Resmondo/ Specialty Tank/ Worth Escapes Team Albicocco, Sweeps Past Laservision For Fourth Straight Cincinnati Major Conference USSSA Title

Colerain Township, Oh.—Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth outlasted Team Albicocco/Scene/Easton/Elite 32-31 in nine innings in the winners’ bracket finals, then battled past Laservision/H. Auto/JJ’s/Easton 40-32 in the championship game, to complete a six-game sweep of the 15th Annual Cincinnati Major Conference USSSA National Invitational Tournament July 18-20 at Mid-America Ballyard.


The championship was Resmondo’s fourth consecutive Cincinnati Major title.  They have now won twenty-four consecutive games.


Resmondo trailed Albicocco 21-9 after four innings in the winners’ bracket finals, but outscored the Hunington, NY team 21-9 over the next three innings to send the game into extra innings.  There veteran pitcher Andy Purcell stepped up, holding Albicocco to a lone 9th inning run, then delivering the a two-run, bases loaded single in the bottom of the 9th to lift his team into the finals.  Purcell had previously contributed a grand slam home run to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th.


Resmondo never trailed in the championship game, in which both teams scored in every inning of the 40-32 finale.


Previously, Resmondo had disposed of H & D/Moose Lodge 1592/C.A.M.I. 37-5, OC Swats/Miken/Premier Athletics 31-21, 3rd Street/Louisville Slugger/Mojo 31-11, and Baugh Doerflinger Nat-Pawn/Easton 25-10.


B. J. Fulk hit .833 en route to Tournament MVP honors.

15th Annual Cincinnati Major Tournament MVP B. J. Fulk.

15th Annual Cincinnati Major Tournament MVP B. J. Fulk.


Resmondo manager John Rector said his team has been “very, very lucky” to win in Cincinnati.


Rector recalled winning in 2011, when “three teams had us beat.”  Then last year, after coasting to the 2012 title, Resmondo won three games in their final at bat, and had to outscore Laservision 40-13 over the final four innings to overcome a 29-8 deficit and pull out a 48-42 victory.


“We got the same luck in Cincinnati this year,” said Rector.  “The Scene (Albicocco) had us beat.  We came into the bottom of the 7th down nine and only had two home runs left and scored nine.  Then we went into the top of the 8th tied and they had three home runs to get, and didn’t score, which we got lucky.  Then we don’t score in the 8th, and I’m going ‘there’s no way we’re getting out of this now.’  But they only scored one, and we scored two.


“We have been real lucky in Cincinnati two years in a row,” concluded Rector.  “We should have been beat there.”


Tournament MVP B. J. Fulk hit .833 to pace an offense that boasted a line-up featuring seven players who hit over .700 and helped produce 196 runs – an average of 33 runs per game.


“B. J. led our team in hitting and only hit a couple of home runs,” pointed out Rector.  “So if you’re going to hit over .800 and only hit two home runs, you’ve done a heckuva job staying in the park and not making outs.  And that’s not easy coming off the Smoky (Smoky Mountain Classic) and free swinging.  He had a heckuva weekend for us.


Jimmy Salas, who batted .733, was named the Defensive Tournament MVP.


“He could be Defensive Tournament MVP every weekend,” said Rector.  “He’s the best 3rd baseman in the world.  He catches everything.  He’s a rock down there.”


Joining Fulk and Salas on the All-Tournament team were Jeremy Yates (.800), Andy Purcell (.774), Lee Powers (.769), Dennis Rulli (.758) and Greg Connell (.690).


Rector called Yates “the best all-around outfielder in the game.


“He hits with power, keeps it in the park, and runs and throws very well,” said Rector.  “And he stole a couple home runs over the fence.  He’s the youngest player we’ve got and he’s really good.”


Rector said that Purcell “saved our butts Saturday night against the Scene.


“He’s the best pitcher in the world,” said Rector.  “Enough said.  He gives up one run in two innings. When the game is on the line, he’s hard to get runs against.”


Lee Powers “is going through a little learning curve on these small fences,” noted Rector.


“It’s his first year with us and he’s learning to keep the ball in the park.  He’s a great guy and very professional the way he’s going about things, and he had a very good weekend staying in the park.”


Dennis Rulli is “All-Tournament every weekend and hits .800 every weekend,” said Rector.  “It’s a common thing for him even at his age.  And he held down the middle for us.  He’s a very important player to us.”


Rector said that Greg Connell is not only “the best hitter in the game, he’s now become the best 2nd baseman in the game because he’s worked so hard on his defense.


“Connell is Connell – that’s all I can say.”


Friday night Resmondo barely worked up a sweat in brushing aside H & D 37-5 in three innings.  Lee Powers quickly erased a 1-0 H & D lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the 1st.  Resmondo exploded for fifteen runs in the bottom of the 2nd, then put the game out of reach with twenty in the 3rd.  The 2nd featured a pair of two-run shots – one by Jeremy Isenhower and one by Andy Purcell, a three-run blast by Jeremy Yates, and a slammer by Dennis Rulli.  Lee Powers got the scoring underway with a three-run homer in the 3rd, Jimmy Salas, B. J. Fulk and Howie Krause each contributed two-run homers, then Greg Connell closed out the scoring with a walk-off three-run bomb.


Purcell, Salas, Powers, Yates, Daniel Lopez and Rulli had four hits each for the winners.


Next Resmondo used a nine-run 2nd to overcome an early 7-4 deficit against OC Swats in game two, then broke the contest open with eighteen runs over the next two innings.  Jimmy Salas and Nic Santana each launched a slammer in the 2nd, and Salas contributed a three-run homer in a four-run 3rd.  Then after OC Swats cut the lead down to three in the top of the 4th, Resmondo erupted for fourteen runs to open up a 31-14 lead and never looked back.  Andy Purcell had a two-run homer, Howie Krause a three-run blast and Dennis Rulli a grand slam.


Rulli, Purcell and Jeremy Yates were each perfect in five trips to the plate, and Nic Santana and B. J. Fulk went 4-for-5.


Resmondo capitalized on a 23-run 3rd to erase a 6-2 deficit to 3rd Street in game three, and went on to rout the hometown club 31-11 in four.  Greg Connell had a pair of three run homers, Bubba Mack and Andy Purcell each had a three-run bomb, and Jeremy Yates added a slammer to account for sixteen of their team’s 23 runs in the 3rd.  Connell went yard again with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 4th.


Dennis Rulli, who had a two-run double in the 3rd and a two-run homer in the 4th, combined with Connell, Purcell, Jimmy Salas and B. J. Fulk for twenty hits to pace the offense.


It took Resmondo until the 3rd inning to start taking control of Baugh Doerflinger in game four.  Trailing 10-8 after two and a half, Resmondo scored seventeen unanswered runs in their next three at bats to pull away to a 25-10 victory.  Back-to-back three-run home runs by Nic Santana and Greg Connell put their team into the lead for good at 14-10.  Jeremy Yates provided three of Resmondo’s five runs with a three run homer in the 4th, then Resmondo got another three-run shot from Santana and a walk-off solo from Jeremy Isenhower in the 5th.


Isenhower and Powers banged out four hits apiece, while Santana, B. J. Fulk and Andy Purcell each went 3-for-4.


That lifted Resmondo into the winners’ bracket finals, where Team Albicocco jumped out to an early 21-9 lead after three and a half innings late Saturday night.  But Resmondo outscored the New York team 21-9 in their next three at bats to force extra innings.  With Resmondo trailing 30-21 heading into the bottom of the 7th, Bubba Mack had a two-run shot, Jeremy Yates followed with an rbi double, and Nic Santana added a two-run single.  Santana’s hit juiced the bases for Andy Purcell, who promptly tied the game with a grand slam home run.  Both teams put up goose eggs in the 8th, then Team Albicocco reclaimed the lead with a run in the top of the 9th.  Resmondo loaded the bases again for Purcell in the bottom of the 9th with no outs, and the veteran came through again, this time with a bases-loaded two-run single to lift Resmondo to a dramatic 32-31 victory.


Meanwhile, Laservision, which had suffered a 43-29 upset loss to H. Auto LLC/Easton in a second round game, was storming through the losers’ bracket, ousting seven teams from the 36-team field to earn a berth into the finals.  But Laservision’s offense, which had averaged 42 runs per game after falling to H. Auto 43-29, fizzled for four innings of the finals – perhaps from fatigue.  And Resmondo took full advantage of it, building a 29-11 lead through four and a half innings.  The defending champions jumped out to a 14-4 lead on the strength of a four-run 1st and a ten-run 2nd.  Lee Powers’ two-run shot was the big blow in the 1st, while the 2nd featured slammers by Jimmy Salas and Jeremy Yates, and a Jeremy Isenhower two-run homer.  Yates connected again with a two-run homer in a three-run 3rd, Andy Purcell went solo in the 4th, then B. J. Fulk and Greg Connell each delivered a three-run blast and Bubba Mack added a two-run homer as Resmondo erupted for eleven runs in the 5th for a commanding eighteen run lead.  Laservision’s bats finally came to life in the bottom of the 5th, as they used a twelve-run outburst to trim the deficit down to six at 29-23.


But that was as close as the challengers would get, as Resmondo kept the pressure on with six in the 6th and five in the 7th.  Connell had another three-run homer, and Salas followed with a two-run shot in the 6th, while the 7th was highlighted by solo home runs by Dennis Rulli, Connell and Mack, and a Salas two-run homer – his third of the contest.  Laservision answered with two in the 6th and seven in the 7th before running out of swings.


Yates, Fulk and Powers pounded out six hits each, and Purcell, Connell and Rulli combined for fifteen to help power the champions.


Resmondo manager John Rector said he was “happy with the way we went out and played” in the finals.


“I understand what they were up against,” said Rector of Laservision’s grueling run through the losers’ bracket.  “But you can’t have any sympathy for them.  Eleven or twelve straight games – it doesn’t matter to them.  They’re strong and they compete.  I’m just glad we didn’t come out and take them for granted.  You know they won’t lay down or quit, so I’m happy with the way we came out and played hard and did not take that group for granted.”


Rector took his team’s fourth consecutive Cincinnati Major win in stride.


“We just have a good team,” summed up Rector.  “We have good players and have a good sponsor and we expect to win every week.  We don’t always win, but we win most of the time.  So four in a row better be five in a row next year in Cincinnati.”


After three straight runner-up finishes to Laservision kicking off the 2014 season, Resmondo has now won six-straight Conference USSSA events.


“A lot of that was our fault, because we weren’t ready to play the first weekend in Kissimmee,” said Rector of his team’s slow start.  “We didn’t have our team get in on time.  We just went on the field and learned a lesson.  You can’t do that anymore.  You have to get in and prepare yourselves to play.  We got beat twice and that put us behind the eight ball in the points race, and we have to win them all to win the Conference after we didn’t get the points in Kissimmee.  I have to take the blame for that, and that won’t happen again.”


Is Rector pleased with the way his team is playing heading into their final two events of the year?


“I’m very happy with every one of them,” he stated. “They conduct themselves the right way and they prepare and they play well together and they do all the right things.  And I have a real good feeling about going into Disney (USSSA World Series).”


Unlike the past few years, when games ran as late as 4 AM Sunday morning, Rector said he was pleased with the way the Cincinnati Major was scheduled this year.


“I don’t know what they did with the bracket and the times and the teams, but things were so much better than in the past with no 4 AM games,” said Rector.  “So whatever changes were made, they have my approval for how everything went.  It was the best year for the tournament.  Whatever they did, they got it right.  We had none of the problems this year as in the past.  None.”


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Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth held off Laservision/H. Auto/JJ’s/Easton 40-32 in the championship game to complete a six-game sweep of the 15th Annual Cincinnati Major Conference USSSA National Invitational Tournament July 18-20 at Mid-America Ballyard.  Kneeling, left to right, are B. J. Fulk, Jeremy Yates, Bubba Mack, Dennis Rulli, and Daniel Lopez.  Standing are Frank Webb, Saul Simpson, Lee Powers, Howie Krause, Don DeDonatis Jr., Andy Purcell, Greg Connell, Nic Santana, Jimmy Salas and John Rector.

Resmondo/Specialty Tank/Worth held off Laservision/H. Auto/JJ’s/Easton 40-32 in the championship game to complete a six-game sweep of the 15th Annual Cincinnati Major Conference USSSA National Invitational Tournament July 18-20 at Mid-America Ballyard.  Kneeling, left to right, are B. J. Fulk, Jeremy Yates, Bubba Mack, Dennis Rulli, and Daniel Lopez.  Standing are Frank Webb, Saul Simpson, Lee Powers, Howie Krause, Don DeDonatis Jr., Andy Purcell, Greg Connell, Nic Santana, Jimmy Salas and John Rector.




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Posted by on Jul 25 2014.
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