Long Haul/Taylor Brothers/Shen Corp/TPS makes it 2 out of 2 in the 2001 Grand Slam. Long Haul rolled through this one going 4-0 to capture the championship. Long Haul was led by MVP Jeff Wallace and All World Team members Todd Martin, Mike Shenk, Hank Garris, John Mello, pitcher Andy Purcell and the rest of the team. The TPS boys looked to be on their way to winning the Grand Slam, as they will need to win two more if that is to happen. I believe the one that will be the hardest will be the USSSA, as they have struggled in the stadiums in the USSSA. Their defense is unbelievable in their infield, and the outfield is solid. Their offense is unstoppable when they turn the top, it becomes run production. This team has the most potent first six hitters that I have ever seen, not only power but, can base hit it as well. I know there is a long way to go to win the Grand Slam but, if anybody is going to win it will be this bunch. Hague/Resmondo/TPS is playing it’s best ball of the season and will be a threat to put a stop to the Long Haul Express. The veteran players have picked it up a notch in the Worlds and are playing extremely well. Hague/Resmondo has beaten Dan Smith two times in this years Grand Slam, as they sent DanSmith/Backman/Menosse home for the second time in two weeks. This ball club also has a potent offense led by Brannon, Kortokrax, Krause, Carter and veteran Britt Hightower who has been playing like he is 25 years old again. The Hague boys have a solid defense both in the infield and outfield. Finishing in third place for the second time in two weeks was DanSmith/Backman/Menosse/Easton, who are struggling defensively and are finding it hard to win. Their offense has produced enough to win but, can’t keep the other teams from scoring. I think they will have to find a way to sure up their defense, or they may not win one. I know that the management felt that they would be strong in the bigger fields, but they sure have had their problems catching the ball in their first two events. The Smith boys are getting it done at the bat as Nevitt, Helmer, Hall, Rose, and Rickard are doing their job, but will have to do better if they are to win one. Getting fourth place was Mercer’s/ K&G/TPS who are a very good softball team and played extremely well here this weekend. The K&G boys have some very good hitters and play very good defense. K&G showed they can play with anybody on the big fields, as they won twice over the Budweiser/Easton team. They were led by Rich Baker, a very good outfielder who can hit and play center field with the best of them. Make no mistake this is a good team. What can I say other than Jim Kimmel has gone the extra mile to make the NSA stand tall again. He gives so much to promote Big Time Softball and I hope that the sponsors and players appreciate what he does for this great game. What happened here this week was no different from last weekend in the ISA Worlds. The controversy is at it’s highest that I have ever seen in this years Worlds and is growing, and the only thing it’s doing is setting the game back even more. You ask what controversies and I can tell you it’s the same old thing, the bats and the balls. Yes, I was informed that the balls were what Jim wanted and maybe so, but if that’s true then maybe that ball is too much for that big field. There were 328 homeruns hit, and 958 runs scored in this tournament on the biggest field that they will play on this year. Now I talked to some of the players and here is what they said. Jeff Wallace” Gordie, there was a wind tunnel that just blew straight out and all you had to do was get it in the air and it was gone.” Brett Helmer ” Yes, Gordie that had a lot to do with all the homeruns, but that ball was hot.” Mike Shenk ” Yes that ball was hot, but there was a lot of wind and that didn’t help matters.” This year the homerun leader was Dewayne Nevitt who hit 13. Several other players hit 12, 10 , and 9 compared to two years ago in the same park when they used a 47 core ball. The homerun leader then, Jim Devine had 7, and the next highest was 5 and that was Dewayne Nevitt and Jeff Wallace. So obviously something was different. The controversy on the bat is the new Louisville Slugger Genesis. All I can say about that is, it’s been approved by all associations and is not over the standards, and that is that. Last year their was controversy at the USSSA World’s and that was over the bat that the Worth team was using. The claim was that it was illegal, and the bat had been tampered with. All I can say about that is that we all know that players like to get a feel for the bat and don’t like to change it, but when I see a player use it and the next guy pick it up and he uses it one after another, I think that pretty well tells me that bat was different. Something should be done or this game is in real trouble. The associations have elected to play their World Tournaments in the best stadiums in the country, like Wizard Stadium in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with the beautiful sky boxes and the big fields. It takes big money to be able to play in these places, but all I can say is why pay that kind of money to get those stadiums and have homerun after homerun hit. Why not go back and play on the 300 ft complexes and still have homerun derbies? It doesn’t make sense. We can get those complexes pretty cheap, but seven thousand dollars for the use of the stadium and basically have the same type of game. All I have to say is in 2001 is that we have made great strides to get this game where it belongs, on baseball fields with 80, 85, and 90 ft bases, and I’m here to tell you that teams like K&G and other good lower class softball teams have proved time and again that with the right ball and the big fields they can compete against the best teams in the country, and that my friends is what manufactures, sponsors, and players should strive for. I say what ever it takes to make this a better game should be addressed before it’s to late. When I see a player like Paul Drilling hitting seven homeruns and some were bombs as well as a few other’s hitting as well, I guarantee this could not be done in these stadiums without the use of hot balls and hot bats. I want to take the time to say what a first class organization the NSA are. They are some of the best well dressed umpires in the country in their association. I can’t say enough about what a first class guy Jim Kimmell is and I hope the softball world takes a look at what he does for Big Time Softball. I would like to say a special thank you to Darrell and Scott the announcer and score keeper who did a tremendous job. I had the privilege to do a tape delay broadcast with M. C. TV out of Michigan City Indiana with Brian Stuman. It was a lot of fun doing the color commutating for this TV station. Three games were taped and will be for sale in the near future. I will post how you can get these tapes. Thank You.
The Old Scout
Most Valuable Player – Jeff Wallace
Defensive Player – Todd Martin
Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corp/TPS
1. Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corp/TPS
2. Hague/Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPs
3. Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton