise. I believe this is a very good A team who has a lot of talent and have proven it over the years. This team has the best young pitcher in the game. This young man works harder than any USSSA pitcher that I have seen in years. He is a lot like Greg Canaday, but does more antics than Greg used to do. This is one player that you’ll want to see pitch. You won’t believe how hard he works. I won’t tell you his name at this time. Great job boys and good luck.
I have been around softball for 43 years as a player, coach, manager, fan and reporter, and have seen more softball games and tournaments than probably anybody around the game today. I can tell you that this USSSA Class A Worlds was the most competitive, well run tournament I’ve ever seen. Last years USSSA Class A World was a great tournament, but not even close to this one, I guarantee you. The ball used was a .47 core .525 Dudley. This ball was as explosive as any I’ve seen in years. The ball flew in the heat of the day as well as the heat of the night. Some people thought it was a little too hot. I believe it was perfect for this 8 homerun limit tournament. This ball made these teams hit it backside, hit the gaps and hit homeruns with two or three guys on. Their were a lot of solos hit, but most of the solos were line drives just getting over the fence by inches. Here are some tidbits on the tournament; 1. There were 13 one run games played. 2. Four of the last six games were decided by one run I’m, it doesn’t get any better than this. Maybe the ball was a little too much, but I guarantee you anything less we would of not of seen all the close games played in this tournament. The ball kept the game close, as the teams had to hit it down and use their homeruns smart. I can say this, if they’re going to play this game on 300′ fields with homerun limits then use a hot ball so that these teams will have to hit it down to save their homeruns for the right time. This will make for a better game. I believe if you use the hot ball with the two big teams playing in 300′ field tournaments, it would not be good.
The only unlimited homerun tournament left is the Smoky, and I can tell you the players love it. They love to be able to swing the bats. I still believe that this game needs to play some tournaments on baseball fields using 80′ bases and unlimited homeruns. The manufacturers make the best equipment ever produced, and the players today to be able to use it at it’s fullest. This year the bats are as close as they have been in years. Louisville Slugger, Worth, Easton, Combat, Miken and Mizuno are the bats of choice. I can tell you they are very close in competition. I believe this year that the cheater bats have slowed down a whole lot, and hopefully these players will not use those bats anymore. I think of all the bats being just about the same it makes for a better game and will be a big part of stopping the cheater bats. I will end this report by saying I really enjoyed watching this incredible tournament. This is the way the game should be, close games and anyone of 7 or 8 teams having a chance to win. There is no reason that this game can not have NIT’s just like this World, getting the Top 15-12 A teams playing about 5 NIT’s and a World and have these type of games.
I want to commend Don Dedonatis and Rick Robertson for running this first Class A World Tournament. I can tell you that playing in the stadium at Disney is the way this game should be played. I’m here to tell you there’s no reason why we shouldn’t play in First Class stadiums in NIT’s and in the World Tournaments. I guarantee you this; the sponsors and players would rather play at places like Wide World of Sports every weekend. That my friends is the way this game should be, totally professional with class teams, class players and class fields and this game at the upper level will survive believe me.