Resmondo takes the fifth consecutive Classic title
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you have to get up early Sunday, you’re probably not going to get by Resmondo.
Laservison won three games Sunday morning but couldn’t pull off the fourth as Resmondo took a 33-8 run-rule win in four innings and captured its fifth consecutive Great Smoky Mountain Classic title.
When the Classic moved the winner’s bracket final from 7 a.m. Sunday morning to Saturday night for its 44th edition, those who went in to Sunday’s championship without a loss got to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a good night’s sleep as a reward, while the three teams remaining in the losers bracket were on the field before the dew dried to battle it out for rights to the opposite spot in the 11 a.m. title game.
“We have some older guys on our team, and that’s what they were playing for, the chance to sleep in Sunday,” joked newly crowned Classic home run champion Greg Connell from Resmondo.
Laservision took the opener, 28-26, over the four-time defending champs on a walk-off home run from Brian Rainwater to make it three wins in a row Sunday morning and four straight elimination victories since Team 454 put them in the losers bracket Saturday evening. The win forced a decisive final game and provided free softball to the fans at Sandy Springs.
That free softball didn’t last all that long, but it might have seemed to Laservision if the second inning would never end. Resmondo belated out 23 runs on 21 hits with 12 home runs. Laservision used three different pitchers but it never phased Resmondo as the home team on the scoreboard strung together seven consecutive homers in the frame, put together another stretch of three consecutive doubles at another point and saw Connell go 3-for-3 — all home runs — in the second.
“We came out hammering it down in the first game, but we went flat the last four innings. We didn’t get it done, no excuse,” Classic MVP Jeff Hall said. “But I knew when we turned the corner in the second, I said, ‘boys here it comes,’ because we’ve done it before.”
That energy is something that just gets contagious and can charge the Resmondo roster according to Connell.
“When you get those big innings, all it takes is to get three or four with no outs and guys start feeding off each other,” Connell said. “We don’t make a lot of changes to our roster, these guys we show up every year and it’s like a family the way we know each other.”
Laservision manged to scratch out three runs over the third and fourth but it wasn’t enough to hold of the run-rule as the 20 runs after four innings kicked in before the champs could even bat in what became the final frame.
“We didn’t hit well. You have to hit. I used three different pitchers in there to give them a different look and nothing worked,” Laservision’s Dan Fruwirth said. “It was tough to lose like that, to come so close and not battle the last game. I’m proud of these guys but we’re disappointed to not win it when we had the chance.”
Laservision trailed by 11 in the fourth inning of the first game between the majors, but rallied back behind some stingy defense from Sam Lopez, who robbed five doubles with a lightning reflex at third, and tied the game in the sixth on a home run from pitcher Bill Messina, who became one of the oldest players to hit a home run in the Classic at 49.
“It wasn’t anything about being tired. We got here and the adrenaline takes over,” Fruwirth said. “Resmondo played better than us the last game and that’s the bottom line.”
Laservision started the morning off by eliminating Demarini/Dirty, 28-7, in four innings by baptizing home run balls into the waters of Pistol Creek behind left field as Brent Helmer hit a first-inning grand slam and Geno Buck brought the curtain down on a three-run shot in the fourth. The Classic runner-up got a measure of revenge in the second game as it run-ruled Team 454, 29-9, after 454 put Laservision in the loser’s bracket Saturday night. Scott Kirby connected on a grand slam and Bubba Mack hit three into the drink.