2006 Smoky Mountain Classic

Resmondo/KME Softball won this prestigious tournament this past weekend in the “Granddaddy” of them all, The Smoky Mountain Classic. “The Sod Boys” had to do it the hard way, by coming out of the loser’s bracket and winning the “if” game to capture the biggest prize in softball, other than the USSSA Worlds. Resmondo was led by MVP Jeff Wallace and a total team effort in this big win. I have said all season long that I thought Resmondo was the best team on the bigger fields, and they proved me right in this one. The big reason is the power up and down their lineup. This being the only tournament that there is no homerun limit; it’s hit all you can, and they did. I also believe that playing on bigger fields and using the 80′ bases like they did in this one, is the only way bigtime softball should be played. I want you to look at the scores on the smaller fields. Lots of runs scored; 2 1/2 hour games. I then want you to look at the runs scored on the main diamond at Sandy Springs; 315′ down the lines, 340′ in the gaps, 350′ to center. I can tell you when the gaps are bigger and the middle is bigger, using 80′ bases makes for lesser runs, 1 1/2 hr. games, more double plays, much better defense and homeruns hit by the players who should hit them. That my friends is how bigtime softball should be played period, like it or not. I can also tell you that it’s about the only chance the lesser teams have of beating the big boys. I still think that Bell Corp is the best on the 300′ fields. AM Las Vegas and Specialty Tank are very competitive on 300′ fields also, but cannot win very often when the big boys are there. I do believe they can win on the bigger fields using 80′ bases with unlimited homeruns, just my opinion. Congratulations to Resmondo on winning this tournament, and good luck the rest of the season.

AM Las Vegas/Benfield/Reece/Shade Rest./Easton finished in second place in this one. This team has been up and down all season, but got it together this weekend. I think they are a lot better team when they play unlimited homeruns and are playing with 80′ bases. This is a very good hitting team, who have a lot of pop. I think that is why they played very well in this one. They maybe a little bit too strong for 300′ fields, just my opinion. Good job guys and good luck the rest of the way.

Third place went to Specialty Tank/Creative Walls/Worth who have been playing much better the last few tournaments, that’s for sure. I heard they have lost their shortstop Tim Mattox. I know this, if they did this will really hurt this team. This kid can flat out play. He can pick it with anybody, and he can also hit it with anybody, and this will be a big loss. Congratulations on a great job this weekend. Good luck down the road.

Fourth place went to Bell Corp/Taylor/Belcher/Easton, who just did not get it done this week. I know you can’t win every week, that’s for sure. They have done pretty well most of the season winning. I also have said that I don’t think Bell Corp is the best team on the bigger fields, we will see down the road.

I talked with Chris Clark in Maryville, and I asked him what he thought of playing this tournament USSSA for the first time. Chris told me it was a perfect fit for this tournament. He told me they let them run this tournament like they always did, and that was good for us. Chris said they kept the tournament unlimited homeruns, and they used the 80′ bases and they liked that. Chris said he thought this was one of the better Smoky’s and they are looking forward to next year. I personally would like to commend Chris and Joe for running another Great Smoky Mountain Classic. I also want to commend Don Dedonatis for making this great tournament part of the USSSA Conference. I honestly believe that this conference can keep Bigtime Softball going, with a lot of hard work and making some adjustments to the game. I believe we’ve turned the corner of getting this game back where it belongs. I know this, if the right moves are made this game will be better than ever. Just make the right moves.

I want to thank big Jim McCarron on a great job on keeping all of us informed on what was going on at the Smoky all weekend. Jim, you are a First Class guy, and you are the best. This week’s NIT is in Cincinnati, Ohio. This tournament will have the biggest field of teams in conference play this year with at least 38 teams. That is an incredible job getting that many teams to participate in this tournament. I commend Jim Wessel and his Cincinnati USSSA staff on putting this one together. Good luck to Jim and all the teams in this one.