2009 Hall of Fame Classic Part 2
Woodlaw (Conf B from Euless, Texas)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 8-2!
Woodlaw had an incredible run in both tournaments and finished tied for 5th in the second tournament. They beat veteran Conference teams like GTL and Diamondblade and Suncoast twice. Woodlaw is led by veterans Dennis Shrum and leadoff hitter Jebbie King and have a great mix of younger players that Doug Wood has put together. They also have Shawn Burris and Loyd Watson from the feisty Texas Regulators team. The team adjusted quickly to the bigger fields and held their own against Resmondo for a few innings.
2009 Outlook: This team came out of nowhere and needs to be considered a top 10 "B" team in the nation this year. Lets see how they do hitting the Conference ball before jumping to conclusions though. They are a welcome addition to a shrinking "B" division and should represent Texas well.
Woodlaw team photo
Adrian Cottle of Woodlaw
Veteran Dennis Shrum of Woodlaw takes a hack against Diamondblade
Johnny Blaze/Demarini/Elite (Conf B from Las Vegas, Nevada)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 5-4
Johnny Blaze is led by Major List pitcher Dirty Sanchez and a host of west coast veteran players like Brian Fong, Jason Stephenson, and Jason Hill. They also have some stadium power with Dan Norquist and Ed Vega mixed with some young defensive minded players up the middle of the field. Johnny Blaze finished in 4th place in the first tournament and had big wins over Bud Light, Combat USA, and a highlite win over Major team Long Haul. They also gave Resmondo a run for their money losing 18-16 and T&R Stucco before losing 15-14.
Their great tournament came to an end when Dirty was hit by a linedrive up the middle while playing Dan Smith in the second tournament. Dirty was taken to a local hospital and had 9 stitches put in his nose. He will need some reconstructive surgery in the near future but was in good spirits on Sunday. We wish him a speedy recovery.
2009 Outlook: Much like Woodlaw, Johnny Blaze came out of nowhere, threw together a competitive "B" Conference team and has all the tools necessary to compete for a "B" World Championship. They have already won 3 "B" tournaments and they adjusted to the big fields in Kissimmee quickly. To fly in from the west and compete against all levels of competition was impressive. This team was one inning away from knocking off Resmondo and T&R Stucco. Earning 262 Conference points should pay off big at the end of the season.
Dan "Horse" Norquist will be added to the future Major power hitters soon
Team Johnny Blaze celebrates a grand slam by Chris Larsen
Dirty after getting hit in the nose
Johnny Blaze hits back to back HR's with Larsen and Norquist
Taylormade/Titan/PAS/Mizuno (Conf A from Spotsylvania, Virginia)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 4-4
Taylormade came out of the gate in the first tournament with back to back (last at bat) wins over GTL and Combat USA. Then lost spirited games to Resmondo and T&R Stucco. In the second tournament they run ruled Eagle Bonding before losing heartbreakers to Long Haul and GTL. The GTL loss was 40-38 in what manager Scotty O'Neill termed "the greatest game he had ever been a part of".
2009 Outlook: Taylormade has stepped up to the "A" division and added infielder Johnny Bailey, veteran pitcher Dan Yochum, left hand hitter Bryan Goins, and catcher Rick Leith. This team has had great success on the stadium fields and is a top 8 team in the nation. Taylormade will hope to build on their 4th place finish at the 2008 Major Worlds and should be a factor in every tournament they play in. A fun team to watch for sure.
Taylormade's John Bailey hits a walk off gapper!
Taylormade's Brian Floyd hits a walk off seeing eye single
Taylormade's Chuck Koone hits a triple
Taylormade's Rick Leith hits a three bagger
Taylormades Herbert Haywood moments before hitting a ball over 400 feet to straight away center on the baseball field #2
The Cartel scored a ton of runs this week but stumbled before getting a shot at playing the Major teams. They had nice wins over O&S and Taylormade but lost to T&R, Woodlaw and AJS. GTL had trouble gloving it at times and never quite found the chemistry to put together a big run on the baseball fields.
2009 Outlook: It is hard to say whether this is a better team than the 2008 version. GTL lost offensive player of the year JC Phelps but picked up SS Anthony Dress, outfielder Donovan Pokraka, and outfielder Rick Sedlacek. I'm going to say they are going to play better as young players tend to make big improvements from one year to the next and there aren't many teams as young as GTL. Definitely one of the top 8 teams in the nation with "A" World potential.
Pitcher Kevin Filby and MI Brian Blount will anchor the GTL defense
Sam Lopez of GTL hits a grand slam at the Fortune Road Complex
T&R Stucco/Worth (Conf A from Polk City, Florida)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 7-4
T&R Stucco had a great week and their 15-14 win over Johnny Blaze in the first tournament gave them a 3rd place finish. Troy Nance's T&R team was 4-0 against their peers in the "A" division and that is an impressive start to the season. They were 0-3 against the Major teams although they gave Resmondo a run.
2009 Outlook: Yet another top 8 team in the country. This team is solid up the middle defensively with pitcher Mike Rose, middle infielder Mike Martin, and centerfielder Jason Branch. Up and coming power hitter Donnie Burkhalter and 3B Mitch Mabe help veteran hitters like Dustin Roberts and Joey Michals provide top notch offense. If T&R can keep it together and have some success outside of the southeast, they should be an "A" contender come August.
Chris Schmitt of T&R was the only player to hit it over the left field monster fence on baseball field #1 that I witnessed
Dustin Roberts of T&R congratulated for hitting another bomb
T&R Stucco outlasts Johnny Blaze 15-14
Mike Rose holding down most of the pitching duties for T&R
AJS has already been discussed in this recap. They are the first "C" team to make the final 4 of a Conference event in a long time. AJS has picked up former Bud Light infielder Joel Ramos and are led by softball legend Jose Santiago and stadium power hitter Jeff Driskell. AJS was 4-1 against non Major teams and had big upsets over Diamond Blade and GTL. They were just two defensive plays away from completing the biggest upset in Conference history when they had Dan Smith on the ropes in the 7th inning before losing 28-25.
2009 Outlook: This team really came together this weekend and seem to play well in Florida. If they remain a "C" team, you would have to say they are a top 5 "C" team in the nation. If I were AJS I would move to "B" and add a power hitter. Congratulations on a great start to the 09' season! You almost shocked the softball world.
AJS celebrates there incredible 4th place run in the second tournament
David Garcia of AJS celebrates hitting a homerun on diamond #2 where the wind blew in most of the tourny
AJS gathers to discuss whats next
O&S/Povs/Hoffman/Combat (Conf B from South St Paul, Minnesota)
2009 Hall of Fame Classic Record 3-4
O&S battled GTL to a 34-31 loss and went 0-2 in the first tournament. In the second tournament they defeated Bud Light 30-28 and beat Pipac 32-31 and both were last inning wins. It isn't often that a "B" team like O&S beats two "A" teams back to back when the scoring is in the 30's. O&S then ran out of gas against AJS and recovered in the loser's bracket to beat Diamondblade before bowing out to Bud Light 28-25.
2009 Outlook: The O&S team has the same flavor and mental approach to the game as last years Contractors Capital team. Hustle, defense, and an offense that feeds off itself will lead to a great 2009 for O&S. Basically they have Mr. Hustle Seth Brown, Brandon Krause, John Dubel, Nick Peterson, Tim Barger and Geno Burdick back from the Contractors team. Then they added Chaun Demars, Steve Schultz, Justin Strunk, Jason Madsen, Jason Landa, Derek Irving, Joe Bailey and professional hitter Matt Kelsey. This team is young and energetic. They have a shot to place top 4 at the "B" Worlds.
Tim Barger of O&S Povs wins the game with a walkoff extra base hit!
Matt Kelsey may have to be added to the "professional hitters" as a prospect
"Run Forest Run!" I'm betting Seth Brown had more in the park bases than Wegs
Double Zeroes was wearing 33 this week
Combat is almost a completely different team from 2008. This team has more of a west coast flavor and is led by Kyle Decker, veteran 3B Julio Salazar, and the ever improving Charles Cunningham. Combat had a rollercoaster weekend with a heart breaking loss to Taylormade by one run and a come from behind slugfest win over T&R. They won the game against T&R in the bottom of the 7th with a great defensive play by middle infielder Kyle Decker who turned a triple play with the bases loaded. They played without hustle man Chris "Rat" Breer and Team USA star Dexter Avery.
2009 Outlook: Combat USA should be a top 5 team in the "B" division. When all the pieces parts are there, manager Kermit Stricklin will pull the right strings.
Kyle Decker wearing his Sunday best
Robert Sena doing the pitching for Combat USA
Good job using two hands Julio
Mario Grenados flicks a homerun out da park