The final Conference regular season tournament of the 2011 season was played in Sterling Hts, Michigan and was called “The Last Chance”. Meaning, this was the last chance teams had to score championship points before the post season. The tournament on Friday night and Saturday morning went as predicted with none of the local non-conference teams winning any games against Conference teams the whole weekend.
In the second round of the tournament there were some great match ups but the two that stood out was the R&M Metals vs Combat/Pharmapar marathon game that R&M held on to win 34-27 and the Shoppe vs Taylormade game where Shoppe jumped out with a 20 run first inning on only 3 homers and won 26-18.
In the third round the 3 big Major teams all lost to ‘A’ teams and this round of games was delayed for over 2 hours by rain. Famous Sports beat Resmondo 33-25 after trailing Resmondo when the rain came. This was Resmondo’s first loss to a non-major team this year (17-1). R&M Metals also knocked off GTL 23-22 in a game they led before the rain came. GTL came up short in their comeback bid when R&M turned a double play to end the game.
In other third round action EWS “flip flopped” Laser Vision and Laser Vision came all the way back and had a 4 run lead in the last inning when EWS came back on the power of a Brett McCollum homer and then a walk-off 3 run homer by Tony Mack. Also in this round Team 454 dominated Shoppe in a game which pitted the two best ‘A’ teams in the country. Team 454 won 24-11 and led throughout as they beat Shoppe for the 3rd straight time this year (3-0).
So after the “super powers” fell, the tournament was wide open for any of the ‘A’ teams to break through and win one. In the semi-finals Team 454 was first to take advantage of the situation with a late night domination of Famous 24-8 when the fog rolled in and nearly postponed the tournament. Over on the other diamond EWS was unable to come from behind against R&M Metals as newly acquired Sam Lopez, playing middle infield, made some spectacular defensive plays including a bare hand diver off the glove of pitcher Kyle Yerkes and subsequent throw out at first. Lopez also had a key 3 run homer and R&M beat EWS 25-20.
The late night heroics weren’t over for R&M Metals as they used a walk-off homer by left fielder Nick Robertson to beat Team 454 in the winner’s bracket championship 25-24. The game began at 1:30 AM on Sunday morning and ended after 3 AM. In the game Team 454 led most of the way and there was some pushing and shoving on a close play at third base in the 5th. R&M closed the gap and trailed by one going into the bottom of the 7th and got a single by Chris Greinert and the walk off by Robertson to win!
Meanwhile in the loser’s bracket, played on the back fields, Team Combat/ Laser Vision marched through Combat/ Pharmapar 36-21, then had a seesaw win over GTL 39-35 and sent Famous packing 27-10 very early on Sunday morning to meet Resmondo in the loser’s semi-final.
Resmondo knocked off Linedrive 36-15 in a game that had some middle war shots going on. Then they run ruled Sinister and EWS after midnight on Saturday by a combined score of 69-30.
In the loser’s semi-finals, Resmondo batted around two and a half times in the 2nd inning but Laser Vision came back to make a game of it before Resmondo held on to win 30-29. In the loser’s championship Resmondo hammered Team 454 by a score of 38-18 and advanced to the finals against R&M Metals.
Before the finals, a banged up R&M team that saw the previous night’s hero’s Sam Lopez and Nick Robertson leave on a plane because of early flights, decided to just play one game for the championship. Resmondo held an early 8-4 lead and extended the lead to near “run rule” territory before R&M showed some real heart and closed the gap to 19-17 going into the 7th. Resmondo then scored 8 in the top of the 7th and R&M went scoreless in the bottom half and lost 27-17.
Overall it was still a great weekend for the ‘A’ division which finally broke through with some wins over the three big major teams.
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