Team 454/Emerald/Worth won the 12th Annual Texas Legends Men’s Major NIT by going an incredible 8-1 and “double dipping” Nordkap/Desert Falls/Easton 19-18 and 32-17. Team 454 stumbled early when Conference ‘B’ team BuziniSports.com/BWW/Worth upset them 28-17 in the quarter finals of the 25 team tournament. In the loser’s bracket Team 454 rattled off 3 straight wins on Saturday night including an 11-5 defensive struggle against Resmondo. Then on Sunday starting at 8 AM Team 454 knocked off Team All Out/DaBomb/Miken, SBS/Combat, and Nordkap/Desert Falls twice to take the tournament title.
The tournament began on Friday night with the Houston based All Out/DaBomb/Miken team knocking off Resmondo 17-10 in front of a fair sized softball crowd. All Out won the game by getting out to an early lead, fielding the hard shot grounders, and by showing some great range in the outfield. As the wind blowing in from left field became stiffer, All Out adjusted their swings to hit to the right side while Resmondo continued to try and power the ball out of left to no avail. This is the first time any of us can remember Resmondo losing their first game of a Conference double elimination tournament. This was also the first time I believe they have been beaten by a non-conference ‘B’ team and the first ‘B’ team to beat Resmondo on a non-baseball field since 2008 when Columbus Pipe beat them in St Louis.
Then Sagnasty/Worth/Prototype beat Team All Out 25-16 and BuziniSports.com shocked Team 454. Meanwhile Nordkap/Desert Falls and SBS/Combat were cruising through their first 3 games each on their way to meeting in a memorable winner’s bracket championship game. In that game Nordkap/Desert Falls led big early looking to force another mercy rule win but SBS/Combat never gave up and pushed the game into the 7th inning tied 30-30. Nordkap batting in the top half of the 7th could only muster 1 run and SBS/Combat had two shots to win the game with a homer but came up empty in a devastating 31-30 loss.
Then Team 454 made their Sunday drive to the title winning 4 straight. The first game of the Championship was hard fought down to the end but low scoring as the wind kept the ball in the park. Nordkap came up in the top of the 7th needing just 1 run to tie. A great catch of a pop up in right field by Jesse Harrison, a hard grounder stab by pitcher Andy Vitcak, and a nice play by shortstop Kevin Bazat gave Team 454 a 1-2-3 7th and a 19-18 victory.
In the dreaded “if” game, Team 454 tried to give it away early with some ugly defense but grabbed the momentum when Rusty Bumgardner hit a grand slam homer to tie the game at 14. 454 went on a 26-3 run to end the game and won in the 6th by the mercy rule 32-17 to cap an incredible tournament
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