Monday May 29th, 2017
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40th Annual Smoky Mountain Classic Part 1

The 2008 Conference USSSA and SoftballKingdom.com traveled to Maryville, Tennessee this past weekend for the first unlimited homerun tournament of the season, The 40th Annual Smoky Mountain Classic!

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Sandy Springs park. Diamond #3 on the right is the show field.

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The crowds at Sandy Springs Park were just slighty larger than the Dudley tournament in Minnesota

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Everett park

Tournament Overview: To win the "Grand Daddy of them all", you needed power to be able to hit the Conference balls out of the park during the heat of the day. You needed speed because the bases were set at 80 feet which is longer than normal. And you needed defense because one crucial error with unlimited homeruns could hurt you with a big inning. This year Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth put all three together and won the winners bracket final Saturday night 37-22 over Dan Smith/Menosse/Benfield/Combat and was declared champion when the rain washed out the finals on Sunday. Dan Smith winds up in 2nd place and Long Haul came back from a 3rd round loss to Dan Smith to finish 3rd. There was plenty of discussion about the ball being too restricted, bats being juiced, and talk of whether Brett Helmers long foul strikeout in a key situation was actually fair or not? I have to say the ball used was fine, the bats were fine, and Helmers ball was foul! Just my opinion.

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Resmondo's MVP pitcher Andy Purcell has been getting it done with bat this year as well

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An intense but almost concerned look on Rusty's face as Resmondo pushes to run rule his Dan Smith team


Team Breakdown: There were 30 teams from 16 different states in the tournament. 3 Major, 10 Class "A", 10 Class "B", and 7 Class "C/D". 20 of the teams were in the Conference.

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This game between ABS and Combat was played at the Maryville College Baseball field


Maryville field notes: Sandy Springs park had two fields. The main diamond was 310 down the left field line and bowed out to 356 in centerfield and back to 315 in right. The field is surrounded by hills on both sides where the fans could sit and there is plenty of shade trees. Homerun fences were around 10 feet high. The secondary diamond was 310 down the left field line and 315 to center with a 4.5 foot high fence except for the right field line which had about a 30 foot high net and is rumored to be 270 feet down the line. Both fields had a lot of foul territory. Everett Park also had two fields and some other games were played at the Maryville College baseball field and the Springbrook Elementary school.

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This may be the only existing picture of the Springbrook Elementary field where teams mired deep in the loser's bracket get banished to. What ever happened to the Pole Climber's field?


Tournament Rules: Homerun rules were as follows: UNLIMITED!

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Dan Smith's Brian Justice won the homerun derby on Thursday night and went 8-10 with 4 HR in the tournament

The Defensive Player of the Tournament: was Resmondo's Don Dedonatis III and offensive MVP was Dan Smith's Brian Wegman

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Dan Smith's Brian Wegman


Upset of the week: The upset of the week would have to be the local Tennessee "C" team CBI defeating 365 Fitness/Easton 12-4. 365 Fitness was coming off of their Conference tournament championship in Arkansas last week. 365 Fitness finished the weekend 0-2 as they lost a close one to Jean Shoppe 16-15.

Team by Team Comments:

1st Place Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth (Conf-M from Winter Haven, Florida)
Smoky's Record 4-0
2008 Overall Record 52-7
Wins – Blitz[b], Ropeclub[A], Taylormade[b], Dan Smith[M]

Resmondo played well and used their number one seeding to take an easy road to the winner's bracket finals without any real challenge. Resmondo was led by MVP pitcher Andy Purcell. Resmondo had their full team for this one and seemed healthy. They warded off a mid-game comeback by Dan Smith in the winner's final and ended up responding with a run rule victory. If you did not watch the winner's final between Resmondo and Dan Smith it is definitely worth downloading as Don Dedonatis Jr made some nice plays and you can see the controversial Helmer strikeout although the video is far from conclusive as to whether or not it was a fair or foul homer.

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Resmondo celebrates another homerun by Greg Connell

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Resmondo's Rick "Spike" Baker aims for the tennis courts in right field

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I think Resmondo's Greg Connell hits the ball the hardest of any player in the Conference


2nd Place Dan Smith/Menosse/Benfield/Combat (Conf-M from San Jose, CA)
Smoky's Record 6-1
2008 Overall Record 37-6
Wins – CBI[C], Long Haul[M], FBI[A]
Losses – Resmondo[M]

Dan Smith took care of business to get to finals where they stumbled offensively. Left fielder Jason Kendrick did not start the game because he was late do to the crowd traffic and he was replaced by Smoky homerun derby champion Brian Justice. Dan Smith also went with a more offensive look to their lineup with Dal Beggs moving over to shortstop instead of Dudley MVP Jeff McGavin.

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Dan Smith's Brett Helmer's bid for a homerun went just foul according to the umpire
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Helmer points fair
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Umpire points foul
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Fall out from the controversial call. Actually they didn't argue that much

3rd Place Long Haul/Phonemasters/Miken (Conf-M from Albertville, MN)
Smoky's Record 6-1
2008 Overall Record 22-9
Wins – Hit Squad[A], T&R Stucco[A], Bud Light[b], Columbus Pipe[b], Taylormade[b], FBI[A]
Losses – Dan Smith[M]

Long Haul had no shortage of offense as they ended the tournament with three victories while scoring 33 runs or more in all three. Long Hauls only loss was to Dan Smith 28-18 and they played well overall. Long Haul added veteran left handed slugger Tim Cocco at DH and for the most part Geno Buck did the pitching.

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Long Haul doesn't usually have much trouble scoring runs

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Long Haul's Geno Buck handled most of the pitching duties


4th Place Fence Brokers Inc/Laservision/Worth (Conf-A from Bryant, Arkansas)
Smoky's Record 4-2
2008 Overall Record 20-14
Wins – Floor Fashions[C], Jean Shoppe[A], Combat USA[A], GTL[A]
Losses – Dan Smith[M], Long Haul[M]

FBI made it to Sunday for the third time this year. They had some quality wins over class "A" powers Jean Shoppe and GTL. FBI played without first baseman Wes Campbell (work obligations) and Albert Davis did not seem to see much action. FBI, Ropeclub, and T&R seem to be improving each week and should be top 5 teams at the class "A" world series. Former C-Town pitcher Brendt Newbill helped hold Combat USA and GTL to 8 runs each. FBI seemed to really turn up the defense this weekend. Scott Summerlin returned from injury as well. Paul Brannon and Brad Stillwell made the all tournament team as Paul continues to swing a hot stick.

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FBI shortstop Brad Stillwell had the defensive play of the tournament with a full out "sellout" diving stop of a lineshot grounder up the middle. Be sure to check out the highlite video of this one and see if you agree with me.

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FBI celebrates their second round victory over Jean Shoppe on the show field


Tied for 5th Place GTL/Creative Stucco/Worth (Conf-A from Othello, WA)
Smoky's Record 4-2
2008 Overall Record 39-15
Wins – 3N2[C], Columbus Pipe[b], Jean Shoppe[A], Ropeclub[A]
Losses – Taylormade[b], FBI[A]

GTL is one team that gets their money's worth every tournament. This team is a terror in the loser's bracket and always seems to pull out the close games. Young centerfielder Bubba Mack has found a home in the leadoff spot and is playing a good outfield as well. 2-hitter Mike Bowlin is swinging a mean bat these days and J.C. Phelps and Kevin Filby have been providing a lot of the power. GTL has Jean Shoppe's number as of late.

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GTL's J.C. Phelps drives a nail into the Ropeclub heart
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Tied for 5th Place Taylormade/Floyed Environmental/Mizuno (Conf-B from Spotsylvania, VA)
Smoky's Record 3-2
2008 Overall Record 24-10
Wins – Wisconsin Worth[C], Suncoast[A], GTL[A]
Losses – Resmondo[M], Long Haul[M]

Taylormade came out of the gate firing when Chris Calcutt exploded for 2 homeruns and 7 RBI in the 3rd inning of their first game against Wisconsin Worth. They then upset Suncoast on the main diamond to go 2-0 on Friday night. They followed up the hot start by defeating GTL and making it to the winner's final four before dropping two straight to the major teams. Taylormade has a nice blend of players that allows them to compete well with the class "A" teams. I believe Taylormade's Chris Calcutt who was 11-16 with 8 HR and 20 RBI should have been the Offensive MVP.

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Taylormade's Corey Boothe hits a homerun at the Smoky Mountain Classic

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Taylormade coach Scotty O'Neil discusses strategy


Tied for 7th Place Ropeclub/Hennesys/Onqclub/Easton (Conf-A from Chicago, IL)
Smoky's Record 3-2
2008 Overall Record 20-13
Wins – Major League[C], Team Bud Light[b], T&R Stucco[A]
Losses – Resmondo[M], GTL[A]

Ropeclub was one foot away from tying the game against GTL in the bottom of the 7th with two outs. Kevin Lucas hit a ball that would have landed about 320 feet away from homeplate but GTL centerfielder Bubba Mack timed it perfectly and leaped and robbed the three run homer at the fence. Ropeclub played a nice tournament. Even in the loss to Resmondo, Ropeclub competed early on. Ropeclubs pitcher Mike Rhines and first baseman Ryan Thiede deserve all tournament recognition. They were absolute offensive machines. Coach Kwilas also made some effective lineup changes throughout the tournament.

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Ropeclub's 3rd Baseman Kevin Lucas was robbed of a 3-run homer by GTL's Bubba Mack


Tied for 7th Place Columbus Pipe/Easton (Conf-B from Columbus, Ohio)
Smoky's Record 4-2
2008 Overall Record 20-14
Wins – Spitz[b], Spider Softball[C], Suncoast[A], Combat USA[A]
Losses – GTL[A], Long Haul[M]

CPipe had a tough early draw defeating Spitz Seeds in the first round soundly. They stumbled a little against GTL but came back to score wins against Suncoast and Combat USA to maintain their top 10 ranking. CPipe pitcher Bob Noeth struck out a Spitz hitter swinging with a nasty pitch. With only a few class "A" and Major teams in Cincinnati this week, look for Columbus Pipe to make another run at a Sunday finish.

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Columbus Pipe's Steve Edwards hits as Long Hauls new DH Tim Cocco looks on


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