Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corp/TPS wins the USSSA title. Three down and one to go, that is what the best team in the nation is talking about. If they succeed they will become the first team to win the Grand Slam on the field, and also become the first to win playing all four World’s in baseball stadiums. Make no mistake this is the most talented team to ever play this great game from top to bottom both offensively and defensively. There has been no better team ever assembled. From the start of the season the management and players had one thing on their mind, and that was to win it all. Let’s take a look at this team that was put together in 1998 with most of the players being together all four seasons with some changes made throughout the run, especially this season. Here’s a list of their over-all accomplishments in their four year existence playing as Team TPS to the present Long Haul/Taylor Bros/Shen Corp/TPS. Thirty five NIT wins, seven World Championships, three NSA’s, one ASA, one ISA and two USSSA’s. Their four year over-all record 293 wins, 54 losses.
Now for this 2001 Championship Long Haul/TPS played great defense all weekend long to hold off all opponents and got enough offense to win this “Showcase of Softball”, the USSSA World Championship. Long Haul was led by MVP Jason Kendrick, who has been one of the most talented players in “Big Time Softball” for a long time. Jason has not received the credit he so richly deserves by the softball world, but believe me from his peers they know what he means to this team. Manager, Gary Jost told me “we didn’t let the other teams get any big innings going, as we shut them down with our great defense. We then got our offense going and that’s pretty much how we played, not only in this tournament but all season long. We also got great pitching from our guy Andy Purcell who has just did a great job for us all year”. Gary also stated “we need to stay focused for one more tourney and hopefully win the Grand Slam”. Finishing in 2nd. place was Hague/Resmondo/Specialty Tank/TPS, who has been playing very strong the last two months and have certainly played great ball in all three World Championships, as they have finished 2nd. in the three events. This team has proven to be very good. Long Haul’s manager Gary Jost told me “he feared Hague/Resmondo more than any other team, stating they have great defense and a lot of good hitters and are a Force out there”. Hague/Resmondo was led by “Big” Larry Carter who led the tournament in homeruns hitting 11 big ones. Travis and Jeff should be very proud of the job they did this season and also the effort their players gave them. This team showed a lot of character and deserved being ranked as the second best team this season.
Third place went to a very good A team Maroadi’s/Frank-n-stein/Mizuno, who I know had to play USSSA AA this season, but are really a very good A team. This team had a lot of ups and downs this season, but with some changes made they began to play better and finished up being awfully strong down the stretch. Maroadi’s, who upset Hague but lost to Long Haul in the Winners Bracket Final was led by one of the great base hitters in softball who has been for a long time and is the leading hitter in USSSA World Series history, Steve Dickerson. Maroadi’s got great defensive play from left fielder Scott Janack who took at least four homeruns away reaching over the fence to rob them. Congratulations to Joe and the boys for a great World Series. Fourth place went to Dan Smith/Backman/Menosse/Easton who just couldn’t get it together in this one. Dan Smith got beat by Maroadi’s in their third game and had to battle back in the Loser’s Bracket and did so, but were totally embarrassed when Hague/Resmondo thrashed them in the Loser’s Bracket Final. Dan Smith has now finished in third place in two Worlds and fourth in the USSSA.
I can tell you the Showcase of Softball is just that. It was a First Class tournament ran very well. The staff of the USSSA did another outstanding job and it was just what they needed to do bringing in the Class C Worlds to help bring the crowd in. The attendance was much better than last year which made for a better World Tournament. The Bat Wars was also outstanding and definitely contributed to the attendance this year. Congratulations to Gene and Lou Anne from Softball Magazine for making this a total “First Class Event”. The opening ceremony was the best night for attendance and was a great show. The Homerun Derby was very exciting as Jeff Wallace and Brett Helmer put on an unbelievable show and the crowd loved it. Helmer and Wallace both tied in their first round hitting 5 each to force a playoff. Helmer hit first in the playoff getting 5, and Wallace came to bat hitting 6, and that is exactly what he got to win the Homerun Derby. Well there’s one World Series left and I’m looking forward to that one next month October 21 & 22, the ASA World Series in Sanford, Florida. Finishing up, I want to say the ball used was perfect, a .47 core Dudley .375 compression for the size of this park. There were some very competitive games all week long, especially by some of the A teams. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 2001 USSSA World Series.
|MVP: Jason KendrickAll World Manager: Gary Jost
Home Run Champion: Larry Carter with 11 Home Runs
Defensive Player: Demond Thomas
Offensive Player: Steve Dickerson
All Tournament Team: