Tournament Review Articles
Ten Public Safety Teams Battle It Out For Guns & Hoses Glory at the Best in the West
The 2019 Guns & Hoses softball season finished up with the usual competitive camaraderie, tight scores and great times. This year’s Double Elimination TOC was held at the Huntington Beach Sportsplex on Nov 2nd, under picture perfect softball weather. One crazy rogue cloud rolled over the scene just prior to the first game start time, and dropped some hail for about 60 seconds. But after that it was clear skies, warm sun, 74 degrees, and time to Ball! This season ending Championship Tournament would decide which Public Safety Team would battle through the brackets and claim the 2019 title and be forever enshrined on the big Guns & Hoses perpetual Champions TOC Trophy.
The TOC tournament teams battled it out for bragging rights, 36 packs of Budweiser and Bud light, the Custom G & H Grim Reaper TOC Champions Team shirts and either a set of Team Dr-fit Jerseys or a free entrance into the 2020 season kick-off Match Madness Tournament.
The annual TOC is also unique in how the playoff brackets are determined. This is the one and only G & H tournament of the season where bracket placement is decided with a completely random blind draw, instead of the usual pool play record. All teams received 2 pool play warm up games, then team captains chose sealed envelopes, which literally meant it all came down to “luck of the draw”. This made things very interesting and very unpredictable, as in years past we have been witness to all the top teams winding up on the same side of the brackets.
The teams finished pool play with the following records:
2-0 Oceanside Fire
2-0 Local 47
2-0 Ten 8 –SB Strong
1-1 The Park – CHP
1-1 LASD MCJ
1-1 Bad Boys
1-1 Goon Squad
0-2 CHP Dirty 530
With pool play completed and the first two games for each team having no bearing on the brackets, the team captains one by one made their way to the Tournament Directors table to select their blind envelope. Here is how the random selections went for the opening round (for the teams that did not draw a first round bye). Over on Field #6 Team Pickles locked horns with LA County Bad Boys. This was a tight back and forth battle, but in the end Bad Boys snapped the Pickles 17-13. In the far corner, on Field #8, a match-up between LASD MCJ and The Park CHP was unfolding and the Chippies from Baldwin Park held strong in the opening round with an 18-5 victory.
On to the next round, where Bad Boys (playing with less than 10 guys) were hanging in all the way to the finish line, losing a close game to SB Strong 22-19. Field 5 saw CHP Dirty 530 duke it out with Oceanside Fire, and the bats for Oceanside Fire caught fire as they toppled the CHiP’s 22-6. The Corrections Officers of Goon squad went up against The Park CHP, and it was a walk in the park as the Goons strolled past the CHP team 22-7. In the final game of this round Local 47 met up with Cop Combo team of Sting. Sting went cold this round only scoring 4 runs in this game, which wasn’t enough for the 20 runs plated by Local 47. We were now down to the last 4 teams in the winners bracket and all of these teams were looking solid on this day. SB Strong squared off against the Firefighters of Oceanside. The flames went out for the Fire’s bats and SB Strong remained strong with a 27-6 win. Goon Squad and Local 47 met earlier in the day with Local 47 taking the win in pool play. This time around it was another close game but the boys from the Squad achieved revenge and when the dust settled, it was Goon Squad taking the victory 16-13. The winners bracket final was set and the teams were ready to rumble! The winner here would be sitting in the cat-bird seat while all the other teams battled in the losers bracket for a second chance to be Champions. SB Strong and Goon Squad were very evenly matched, and this game was witness to some great defense on both sides. In the end SB Strong pulled away slightly and Goon Squad could not keep pace, final count 17-12 SB Strong, whom now must wait to see which team will battle back from the hard road to face them.
The losers bracket was witness to many great games as the teams were now battling to stay alive, as a loss now means pack your trash and hit the road Jack!
The scores through the rounds went like this: Pickles were crisp as they cleaned up Dirty 530 27-7, LASD MCJ by an absolute hair over Sting 17-16, Pickles continued to dominate the CHP teams by topping The Park 17-7, while Bad Boys got the best of MCJ 20-4. In the next round, the crispness of Team Pickles went soft as The Flamethrowers of Oceanside Fire got the best of them 28-16. Local 47 got hot and Bad Boys playing a man short, reached freezing conditions with their bats as Team 47 bent them over their knee, and spanked the Bad Boys 16-1.
Only 4 teams remained in the tournament. The most exciting game of the entire day was the all out war between Local 47 and the Firemen from Oceanside. This was a back and forth boat race all the way to the finish line. But when the dust settled, Oceanside Fire had clipped Local 47 with a score of 26-24! This set up the final game of the losers bracket to see which team gets a shot at the championship against SB Strong. Oceanside Fire now went head to head with Goon Squad. The Goon’s were able to get a game break and some well needed rest, while the Fire team had to roll straight into another game. Goon Squad caught fire, and Oceanside could not extinguish the flames. Final count 25-13 Goon Squad rolls on to the Championship game and a rematch against SB Strong, with an opportunity to force the “if” game. Just like the game before, Goon Squad now had to roll straight into the game while the Cop Combo team of SB Strong had a very long rest period. The extra relaxation showed as Team SB Strong again held strong against Goon Squad with a 19-4 victory! Congrats to SB Strong for going undefeated all day and claiming the 2019 Guns & Hoses Softball Tournament of Champions Title!
As always, Guns & Hoses would like to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the teams, players, families, and fans whom attended this year’s Tournament of Champions as well as the entire 2019 season. Every G & H season gets better and better and this year was no exception. 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 March Madness season opener in March of 2020!
—Team G & H