The 2012 Combat Major was marred by rain but somehow they were able to complete all of the games and boy were there some good ones. The first tournament of the “dual” was delayed 2 hours at the start, and the first couple of rounds were played in thick mud. 23 teams from 6 different states and one from British Columbia took to the fields.
They used the 52 core 300 compression Classic Plus ball and with the cool temperatures it flew hard and fast making for some long and high scoring games. The name of the tournament probably could have been “Combatfest” as it seemed half of the teams were sponsored by the bat manufacturing giant.
In the round of 16 all of the favorite teams won their games except #24 ranked SBS/Combat knocked off #3 ranked Sonny’s 19-10. Only 1 of the 8 winners was not a conference team and that was Xtreme/Combat a non-conference ‘B’ team from Minnesota who beat OC Swats 32-16.
In the round of 8 Team Combat came from behind to beat Xtreme/Combat, Monster/Energy upset 4 The Fallen 20-17, West Coast Doerflinger used a game winning hit by manager Strojan Kennison to beat SBS/Combat 30-29 after he was forced into the game when two players were ejected. And finally Nordkap/Desert Falls run ruled Demarini/Famoussports.com 33-18.
In the final 4 Monster Energy/Combat, a Conference ‘C’ team, knocked off their sponsor Team Combat 35-34 in the game of the week by using some great defensive plays by 2nd baseman Mitchell Jump to close them out. Meanwhile Nordkap/Desert Falls cruised past West Coast Doerflinger 43-16 on Friday night.
Early Saturday morning the first tournament completed with West Coast knocking off Team Combat 24-18 and Monster/Combat 26-3 and forcing a re-match with Nordkap/Desert Falls in the championship. Nordkap/Desert Falls jumped out to a big lead and had multiple chances to run rule WCD but WCD hung tough and forced a full 7 innings after a “flip flop” but lost 32-26. Nordkap won their 3rd tournament of the season.
In the 2nd Dual which actually started as the championship game of the 1st dual was being played on Saturday morning, the round of 16 again had 7 winners from Conference USSSA and Xtreme/Combat who stunned a fresh Sonny’s team 31-23. In the round of 8 Demarini/Famous opened up a 6 run lead on West Coast going to the 7th inning, but a tired WCD team put up an impressive 11 run inning and held on to win 35-30. SBS/Combat beat Monster 35-10. Xtreme/Combat knocked off 4 The Fallen 25-16. And Team Combat put up 17 in the first against Nordkap/Desert Falls and held them off 42-33 in a 2+ hour marathon game.
In the final 4, Team Combat put down Xtreme/Combats hot run 28-8 and SBS/Combat returned the favor of a walk-off hit to West Coast when Shawn Pederson hit a base hit down the third base line to win 23-22. Then in the winner’s championship SBS/Combat shocked Team Combat 34-33 with a bottom of the 7th inning rally capped by Shannon Smiths game winning base hit.
On Sunday morning at 7 AM in the losers bracket Sonny’s knocked off Xtreme/Combat 30-18 and held on to beat Nordkap/Desert Falls 38-35 to give them 6 straight wins in the losers bracket. Then they ran out of gas against Team Combat in a 31-26 loss which sent Team Combat to the championship game.
In the “chip” SBS/Combat didn’t have that edge that we had seen the day before and Team Combat held small leads of 15-13 and 24-17. Then SBS tied it 24-24 in the 6th and Team Combat used a home run by Johnny McCraw to take the final lead and held on to win 27-26 to force the “if” game.
In the “if” game Team Combat led the whole way with leads of 3-0, 18-11, 31-19 and finally won the game 32-24 to become the 7th different tournament winner of 2012!
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