2008 Worth/Miller Lite Last Chance Part 1
Teams from around the USA traveled to the "Liberty Park of America" outside of Detroit, Michigan this past weekend to battle it out for those last few precious points in order to improve their standing in the Conference.
Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth went undefeated to capture the final regular season Conference tournament and notch their 9th tournament victory of the season. They did so by beating Dan Smith/Menosse/Benfield/Combat in the first game of the Championship 46-44 after being down 20 runs in the middle of the game. Resmondo was led by MVP extra hitter and Michigan native Vince Bisbee. They also captured the Defensive MVP with Dennis Rulli. Resmondo now sits atop the SoftballKingdom.com Conference rankings with a little breathing room over Dan Smith. There are only the two baseball diamond tournaments left on the schedule.
Resmondo's one-two punch of Jeff Wallace and Jeff Hall discuss who is going to hit the home run
Resmondo's Don Dedonatis Jr tells Jeff Wallace how to hit. Don went 19-23 with 6 HR and 5 BB's in the tournament
The winner's bracket final between Resmondo (Orange) and Long Haul (Red) was colorful
Runner up Dan Smith lost an early tournament game to Long Haul 32-26. The game was plagued by rain delays and a stiff wind blowing in which kept Dan Smith from using all of their allotted 16 home runs.
On deck batter J.D. Genter for Dan Smith has been putting up Helmer like numbers all year. J.D. has a .772 on base avg. J.D. may also be one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.
Long Haul ended up third and seems to be peeking offensively at the right time of year. Long Haul backed up their victory over Dan Smith early in the tournament with a victory over Jean Shoppe 22-7.
Long Haul attempts to stop the Resmondo momentum
The tournament was well played and organized and the quality of the field of teams easily rivaled that of the Smoky and the Dudley. The local Michigan "C" and "D" teams were brushed aside early on and there were "A vs A" and "A vs B" games going on all over the park on Saturday. Saturday may have been the best day of softball as far as the quality of the match ups played so far this year.
ABS pitcher Bill Honeycutt pitches to GTL's Robin Roberts
Friday nights home-run derby featured a head to head bracket elimination format. The tournament was won by Long Haul Bomber Geno Buck who outlasted teammate Denny Crine and Combat USA's Charles Cunningham.
Cunningham, Linedrives Derek Hutchinson, and GTL's Nathan Holcomb put on a show with some of their tie breaking "sudden death" hit offs.
As I recall Brian Higginbotham, Rusty Bumgardner, and tree clearing lefty Brett Helmer, were also a few of the names in the top 10. I think they had over 60 contestants and the derby went well into the night.
Long Hauls Geno Buck (middle) won the HR derby followed by Denny Crine (left) and Charles Cunningham (right)
The defensive play of the tournament was made by Contractors Capital center fielder John Dubel who went up and over and stole a key home run away from Linedrives. Contractors went on to win the battle of Conference "B" teams 25-16.
Contractors Capital center fielder John Dubel robs a homer
Team Breakdown: There were 30 teams from 14 different states in the tournament. 3-Major, 6-Class A, 9-Class B, 10-Class C, and 2-Class D teams. 19 were Conference USSSA members.
The Canes and Dexter Avery came from Arizona to earn some "Last Chance" points
Liberty Park notes: The softball complex was in great shape and the infields were a bit hard causing the occasional bad hop. Liberty has 11 ball diamonds, all with 300 foot fences! Home run fences were approximately 7 feet high.
Liberty Park of America was another great place to watch softball and they probably have the best bar on the Conference tour. The fields are open down the sides (no fences) and there is just enough shade to keep cool.
That is Jean Shoppes center fielder Matt King somewhere in the fog
Tournament Rules: Home run rules were as follows: Major vs Major was 16 homers. Major vs any other team was 12 homers, and all other games were 8 homers. Mercy Rules were 30 after 3, 20 after 2, 15 after 5. The ball used was a .40 core and sounded good coming off the bat most of the weekend. Games were delayed by heavy rains on Saturday afternoon and a little fog rolled in for the late games that night. On Sunday the show field had a good wind blowing across towards right field that increased scoring and diminished outfielder range.
Hometown slugger Derek Hutchinson hits homers "for the ladies"
Upset of the week: Was a near upset by Great Lakes Express who came up just short of defeating Jean Shoppe in the first round
Tom Luna of Great Lakes Express came up just short of upsetting the Shoppe