The Resolutionaries started the 2003 Congressional Softball Tournament with a home run and ended it with a final homer that barely cleared the fence and won the game, 14-4, against the IRS’s Revenue Raisers. The game ended on the grounds of the “slaughter rule,” where a 10-run lead ends the game.
Search for Common Ground, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “transform the way the world deals with conflict,” sponsored the Resolutionaries.
“With the IRS, I think our nonprofit status helped us out,” joked Phil Bob Hellmich, manager of the Resolutionaries and the director of Sub-Saharan development in Africa for Search for Common Ground.
The tournament closed the 32nd season of the Congressional Softball League. This year 178 teams participated in the league, which includes both on- and off-Capitol Hill divisions.
The 25th annual tournament began Aug. 16 with 70 teams and ended Oct. 4 in a double-elimination series of the final four: The Resolutionaries, the Revenue Raisers, the Hambillies of Rep. Jim Moran’s (D-Va.) office, and the Blue Pups of Rep. Ken Lucas’ (D-Ky.) office.
The tournament is based on a 64-team elimination system, but due to additional interest a qualifying round was created. The Globetrotters took the 64th seed and dominated their games with three consecutive shutouts before losing to the Revenue Raisers, 11-4.
The 2003 final four ranked 13th, 56th, 97th and fourth out of the 178 registered league teams. Ranking is determined by wins and losses accumulated during the regular season through self-scheduled games. A computerized system rates wins and losses on a sliding scale depending on the opposing team’s record and whether the win was determined by forfeit.
The only team from the 2002 final four to make it to this season’s sweet 16 was 2002 champs Denny’s Grand Slam of Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) office. They lost to the Hambillies 3-2.
Denny’s Grand Slam might have lost the Paul E. Myers Memorial Championship Trophy this year, but Anthony Reed, manager of the team, doesn’t doubt that they’ll win it back.
“We had a great team this year and I really think it was just a confluence of things coming together,” he said.
The Resolutionaries and Revenue Raisers played the first game of the elimination, with the Resolutionaries coming out on top with a score of 10-6. The Blue Pups and Hambillies squared off in the second game with the Hambillies taking the win 20-18, only to lose, 16-6, against the Resolutionaries, who grabbed the 10-run lead in game three.
The Revenue Raisers, who lost their first game in 2002, managed to beat the Blue Pups in game four, then successfully took on the Hambillies in game five, winning 15-5.
Last year “taught us a lesson that you can’t give away outs in a game like that,” said Paul Carlino, manager of the Revenue Raisers. “In 2002 we had a few errors in the early innings that put us behind in score and couldn’t catch up. We played a lot better defense this year, and I think that was the difference.”
In game six, the Resolutionaries faced off with the Revenue Raisers for the second time. Despite executing three home runs, they lost 17-12 to the Revenue Raisers. A championship game of winner takes all ensued since both teams were tied with one loss each.
The Resolutionaries, once a team with a seven-year losing streak, slammed out four home runs in the final game, including one through center field that punched a clean hole through the back car window of one of their powerhouse batters.
“One of our players pounded this ball deep — it was so sweet — there were two players on base, and it was a beautiful long drive. And then you heard this boomph, the ball just punched on through [the window],” Hellmich said.
The game ended with a final home run and a score of 14-4.
“Search for Common Ground is about conflict resolution … we like to walk the talk and I think our softball team has that attitude,” said Hellmich.
“We’ll be the nicest [team] that people will ever be beaten by.”