Written by Anthony Bronson
“We have played in 17 tournaments this year,” said Cheba Hut team manager Geno Chavez. “We are a regular USSSA team and 15 of the tourneys we have played in were USSSA tournaments. We have only made appearances in two NSA tournaments this year.”
Cheba Hut Shows Off Their Skilz in NSA Brett Helmer MemorialAVONDALE, ARIZONA—With a team that sounds like something straight out of a Star Wars movie, Cheba Hut (Chandler, AZ) has made little appearances in the NSA, but has left a huge impression.
Splashing onto the NSA stage, Cheba Hut tallied their fifth tournament win of this year at the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” NSA/Easton Memorial Classic, however this is not their first win in the NSA this year.
“We won another NSA ‘Real Skilz’ tournament two weeks ago,” said Chavez. “We went 6-0 in a really strong bracket and won the championship with a 24-14 win in the final game.”
Batting 1.000 in NSA slowpitch tournaments so far this year, Cheba Hut faced an equally fierce field to fight through in the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” memorial. As the top-seeded team in the tournament, they were able to sit back and watch some of their competition because of their first round bye.
Suiting up for their first game against unranked Wa-Cha (Cashion, AZ), Cheba Hut kept one goal in the back of their mind.
“We just wanted to play exceptionally solid defense and keep up a high team batting average for the tournament,” said Chavez. “Our confidence level has been very high for every player because of our recent NSA victory in the same kind of tournament.”
The boys from Chandler were meeting their tournament goals in the very first game with a violent 21-0 shutout beat down of Wa-Cha, making a statement for the rest of the tournament.
“Matthew Chilton is a key player in most of our games with his fierce knuckle ball and excellent defense up the middle,” said Chavez. “He is also one of our top three hitters in batting averages and that really helped us get the tournament off on the right foot.”
With an early statement made, Cheba Hut faced little resistance on their road to the championship game. They knocked down G-Squad (Glendale, AZ) in a 19-4 victory and Latinos (Phoenix, AZ) 17-10 to punch their ticket to the championship match.
“We prevailed over every team fairly easily up until the championship game,” said Chavez. “Although the further we advanced in the bracket, the smaller our margin of victory became. It forced all of us to step it up every game.”
Cheba Hut’s clash with Softball Junkies (Phoenix, AZ) was a jockey for position the entire game.
“No team was really in control during this game,” said Chavez. “We kept going back and forth with lead changes and ended up tying the game at 10 and going into extra innings.”
Softball Junkies made the first strike in extra innings, scoring two runs and putting them up 12-10. To fans, it looked as if Cheba Hut’s fate had been sealed.
“Keith Benjamin and myself were able to get on base and Zach Cortier drove me in set us up to take the win,” said Chavez. “Then Justin Gill had a walk-off hit up the middle, which drove in two runs and secured the victory for us.”
With the nail-biter win, Cheba Hut took first place in the Brett Helmer “Real Skilz” NSA/Easton Memorial Classic along with 12 new Easton bats, which will aid them in USSSA Worlds competition.
“We plan on playing in the NSA D Worlds West in Las Vegas in August, USSSA E Worlds West in Denver and USSSA D Worlds in Orlando the following week,” said Chavez.