The 45th annual Smoky Mountain Classic was played in perfect weather and a great softball atmosphere in front of the seasons largest crowds! Resmondo-Specialty Tank/Worth won its 8th Smoky Classic and 6th in a row by double dipping the #2 team in the country Laservision/Desert Falls/Boombah/Easton in the championship games. In winning, Resmondo bested a strong field of 30 teams which included 26 of the top teams from the Nationwide Conference USSSA. The Smoky is the only Nationwide Conference regular season that features unlimited home runs and difficult to adjust to 80 foot bases.
The tournament started on Friday at 4 PM with the first round that had only two upsets. P&P 333 a ‘B’ team from Michigan knocked off Taylormade an ‘A’ team from Virginia 15-5, and McNally Construction a local Tennessee ‘C’ team became the first local team to win a game in the winner’s bracket in a number of years as they defeated a ‘B’ team Pure Romance 10-9. In the second round all of the favorites prevailed except for one. Fence Brokers used a walk off homer by Bob Hankins, his first homer of the year, to beat Baugh Ford 22-21. Also in the “grudge match” Demarini/Dirty outpowered their rival Albicocco 33-18 in a game that never was real close except at the beginning.
On Saturday the focus, as is tradition, shifts to the “final 8″ of the winner’s bracket and the winner’s side is played out soley on the “show field” at Sandy Springs #3 which is a baseball field with 310-350-315 dimensions. All of the favorites won again in the quarter finals as #1 Resmondo and #4 Nordkap won by the run rule and #3 Shoppe and #2 Laservision squeaked out 2 and 1 run wins respectively. In the semi-finals Resmondo went up 29 runs on Nordkap before Kap came storming back with a 20 run inning to close the deficit to 28-23 but Resmondo won 38-23. In the other semi, Laservision scored 20 runs in the bottom of the 6th and held off a powerful Demarini/Dirty 35-32 to set up the show the fans were waiting to see, Resmondo vs Laservision.
In the winner’s final Laservision outpowered Resmondo and took advantage of some rare Resmondo defensive errors to win by the run rule 34-12.
On Sunday morning Shoppe beat Linedrive with a 26 run first inning which featured 3 homers and 10 RBI from Robert Blackburn. Then Resmondo beat Shoppe with a 21 run 3rd inning. This set up the rematch between Resmondo and Laservision where Resmondo jumped all over Laservision in the 2nd inning scoring 30 runs on 16 homers and the first game was almost over before it began. In the “if” game Resmondo scored 11 in the top of the first and Laservision scored 10 in the bottom half. Then Resmondo slowly pulled away to a 39-19 win and the championship.
The tournament was lacking some in close finishes as teams used positive momentum to put up huge innings that opposing teams could not mentally recover from. Similarly there were teams that had what I will call “negative momentum” where a rash of double plays or popouts attempting to go for home runs led to a couple of low scoring innings and a loss.
The top 3 teams finished 1, 2, 3 and other than the surprise Line Drive Sportz team finishing 4th after knocking off 3 straight ‘A’ teams, the rest of the finishing order was in line with the computer rankings and points standings. Also Adiktiv finished tied for 7th as they found a soft spot in the loser’s bracket and took full advantage of it as they scored wins over DEI, FBI, and a pair of local teams.
There were some entertaining games and upsets on the other fields as well. Remember the Smoky is played at 6 different fields across 4 locations so it is very difficult to report on all teams. Primetime had a very entertaining win over B&B Sears 47-44 on Saturday morning where both teams were hitting homers like they were playing on a little league field. Buzini upset Team Combat 15-13 then followed up that win with a victory over PRI 23-22. And DEI/S&S upset Albicocco 25-17.
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!