I will begin this report on a sad note. Mike Turney has suffered a big setback, as he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Mike went through brain surgery this past week and he is battling for his life. I know the softball family is praying and hoping that Mike can fight his way back to a full recovery. I know one thing for sure, if Mike or his family is in need of anything the softball world will be there to help them. Let’s keep Mike and his family in our prayers. His brother has created a website for Mike to keep up with his updates. It’s www.miketurney.com. You can go there and sign in his guestbook.
This report is going to give you a rundown on the schedule for Bigtime Softball in 2007. The USSSA Conference is beginning it’s second season. April 20-22 is the opening weekend at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, FL, winter home of the Houston Astros. This is a first class facility with the stadium and four outside baseball diamonds. The dimensions are 340′, 390′, 410′, the perfect place to play bigtime softball. I expect about 28 of the 32 teams entered in the conference this season to be there. This should be one of the best of the year.
Week 2: April 27-29, Glen Burnie, MD – Is the setting for this USSSA Conference NIT. This one will be played on 300′ fields. I expect that there will be about 18-20 teams in this one.
Week 3: May 11-13, Euless, TX – Will be the site for this USSSA Conference NIT. I look for 25-30 teams entered in this one. This has been one of the better NIT’s the last few years.
Week 4: May 18-20, Columbus, IN – Is the site for this USSSA NIT. This is the second year in Columbus and I believe there will be about 16-20 teams entered in this one.
Week 5: May 25-27, Raleigh, NC – Will host this USSSA NIT. This is a new site for the USSSA and I think this will become one of the better places to hold a NIT., we will see. I look for about 16-20 teams the first year.
Week 6: June 1-3, Concorde, CA – The Mike Davis Memorial USSSA NIT. This has been a very good NIT for years. Dan Smith has been a great sponsor of this event. I look for about 24-28 teams in this one.
Week 7: June 8-10, Houston, TX – will be the site of this USSSA NIT. This is also a new place for the USSSA Conference. I believe this will be another great place for them to play. I look for a very big turnout for this one, we will see.
Week 8: June 15-17, Brooklyn Center, MN – Is the setting for this great USSSA NIT. This tournament ranks right at the top of the softball world. This is not just a softball tournament, it’s like a state fair event with great food, beer and lots of people from the first pitch to the last. Warren Bellm has been the host for a longtime and has made this what it is today, believe me. Forty teams will get it on starting Friday night, and it will finish about 5:00 pm on Sunday. This is one hell of a weekend. If you haven’t been there before, make plans to go. CLICK HERE (pdf file) to view teams entered.
Week 9: June 22-24, San Diego, Ca – Will host this USSSA NIT. This will be the first year and I’m not sure how this one will go. I believe this could be another great site. We will have to wait and see how this one turns out.
Week 10: June 29-July 1, Milwaukee, WI – This city has hosted a USSSA NIT for years and it has always got a bunch of teams. I look for about 16-20 teams for this one. There will be a lot of local teams entered.
Week 11: July 6-8, Little Rock, AR This is another one of those softball tournaments that is more than just softball. This is a beautiful setting with a gorgeous softball park. The food is awesome and lots of people all over the place. Clint Albright and his wife have ran a first class event for years, and now this is a USSSA NIT. This ranks right up at the top. If you haven’t ever been there, make plans to attend. You will love it, I guarantee.
Week 12: July 13-15 Maryville, TN – The grand daddy of them all “The Mighty Smoky”. I know this, win The Smoky and you have won the best tournament of the year. You may ask why, and I will tell you why. The top 32 teams in the country are entered. The winner will have to beat the best teams to get the win. This is the only NIT left in the game that it’s all you can hit homerun limit and they use 80′ bases. The main field is 320′, 350′, 350′, much better than the 300′ fields. This is the biggest drawing tournament in softball from Friday to Sunday. There are games played at five different sites around Maryville and lots of people at all fields. This became a USSSA NIT last year and I can tell you, both the USSSA, Joe Huff, Chris Clark and the Maryville Parks & Recreation Dept. are very happy to become partners, I guarantee you. This will be another Great Smoky, don’t miss it.
Week 13: July 20-22 Cincinnati, OH – I can tell you Jim Wessel ran this tournament last year and it was the biggest team turnout of the year, 42 teams. That my friends is getting it done. I look for the same this year. This is one of the nicest settings in all of softball. The ballpark is set in the middle of a scenic view of beautiful trees and it has a very nice restaurant and bar. Don’t miss this one.
Week 14: July 27-29 Federal Way, WA – This is one that gives a bunch of teams a chance to make the USSSA Worlds. There are some very good players and teams from the great northwest. There should be a pretty good turnout for this one.
Week 15: August 3-5 Sterling Heights, MI – They call this the Last Chance, and it sure could be for one of the teams to make it to Mickey Mouse World. This has always been a very good NIT for years. There is always a good turnout of teams and is usually a very exciting event. I want to wish all the teams who participate in these 15 NIT’s good luck in their endeavor to make it to Mickey Mouse World, and the greatest of them all the USSSA World Series.
This year I will post my Top 15 teams every week. I will post the rest of the teams in Honorable Mention. I will move teams into the Top 15, if warranted during the season. I will post the top 25 teams of the year at the end of the USSSA World Series. Bill Tassinari and I will post OB, HR and HRF each week. Please make sure you send your stats to Bill if you want to be included in this. If you don’t send them to him, you won’t get listed. The USSSA will post it’s stats from conference play each week I’m sure. The USSSA only counts their NIT’s for their stats. Bill will count stats for all USSSA NIT’s, the conference championship and the USSSA World Series. We will not count stats from any other tournaments period. I keep these official stats to keep up with the history stats of bigtime softball. The reason I will not keep the stats for Class A or AA Worlds is I do not believe it is fair to the players from the past or of today who only play Super NIT’s. There are other associations who allow super players to play in their Class A & AA Worlds, and that is why I’m not keeping those stats. I will post the other associations schedules and all the World Tournament schedules and dates at a later time.