2001 USSSA NIT Cocoa, FL

Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton captured the title by going 4-0. I want to congratulate Dan Smith on an extremely well played tournament on the biggest field any tournament has played on this year. As you all know I am an advocate of playing on baseball fields. I don’t believe they need to be this big, but all in all this is where Big Time Softball
has to be played. I can tell you it was like being at the Word Series as far as the play went. You talk about defense! It was a pleasure to go to an NIT and see the incredible play both from the infielders and outfielders. This is what it’s all about boys. The conditions were very
tough to play in the stadiums, with a very strong wind blowing in all weekend long making it very hard on the homerun hitters, of which the leader only had six. That is the way this game should be. If the winds were not blowing in, I believe the leader would probably of not had more than ten homeruns. I was very proud to see the five A teams that precipitated in this event giving a good showing in most of their games. I can tell you that if the A teams in this country played more on the baseball fields they would become more competitive, and I also believe the intimidation factor playing against the Super teams would diminish. As it is right now, they don’t play enough against the better competition to become more competitive. Hopefully the good A & AA teams in the country will enter the tournaments that are being played on the baseball fields. As I was walking around the stadium this weekend, I took the time to ask some of the A players what their thoughts were of playing on baseball fields against these big teams. “When other players talk about how the big teams have nothing but big guys who hit homeruns, don’t have a clue how good defensively these big guys really are. It is amazing how players like Mello, Thomas, Joerling, Davis, Shenk, Rulli, Beggs, Mendoza, King, and Martin can pick it, and the outfield play of players like Striebel, Kendricks, Kissane, Higginbotham, Hightower,Creson, McCraw, Carter, Boone and others, they can flat out play the game.” Another quote ” we don’t see all this great defensive play on 300′ fields because of all the homeruns, there’s no question where the Super NIT’s should be played, definitely on baseball fields.” Another quote from one of the A players was “I sure wish they could move the bases back so I don’t have to have them rockets bouncing off my body, it’s not fun.” Now getting back to the tournament, Dan Smith from the top to the bottom did what it took to win this one. A prime example; not once did I see one of the great homerun hitters in this game try to hit it out. I seen him go back side all weekend long, and that was Carl Rose. From this reporter’s eyes, if you want to win in these big parks you have to do the little things or it isn’t going to happen. That is just what this team did to regain the #1 ranking. Hague/Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPS also played very good this weekend, as they managed to squeak by the #1 team coming into the tournament, Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corp/TPS two times on route to their 2nd. place finish. Long Haul could only manage a 3rd. place finish in this one. Taking the 4th place spot was one of those fine Fla. A teams, Suncoast/TPS who played extremely well all weekend long. There’s no question in my mind they’re a lot of good A teams in the country this season. It should be interesting when they all get together in the four A Worlds this year. There’s a tremendous rivalry building between Dan Smith and Hague/Resmondo, keep an eye out on these two, as I think it could even build bigger. So far in the early goings Hague/Resmondo has the advantage over Long Haul, as they lead their season series 3 games to 2, and that is another great rivalry building. Take my word for it, these three teams are fairly evenly matched, which will be a battle every time they meet up this season. Boy how nice it would be to see the Top 15-15 teams in the country get it on every weekend somewhere in this great country in a baseball stadium or baseball fields playing this great game. I know this was only an 8 team tournament, but folks the games were running approx. an hour and 20 minutes tops. Not once did they get behind. All the teams were back to the hotels at 5:30 Sat. night and the tournament was over by 2:15pm on Sunday. I can tell you they could of had 14 teams, and this tournament would of still finished
early Sat. night and early Sun. There’s no reason for any tournament to be keeping players from missing their flights or to be playing into the wee hours of the morning. All we have to do is move these Super tournaments to the baseball parks and you’ll solve all the problems that
arise every weekend. The ball used this weekend was a .47 core Dudley, very highly compressed which turned out to be the right ball for these fields and conditions. If we’re on fields 340′ or less down the lines a .47 core 375 compressed ball is the right ball to use. What happened this weekend in another tournament, of which I’ll be reporting as soon as I get all the facts was pretty simple, a rocket ball on a 300′ softball complex is just not the answer when tournament directors and Association directors use the right balls in the right situations we
won’t have 100 runs scored or 3 hour games which is totally ridiculous and doesn’t prove a damn thing about how good a softball team or a player is. All you have to do is the right thing, “Put the game where it belongs, and let the B,C,D & E teams play on the 300″ fields and that
will solve all the problems”!

1st. Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton
2nd. Hague/Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPS
3rd. Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corps/TPS
4th. Suncoast/TPS

Final Game Score
Hague Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPS 9
Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton 18
All Tournament Team

From Suncoast TPS
Wayne Busby

From Long Haul/Taylor Bothers/Shen Corp/TPS
Jeff Wallace
Rusty Bumgardner

From Hague/Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPS
Scott Striebel
Demond Thomas
Howie Krause

From Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton
Brett Helmer
Dewayne Nevitt
Todd Joerling
Dan Shuck

Defensive Player of the Tournament from Hague/Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPS
Albert Davis

Offensive Player of the Tournament
From Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton Dawyne Nevitt

Home Run Champion — with 6 from
Long Haul/Taylor Bros./Shen Corp/TPS Rusty Bumgardner

MVP: Greg Harding