Team TPS posted a 4-0 record without a serious threat to win the NSA World Series (Sept. 11-13) at the Burlington, N.C., baseball park, and snap out a “tailspin” that had been lingering since the third weekend in June. Team TPS was the preseason No. 1, but had skidded to fourth in the Supreme Softball Top 25 rankings. Lighthouse/Worth jumped into the top spot by winning the first two legs of the Grand Slam championship series — the ISA and the ASA Super. But Lighthouse was a 38-17, 5-inning victim of Team TPS, then Team TPS was a 42-17, 5-inning winner over fifth-ranked Steele’s/R&D/Reda. Meanwhile, second-ranked Sunbelt/Dan Smith, playing without Todd Joerling and Dan Schuck who had been released by owner Wayne Williamson, was romping to three wins that saw 100 runs in just 10 innings — 32-0 over Allison’s, 34-9 over Xtreme/Hinson/Worth and 34-14 over third-ranked Sierra/TPS. Team TPS, which released J.C. Phelps, won 26-22 over Sunbelt in the winners bracket finals, holding a 10-run lead going into the top of the seventh. Jeff Wallace and Rusty Bumgardner each had two home runs, Dewayne Nevitt, Doug Kissane, Randell Boone and Mike Shenk one each. Boone’s was a 3-runner to cap a 5-run fourth and Shenk’s a grand slam to climax a 7-run fifth inning as Team TPS built up a 25-13 lead. After Sunbelt scored 11 runs in the fourth inning en route to a 29-18 elimination of Steele’s, Team TPS socked Sunbelt 33-17 in the championship game, hitting four homers in an 11-run second inning. Team TPS had a 16-1 bulge going into the bottom of the third. Sunbelt pulled within 19-13, but drew a blank in the fifth and Team TPS iced it with 6 in the sixth and 6 in the seventh. Team TPS had 10 home runs. Todd Martin had two as he broke out of a slump with a 4-for-5 game. Shortstop Johnny Mello had two, plus a triple. Doug Roberson had two, including an inside-the-parker, plus two other hits. Kissane, Nevitt, Boone and Shenk each had one. Wallace, the MVP selection, had five hits, Bumgardner four. Kissane, Shenk and Brad Stiles also had triples. The field dimensions were 335-406-335. There were 326 home runs hit over the wall, 18 inside the park. That compares with 405 homers last year when Ritch’s-Superior/Tri-Gems/Beloli/TPS double-dipped Shen Valley/Taylor/TPS in the finals. Those two teams were merged for the 1998 season. The big yard led to a whopping 56 triples in the 22 games. Big Randy Kortokrax of Steele’s won the home run title with 13 in five games. He had 13 here last year too. The leader last year with Todd Joerling of Sunbelt with 16. Sunbelt’s Greg Harding had 12 homers this year, and teammates Jimmy and Tot Powers 10 each. Based on 20 at-bats, Sunbelt’s Jeff Hall led the batting average chart with .808. Brian Jeffers of Backstop/Easton went 13-for-15 for an .867 average. Team TPS had 49 homers in four games, Sunbelt 65 in six, Steele’s 58 in five and Lighthouse 56 in five. Sierra had 40 in four games. The Team TPS team batting average was .649, Sunbelt’s 636, Lighthouse .626 and Sierra .620. Brandon’s wound up in a tie for fifth, despite losing in the opening round to Lighthouse (25-8). Brandon’s won over Xtreme/Hinson/Worth 23-16 and Backstop 31-30 on a sac fly by Chris Graves before giving Steele’s a tussle before losing 50-29 when Steele’s scored 15 on 8 home runs in the fifth inning. Kortokrax went 7-for-7, with 6 HRs and 10 RBI for Steele’s. Steele’s totaled 20 HRs, Rod Hughes, Rob Schleede, Dennis Pierce, Dal Beggs and Jeff Ott two each. Amazingly, Steele’s drew 17 walks, including 9 in the second inning. That inning saw 19 straight balls. Brandon’s scored 13 runs in the top of the second, but Steele’s had 12 in the bottom half of the inning. Brandon’s had 10 runs in the fifth for a 28-22 lead. Eddie Foust was 4-for-4 with 2 homers, Mike Martin 5-for-5 and Chris Absher 4-for-5 with an inside the park homer. Slim Bryant had 2 homers, Graves, Chris Calcutt, Tracy Logan and Keith Roberts one each. Chase/Easton, winner of the ISA AA and ASA Major but 0-2 in the NSA AA, went 0-2 in this one, losing 27-26 in 8 innings to Herb’s/KCS/TPS, winner of the NSA AA, and 29-11 to Backstop. Herb’s lost to Steele’s 36-28, then won another 8-inning game, this one by 16-15 over Planet/New/TPS. Jeff Smith’s lone 2-run home run produced the winning runs vs. Chase and he got the winning hit vs. Planet. Rusty Hoke and Jon Meyers earlier homered in the 7-run top of the eighth vs. Chase. Smith earlier had a triple, homer and single. He also had two singles and a triple against Planet. Herb’s then was eliminated 26-2 by Lighthouse, and wound up in a tie for seventh with Backstop. Brandon’s 31-30 win over Backstop saw a 14-run fourth and a 12-run fifth after drawing blanks in the first two innings. Jerold Smith had a double, triple and homer, while Mike Martin had an inside the park homer. Eddie Foust had a 3-runner, Chris Calcutt a solo. Calcutt and Tracy Logan each had five hits, little Chris Beck and Slim Bryant four each. The winning run was set up by singles by Beck, Bryant and Calcutt. Sierra eliminated Lighthouse late Saturday night 42-38, regulating the LH crew to a tie for fifth place. Sierra scored 12 runs to seize a 42-32 lead in the top of the seventh. Pitcher Paul Drilling had a pair of 2-run homers. He also homered in the sixth and had two earlier singles. Darrell Beeler and Kerry Everett also homered in the seventh, while Jason Kendrick and Greg Cannedy each had two hits. Cannedy also had a hit in the 6-run sixth, and he wound up 6-for-6. Hank Garris, Larry Fredieu and Everett homered in the sixth. Everett had four in the game. Garris had two other 3-runners . . . for a total of 9 RBI. For Lighthouse, Scott Elliott had five hits, including 3 homers, Ricky Huggins had 3 homers and Dewayne Frizzell and Kirk Stafford two each. One of Frizzell’s was a grand slam. Dennis Mendoza had five hits and Carl Rose had a single, double, triple and homer. After the high-scoring wins, Steele’s was a 14-9 winner over Sierra in the first game on the final day’s slate. Sierra only two home runs — both by Beeler. Sierra managed only two runs over the last three innings. Garris was hitless in four trips to the plate. Steele’s socked five homers (Kortokrax, Hughes, Beggs, Ott and Keith Brockman). Rob Schleede contributed a triple as Steele’s made it 5-2 with a 4-run second. It was 7-4, 9-7 and 12-8 after the next three innings. Steele’s then was eliminated 29-18 by Sunbelt. Steele’s fell behind 21-9 when Sunbelt scored 11 runs in the fourth, then cut into the deficit with 8 runs in the top of the seventh. Sunbelt had six homers (two by Hall, one each by Harding, Hightower, Gilbert and McCraw) and three triples (by Dubose, Gilbert and Curtis Williams). Dubose was 4-for-4, plus a walk. Williams was 4-for-5. Kortokrax had three of Steele’s five HRs. Hughes and Ott also homered. Team TPS built up leads of 8-3, 18-11 and 25-13 in the first five innings in the 26-22 win over Sunbelt in the finals of the winners bracket. Sunbelt tried to rally with six in the top of the seventh. Team TPS had eight homers — by Bumgardner and Nevitt in the first, by Wallace in the second, by Kissane in the third, by Wallace and Boone (a 3-runner) in the fourth and by Shenk (a grand slam) in the fifth. Bumgardnder hit another homer in the sixth. Jimmy Powers and McCraw each had four hits in a losing effort. Powers had a homer, Harding, Hightower and Tot Powers two each. Sunbelt outhomered Team TPS 12-10, but was walloped 33-17 in the finale. Jimmy Powers had three, Hall, Harding, Hightower and McCraw two each. Tot Powers had one. Team TPS had five hits from Wallace, but no HRs. Martin had two homers among four hits, Bumgardner one among four hits. Doug Roberson also had four hits, including two homers, one an IP. Roberson totaled eight RBI. Johnny Mello had two homers, Kissane one (and a triple) and Nevitt, Boone and Shenk one each. Shenk, Mello and Stiles also tripled. Team TPS’ 5-inning run-rule 38-17 romp over Lighthouse saw the score by innings read like this: 7-8-8-6-9. Lighthouse was shocked . . . trailing 15-2, 23-3, 29-4 and 38-12. Wallace, Bumgardner and Shenk homered in the first. Boone had a long triple. Boone had a 3-run HR in the second. Mello also homered. Boone had another 3-runner in the third, and a 2-runner in the fourth. He was 4-for-4, plus a walk, for 9 RBI. Jobe, Roberson (twice), Kissane and Tom White, an added player from Wessel/Hague/SoJern/TPS, also homered. Wallace homered again. Wallace and Bumgardner each had five hits, Nevitt and Shenk four each. Wendell Rickard had three homers for Lighthouse, but he later had to sit out his team’s last three games with an elbow injury. Frizzell had three homers for the LH crew, Rose and Huggins two each. Lighthouse had five successive HRs in an 8-run third. Elliott, Davis and Stafford also homered. In fact, 14 of the 17 LH runs were home runs. The Team TPS 42-17, 4-inning romp over Steele’s saw a 16-run second and a 15-run fourth. Team TPS had 17 homers, including an IP. Kissane, who went 6-for-6, Nevitt and Boone each had three HRs. Mello had two, including a bases-loaded IP. Martin had a grand slam. Steele’s had a lot of HRs too — 10. One was an inside-the-parker by Ron Fields. David Hood had three, Lonnie Fox two. Sunbelt stunned Sierra with a 21-run, 10-HR third inning. McCraw had a slam and solo. Harding had two. J.Powers had two too, including a 3-runner. J.Powers, Harding, T.Powers and McCraw each wound up with three homers. Sunbelt had 16, including an IP by Harding. Hightower also had two HRs. On the other hand, the usually HR hitting Sierra club had only six. Garris had two of them. Howie Krause, an added player from Wessel/Hague, had six homers for Backstop, including three plus a double in the stunning 29-11 drubbing of Chase.
Jeff Wallace NSA Super World MVP.