2005 Smoky Mountain Classic

Bell Corp/Backman/Taylor Bros/Easton wins the Mighty “Smoky Mountain Classic” going undefeated 5-0. Slick fielding Rick “Spike” Baker hit a titanic walk off two run homerun in the bottom of the seventh, after Bell Corp was trailing by six to win this prestigious tournament for Bell Corp. Baker can flat out play this game, using the whole field offensively hitting it down both lines, in the middle, in the gaps and can bust it out at anytime. He may be the best overall outfielder in Big Time softball. The “Bell Boys” have proven to be the best team in the nation after a slow start. I said in the start that Resmondo/Dan Smith/Menossee “may” be the best team ever, but I’m sure now that this is not the case. I really think the Resmondo team has the best overall talent, but talent does not always win. The Bell team has a lot of talent. What they really have is a team, when you define team just look at this Bell Corp team. This bunch is as close as any team I have seen since the Long Haul team that won the Grand Slam or the great Rich’s teams of the 90’s. These Bell players pull for every teammate. They pick it up when someone is down. This bunch plays together and off the field they eat and talk softball, and are one close nit team. I believe they have been very successful against Resmondo because their players are very hungry and want to prove they cannot only play against Resmondo, but beat them. There is no doubt who the best team is now after the Dudley and the Smoky was won by Bell Corp. I would not doubt that the Bell team will dominate the rest of the season. This bunch just plain wants it more. As for Resmondo, I believe that there is no outright leader on this ball club. I think for the Resmondo ship to turn it around, one of the veteran players will have to step up and become a leader. That organization is going to have to light a fire in a lot of their players, if they expect to beat the Bell Boys, I guarantee you. The Resmondo team is just not getting the offense that they should. What’s been happening is 2 or 3 of the first six hit and the others don’t hit. The bottom of the order just does not turn it back to the top, especially against Bell Corp. They’re not putting a whole lot of big innings together. They’re going to have to hit as a total team or pay the consequences, it’s that simple. We will see what happens down the road. These two giants will meet again in Detroit for sure, and I’m not sure about the ISA World. I haven’t heard what’s going to happen there.

The Bell Boys have earned the #1 ranking this week that’s for sure, as they now lead the season series against Resmondo with 7 wins. Scott Brown led his team in hitting in this one, but believe me this was a total team effort. Everybody contributed both offensively and defensively. If anybody thinks that winning the Dudley and the Smoky doesn’t mean anything, you’re absolutely crazy. These are the two most prestigious tournaments, other than the USSSA Worlds, I guarantee you. Third place went to the #3 ranked team in the country AM Las Vegas/Benfield/Reece/Belcher/Shade/Easton, who just is caught in the middle. They are very competitive against Bell and Resmondo, but are better than the rest of the A teams. I know it’s got to be very hard on the sponsors and the players, but this is how the game is and has been for years. There has always been a dominating team, Howards, Rich’s, Team TPS, Long Haul, Resmondo, Dan Smith and others. The rest were also rans. Today the competition in Class A is as good as it gets, as I have said there are about 10-12 who have a chance to win on any given weekend. This year Bell and Resmondo have been pretty even. Then there is the Vegas Boys who are caught in a trap. The gambling boys have a lot of talent also, and they have the best young player in the country in Brian Wegman, who has all the tools. This young man can play with the two big teams right now, he is that good. I look for the Vegas Boys to be very tough to beat at the ASA Major, but they may have trouble in the Class A Worlds they play in because of the homerun rules, we will see. Good job boys at the Smoky. Fourth place went to the hottest team in the country the last few weeks, that being Team Stucco. This bunch is playing very, very good right now. They are beating teams they’re supposed to and only losing to the teams they should. That my friends is how it should be. Since the pick-up of Roberts and Genter this bunch has been playing as good as any team out there. Watch out for this bunch in the A Worlds. I can tell you there are a few great tournaments played in this country, but the Mighty Smoky Mountain Classic is the best of them all. The competition is the best of any of the tournaments. They use the right balls, a .40 core .375 on the 300′ fields and a .44 core .375 on the big field. The biggest factor is that they use 80′ bases and that my friends is how the game should be played, just ask the players.

I want to thank Joe Huff and Chris Clark for another great weekend at this fabulous tournament nestled in the great Smoky Mountains. The umpiring doesn’t get any better here, because they use all veteran umpires who have worked this tournament for years. Great job guys! Softball 360º filmed this event and will be part of one of the Softball 360º TV shows. Don’t miss it! I had some great interviews with Woody Bell, a bunch of the managers of the best teams in the world, also with a man named Carl Greer, who has seen 28 of the 37 Smoky Mountain Classic tournaments. I’m sure you will enjoy it. The crowds were big, the weather was great and the teams, all 30 of them put on a great show in this 2005 Smoky Mountain Classic.