Photo above: Mendez while capturing the men's doubles big ball world title and while playing at the last big ball nationals.
Herman Mendez, the former big ball World champion from 2003, and Irish 1-wall big ball champion in 2011, was defeated in three tough games by 1-wall small ball champion Tyree Bastidas.
Mr. Mendez wanted to repeat his feat in Ireland for the second time, but was surprised to find out that T. Bastidas also has great handball skills in the big ball game.
Perhaps Mr. Mendez underestimated Bastidas’ big ball game. Perhaps Mr. Mendez thought Bastidas didn’t stand a chance. Whatever the situation was, Mr. Mendez found himself in trouble from beginning to end. “Watch what I’m going to do to this guy” Mr. Mendez said to Robert Lee (Tyree’s friend), as he stepped on the court to face Tyree.
Last year, Mr. Mendez became the Irish one-wall big ball national champion where the best big ball players such as; Pee-Wee Castro, Giovanni Vazquez and other big ball stars competed for the honor.
Players shouldn’t take Mr. Mendez lightly. He has all the skills to be a champion at any national or international event. It just so happened that Bastidas was playing inspired after capturing the 1-wall small ball World title the previous day.
Photo above from left; Robert Lee and Tyree Bastidas.
Bastidas hasn’t missed much since winning his first World title in Edmonton when he was 15. He got a World title in Oregon, and two World titles in Dublin.
We’ll pause now to let you scratch your head one more time. On Sunday, October 17, Tyree went where no American has ever gone before. The New Yorker won a medal in the men’s open singles and a second medal in the men’s open doubles in a third straight Worlds Handball Championships.
T. Bastidas was born with skills, worked years to perfect them, and excelled under pressure. You know all the traits we admire in our greatest athletes.
As for actual athleticism, hitting a small ball out in the air isn’t quite like doing back flips on four-inch beam. But you try doing what Bastidas did in Ireland.
Above: Tyree reaches out to re-kill ball to the surprise of Tywan Cook.
Tyree Bastidas and Tywan Cook trail from New York, but the only difference is that Tyree is a specialist in 1-wall small ball while Tywan is a specialist in 1-wall big ball.
They met at the semifinals of the 1-wall big ball event for the first time in Dublin on October 21.
Bastidas had defeated former world champion Herman Mendez in three games in the quarterfinals while Cook had disposed of Wally Amaro from Pennsylvania in two games.
No one had expected Bastidas to reach this far, but the New Yorker wanted to prove that he also has skills and potential to take on the big ball handball world.
On the other hand, Mr. Cook has brought up his big ball game to new high levels this year.
Tyree and Tywan played the most intense and longest game of the big ball tournament as both players used up every point available. Tyree took the first game 21-20.
Tywan was forced to come back in the second game and barely beat Tyree in the tiebreaker. “I was done after the first game. I was too exhausted” Tyree said.
“I watched the finals among Tywan and Pee-wee, where Tywan won in two games to take the title. As he walked pass me, . Tywan told me, my match was the hardest, the longest and the most tiresome, as I was the only one to take him to the tiebreaker”
Congratulations to the new big ball world champion.
Above: Big ball wizard Andres Calle and small ball champion Tyree Bastidas.
We asked Tyree; what’s the best plan to become proficient in all handball versions?
“There are several ways to become skillful in all handball versions” Tyree says.
“But the two best ways to learn all handball versions are the following (with No. 1 being the best) as only 1-wall players have proven to be the best all-around players of the game.
Best way to be the best:
1. -) Handball players who start very young should start playing 1-wall first, then 4-wall and eventually 3-wall.
2. –) Handball players who start very young should start playing 4-wall, then 1-wall and eventually 3-wall.
Above:Tyree looks to put the ball away from Tywan during semis of big ball competition.
Above: Tyree (2012 world champion) and Joe (2009 world champion) pose during small ball competition.
Tyree Bastidas had no choice but to take the World title away from Joe Kaplan in Dublin Ireland. “Joe had won the title back in 2009 but ever since then, he hasn’t won’t anything to justify his win. I figure I take it from him and put it to good use” Tyree said.
Joe Kaplan takes the World championships very seriously and this is one of the main reasons he usually makes it to the championship match.
Joe started very strong in the first game. He was leading 12-0 when Bastidas came back to keep up with Joe’s game by getting the score to 17-15 in Joe’s favor, but the defending World champion ended it at 21-17.
The second game was all about Tyree as he wasn’t going to go down quietly. Bastidas had noticed that a big crowd had gathered around the court to cheer and support Joe. But for some estrange reasons the same crowd was not very supportive of Tyree’s comeback in the first game or while winning the second game. “I didn’t care if the crowd was cheering for Joe, but when they became loud and rude and making noises in the middle of my shots, it got me pissed off” Tyree said.
T. Bastidas won the second game by the same score, 21-17.
“The rowdy crowd was the reason for me to go all the way out in the tiebreaker. Tyree commented.
"Had the crowd not gotten me so angry. I would not have never given Joe a Donut."
The coin-toss was won by Joe, giving Joe the advantage to score first in the third game, but Tyree took him out at Joe’s first serve. Tyree scored four points in a row before Joe asked for a time-out. Bastidas continued to roll another four points before Joe called for another time-out. Joe regained the serve, only to be taken out right away. Tyree scored two more points (10-0) and immediately called for a time-out to the surprise of the audience. When Bastidas came back, he scored the final point to become the youngest player to ever win the men’s singles 1-wall small ball in the history of the world handball championships.