2010 USHA National One-Wall Championships – Bastidas emerges from 1-wall upheaval – Juniors powerhouse graduates to Open title in upset- riddled event
Nationals coverage by Dan Flickstein; photos by Keith Thode
Upsets galore and injuries prevailed in the open singles at this year’s USHA National One-wall Championships. But in the end, a sterling young player not yet 20 walked off as the champion.
Joe Kaplan had to withdraw because of an inflamed right elbow.
John “Rookie” Wright, leading 19-10 in the first game on his quarterfinal match with Tyree Bastidas, had to default suddenly when his hamstring snapped.
Second-seeded Cesar Sala and Pee Wee Castro fell victim in tiebreakers to sensational young Saul Gonzalez, who played with remarkable poise and confidence. Castro earned six points in the third game against the relative newcomer, while Sala was shut out.
But the most shocking upset came at the hands of lefty Willie Polanco, known more for his brilliant doubles play than his singles exploits.
Polanco displayed fierceness and an unbending will to win against arguably the greatest singles player in the last 15 years. He eliminated defending champions Satish Jagnandan, one of one-wall’s greatest champions of all time, 21-17, 21-18 in the quarterfinals.
Yet one other upset occurred in the round of 16 when David Chapman, famed for his enduring, incredible four-wall skills, ousted fourth-seeded Billy O’Donnell, who advanced to the semifinals last year.
Chapman has without question becomes a fine one-waller, as his 21-4, 21-3 first-round victory over Victor LoPierre proved. But his win over O’Donnell was truly fabulous.
Taking the first game by a single point, Chapman earned but seven points in Game 2. When he realized the second game had gotten away from him, he intelligently reserved all his energy for the tiebreaker.
The strategy worked. Chapman advanced to the quarters 11-7. In that round he faced multiple-time champion Robert Sostre. Amassing an 18-2 first game lead, Chapman appeared invincible.
With a variety of serves and superb defense, he seemed to have convinced everyone except Sostre that he owned game 1. But Sostre worked to reduce the insurmountable lead until he had achieved one of the most amazing come-backs in one-wall history. It was Sostre who struck the first 21st point for the first-game victory.
What is especially remarkable about that win is that Sostre is not possessed of an ace-making serve. He has to earn all his points though rallies and kills. He added a 21-13 second-game triumph and moved to the semis.
A disappointed Chapman disparaged his own inadequate one-wall skills. But Chapman has proved himself a worthy opponent for any one-waller. Without a doubt, he has become a force in yet another aspect of handball.
Earlier matches in the division were of considerable merit. Fifty-five year-old Joe Durso lost in the opening round to Mike Schneider. After trading 21-18 scores, Durso winning Game 2, Schneider held the “Great One” to three points in the tiebreaker.
Schneider then went on to lose to Wright, falling 8-21, 21-20, 11-10 in the round of 16.
Also in that round, Joshua Garcia surprised Bastidas with a 21-18 first-game victory before Bastidas turned the tide with 21-14, 11-0 scores.
So the semis were set. Veterans Polanco and Sostre would oppose one another in the top half of the draw, and the younger men, Bastidas and Gonzalez, would square off in the lower half.
The Polanco-Sostre match was intense. Sostre seemed focused on every point, but he was unable to overcome the determination of the current doubles champion.
Battling with every once of strength he possesses, Polanco earned two consecutive victories 21-18, 21-14.
In the other semi, Bastidas – still just 19, renowned for winning just about every junior tournament in sight and a semifinalist in last year’s national one-wall- was edged by Gonzalez 21-19 in Game 1.
Gonzales was hoping to pull off his third upset in a row. And he nearly did. But with the crow holding its breath, Bastidas reversed the scored in Game 2, holding Gonzalez to 19.
The tiebreaker was the end of the Gonzalez juggernaut, as Bastidas decisively ended his run with a crushing 11-2 victory.
Gonzalez is now a tested and proven one-wall star who will surely continue to be a winner for years to come.
The championship match looked promising. Last year Bastidas had brashly predicted that he would win the national singles championships. But in the semis he had to run into a more seasoned and focused Jagnandan and was eliminated in two games 21-19, 21-14.
This year Jagnandan had been eliminated. But could Bastidas, at such a young age, out duel Polanco, who was playing the best singles of his life at the highest level of tournament competition?
At the completion of the championship match, Bastidas proved that he had arrived. With a 21-8, 21-11 rout of Polanco, Bastidas had the crowd buzzing, comparing him to the likes of Jagnandan and Oscar Obert because of his incredible two-handed aggression.
The greatest junior ever had reached manhood as the 2010 national one-wall singles champion. Seemingly he has become the new standard-bearer of the one-wall singles world.
Above from left: Tyree Bastidas chasing the ball as Willie Polanco looks for an angle shot.
Picture courtesy of Bill Fand
We Latinos have much to celebrate, and much to be proud of! We have influenced America’s pop culture, music, dance, food, sports and more…. Adding passion and energy to all we do. We value our family and friends and treasure staying connected by playing the sport we loved the most “Handball, The Perfect Game”.
The yearly celebration of Latino stories, culture and contributions to American society end Friday, October 15.
The national observation begins September 15 every year.
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the observation to an entire month. It was enacted into law on August 17,1988.
It is not surprise to find out that the best handball players and most of the youngest USHA champions are of Hispanic heritage. They captured all three handball versions at the Open national level.
In 1990, Vince Munoz captured the USHA National Three-Wall Open Championship, in spite the fact he was the youngest player to participate at the Open level. After the final, Munoz 20 said, “It feels great to be the youngest ever to win it.”
In 1992, Octavio Silveyra, a 20-year-old player from California, captured the USHA National Four-Wall Open Championship, in spite the fact he was the second youngest player to participate at the Open level.
In 2010 Tyree Bastidas, a 19-year-old player from New York captured the USHA National One-Wall Open Championship, in spite the fact he was the second youngest player to participate at the Open level.
Among other national champions who have brought pride and recognition to the Hispanic community are:
Naty Alvarado, Poncho Monreal, Marcos Chavez, Naty Alvarado Jr, Richard Lopez, Eddie Chapa, Al Torres, Richard Valenzuela, Jaime Paredes, Dave Rojas, Ruben Gonzalez, Ed Maisonet, Robert Sostre, Cesar Sala, Yuber Castro, W. Polanco, etc, etc, etc…..