32 of the top Nationwide Insurance Conference USSSA teams traveled to Kissimmee, Florida to play in the annual Hall of Fame Classic (HOF) Men’s Major slow pitch tournament this past weekend. The 4 days of softball consisted of two separate double elimination tournaments which were played at 8 fields at two different parks. The first was the Houston Astro’s spring training facility called Heritage Park and the primary field was the Osceola County Stadium with field dimensions of 330 down the lines, 390 to the gaps, and 410 to center field. For the most part the big winner’s bracket games were held at the Stadium or behind the stadium on baseball fields and the loser’s bracket was held over at Fortune Road softball complex.
Resmondo-Specialty Tank/Worth based out of Winterhaven, Florida went 6-0 to win the first dual event. Resmondo, the #1 ranked team in the nation coming into the tournament and defending Major World Series champions did not cruise to the title as Buzinisports.com/BWW/Worth (B), SBS/Combat (B), Taylormade/TM Sports/Mizuno (A), and Team 454/Emerald/Worth (A), all made Resmondo play 7 innings to beat them by a combined score of 76-52. In fact they needed a walk off home run by Howie Krause to beat SBS/Combat 16-14. In the winner’s final and championship though, Resmondo beat Laser Vision/Annihilation/Supreme/D2E/Easton (a major team) by a combined run total of 42-11.
The parity in the dual events was the best it has ever been, as the ‘C’ and ‘B’ teams competed toe to toe with the ‘A’ and even the Major teams and each other. The way this tournament played out any team could have beaten any other team. Lower level teams have a ton of talent that have been around the Major teams enough that they are no longer “in awe” of them.
In the second tournament, the “fresh” teams that played less games in tournament #1 came to the forefront. This charge was led by Nordkap/Desert Falls/Easton (Major) who went 6-0 to sweep the event. After finishing tied for 17th place in the first tournament they knocked off Demarini/Dirty/3N2/ATWLDesigns (B) 30-29 on a walk off flyball/single by Brett McCollum. Then in the championship game, Nordkap/Desert Falls came from behind to knock off Laser Vision 26-25 on a bases loaded single by J.D. Genter.
The real story of this second tournament were all the upsets. Shoppe/Team TPS/Elite and TYJA-Suncoast Reebok knocked off the mighty Resmondo. Demarini/Dirty/3N2/ATWLDesigns knocked off Laser Vision. Nordkap winning their second event of the year (Vegas). Resmondo pitcher Andy Purcell suffering a broken pinky that could keep him out 7 or 8 weeks. The heart that Laser Vision showed by winning 5 straight in the loser’s bracket after a long week of ball and nearly forcing an “if” game. TYJA-Suncoast Reebok still playing great ball into their 14th game of the long weekend. There was a lot of great ball, a lot of clutch performers, and a lot of good hustle out of some players that had nothing left in the tank.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!