8th Annual Police Softball World Series

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8th Annual Police Softball World Series
TRAINING ROOM
8 COP
CORNER
8th Annual Police Softball
World Series
JEFF BLAIR,
POLICESOFTBALL.COM
by
T
he 8th Annual Police Softball
World Series was hosted once
again by www.policesoftball.com
at the Big League Dreams facility
in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the
second weekend of October. The
tournament has grown every year,
starting with 32 teams in 2005 and swelling to 73 teams
in 2012. Unfortunately, the open division is capped and
for the first time ever teams were turned away for failing
to qualify before the deadline. The biggest change was
the switch to a provided-bat tournament. Title sponsor
Easton Sports and Brett Helmer supplied the new line
of Eastons and Miken’s Denny Crine outfitted the fields
with their latest bats. For many it was the first time they
had played in a provided-bat tournament, and although
there was some hesitancy, it was refreshing to lift the
specter of juiced/shaved/rolled bats and concentrate on
playing softball on an even playing field.
The opening ceremony drew a large crowd once again
as the year-end award presentation along with Hall of
Fame inductions honored some deserving players in
the circuit. This year’s Hall of Fame Class included
Ronnie Connor, Lester Lawson, Anthony DiMauro,
Dave Feather, Al Hoffner, Tim Grundmann, Benji Lehner
and Bobby Pescitelli. The Wounded Warrior Amputee
Softball team was the special guests but a wrinkle was
added to the fundraising exhibition game. The Warriors
were divided by military branch, with half playing on the
Army/Air Force team and the others
playing on the Marine/Navy team.
Members of the Police Softball Honor
team were separated to either the
Army or Marines team and it made
for an exciting, competitive event. It
took a bottom-of-the-seventh-inning
rally for the Army team to claim the
victory over the Navy team, and it had
those in attendance on the edge of
their seats.
The home run derby followed the
Warrior game and 80 of the top police
softball power hitters competed for
the crown. The championship round
was between Andy Williams of the
DEA Combo and Dusty Bowling of
the Ohio Lawmen. This was Andy’s
second trip to the big show, but Dusty
managed to best Andy by launching seven home runs in 10 swings
to become Home Run King. Brett
Helmer presented Dusty with a new
Easton bat and he was awarded the
home run crown by policesoftball.com
president Del Pickney.
The grand finale to the night was a Team Miken vs. Team Easton team challenge. Brett Helmer was nursing an injury and was replaced by Brian Wegman.
Neither of the pros disappointed as both Brian and Denny launched bombs
into and over the protective screens beyond the fences. Special thanks to Fox
Sports Radio host J.T. “The Brick” for serving as play-by-play announcer.
Women’s Division
The first-ever Women’s Division was a success and in future years is expected to grow beyond the six teams that participated. SoGal’s Alliance posted a
perfect 5-0 record and sealed the tournament championship with a convincing
win over the LAPD team. The Sin City Betty’s, Sacramento Lady Razorbacks,
Gunslingers and Diamond Angels were also forever etched as competing in the
1st Annual Women’s Division World Series.
Results: 1. SoGal’s Alliance; 2. LAPD; 3. Sin City Betty’s; 4. Gunslingers; 5.
Sacramento Razorbacks; 6. Diamond Angels. MVP: Trish Hayes SoGal’s Alliance; All-Tournament Team SoGal’s Alliance: Amy Reyes, Brandee Platke and
Michel Zermeno.
Masters Division
Last year the Masters Division (40+) was a World Series first that worked
out well and once again teams from all over the nation came to compete for
the title. The defending world champs, 40-Cal Alliance, had a two-year run of
winning every tournament they played in. The team went undefeated in 2011
and in 2012 had only one loss on their resume. They were clearly the frontrunners, but as we all know there is a reason the game is played on the field and
not in a book. This year it was the Alliance team’s long-time rival Cal-Quake
that earned the title of world champions. The Quake lost a seeding game to
the up-and-coming Mason Dixon Dawgz but they shook it off and ran the table
in the winner’s bracket. 40-Cal Alliance got back to the dance but was quickly
sent packing by the red-hot Quake. Quake Hall of Famer Les Lawson got the
walk-off hit to win the game, the second time in two years he ended a big game
in the World Series with a walk-off hit.
The Quake celebrated as they were
declared Masters Divisions champions.
1. California Quake; 2. 40-Cal Alliance; 3. Mason Dixon Dawgz; 4.
Suffolk County Lawmen; 5T. Ohio
Lawmen; 5T. Team California; 7T.
Team Torture; 7T. Jacksonville PSC;
9T. Detroit PD Masters; 9T. Sin City
Relics; 9T. Mid-Atlantic Lawmen. MVP:
Matt Boykin - Cal-Quake; All-Tournament Team Cal-Quake: Keith Crofton,
Ron Connor, Andy Williams; Defensive
Award Cal-Quake: Doug Calcagno;
All-Tournament Team 40Cal Alliance:
Mark Tolliver, Jim Sanders, Lowell
Buck; All-Tournament Team Mason
Dixon Dawgz: Calvin Butcher, Tom
Gault, Ronnie Farrell.
Gold Division
The Gold Division was created in
2010 to give some very good teams a
chance to compete on a level playing
field without having to face the goliaths
of police softball who have lineups
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loaded with conference players. Since there is no player classification in police ball, it is not uncommon to find the upper
teams loaded with players who are classified as A/B level in
the USSSA player classification system. That said, there is no
shortage of talent in the Gold Division. Many have mentioned
that the Gold Division teams in today’s world would have been
in the mix for the Majors world championship just a few short
years ago.
The Gold Division was the largest (31 teams) and by far
the least predictable. Teams that were “supposed” to be the
frontrunners, such as SoCal Warpigs, Chicago Metro and
the Capital City Lawmen, exited much earlier than anyone
anticipated. Meanwhile, teams like OH5O (making its first-ever
World Series appearance) and the underrated Team Vargas
broke through to the top five even though neither was in the
conversation leading up to the event.
Certain things did pan out as expected. The Border Patrol
Arsenal based out of New Mexico/Arizona advanced deep into
the tournament because their pitcher, Gabe Lara, proved why
he is considered the best USSSA pitcher in the division. The
loaded Mid-Atlantic/DeMarini Lawmen were supposed to give it
a good run last year and they fell far short of their expectations.
Team members vowed to avenge their 2011 flop and that’s just
what they did. They advanced all the way to the championship
game, and although they did not win the title, they did win the
respect of every team they faced and eliminated on their road
to the title game.
The Greene County (Ohio) Enforcers were an early favorite
to win the division, but they showed up with a light roster of
only 12 players. The core of this team are veteran players,
and make no mistake, these are not youngsters. The median
age of the team was 37.5 years and three of their outfielders
also played in the Masters division the previous day. Being
veterans, they knew that if they dropped an early playoff game,
they would not be able to sustain a long run through the loser’s
bracket. They knew they would need to run the table and that’s
exactly what they did. Greene County orchestrated the perfect
game plan and they simply outplayed their opponents in every
aspect of the game. Most teams use a five-man infield, but
Greene County knew their outfielders could not cover the gaps
and went against current trends and fielded a traditional fourman infield/outfield. Most teams burned through their allotted
home runs by the second or third inning. Greene County plated
runs without using home runs and saved them until the late
innings. The bottom line is they outplayed, outsmarted, and
outperformed their opponents and when the dust settled they
were 7-0 and Gold Division World Champions!
1. Greene County Enforcers; 2. Mid-Atlantic/DeMarini Lawmen; 3. Border Patrol Arsenal; 4. OH50; 5T. Team Vargas; 5T.
Toronto Police Services; 7T. SoCal Warpigs; 7T. Iowa Lawmen; 9T. El Dorado Cartel; 9T. Montgomery County Young
Gunz; 9T. LAPD Lawmen; 9T. NorCal Elite; 13T. North Florida
Showdown; 13T. Stanislaus; 13T. Capital City Lawmen; 13T.
Chicago Metro; 17T. Maryland Outlaws; 17T. Louisville Metro;
17T. NorCal Shockers; 17T. Nitro2Go; 17T. Charles County
Lawmen. MVP: Brian Mangin - Greene County Enforcers:
All-Tournament Team Greene County Enforcers: Lloyd “Rocky”
Alexander, Terry Ables, Jeff Moore; Defensive Award Greene
County Enforcers: Tony Vitale; All-Tournament Team Mid-Atlantic/DeMarini Lawmen: Scott Franklin, Darin Bumgarner, Corey
Rogerson.
Silver Division
Another first this year was the Silver Division. As stated earlier, the Gold Division has basically evolved into what the Majors
Division was about five years ago, and the idea was hatched
to allow all Gold teams that went 0-2 in round-robin play to
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Utah Unified
Greene County Enforcers
Alliance-Easton
advance to a 10-team double-elimination Silver Division playoff. This
too was very popular as some teams that were outgunned in the Gold
Division now had a fighting chance to win in the Silver Division. There
were many close one-run games and overall it was a very even playing
field. That alone makes every team, win or lose, enjoy the event even
more. Based on the field, many expected Alameda’s Most Wanted,
SoCal Riot and the Fontana Gunslingers to be the frontrunners. And
generally speaking, that was the case. What nobody expected was the
emergence of a first-year team from Utah to sweep the division with
a perfect 4-0 playoff record. This wasn’t just their
first World Series; it was their first tournament in the
police softball circuit. Utah Unified came into the
tournament as an unknown and walked away being
the team the others were talking about.
1. Utah Unified; 2. SoCal Riot; 3. Alameda’s Most
Wanted/AMW; 4. SoCal Dawgs; 5T. Fontana Gunslingers; 5T. Midwest Heat; 7T. DC Enforcers; 7T.
Arizona Ablaze; 9T. Detroit; 9T. Officers Only. MVP:
Greg Neer - Utah Unified: All-Tournament Team
Utah Unified: Preston Casey, Zack Adams, Carson
Niederhauser; Defensive Award Utah Unified: Mike
Sheldon; All-Tournament Team SoCal Riot: Felix
Figueroa, Ulric Storey, Henry Ornales.
Majors Division
The 24 best teams in police softball played in the
Majors Division. This is the highest level police
teams can play in and the winning team would forever be known as World Series champions. Up and
down the rosters you saw big names in the softball
world such as Jeff Graus Combat/Sports55, Rob
Menke 3rd Street Financial/Shinetime/TPS, Matt
Tindell Magic/S&S/Tyja/Easton, etc. You could tell
the Majors teams were a cut above the others when
you saw the defensive execution and bat control.
Coming into the event there were some favored
teams, but since the talent level was so high, every
team playing was capable of taking home the championship.
The Great Lakes Lawmen were the defending
champs and deep down many teams were relieved
when news broke that they had been eliminated
and finished tied for seventh. Another favorite was
the 2010 champions the NYPD Blues. Although the
Blues handed the former two-time champions SoCal
Alliance an early playoff loss, the Blues lost focus
and ended up tied for fifth. Another shocker was the
2005 champions and perennial favorites the Ohio
Lawmen checking out early tied for ninth. Generally
speaking, although the West Conference has won
three of the seven previous World titles, the East
seemed to always dominate the top five. That was
not the case this year.
This year the West had four teams in the top five
for the first time. Sin City Combo revisited the top
five and first-year team Showtime cracked the top
five, which is a huge accomplishment for a firstyear team. The only first-year team that outshined
Showtime was the Florida-based Down2Earth
Lawmen, who finished in third place. They were the
top-placing East Conference team and the frontrunner to finish as the top-ranked EC team.
The championship game came down to two
former champions. The California-based HardCor
team won the title in 2009 and they went through
round-robin and the playoffs undefeated. The SoCal
Alliance (2007 & 2008 champions) seemed to be
doomed to repeat their 2011 season where they
went into the World Series by winning eight of eight
tournaments, one loss, but then dropped an early
round-robin game. They won eight in a row to force
an “IF” game against the Great Lakes Lawmen
but gassed out and finished in second place. The
2012 event seemed to be playing out the same way
for SoCal as they dropped an early playoff game
to NYPD Blues. They would need to win seven in
a row, which was possible but not probable. The
team seemed focused and intent on avenging
their 2011 heartbreaker as they rolled through the
loser’s bracket to eliminate South Florida Lawmen,
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TRAINING ROOM
Great Lakes Lawmen, Showtime, Sin City and the
Down2Earth Lawmen. They had no breaks in between
games and it would take a gutsy performance to beat
the well-rested and undefeated HardCor team twice.
This year the “Evil Empire” would not be denied as
they defeated HardCor to force an “IF” game and then
earned their third World Championship by defeating
HardCor, 25-16. No team has ever won the Police Softball World Series twice…SoCal Alliance was crowned
champs for the third time.
1. SoCal Alliance/Easton; 2. HardCor; 3. D2E Lawmen; 4. Sin City; 5T. NYPD Blues; 5T. California
Showtime; 7T. Great Lakes Lawmen; 7T. Minnesota
Lawmen; 9T. Ohio Lawmen; 9T. Concord Combo; 9T.
Suffolk County; 9T. South Florida Lawmen; 13T. West
Coast Aftershock; 13T. Team Texas; 13T. DEA Combo;
13T. SoCal Lockdown; 17T. Vegas Heat; 17T. Team
Jersey; 17T. LAPD Blue; 17T. Metro Detroit’s Finest;
17T. Steel City Enforcers; 17T. Shamrock Enforcers;
17T. NorCal Choir Boys; 17T. Missouri Lawmen MVP:
Mike Snyder-SoCal Alliance.
All-Tournament Team SoCal Alliance: Kevin Burger,
Chad Bankston, George Reyes
Defensive Award SoCal Alliance: Eric Harryman;
All-Tournament Team HardCor: Chad Howard, Tyson
Becker, Mark Tolliver and Brian Schmidt.
The dates for 2013 have been inked—the second
weekend of October at the same venue. You can
expect bigger and better things as the event grows
and evolves every year. Policesoftball.com sends
special thanks to event sponsors and supporters Brett
Helmer, Brian Wegman/Easton Sports, Denny Crine/
Miken, RoverPlusNine, Ed Farmer Big League Dreams,
Dennis Rulli & Tom Phundstein USSSA directors, Ernie
Ohno & Dan Potter USSSA U.I.C. crew, Golden Nugget
Hotel & Casino, Floyd Selleck, Mike O’Neill (announcer), David Stevens (photographer), Dennis Leonard
& 3N2 Sports, Anthony Costanzo & the Sacramento
County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, J.T. the Brick, and
Softball Magazine.
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