2009 Hall of Fame Classic Part 1
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Lets Play/Win Two!!! Dan Smith shakes hands after winning their second tournament of the week
The "Hall of Fame Classic" tournament format was two separate double elimination tournaments! The first tournament started on Thursday afternoon at 3:30 PM and finished at midnight Friday with Dan Smith going 5-0. Dan Smith beat Long Haul by one on a walkoff homer by Jason Kendrick in the winner's bracket semi-finals. Then they beat Resmondo by one run in both the winner's final and the championship. Both games ended with Resmondo hitting deep flyballs to the fence. Dan Smith was led by MVP Scott Brown and Defensive MVP Jeff McGavin. They also played the whole weekend without starting pitcher Scott Nastally who injured an ankle in pre-tournament batting practice.
In the second HOF Conference Tournament which started at 8 AM Saturday morning and ended late afternoon on Sunday, Dan Smith went 5-1 and beat Long Haul in the forced "IF" game. Long Haul made it to the finals when they upset Resmondo twice during the tournament and their 34-31 win in the first game of the Championship over Dan Smith gave them 2 more wins against Major level teams than they had in all of 2008! Dan Smith however ended Long Haul's run with a 10 run first inning in the "IF" game and went on to win 30-7. Smith was led by Brian Wegman who went 4-4 with 2 HR, a triple, and 7 RBI in the game. Helmer, Bumgardner, Justice, and McGavin were also perfect in the game.
A side note to the great run Dan Smith had was the 3rd place run in the first tournament by T&R Stucco and the 4th place finish by a new Conference team Johnny Blaze from Las Vegas, Nevada!
In the second tournament A.J.S./Easton/3N2 a team that is registered on USSSA.com as a class "C" team finished in 4th place! AJS is from Florida and made an incredible run, defeating GTL, O&S, and Woodlaw. AJS also was beating Dan Smith going into the 7th inning of the winner's bracket semi-final before losing 28-25.
The 4 LONG days of softball was played at a very high level under perfect weather conditions. All 22 teams were Conference teams and for the most part the A-C teams all competed incredibly well.
Further down in this recap is a breakdown of all 22 teams and my outlook for each team for the rest of 2009.
Scott Kirby of Dan Smith was racking up the RBI
Team Breakdown: There were 22 Conference USSSA teams from 13 different states in the Hall of Fame Classic. 3 Major Teams, 7 Class "A" Teams, 10 Class "B" Teams, and 2 Class "C" Teams.
Combat USA and Sam Christenson came all the way from the west coast to play in the dual event
Osceola County Stadium
Osceola County Stadium notes: The stadium field had 8 foot high fences all the way around. The dimensions were 330 390 410 410 390 330. Easily the biggest fields in softball. This complex is the spring training home of the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball.
Fortune Road Athletic Complex
Some of the games were played at the Fortune Road softball complex which had nice fields as well with 325? foot fence distance all the way around.
Osceola County Stadium Video
USSSA Headquarters and the Hall of Fame sits off of the right field foul pole at the stadium
Whenever someone hit a bomb, USSSA umpires took the bat and had it tested
Team by Team Comments:
Dan Smith-Menosse-Benfield-Combat (Conf Major from San Jose, CA)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 10-1
Dan Smith is the defending Major World Champions and they picked up right where they left off by winning both HOF tournaments. Winning those last 3 games of the first tournament by one run in each and coming back in the "IF" game in the second tournament to pound Long Haul showed a lot of heart.
With the wind blowing in on the main diamond most of the time, Scott Kirby from the right side and Jason Kendrick from the left were homering with consistency down the lines where the fence distance was the shortest.
In the offseason Dan Smith lost Bryson Baker, and JD Genter but picked up CF Rick Baker, Infielder Sean McDonald, and moved Brian Wegman to middle infield.
2009 Outlook: Dan Smith is now the clear favorite to win both the Conference Championship and the Major Worlds but will be challenged throughout the regular season by Resmondo and Long Haul. Smith already has a 100 point lead in the Conference points standings!
Tournament #1 MVP was Scott Brown who is running better this year after coming back from a leg injury
Jason Kendrick dives into second base for a double. Kendrick was hitting it all week
Jeff McGavin was voted defensive MVP in tournament #1
Resmondo-Specialty Tank-Worth (Conf Major from Winter Haven, Florida )
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 8-4 (0-4 vs Major teams after going 14-7 vs Major teams in 2008)
Resmondo was just a few feet away in both the winner's bracket final and the championship game of the first tournament against Dan Smith. Resmondo struggled early in almost every game they played. They needed a 23-22 late night loser's bracket victory over Bud Light just to get into 3rd place in the second tournament and ran out of gas losing 20-5 to Long Haul in the loser's championship. Resmondo was not able to "turn it on" when they needed to in this tournament.
2009 Outlook: Resmondo will have to answer the critics when their overall team age is questioned. They should recover from this weekend and win at least half the tournaments they play this year. As their stamina improves, so should their winning percentage. Resmondo picked up Bryson Baker and BJ Fulk in the off season but lost Jeff Hall and Rick Baker. The impact of these losses was felt this weekend.
Resmondo's Greg Connell hits a bomb
The new left handed power for Resmondo is BJ Fulk
Bryan King had a lot of playing time due to the injury to Todd Martin
Long Haul/Miken/Phonemasters (Conf Major from Albertville, Minnesota)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 7-4
Long Haul has a new team and a new attitude for 2009. After a slow start in the first tournament, LH turned it on in the second winning 2 straight against Resmondo and was the only team to beat Dan Smith. They finished the weekend with a 3-3 record against Major teams after a 1-12 record against the Majors in 2008. LH's 6-5 loss to Johnny Blaze in the first tournament was because they didn't adjust to the stiff wind blowing in from left field. Lesson learned, hopefully?
2009 Outlook: Long Haul is a completely new team. They added legend Jeff Hall, Conference Offensive MVP JC Phelps, Class "A" champs OF Robert Blackburn and CF Matt King, Suncoast star Jeremy Isenhower, and grabbed the core of a very good Ropeclub team with 1B Ryan Thiede, SS Brett McCollum, and P Mike Rhines. They also added veteran OF Scott Striebel, manager Gary Jost, and 3B slugger JD Genter. Returning is Greg Hartwick, Geno Buck, and Ryan Robbins. LH is younger, faster, and have the veteran powerhitters needed for a successful 2009. This is a fun team to watch. I feel LH will make the finals of either the Conference Championship or the Major World and should get at least one Conference tournament win, but will have some losses to lower level teams in various tournaments throughout the season.
Long Haul has a brand new team
Outfielder Scott Striebel is a new member of Long Haul after a year of semi-retirement
Future Long Haul bomber? Brett McCollum
Page One Video Links:
Dan Smith's Rusty flashes some leather
Jeff McGavin of Dan Smith was Defensive MVP
Tourny #1 MVP Scott Brown drives in 2 more
Resmondo was this close to beating Dan Smith in Tourny #1
Dan Smith's Scott Kirby hits a grand slam!
Dan Smith's Jason Kendrick hits the walk off homer!
Long Haul's Jeff Hall hits a grand slam!
Dan Smith's Johnny McCraw makes a great catch