OKLAHOMA CITY — Seven Amateur Softball Association (ASA) National Championships, including five in the Hooters Championship Series, were decided Saturday and early Sunday morning at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla. Teams taking home first place trophies are Tharaldson Enterprises (Men’s B), West Coast Dynasty (Men’s C), Virginia Select (Men’s D), Low Bob’s (Women’s C), PDX Softball (Women’s D), Long Haul Trucking (Men’s A) and Enough Said (Women’s Open).
Because of the predicted weather conditions for late Sunday morning when the Men’s A, Men’s D and Men’s C titles were scheduled to be decided, all games were played on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Play wrapped up at 1:15 a.m. local time.
Check out www.asasoftball.com/tournaments/hooterschampionships.asp for complete coverage of the event.
Men’s B Division
Tharaldson Enterprises is taking the Hooters Championship Series Men’s Class B National Championship trophy back to Fargo, N.D., after shutting out Checking/Worth 13-0 Saturday morning. It is the first time in the history of the tournament that the Western Champions have claimed the top spot in the nation.
“We knew we had a good team but we respect the opponent,” Coach Mark Riggs said. “We knew we were going to play a good team from Connecticut but we’re confident in our ability. We’ve been trying to this for several years now. Last year (we lost) and this year we got it going.”
On Friday, Tharaldson defeated Checking/Worth 18-8 in six innings then topped them again 8-7 for the advantage in the best of five series. The fourth and fifth games were not necessary for Tharaldson to take the championship, thanks the extraordinary efforts tournament MVP Chaun Demars.
“It’s always nice to win but it’s a little extra special when you can lock down an MVP trophy,” said Demars (Becker, Minn.), who went 7-for-9 from the plate with 12 RBI over the three games. “Those don’t happen very often.”
Demars started Saturday by hitting his sixth home run of the tournament — a two run blast in the bottom of the first. After Demars was intentionally walked in the third and fourth innings, he still made an impact for Tharaldson, scoring on a Jim Schlieman (Fargo, N.D.) sacrifice fly to centerfield and a Schlieman three RBI double.
First baseman Schlieman led Tharaldson on the day with three RBI.
But the greatest contributions to Tharaldson Enterprises may have been from someone on the bench — team sponsor Gary Tharaldson, who flew to Oklahoma City on Friday to support the team. “We did this for Gary,” Riggs said.
“I’ve coaching Gary Tharaldson’s team for 10 years now. I’m not just saying this because he’s our sponsor but he’s the best sponsor in the nation,” Riggs said. “At this level, we get unlimited support from Gary. He’s a softball fanatic. He loves ASA Softball.”
Men’s C Division
The Men’s Class C Division started Saturday with some drastic changes as the No. 1 seed into bracket play Softball Times (Lexington, Ky.) was disqualified from the tournament for the use of an illegal player. With the changes, eventual champion West Coast Dynasty (Colton, Calif.) entered the bracket at No. 1 with a bye in the first round as No. 2 Double Deez (Preston, Iowa) fell to No. 3 CSC/Gutterworks (Cookeville, Tenn.), 12 to 11, to start the day.
West Coast Dynasty opened up their first game on Saturday with a 16 to 4 thumping of CSC in five innings. Steven Lopez (Wilmington, Calif.) led the contest with five RBI going 3-for-3 with two home runs. Chris Boggs (San Diego, Calif.) recorded two triples with two RBI. Five other West Coast players each contributed two hits a piece while CSC was stumped with just nine hits. Brian Fogle (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led CSC going 2-for-2.
CSC then dropped down to play Double Deez in an elimination game and stayed alive with an exciting bottom of the seventh walk off RBI double. With a 13-13 tie and two outs in the bottom of the seventh, CSC’s Chris Stacy (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) earned a walk before Chad Ferrell (Manchester, Tenn.) ripped the game winning double to left field plating Stacy for the win to advance to the title game. Ferrell topped the stat sheet going 5-for-5 with four RBI in the contest.
The championship game was back and forth with a 7 to 6 CSC-lead after two innings, but a 13-run fourth inning for the West Coast Dynasty would eventually seal the championship title with a 21-9 defeat. From the pitching rubber, Masami Countryman (Oceanside, Calif.) earned the victory while six West Coast players earned multiple hits.
Lopez was named the Men’s Class C Most Valuable Player earning a .833 (15-for-18) batting average with a team leading 13 RBI and three home runs. The Dynasty completed the tournament with a 4-1 overall record outscoring opponents 64 to 29.
Men’s D Division
Virginia Select (Crozet, Va.) won the Men’s D Division in the Hooters Championship Series with a 10-9 victory over the LA Strokers. It was the third victory of the day for the Select, which beat the Strokers 11-0 in the morning and topped Victory Custom Athletics 11-9 in the evening, to advance to the championship.
With the Championship Game tied at five in the top of the sixth, Andy Shreve hit an RBI double to left center that scored Select pitcher JR Estes, who led off the inning with a double of his own, and the game broke open for the Select. Another two runs went on the board with a Brian Whetzel blast .
The Strokers trailed 10-7 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Codey Boutte, running for Bryan Roberts, scored on a Bourque sacrifice fly to right field. Eloy Cornejo hit an RBI double to right center that plated Blake Brown but it was not enough for the Duson, La., team to pull out the win.
After an impressive 4-for-4 performance with three RBI in the Championship Game, Estes of Stuart Draft, Va., was named the Men’s D Division MVP. He had 18 RBI on 15-for-21, hitting .714 over six games.
Women’s C Division
Despite dropping the Saturday morning game 12-11, Low Bob’s prevailed to win the Hooters Championship Series Women’s Class C National Championship over the Springfield Crush of Missouri. Low Bob’s won the Sunday nightcap 19-9 in five innings to secure the title three games to one.
“The Hooters Championship Series is a top of the line softball tournament that everyone wants to play in,” Low Bob’s Coach Ted Carter said. “That is what we set our goal towards in the beginning of the year. To come out here and play so well, I’m really proud of them. I just put them out there and let them do what they do.”
Patricia Wimsatt — who is called “Hammer” by her teammates because of her offensive attack — received the tournament MVP honors. In the Championship Game, she went 3-for-4 from the plate with four RBI. Wimsatt went 11-for-13 overall at the plate with five RBI for the tournament.
“I was shocked to be named the tournament MVP. I am totally shocked because we have so many good players who deserved to win this honor,” she said. “It’s my first time playing in the Hooters Championship Series so I’m really surprised. I’m very honored.”
Springfield came out dominant in the 6 p.m. game with a 9-5 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. But a walk plated a run for the team from Frankfort, Ky., and it was all downhill for Springfield from there as Low Bob’s went on to score another nine runs in the inning. Low Bob’s also scored four in the fifth to win in a run rule.
Springfield pushed the best of five series into four games with a 12-11 victory in the morning. Down 11-9 in the bottom of the seventh, Ashley Arbon singled through the left side to bring in Christal Beckner, who was walked, to lessen the deficit to two runs. Cristal Hoovens followed with a single to left field that plated Rhonda Thornton, who was also walked. An RBI single from Patty Trump secured the game.
But Springfield could not replicate the success in Game 4, although Jami Bauer did for 2-for-3 with four RBI.
“I don’t know how much longer I will have to play so to win the national championship today is great,” Wimsatt said. “No matter how or when I go out, I will always be an ASA National Champion. I’m very proud to say that.”
Women’s D Division
PDX Softball (Newberg, Ore.) captured the Women’s D Division in the Hooters Championship Series with a 12-7 win over BW3/K&G (Champion, Ohio) for the first Champion crowned of the tournament. PDX had an outstanding tournament, hitting .529 as a team with outfielder Erika Meier (Milwaukie, Ore.) earning MVP for her efforts.
“I don’t know if you heard about our Western National Finals but we had to play through the night so our championship game was at 5:30 in the morning as the sun was coming up in Oregon,” Coach Chris Gross said. “So it’s exciting to be here in Oklahoma City playing for the title. It’s the first time any of us have ever been here. To play on the Stadium Field where the Olympic Team has played is just priceless and it is even better to win.”
BW3/K&G proved it was here to play and would not go home without a fight as they took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. BW3/K&G held the lead through four innings increasing it to seven to PDX’s three runs. Highlighting the BW3 scoring drive were two doubles to lead off the first and third inning by Andrea Gibson and Carrie Playforth.
After scoring only three runs through the first four innings, PDX mounted their comeback in the fifth scoring nine runs off 10 hits to take a 12-7 lead. The team used seven singles and two doubles to pluck away at the lead which BW3/K&G was not able to come back against.
Meier was instrumental in the win with three RBI on 3-for-4 hitting.
“She’s one of those people that rose to the occasion of the tournament,” Gross said. “She hit extremely well with a base hit almost every time. Defensively, she made some really spectacular catches for us. She caught some tough hits that were tough to get a hold of. She did really, really well for us.”
Meier could have taken it easy in the tournament considering she only returned to the sport in the spring. “About seven months ago, I gave my dad my right kidney so my doctors didn’t know if I would get to play softball this year,” she said. “I started back up in April and I’m finally starting to play like myself. Both my dad and I feel great now.”
Her coach could not speak highly enough about her character on and off the field. “She’s a great person — the most positive person that you could ever imagine being around,” Gross said. “She’s just a great person. She’s a great player.”
Men's Class A
Long Haul Trucking of Lakeland, Minn., captured the 2009 ASA Men’s Class A Slow Pitch National Championship early Sunday morning (1:15 a.m.) at the ASA Hall of Fame Complex with an impressive offensive performance with a 39-14 victory against Fence Brokers of Bryant, Ark.
Long Haul pounded out 40 hits to only 15 for Fence Brokers in finishing the championship as the only undefeated team (4-0). Fence Brokers, which wasn’t picked as one of the teams favored to win the Class A championship, surprised many by winning four straight games in the losers bracket while finishing at 5-2 overall. Third place went to Chaney’s/WCS/Easton of Escondido, Calif. Which lost to Fence Brokers 20-15 in the losers bracket final, with TCP/Pipac/Easton of Burlington, Iowa taking fourth.
With rain in the forecast, the ASA rescheduled nine games and decided to finish the tournament on Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning. In its earlier games, Fence Brokers had gotten off to a fast start in going through the losers bracket to gain the championship game. In the championship game, however, it was Long Haul which got off to the fast start, jumping out to a 16-5 lead after two innings before settling the issue with eight runs in the third inning and 15 again in the fourth.
Fence Brokers never got on track against the Long Haul onslaught and for its players it had been a long, long day considering it played almost non-stop starting with its first game on Saturday at 4 p.m.. In that game they held off the Armed Forces, 18-17, after splitting its first two games. The championship game didn’t start until 12:10 a.m. and lasted just one hour and five minutes.
While Fencer Brokers were fighting their way through the losers bracket, Long Haul, meanwhile, was able to rest for about five hours after defeating Chaney’s 32-9 earlier on Saturday.
Geno Buck hurled all of the Long Haul wins and allowed 45 runs in walking away with the tournament’s MVP award.
Buck also batted fourth for Long Haul and had a three-for-five performance in the championship game including a two-run homer in the second. It was one of eight homers hit by Long Haul. Third baseman Mike Rhines and shortstop Brett McCollum had two homers apiece to lead Long Haul.
Fence Brokers hit seven softballs over the fence with Dennis Schrum leading the offense with a three-for-three performance.
Long Haul opened the tournament with a 24-2 win over CSI/JSA of Oklahoma City, then defeated Team Combat of Kent, Wash, WA, 29-18, in the semi-finals before run-ruling Chaney’s 32-9 in six innings to advance to the championship game. Long Haul used the big inning to its advantage in its earlier wins. Against Team Combat, for example, it held only a one-run lead, 18-17, before putting the game away with a 11-run sixth inning to take a 29-17 advantage going into the top of the seventh. Team Combat, however, didn’t answer and scored only one run in the seventh.
Against Chaney’s, it wasn’t one big inning but two big innings with 13 runs in the fifth and nine runs in the sixth inning. Until the two big innings, Chaney’s had stayed within striking distance and trailed only 10-8 through four innings.
But Chaney’s scored only once the last two innings and finished with only 11 hits compared to 33 for Long Haul. Long Haul took the ball out of the yard when it when it needed and finished with eight round trippers to only three for Chaney’s.
One of the game’s up and coming players, Long Haul shortstop McCollum of Lakeville, Ill. Continued to impress and went five-for-five against Chaney’s including hitting three homers to account for seven runs. McCollum has a rifle of an arm, the range and the power to play on the bigger ball fields and certainly is one of the most promising of the next generation of softball’s stars.
Chaney’s opened with a 26-11 win over Fence Brokers of Bryant, Ark. Before getting past TCP/Pipac/Easton of Burlington, Iowa, in one of the tourney’s lowest scoring games, 9-7, before getting shocked by Long Haul to drop into the losers bracket. Against TCP Chaney’s, they scored five in the third and twice each in the fifth and sixth innings to advance with Donovan Pokarka’s two-run homer in the sixth inning the margin of victory.
The ASA Men’s A All-Americans are: Infielders Andy Schiltz (TCP/Pipac/Easton), JD Genter (Long Haul), Kevin Bazat (Long Haul), Brett McCollum (Long Haul); Outfielders Brian Wegman (TCP), Raul Cardenas (Fence Brokers Inc./Gametimesupply.com/Worth), Reggie Schulte (Fence Brokers Inc./Gametimesupply.com/Worth), John Bailey (Chaney’s); Utility players Ralph Hogdon (Armed Forces), Jeremy Isenhower (Long Haul Trucking), Chris Larson (Long Haul), Joey Tautge (Fence Brokers Inc./Gametimesupply.com/Worth), Tim Bowser (Fence Brokers Inc./Gametimesupply.com/Worth); Catcher Brett Helmer (TCP/Pipac/Easton) and Pitcher Chaun Demars (Fence Brokers Inc./Gametimesupply.com/Worth).
Demars is the Home Run Champion. In a four way tie for Men’s Class A Batting Champion with an .800 average (12-for-15): Kevin Bazat (Long Haul), Brett McCollum (Long Haul), Ralph Hogdon (Armed Forces) and Andy Schiltz (TCP/Pipac/Easton).
Women’s Open Division
Throughout the four games Enough Said played in the Women’s Open Division, the team from Tallahassee, Fla., outscored opponents 84-18. Twenty-four of the runs came in the 24-6 Championship Game, which turned out to be unbeaten Enough Said’s second pounding of the United States Armed Forces.
“We appreciate the Armed Forces,” Enough Said Coach Ian Houston said. “They are a good softball team. We appreciate what they do for our country in terms of protecting our walls so no matter what the story is and what the outcome of the game is, we always hold them in our hearts and keep them in our prayers because they’re taking care of us.”
Enough Said also beat Armed Forces 13-4 earlier Saturday afternoon to advance to the final. On Friday, Enough Said topped Ft. Hood Ballers (Killeen, Texas) 28-1 in three innings and Iowa Aces (Urbandale, Iowa) 19-6 in five innings.
Armed Forces was within a few runs of the lead in the Championship Game until the fourth, an inning that saw Enough Said score 17 runs with a three run home run, a two run home run, an RBI single, a three run home run, an error, a two-RBI double, an RBI single, a three-run home run and another RBI single. The Armed Forces scored three runs, on a sacrifice fly and a two RBI single, but it was not enough to top Enough Said.
The 2009 ASA All-Americans are: Infielders Sabra Gamel (Armed Forces), Christan Dowling (Enough Said), Sirene Johnson (Enough Said) and Amber Barado (Anarchy); outfielders Cara Coughenour (Iowa Aces), Ruby Nugent (Enough Said), Karrie Warren (Armed Forces) and Misty Smith (Enough Said); utilities Erica Crossley (Anarchy), Crissy Hixson (Enough Said), Lindsey Smith (Iowa Aces), Candace Dugo (Armed Forces) and Brittany Sinwell (Iowa Aces); and catcher Tonja Russell (Enough Said).
Nugent also nabbed the MVP honor with her impressive 12-for-14 (.857) performance at the plate, which included four doubles. Over Enough Said’s four games, she had seven RBI and nine runs scored.
“She’s a young lady that I worked so hard with,” Houston said. “She played fact pitch in Tallahassee, Fla., at FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University). There was a transition period for her from fast pitch to slow pitch because it is a different game. Ruby and I just worked so hard together the past two years to make her the dominant player that she is today. She has really bloomed from the cocoon to a beautiful butterfly.”
Home Run Champions are Sirene Johnson and Misty Smith, who each hit .800 (12-for-15) in the tournament. Three players tied for the honor of Women’s Open Batting Champions: Christan Dowling (Enough Said), Sabra Gamel (Armed Forces) and Cara Coughenour (Iowa Aces).
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 83 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit http://www.asasoftball.com/.
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