Sammy’s Pizza cooks up a win at USSSA Bebops 10,000 Lakes Classic
BLAINE, MINNESOTA— Team chemistry is the name of the game for the victors of the USSSA Bebops 10,000 Lakes Classic “E.” Sammy’s Pizza, based out of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, hoisted the tournament trophy at the Bebops Sports Complex in Blaine, MN, with a little help from their friendship, of course.
“Sammy's Pizza softball has played together for two years now, with a core of six or so guys that have played together for four years,” said Sammy’s Pizza head coach Ross Anderson. “We’re a young team with the majority of the guys under the age of 25.”
However, on tournament day, these friends tone down the laughing and the joking and focus on the only thing that matters for the weekend—putting their dusty fingerprints all over that tournament trophy.
Sammy’s earned a bye through the first round of the tournament, which allowed them to size up their competition—and it worked.
“We walked through the first two games of the weekend pretty easily,” said Anderson. “Going into the championship unbeaten, we were hitting the ball well and playing solid defensively.”
Walking through the first two games was a bit of an understatement as they dusted Judge Homes (St. Paul, MN) 17-10 and the hometown Team GRK (Blaine, MN) 22-15, and punched their ticket to the championship match where they would meet a familiar opponent.
Team GRK regrouped after a significant loss to the Brooklyn Center boys. However, an unexpected turn of events sent the 10,000 Lakes championship into overtime.
“We fell apart in the first game of the championship,” said Anderson. “Nothing was going right offensively or defensively. We kicked the ball around and couldn't get the bats going.”
A devastating 18-2 blow sent Sammy’s Pizza back to the kitchen to regroup, and what Team GRK was about to experience was something they didn’t even see coming.
“In game two of the championship, we got back to playing good ball,” said Anderson. “We absolutely crushed the ball around the park, and made the outstanding defensive plays to win our USSSA E World Series ‘West’ berth in Aurora, CO.”
Sammy’s Pizza notched another win to their belt, prevailing 19-4 and claiming the tournament victory while also earning seven all-tournament accolades, including the Tournament MVP Award and two Defensive MVP Awards.
“Throughout the weekend, we were led offensively by right-fielder and extra hitter—Tournament MVP Brett Miller,” said Anderson. “Defensively, we were led by Tournament Defensive MVP first basemen Brian Anderson. Our pitcher, Jim Carlson, kept walks to a minimum and forced hitters to keep the ball in the air for our outfielders Glen Linder, Joe Larson and Brock Smiley to make plays.”