Nationwide Conference: 44th Smoky Mountain Classic

The 2012 Smoky Mountain Classic featured the return of the LONG BOMB as the top players from the top teams hit some big homers throughout the 3 day long tournament. The granddaddy of them all as far as regular season softball tournaments had some great games, plays, and finishes including an “if” game in the championship as Laservision/Annihilation/Supreme/D2E/Easton forced a second game in the championship after a Brian Rainwater walk off homer against Resmondo-Specialty Tank Worth. Resmondo responded in the final game though with an impressive 23 run 2nd inning and run ruled Laservision 33-8.

The tournament began on Friday night with a huge upset as Headhunters, a conference ‘B’ team out of Fayettville, Georgia not only upset #6 Sonny’s but also knocked off #3 Nordkap/Desert Falls/Easton to make the final 8. Also Down2EarthSports.com from Baxley, Georgia knocked off CA Sports and Team Combat to make the final 8. In the Team Combat game, D2E “flip flopped” Combat and Combat came all the way back to within 2 runs before losing to D2E 30-26.

The rest of the favorites all advanced past the Friday night games to the Saturday final 8. The Smoky plays the final 8 of the winner’s bracket on the show field on Saturday giving the fans the best matchup’s possible game after game. In the first game at 9:15 AM, Shoppe put one on TYJA/Reebok and won easily 28-11. Resmondo then did the same to R&M Metals 36-16. This was followed by Laservisions 27-12 rout of D2E, and finally in the best game of the 3rd round, Team 454 used a couple of nice running/leaping catches by center fielder Jason Branch to beat Headhunters 24-22 although Headhunters had the bats in their hands at the end.

In the final 4, in two of the best games at the Smoky in a couple of years, Team 454 used a clutch walk off homer by Phil White just as a rain storm came rolling through to beat Laservision 35-33.

Then after a rain delay, fans were treated to the game of the year as Resmondo and Shoppe raged war for 7 innings. Resmondo would wind up winning the game 45-41 but Shoppe gave them everything they could handle. Check out the game, an instant classic here on SoftballCenter.com!

At the 2:24:00 mark of the game, if you fast forward to that spot. You can’t really see the plays but you can feel the excitement as Shoppe makes two great plays to hold Resmondo down in the top of the 7th. Chente Granados inexplicably shifts from SS to right field in the middle of Striebels at bat and Striebel hits it right to him, Chente throws him out from his knees in short right field. Then Connell pops out in fair territory by the Resmondo designated bench area and Cocco takes off like a bull in a china shop and dives through the mud to make a great catch!

The winner’s bracket final between Resmondo and Team 454 was anti-climactic as the game finished after 1 AM in the morning with Team 454 unable to continually come back from double figure deficit after double figure deficit and Resmondo won 35-18.

In the morning Laservision hammered Demarini/Dirty 28-7 in the losers bracket semi-final, then did the same to Team 454 29-9 in the loser’s bracket championship. In the championship, Resmondo jumped out to a double digit lead and it looked like they would cruise to the title when Laservision mounted an impressive comeback and Resmondo scored just 4 runs down the stretch, and Laservisions Brian Rainwater was able to hit a walk off homer to force the “if” game where Resmondos 23 run 2nd sealed the deal.

About USSSA:
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!