Tournament Review Articles
9 Teams Battle It Out For Guns & Hoses Glory at the 2016 Tournament of Champions Season Finale
The 2016 Guns & Hoses softball season finished up with the usual competitive camaraderie, close battles , and tight scores. This year’s Double Elimination TOC was held at the Huntington Beach Sportsplex under specially ordered, picture perfect softball weather. This final Guns & Hoses event would decide which team would be crowned as the TOC Champions crowned for 2016 and forever enshrined upon the custom perpetual G & H TOC Trophy.
The TOC tournament teams battled it out in this unique “blind draw’ event. This is the one and only G & H tournament of each season where bracket placement is decided with blind draw envelopes instead of the usual pool play record. No matter what your pool play record was, all teams qualified for the Double-Elimination brackets. After the two warm up games of pool play concluded, each team captain chose a sealed envelope, for their teams placement upon the double-elimination brackets. This style of bracket placement literally meant it all came down to “luck of the draw”. This made things very interesting and very unpredictable.
POOL PLAY RECORDS:
2-0 San Diego Combo
2-0 Fort Irwin Independence
2-0 Local 47
1-1 LASD South “Diamondbacks”
1-1 Gold Combo
1-1 LA Probabtion SEO
0-2 Edwards AFB “Experimental”
As mentioned previously, all teams selected a blind draw envelope for placement on the 9 team double elimination brackets. The bracket opening game pitted teams that battled a very close one in pool play and San Diego Combo edging out Edwards AFB for a second time 19-18. Winners bracket quarter finals games saw “Pickles” draw LASD South “Diamondbacks” and in a hard fought victory, the Diamondbacks squeaked by and left the Pickles sour with a 15-13 score. Over on field #5 “Gold Combo” was engaged in a nail-biter with LA Probation SEO, but when the umpire called “Game!” it was 10-9 Gold moving on in the winners bracket. Fort Irwin had a lopsided victory over “Sting” as the Sting couldn’t deliver the venom at the plate. Final count 19-1 Fort Irwin moves on. In the final game of this round, Local 47 locked horns with San Diego Combo. San Diego had been hot all day and scoring a lot of runs in their 3 previous games. The combo team came out cold in this one and only plated 4 runs, which couldn’t match Team 47’s 13 runs. Local 47 advances to the next round.
The semi finals of the winners bracket were taking place at the same time that teams were battling it out in a “win or go home” losers bracket situation. In the upper half of the winners bracket LASD South Diamondbacks faced off against Gold Combo in a heavy artillery game with a ton of runs scored. Final count 28-20 Gold Combo advances to the winners bracket final. The other sem-final game had two undefeated teams going toe-to-toe in a “somebody’s O has got to go” scenario. Fort Irwin came prepared for this match up and Local 47 looked sluggish. The victory and the second finals berth went to Fort Irwin 25-6.
All but two teams were now slugging it out in the losers bracket, trying to fight their way back to the Championship game. Many close games as Edwards got past Pickles 18-10, San Diego Combo over Sting 16-6, then Edwards found a way to win again upending LA Probation 15-11. Only the teams that had been hot earlier in the day remained, with LASD South bumping San Diego out of the contest 18-15, and Local 47 finding a way to get past Edwards AFB 22-19. The LASD team had been battling all day and injuries and tired legs settled in, while Local 47 found some “electricity” in their bats with a lopsided 17-1 victory.
Now only 3 teams were still alive in the 2016 TOC. The final in the winners bracket pitted a still undefeated Fort Irwin against the big bombers of Gold Combo. These two teams were very evenly matched and it could have easily gone either way. Fort Irwin had edged past Gold Combo earlier in the day during pool play, so the Gold was looking for revenge, while Fort Irwin knew they had to play stellar defense against a very powerful team. Defend they did, as Fort Irwin slipped into the Championship game by holding the run count down for the Gold team. Final score 17-11.
Gold Combo now dropped into the lower bracket to face a “fully charged” Local 47 team. Both teams had timely hits, and Team 47 pulled off some “high voltage” defense, turning a couple of big inning ending double plays. When it was said and done, Local 47 was able to plate 23 runs to Gold’s 15, giving them another shot at Fort Irwin.
Fort Irwin was the undefeated team entering the Championship game and had to be double dipped. Local 47 got off to a “lightning” fast start by plating 8 runs in the first inning. But, team 47 was now down to only 9 players on defense, which kept their 3 outfielders running non stop all game long. Both teams were beat up from many hard fought battles all day long. But, Fort Irwin had a couple good innings themselves and continued to chip away and eventually take and hold onto the lead. Final count 15-10 Fort Irwin “Independence” is crowned the 2016 Guns & Hoses Softball Tournament of Champions!!! Congratulations Fort Irwin Independence for not only going undefeated all day, but for winning respectfully and graciously as well.
As always, we at Guns & Hoses would like to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the teams, players and fans whom attended this year’s Tournament of Champions as well as the entire 2016 season. We are continually striving to improve the G & H experience with new and unique ideas that make Guns & Hoses the best Public Safety Softball Tournament Series anywhere. We look forward to seeing all the usual suspects and all the new teams that are forming and re-organizing for the 2017 “March Madness” season opener. Full 2017 season schedule coming soon!
– Team G & H