23 of the top Conference USSSA teams traveled to Kissimmee, Florida to kick off the season, in the annual Hall of Fame Classic (HOF) Men’s Major slow pitch tournament April 14th – 17th. The 4 days of smash mouth softball consisted of two separate double elimination tournaments which were played across two different parks. The first was the Houston Astros’ spring training facility called Heritage Park and the primary field was the Osceola County Stadium with field dimensions of 330 feet down the lines, 390 to the gaps, and 410 to center field.
GTL Cartel/DeMarini based out of the Seattle, Washington area battled Resmondo-Specialty Tank-Worth based out of Winter Haven, Florida for the championship of both tournaments. These two ‘Major’ classified teams split the tournament championships one each as GTL went an undefeated 5-0 to win the first tournament which started Thursday afternoon and concluded late Friday night. GTL was the USSSA Men’s ‘A’ division 2010 World Champions and has moved up to the Major division this year. They knocked off the favorite Resmondo by a score of 29-21.
GTL was led by tournament MVP pitcher Geno Buck who had an on base percentage of .680 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI and shortstop Anthony Dress who was awarded the Defensive Player of the Tournament award and chipped in with a .619 onbase percentage.
Resmondo came back and won the second tournament which started Saturday morning and ended Sunday afternoon, after GTL forced them into the “if” game. Resmondo won the “if” game impressively by the 15 run “mercy” rule 24-8. GTL had forced this showdown after losing early Saturday morning and then won an amazing 8 straight in the loser’s bracket to make it back to the championship game.
Resmondo was paced by tournament MVP middle infielder Bryson Baker who was on base 25-30 (.833) with 9 home runs and 22 RBI.
The tournament featured a little bit of everything including near perfect weather, major upsets, long bombs, and even a little bench clearing fight between GTL and Combat/Laser Vision.
The surprise team of the weekend was Midwest Swing/ Miken, a second year Conference ‘B’ team out of Indiana that won their first 3 games and 4 over all in the first tournament to pull out a 4th place finish.
Also Down2EarthSports.com, a new Conference ‘B’ class team from Georgia had a nice 6-4 record in the two tourna¬ments combined and upset 4 ‘A’ teams on the weekend!
Then there was Turano, a new ‘B’ team from Maryland that upset GTL on Saturday morning after GTL had just run the table in the first tournament. Turano wound up 6-4 for the weekend including 3-0 vs ‘B’ teams.
The final surprise was Darkside/TYJA out of Connecticut, a second year Conference team that moved to the ‘A’ division this year, who went 7-4 on the weekend. They beat EWS, Jean Shoppe, Pharmapar, The Scene, Famous, Turano, and Down2Earth. WOW!
The tournament was also broadcast live on the internet at USSSA.com and both tournaments had 100% compression testing for all the bats that were used.
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!