“Big” John Daniels and yours truly were sitting together watching the “if” game of the first World Tournament when John said “Gordie we did it”. I told John “it doesn’t get any better than this”. John said to me “remember when we were riding in the car talking about how we could get the game to the next level, well it’s here”. For those who did not see this tournament, you missed one of the best ever! Long Haul/TPS begins this season trying to repeat their unbelievable 2001 season feat and see if they can make it two Grand Slams in a row. Make no mistake this is a very strong team. They played without the best shortstop in the game John Mello, and also had to play most of the tournament without one of the great players in the game, Todd Martin who has a serious problem with his shoulder. Todd will be examined to see what’s wrong with his shoulder this week. Long Haul/TPS did not miss a beat. I know Gary and the Long Haul staff were wondering how good their two young players Chad Durcek and Denny Crine were going to be and I can tell you they are very good and both will be Big Time players. These two boys have all the tools. All they need to do is get experience. Chad and Denny are very good defensively and both have great power offensively. Gary will have a tough job getting playing time for these two rookies, but if anybody can do that job Gary is the man. Long Haul’s old nemesis Hague/Resmondo/Walser/Worth gave Long Haul fits again as they beat Long Haul in the Winners Bracket Final and last year started all over again for Hague by beating the #1 team in the nation. In the end the Long Haul boys got the double dip and another Tournament Championship. Long Haul/TPS was led by MVP Rusty Bumgardner and the rest of the well oiled machine. Hague/Resmondo/Walser/Worth will be a team to be reckoned with this year. This team is very good. I think with a few changes it will get them over the top. Hague/Resmondo was also without one of their great players Howie Krause who could not make it due to a prior commitment. Hague was led by Scott Striebel who had a great tournament. Dal Beggs from the Hague/Resmondo team was voted the Defensive Player of the tournament. Before this season I stated that there were a lot of very good A teams. Now watching them play on the baseball fields I realized how unbelievable they are. I saw some of the best softball played this weekend that I have ever seen. Chase vs. Team Mizuno, T& R Stucco vs. Team Mizuno, Team Mizuno vs. WW Gay/Aubrey’s, Chase vs. Long Haul, other great games played by Suncoast/Nike, Sunnyvale/Easton, Florida Heat, Doc’s/Mizuno, Texan Softball. In my opiniion Mid South/TPS was the best of the A teams this weekend. As I have said before, there are about 20 A teams who on any given weekend could play against each other and have a different winner every weekend. In my last Softball Report I mentioned that there are a lot of A teams that can play against any of the teams on the big fields. Here is the reason why; What makes the difference for these A teams is in the past when they played in the World Series’ in the stadiums they played with 70′ bases which doesn’t let them turn very many double plays and it doesn’t stop all those extra base hits like the doubles, triples and inside the park homeruns, and no runners get thrown out by the outfielders. Now using the 90′ bases there are very few extra base hits, and very few players are able to take the extra base and there are lots of double plays with great defensive plays being made especially by the infielders who have the time to react playing back with the 90′ bases. The only complaints that I can see about this is some of the big guys that have to run the bases might need to get into better shape.
Mid South/TPS is a very good A team with the addition of Jeff Ott this team will be a force to be reckoned with for sure. Congratulations to the Mid South team. Chase/Reece’s/Roosters/Mastergraphics/Easton team also played extremely well all weekend long and had a chance to upset the #1 team in the nation Long Haul in the double elimination part. Look for Chase to be in the hunt many weekends this season. I want to thank every team who played this weekend and hope that everyone had a good time. I will admit this was not a good weekend to have this tournament here with spring break taking place, but I was told by the City of Daytona that I would have Jackie Robinson Stadium and the baseball field next door as well as the Big Tree Park, which we were able to use this weekend. It would have been much easier on the players and would have only been about a five minute drive from the hotels. I will admit there were some problems with this tournament and I will except the criticism. I also will tell you that I gave it my all to try and make this as professional as can be. I felt this tournament here in Daytona would be a great venue for the World Softball League and I still believe it is without Spring Break and with the use of Jackie Robinson Stadium and the field next door. There were some problems with the way it was run and I will take some of the blame for that. A lot of it had to do with communications after the pool play and the fact that teams were at fields finishing up on their last pool game waiting for their games to be completed to notify the teams where to go next. This tournament did not fall far behind, and the Championship game was scheduled to start Sunday at noon and began on time. Yes, we all made some mistakes and I will tell you that most of the games were awesome. It was a pleasure to watch some great softball played this weekend from some excellent softball teams. The four teams who benefited from the travel expense purse were Mid South/TPS who received $2,000; Chase/Reece’s/Roosters/Mastergraphics/Easton $1,500 and W.W. Gay/Aubrey’s/TPS and Team Mizuno both received $750. The sponsors which received the expense money said “Gordie how nice it is to have a tournament give you some money, when it’s usually me giving money to the tournament”. They all stated “I sure would like to thank John Daniels for his unbelievable efforts of bringing television coverage and putting up purse money for us teams to battle for in these World Softball events. Thank You again John Daniels” I personally want to thank JD for letting me put the first World Softball tournament on and also Jim Kimmel and the entire NSA staff for a job well done. The NSA umpires are a Class act and the best in softball. I want to thank Ed Cantrell and his staff at the NSA headquarters for their help. Thank you to the Ormond Beach Sports Complex, Port Orange Recreation Dept., Glen Walker, Spruce Creek High School girls softball team for their fine job at their concession stand, South Daytona Parks and Recreation and their concession staff , and a special thank you to Parks and Recreation Director Greg Bartholomew, Norm Yelvington for keeping the field in great shape at Big Tree Park. I also want to thank Sue Heisey and daughter Meg for a great job on keeping score all weekend. It was a lot of work for them. I want to thank all the senior softball players who took the time to attend my bat challenge and to the teams who played the games in the senior tournament. I also want to give a big thank you to Greg Harding and Scott Hairis from Mizuno Sports for putting on the hitting clinic down at the senior tournament. Thank you to Louisville Slugger’s Harold Nichols, Mike Cunningham from Worth, Chase/Easton, Nike Sports, Gene Smith from Softball Magazine, Fox Sports Jamie Shapiro and Mike Woodley and the rest of the Fox staff and most of all my very good friend Jack Ralston who came all the way down from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to help me out and did a great job at the Spruce Creek Field.
A very, very special thank you to a person whom I feel is like a son who stepped up and helped me sponsor this tournament and has always treated me with respect and is truly one of the best sponsors we’ve had in Big Time Softball, Thank You Travis Resmondo