MB X-Man (Birmingham, AL)

(Note about the photo: Scott had to bail early, but his dad was eager to take his place in the traditional SoMoCo “kissing of the balls” photo.)

Champion: Jason Salmon
Runner-Up: Kevin Singleton
Third Place: Scott Salmon
# of Players: 70 Results/Bracket (PDF)

Write-up by Sean Dameron

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started planning this, but I wanted to do two things:  raise $ and awareness for the Bright House Foundation, and introduce people to Monkeyball.  First goal, check.  The generous Monkeyballers donated over $1,700 to the Bright House Foundation.  Goal number two, check.  We had 70 players, with over 30 rookies tossing the ropes for the first time!

MORNING SESSION

Bracket A

#1 seed Jason Salmon and #2 seed Jill Salmon continued their consistent performances finishing 1 and 2 in Bracket A.  Unfortunately, Missy Dameron continued her recent MB slump going 0-2 barbeque.  She lost a close one 15-13 to rookie Matt Dover, and her 2nd match to rookie Joey Whitehurst, even though Joey’s “friends” were cheering her on!  She did an amazing job, however, in keeping the event running smoothly.  Thanks, Mis!  Rookie Brantley Walker lost her first match, but went on a run with four-straight victories before losing to High Fly coach Todd Bragan.  Todd had an impressive performance, making it to the afternoon session in his first sanctioned Monkeyball tourney.  Tony Kurre, co-founder of the Bright House Foundation & Monkeyball rookie, was the story of the day.  He went 2-2 in the morning session, and was the #4 seed coming out of the bracket.  More on TK later…

Bracket B

#1 and #2 seeds, Sean Dameron & Michelle Salmon, made it through to the afternoon going 1 & 2, but the real story of Bracket B was 9-year-old Caleb Long who got hot and made it all the way to the Afternoon.  Caleb was 1-1 his first two matches, then he won the next three matches to secure a #4 seed in the afternoon.  Rookie Jason Edwards came out of nowhere and went 5-1 to secure the #3 seed in the afternoon.  Jason and Caleb will be tough to deal with in future MB events!  Newcomer Marty Vandernoot went 2-2 on the day and missed the afternoon session, but had the coolest name of the tournament.  Carol and Janet Patterson made the trip over from New Orleans, and both went 0-2.  They made up for it by winning multiple door prizes!

Bracket C

#13 ranked Kevin Singleton took care of Bracket C by going 4-0.  New Orleans native and #2 seed, Judd Patterson, didn’t start off strong, but got hot late winning four-in-a-row to lock up the #3 seed into the afternoon.  Jon Geisen had a heckuva day going 3-1 in the morning session to wrap up the #2 afternoon seed.  Rookie Brian Harper looked sharp in his first MB event, going 4-2 in the morning to secure the #4 afternoon seed.  Amy Bragan, co-owner of High Fly Cheer Center, played well in her first sanctioned MB tournament, and just missed the afternoon.  Thanks for allowing us to use your wonderful gym!!  Brad Morgan started off strong winning his first two matches (and numerous door prizes!), but just missed the afternoon.  Blake Labrato, another first-timer, went 2-2 for the day, but has caught MB fever already.  (Rumor has it he’s already made his own set of ladders and ropes!)

Bracket D

Bracket D had its share of rookies, but Steve Sebastian’s performance deserves mention.  When he registered that morning, he paid for his daughter, Caitlyn Sebastian and her boyfriend, Nathan McWain, too.  He told me he’d never played before, but he was going to school them.  His bold prediction came true, and he just barely missed the afternoon session.  He started out going 1-1, but then put up four-straight victories through the loser’s bracket.  In his final game (which would have put him in the afternoon session), he got put out by 3rd place finisher Scott Salmon in a squeaker, 16-14.

Bill Mills, the moustache of Monkeyball, played well in his first 2 matches, topping rookies Brandon Harper & Kathy Love.  He narrowly missed the afternoon after losses to #1 seed Chuck Salmon, and Stephen Stepkoski.  Stephen put together quite an amazing performance wrapping up the #4 afternoon seed, all with a freshly separated shoulder!

AFTERNOON SESSION

TIDBITS:  9 of the 16 Morning seeds made the afternoon.  (6 of those 9 made the quarterfinals, 3 of the 6 made the semis, and 2 #1 seeds made the finals.)  Experience won out…all of the #1 & #2 morning seeds made the afternoon, only 1 #3 seed made it, and none of the #4 seeds made the afternoon.  70 players & 156 games played.

The afternoon session is really what MB is all about.  Best 2-out-of-3, mano y mano, knockdown drag-out…a real beat-down until we crown a champ.  MBXman did not disappoint.

The afternoon sessions were a family affair for the Salmons.  #2 world-ranked Jason Salmon didn’t feel sorry for Stephen Stepkoski and his separated shoulder, and knocked him off in two games.  Younger brother Scott Salmon took on his mother, Jill Salmon, who has been tearing it up lately in local Monkeyball events.  Scott was on fire today, and knocked out Mama Salmon 15-3, 15-5.  Michelle Salmon, Scott’s wife, took on cousin-in-law Judd Patterson.  Judd made quick work of SoMoCo tourney winner, Michelle, advancing to the quarterfinals to face cousin, Jason Salmon.   We can’t forget Chuck Salmon!  He also advanced to the quarters by knocking off High Fly Cheer owner Todd Bragan.  Todd took the first game 15-6, but Chuck’s experience won out as he won the final two games to advance.

In other non-Salmon afternoon action, #8 ranked Sean Dameron took on newcomer Brian Harper, winning a friendly match 15-5 & 15-6.  #13 ranked Kevin Singleton took on the 9-year old prodigy, Caleb Long.  Caleb put up some points and had an impressive performance, but Kevin advanced winning both games.  Jon Geisen stayed hot as he took on MB rookie, Jason Edwards, and he advanced winning both games.  In the final sweet 16 match-up, rookie Tony Kurre took on Brody Black.  During warm-ups before the tourney started, I told Tony that there was always a rookie that showed up and dominated.  Neither of us knew that it would be him!  Tony and Brody battled and split the two first games.  Tony got hot and won the 3rd game 15-0 to advance.

QUARTERFINALS

In a match of #1 seeds, Kevin Singleton took on Chuck Salmon.  Kevin played well, and advanced to the final four winning 15-3, 15-2.  Scott Salmon took on Sean Dameron and continued his run with two straight wins.  Tony Kurre’s hot streak kept blazing on as he beat Jon Geisen to set up his final four match against World Championship runner-up, Jason Salmon.  Salmon advanced after taking out his cousin, Judd Patterson, in a three-game battle.  Jason took the first game 15-0, and Judd followed that up with a 15-0 victory of his own.  Jason was focused all day channeling the New Orleans Saints motto to “Finish Strong,” and he did that by finishing Judd off 15-1 in game three to advance to the final four.

SEMIFINALS

The final four gave us three top 25 players and one rookie.  Scott Salmon first took on Kevin Singleton for a trip to the finals.  Scott played well in the morning and afternoon, as he took out his mom, and #8 ranked Sean Dameron, but Kevin was on a roll and won his second match in a row by the score of 15-3, 15-2.  Jason Salmon and Tony Kurre were up next in the other semi-final.  Tony took the MB world by storm, but Jason isn’t ranked #2 in the world for no reason.  His consistency pushed him on to the finals, and he put an end to TK’s title hopes, winning 15-7, 15-1.  Scott and TK played a one-game match for the bronze Monkeyballs.  Tony had made quite an impression on the MB world, but his luck for the day would run out against Scott.  His baby girl needed to be fed, so he didn’t waste any time.  Scott quickly put up 15 points and the win to claim 3rd place on the day.

FINALS

The finals gave us two #1 seeds and they put on a show.  Jason was in the finals of a major MB tourney for the second time in a row, and I’m sure that he didn’t want to repeat his 2nd place finish at MB5.  Kevin consistently goes deep in SoMoCo tourneys, and has several titles to his credit.  The final match-up was a real barn-burner with two back-and-forth games.  Kevin gutted out a 16-14 victory in the first game.  Jason was still thinking about “Finishing Strong,” and won game two 15-13 to push the match to a third and final game for all the marbles and the coveted Golden Monkeyballs.  Jason jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in game 3, before Kevin cut it to 7-4.  They both were filling up the racks, but Jason’s tough to beat when he gets on a roll.  He continued to put on the pressure going up 14-6.  In the last rack, Jason put a rope on each bar to seal the victory!

Bill Mills said it best, when he said that the Salmons are like the Mannings of Monkeyball.  Five of the Sweet 16 afternoon qualifiers were Salmons, with Scott finishing third and Jason taking home the championship.  Way to go, Salmon family!

Thanks again to Todd & Amy Bragan for allowing us to use their gym, High Fly Cheer Center!  We had a lot of fun, and raised a lot of money for the Bright House Foundation.  Plans are already underway for next year’s event, and it appears that we’ve caught the attention of quite a few northern Monkeyballers, so hopefully we’ll see a big group come down for MBX2!

See you next February!

Below: Video from game three of the championship match. Kevin (blue shirt) won game one 16-14, Jason (black shirt) won game two 15-13.



Comments

  1. Dean Allen says:

    Is that an un-sanctioned monkeyball ladder far right in the picture? Frush? L

  2. Andy Frushour says:

    I believe so, but I was just happy they were able to pull together 12 sets for their tournament. When are you going to host an event?

  3. Those were used because SOFA left his at home. We didn’t measure them, but they were hidious because they were Orange & Blue (Auburn Colors).

  4. sean dameron says:

    The ladders were legit, only difference was that they were painted.
    See the official rules regarding equipment, with no mention of paint being an obstruction:

    “3.0 Trees. Trees are placed 30 feet apart (from horizontal bar to horizontal bar). Limbs are
    2 feet wide. The 3-Limb is one foot off the ground, with the other scoring Limbs also
    separated by one foot. Trees are constructed with 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC.
    3.0.1 Additional items may be attached to the Tree including beer holders, Web
    streaming video equipment and stickers. When attached, these items become
    part of the Tree and are not considered an obstruction. Play the Monkeyballs as
    they hang.”

    Dean & Andy, you could have inspected them in person if you’d made the trip… :)

  5. Chuck Salmon says:

    Dean,

    Instead of being critical try to be positive. IT WAS FOR CHARITY!!!!!

    You can always tell when “Cabin fever” is beginning to set in for our Northern brothers.

  6. Missy Dameron says:

    and we were able to raise over $1500!!! So glad everyone came and now Sean can think about something else (maybe!) :) It was so fun, we can’t wait to do it again next year!

  7. Andy Frushour says:

    Dean, Renner, Osters, Fuller, Hagen, Morrow, Casey, Kidles, Alexander, Dre and others — looks like we’ve got a road trip to make next February.

  8. Andy Frushour says:

    Missy: I know from experience, Sean will think about something else for the next month or so, and then he’ll start thinking about MB X-Man 2011. In the meantime, I’m sure he’s already mentally prepping for MB6.

  9. Dren says:

    When I was just getting back to the station at 4:30 this AM I was really kicking myself for not heading south. Great job and well done.

  10. sean dameron says:

    Andy- i’m already making mental notes about how to improve MBX2, and i’ve been thinking about MB6 since the trip home from MB5!

    Dren- sorry you missed it, but i’ll have a spot for you at MBX2 next february!

  11. Andi Osters says:

    I might be game for a road trip. This tourney looks legit. I would require lodging and malt liquor.

  12. sean dameron says:

    andi-

    i’d love to see you make the trip next year. i could find you a place to stay easily, and i’m sure i could find you a colt 45, too!

  13. Keith Hagen says:

    The real question is whether someone from south of Indiana can win the big one? April 24th will be a blood bath.

  14. Jason Salmon says:

    Keep Chuck T at home, and perhaps a Southerner will have a chance at Worlds!

  15. Dan Kidle says:

    I’ll be waiting in Indy with my monkeyballs packed next Feb – just pick me up on your way Frush.

  16. Dean Allen says:

    Salmon,

    I was just watching you on you-tube and your form and delivery are earily similar to mine. The look down, the release, the follow through and hold. Looks like the SOMOCO patterns everything after the Northern bunch, logo, swing styles, excessive drinking habits!

    Singleton even likes to hold the balls in the left hand while throwing, ala the 3 time champ!

  17. Jason Salmon says:

    Dean…

    I knew you would be watching, which is why I requested it to be be posted. Form may be the same (not sure it is); the results are quite different.

    Logo…yes, definitely swiped, but with a SoMoCo flair (mullet).

    Excessive drinking…try to emulate the good stuff about the North.

    Singleton holding balls…enough said!

  18. Salmon,

    If I recall correctly we have met 3 times in the finals and I am 2-1 against you so enough of the ball holding comments.

    Dean,

    I have been watching that “game film” like Nick Saban watches film of recruits. I need to relax more and take my time and maybe, just maybe I can be victorious at MB6, 7, 8……..

  19. Missy Dameron says:

    jason doesn’t throw his ropes when he loses.(at a charity event)

  20. Smarty Pants I threw the last ones because there was no way to score enough to win…..have seen many players do that during other tournaments. It’s not like I slung them across the gym….Geez. Anyone else want to jump aboard the Salmon/Dameron gang up on Kevin train?

    Remember: Don’t dish if you can’t handle the return.

  21. Andy Frushour says:

    Hey now – let’s all play nice. What Kevin did was fine. The last throw didn’t matter so he did a little overhead toss. No big deal. It was not unsportsmanlike and there was no malice intended.

    Ok, you can now go ahead and continue the trash talk…

  22. Thanks for the approval and nudge commish. I have to apologize to Missy. She is like a sister and I don’t want her to take anything as malicious or mean. I should take my beating like a man even if it is for charity. All Hail King Jason!

  23. Jason Salmon says:

    I knew you would come around. FYI…the first 2 times you “beat” me, consider that charity.

  24. I’m like Les Miles, I will take a lucky or charitable win over a loss any day. I am quite certain we aren’t done facing each other so we’ll see what happens.

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