MARYVILLE, TN – Forced to drop the loser’s bracket because of rain, four teams battled here Sunday (May 1, 2005) in the 33rd Annual Spring Open Men’s Slow Pitch Tournament with McNair Sports/New Construction/TPS of Cadiz, KY defeating Watanabe/Alpine/Tiny Town/Katus/Western Hill of Cincinnati, OH, 20-13, in the if necessary game.
Tom Ellis’ bases loaded single with no outs in the seventh inning gave Watanabe an 18-17 win in the first game of the championship round to force the if necessary game.
Pitcher Verne Hensley of McNair Sports was named the tournament’s MVP and batted .667 in leading his team to its first ASA Major Qualifier win of the season.
The first place was worth 60 points to the winners who finished 4-1 overall. McNair averaged 27 runs per game, scoring 135 runs while allowing 88 runs or an average of 17.6 per game.
Watanabe finished 5-2 overall and earned 40 points with AM Las VegasBenfield/Reece/Belcher/Easton of Las Vegas, NV (2-2) third (30 points) and Team Stucco/TPS/K&G/3N2/Central Paving of Columbus, OH (1-2) fourth ( 20 points).
The qualifier was originally scheduled to begin Saturday at 9 a.m. but rain forced the games to begin at noon. Rain continued on and off throughout the day and gradually got worse until play was stopped at 8:30 Saturday evening.
“At that point we were actually ahead of schedule,” said Tourney Director Chris Clark of the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Recreation and Parks Commission.”We had completed one of our 8:30 games and another one was in the first inning before we stopped play.”
Play was scheduled to resume Sunday morning at 8 with five inning games, but when Clark checked the fields early Sunday morning he decided to drop the loser’s bracket (five teams) and resume at 11 a.m. instead with the four teams left in the winners’ bracket including McNair, Watanabe, AM Las Vegas Benfield and Team Stucco.
After play resumed, Watanabe topped Team Stucco 23-6 and AM Las Vegas, 18-12 to advance to the championship against McNair.
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