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Give Them Six! In A Row!

Resmondo extends Classic streak with Sunday morning show of force

Big hitting early and clutch defense pushed defending champion Resmondo to Smoky Mountain Classic records of six straight championships and nine overall. Photos by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

The World Series crowns the season champion, but it’s still the Smoky Mountain Classic where a men’s major softball team takes the throne.

Resmondo's Andy Purcell delivered a rare no-hit inning in the championship game.

The only remaining tournament on the Conference USSSA schedule with no home run limit is part of it, but it wasn’t power that pushed Resmondo to a record sixth consecutive Classic championship, a record ninth overall, Sunday afternoon at Sandy Springs Park.

The champs ripped reigning World Series champion Laser Vision, 39-9 and 34-19, in back-to-back games after roaring out of the loser’s bracket earlier Sunday.

“We ran into a buzz saw,” Laser Vision manager Dan Fruwirth said.

Laser Vision took possession of last season’s championship rings prior to its first game on Friday.

Offensive production withstanding, a head-turning defensive display sent Resmondo into the season’s second half as once again champs of “the Smoky,” best reflected in Hall of Fame pitcher Andy Purcell sharing co-most valuable player honors with teammate and big-hitting outfielder Nick Santana.

It’s doubtful you’ll ever see a no-hitter in men’s major softball. An inning of no-no ball from Purcell, however, all but decided the Sunday’s decisive if-necessary game.

Resmondo went to work early, building a 28-14 lead after 2 ½ innings. Purcell retired Laser Vision three up, three down in the bottom half of the frame, a blanking that was telling.

Dennis Rulli clubs another big hit for Resmondo.

“If you have one of those against a team like them (Resmondo), it can be lights out,” Fruwirth said.

The champs ramped up the pressure with six insurance runs in their half of the fourth, bringing the run rule into play.

Purcell limited Laser Vision to nine runs over its last four at bats.

“You try to make them miss as much as possible,” Purcell said, “and my infield plays great defense behind me.

The most vivid display by that defense, while it didn’t record the putout, is worthy of note.

Laser Vision’s Rick Baker clubbed a line shot to Santana in center for an easy single in the second. Resmondo second baseman and co-captain and Don Dedonatis Jr. noticed Rainwater taking a wide turn at first and signaled shortstop Dennis Rulli what to do with the relay.

“Defense wins championships,” Santana said. “You get the ball in quick, you keep the force out in play.”

Wheeling with no hesitation, Rulli fired a rocket to the bag at first, Baker diving back just ahead of the throw.

Even after great stops like this, Laser Vision was often unable to add the big throw for the out.

Time and again, Laser Vision went wanting for the big defensive stop, Fruwirth said, just missing on hard-hit balls on the infield that put Resomondo base runners aboard.

“They did it,” Fruwirth said. “I’m not going to take anything from them, and we’ll take it from there.”

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