46th annual Smoky Mountain Classic cranks up Friday

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The nation's best softball teams are set to invade Blount County later this week for the 46th annual Smoky Mountain Classic.

The Classic is just one of two slow pitch tournaments that allows unlimited home runs. It's considered the nation's premier slow pitch softball tournament.

"People want to be here this weekend," superintendent of athletics for Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Chris Clark said.

"It's special because of our local folks that come out and support the tournament year after year."

The crowds as the fields traditionally come to see the towering home runs, but Clark says because of the infield set-up, great defense can also be seen.

"We have 80 foot bases. Most times they're 70 foot. With ten extra feet on the base paths, you can get some double plays. You can dive, knock a ball down, and still make a play. (This tournament) gets the athletes. When you get them out here and they can make a play, show their athleticism and still be able to hit it as far as they want to hit it, it's special."

Games start 10 am Friday morning at Sandy Springs Park, which the championship series scheduled to take place around noon on Sunday.

34 teams make up this year's field, including Resmondo.

Resmondo has won the last six Smoky Mountain Classics, but the team won't enter the tournament as the number one seed--that distinction goes to Laservision.

Clark, however, says Resmondo is still the team to beat.

"Until somebody knocks off Resmondo, they have to be considered the favorite here, because of the unlimited (home runs)," Clark said.

The tournament kicks off Thursday at 5:30 with the home run derby. Admission is $6 Friday and Saturday and $5 on Sunday.

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