The 14th Annual Cincinnati Major was played in its entirety through a nasty rain forecast with just a 2 hour delay on Friday night, and a 45 minute lightning delay on Saturday. The tournament had 38 teams including 28 from the Nationwide Conference USSSA.
The tournament began on Friday night with four “play in” games which were delayed towards the end by a massive rainstorm. After the rain delay, there were some great games and the matchups with so many Conference teams was possibly the best of the year. After the play in games finished Reds Astros knocked off OC Swats 18-17 on a Cody Gilbert walk off homer. Reds would later lose to Demarini 22-17. Precision beat ‘B’ rival P&P 333 19-18 with some late clutch hitting. Taylormade scored 3 in the bottom of the 7th to beat Famous 32-31 after Famous led big early on. DEI/S&S beat hometown Pure Romance 22-19. Cash House (C team) hung on to beat GTL (A Team) 17-15, I believe Cash House was up 17-6 at one point? But that wasn’t the only huge upset on Friday night as Trust/Detroit Elite (C team) knocked off Baugh Ford (A team) 24-7 and then beat Fence Brokers (B team) 20-5. Also local Nationwide Conference ‘B’ team 3rd Street beat Team Combat 28-21 in a game that finished after 3 AM, and in other Friday action 4 The Fallen jumped out to a big lead and beat Headhunters 27-20… Also Albicocco trailed most of the way but knocked off Buzini 25-19 and in one of the best games of the night, non-conference ‘C’ team KBI from Chicago led #1 Resmondo by 8 runs in the 5th inning. Resmondo then put up a big inning in the 6th and held off KBI who had a lot of home runs left 35-27. KBI played a near perfect game for 5 innings and I believe, had they won, they would have been the first ‘C’ team to have ever beaten Resmondo in Nationwide Conference play? The rest of the Major and ‘A’ team favorites survived their Friday games fairly easily.
On Saturday play began at 8 AM with Laservision over Precision big, Line Drive over Taylormade big, and Shoppe by 10 over DEI/S&S. Also 4 The Fallen lasted 7 innings with Resmondo before losing 33-20 and 3rd Street pushed Nordkap but Kap won 25-21. And in a near upset Cash House led most of the way against Albicocco before Dan Sanchez hit a walk off homer for Albicocco to win 16-15.
In the quarter finals Saturday afternoon, Demarini jumped out to a 16-0 lead on Laservision but following a 45 minute lightning delay came up short for the second week in a row against Laservision in a 34-31 loss. Resmondo beat a feisty Trust team 30-15. Nordkap/Suncoast Reebok pulled off a 26-25 win over Albicocco in extra innings as they tied the game in the bottom of the 7th with clutch two out hitting. Then in the top of the 8th Kap middle infielder Matt Crawford turned a barehanded double play to hold Albicocco to zero runs. In the bottom of the 8th, Jason Baxter hit a game winning gap shot. Also in the best game of the tournament Shoppe fought back against Line Drive to win 37-36. In a controversial possible double play that Line Drive turned on Shoppe in the bottom of the 7th, the runner was called safe at first when first baseman Jason Ferguson couldn’t quite keep his foot on the base. Following the play Shoppe got homer’s from Tim Cocco, Robert Blackburn, and a walk off homer by Neil Haglund to win 37-36!
Saturday night in the semi-finals Laservision rolled through Shoppe 31-9 but Resmondo struggled mightily with Nordkap. Going into the 7th Nordkap had a nice lead but put up a zero in the top half. Then Resmondo scored I believe it was 8 runs in the bottom of the 7th, the last run coming on a bases loaded walk to BJ Fulk for a “walk off walk”. Definitely not the way the large crowd gathered wanted to see the game finish.
The winner’s bracket championship then started after midnight Saturday and finished around 4 AM. Laservision held a huge lead mid way through the game. They got the lead all the way up to 18 runs in the top of the 6th but Resmondo who is unfazed by any deficit showed amazing focus so late into the night and scored 22 runs in the bottom of the 6th and went on to win the game 51-49!
Meanwhile in the losers bracket Albicocco knocked off OC Swats 28-26. Swats had a chance to win with 2 outs in the bottom of the 7th but a nice play by third baseman Chris Moon sealed the game for Albicocco. They then knocked off Team Combat 39-17, Shoppe 35-25 well after midnight, and got up early Sunday morning to beat arch rival Demarini/Dirty 27-24 before chasing but losing to Laservision 32-20 in the losers championship game.
Laservision moved into the championship and jumped out to another huge lead on Resmondo mid way through the game but just couldn’t get the gloves cleanly on the ball and Resmondo fought back once again to a 48-42 championship win. Resmondo came back to win from big deficits in 4 of their 6 games, including the last 3.
The tournament had some real defensive highlights as well. Shoppe outfielder Dave Kessler climbed the fence and waited for a home run which he robbed. Laservision center fielder Brian Rainwater is on the video clip robbing a homer at the fence with some good timing. There was quite possibly the catch of the year when 3rd Street right fielder Drew Thieken made a full speed all out dive against Cash House late in the game to help preserve a 19-18 win. Words can’t really describe how fast and how prone he was on the dive when he caught the ball. A truly spectacular catch. One of the best, if not the best of the season. There were not as many infield highlights throughout the weekend but Resmondo third baseman Jimmy Salas put on a show again with a full out dive toward shortstop and subsequent throw out, and then again on a Wegman line drive he leapt toward the third base line and got a piece of a liner and in one quick cat like motion grabbed the ball in foul territory and still managed to get the force play at second base on a long throw. Salas will most likely earn defensive MVP of the tournament.
Again in 2013 the local Cincinnati teams played up a level like they always seem to do on their home fields as 3rd Street and Pure Romance each pulled off some nice wins.
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