The joy of six: Resmondo sweeps morning games to capture 45th Smoky Mountain Classic, sixth consecutive title
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Nothing was going to stop Resmondo Sunday morning.
The Winter Haven, Fla. club needed just eight innings after playing out of the losers’ bracket to hang a 39-9 and 34-19 decision on Laservision and wrap up its sixth consecutive title in the Smoky Mountain Classic. No team has won so many consecutive SMCs and no team has won as many — 9 of the last 11 — overall as Resmondo.
“That’s softball, all records are made to be broken. This tournament is always special and we got the best out of of our guys today,” Resmondo coach Frank Webb told The Daily Times before his team started collecting hardware that goes to the victors. “Especially bouncing back from last night with a short night and early game today, but it as fun. We aim toward this every year. We put this tournament first on our schedule. It’s No. 1 to us and No. 1 to Travis (Resmondo). He’d almost rather win this than the world series. I don’t know which he’d choose if he had to choose one or the other.”
A larger weekend crowd than last year, thanks in part to better weather, watched Saturday night as the No. 1 and No. 2 USSSA teams in the nation collided for the seventh time this season and Laservision came away the victor, forcing the defending champs to first finish off Mckenzie-based Shoppe Sunday morning and needing to win twice over Laservision to get to No. 6.
“They double dipped us in Chicago last month so we had a mission to get them back after last night,” co-MVP Andy Purcell said. “We knew it would be tough but we came out hitting.”
73 over 8
Resmondo needed just three innings to force a winner-take-all title rematch after plating 30 runs on 16 homers in a single inning. The run-rule came down at a 30-run lead after three innings.
“We’ve done that before but no they don’t happen every day. It’s not as easy as it looks and it certainly wasn’t easy last night,” Webb said. “They have a great hitting team over there.”
Laservison wasn’t going that quickly in the final. Resmondo started fast again with a 11-run first highlighted by last year’s home run champion Greg Connell belting the second homer of the inning over The Daily Times banner in center left. The Cicero, N.Y. squad answered plated 10 of their own with a Kyle Hendrick’s grandslam to center emphatically saying Laservision was not conceding this one in three.
Resmondo didn’t listen. Bubba Mack hit his own grand slam as part of a 12-run Resmondo second and the defending champs surrendered just four in reply and recorded the rare scoreless frame in the third behind Purcell’s craft pitching placement.
“These hitters are great. They can do anything they want with a ball. My job is make them miss a little bit. As a pitcher here you don’t want to throw too many strikes you want to throw borderline stuff to make them swing,” Purcell said. “You have to let them get themselves out because they’re too good. You have to have a plan for each batter or they’ll sit up there all day. You have to hit spots and pitch to give your defense an easier ball to make a play on.”
Laservison scored two in the fourth and with the 15-after-5 run-rule hanging, the batting order was flipped to let Laservison lead off the fifth. The lead wilted to exactly 15 as Sammy Lopez and Brian rainwater crushed back-to-back bombs but when Connell made the play on Kevin Filby shot into a right infield gap to retire the side, the run-rule came down and Travis Resmondo gathered the kids to accept the sixth trophy.
“When we’ve play them this year whoever jumps first short games the other one,” Webb said as Resmondo moved to 6-3 this year against its biggest challenger in the standings. “They jumped first last night and short gamed us. We jumped first in both games today and shorted them. There hasn’t been a normal game between us yet this year.”
Next year starts now
Parks & Rec director Joe Huff and his staff were going into the close down mode following the trophy presentations but the Smoky Mountain Classic is a big part of the year for Parks & Rec. Notes and ideas for No. 46 were being made as the 45th unfolded.
“We’ve been making notes all weekend as a staff on the little things from how many T-shirts of a certain size we need to order, schedules, times, all that kind of stuff,” said Huff, who was wrapping up working his 31st Classic. “We’ll get together as a staff next week go over it and write it all down to start planning next year. You always feel good on Sunday. Even when everything goes good, nice weather, everything goes smooth — you still feel great on Sunday that it’s done. It’s good to see all these guys that come in from all over the country every year. Just seeing the softball people, the regulars in the crowd and give them a good show for the weekend.”
The tents will be packed ad the equipment put away. Banners will come off the fences and several staffers and volunteers will get their first full night of sleep in several days. The teams will move on to the goal of the Slo Pitch World Series title.
But soon thoughts of No. 46, the streak and who might stop the reign will begin to pop back up.
“We know we’ve had a good streak here and our core guys have been together for eight or ten years now. This is one of the best tournaments every year, its this and the world series, so its a huge deal for us,” Purcell said. “We want to win this one every time.”