Tournament Review Articles
Public Safety Teams pay tribute at the annual
9-11 Memorial – Patriot 1-pitch Tournament in Huntington Beach
These are very challenging times for the Public Safety community for a multitude of reasons. There are several large fires currently burning throughout the state, and in addition, law enforcement is spread very thin with all the retirements over the past 18 months. In addition, players and ultimately teams had to bail out for this past Sunday, due to candidate for Governor Larry Elder making an appearance at a large event in Orange County. With all this said, four teams were able to still hold it together with 10 players and participate in the annual 9-11 Memorial – Patriot 1-pitch Tournament.
With only four teams playing means that all teams would get extra pool play games, and that is just what happened. This turned out to be a 7 game guarantee, with all teams playing 6 pool play games, followed by single elimination brackets. Games kicked off at 0900 hours Sunday morning and the Championship game started at 1730, so it was a good solid day of ball for all teams. The fields were blessed with some nice coastal breezes and lower temperatures as this one was held right near the Pacific Ocean, at the Huntington Beach Sportsplex.
The “one-pitch” format meant that you pitched to your own team, and every batter was swinging at every single pitch. With zero walks and it being a hitters game, the innings were fast paced and fun!
After the 6 round robin games, the Firefighter team from Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow looked like the team to beat in the playoffs as they went undefeated at 6-0, while the other three teams split the wins/losses against each other and each went 2-4. With 3 teams having identical records it came down to fewest runs allowed for seeding on the brackets.
When the dust settled the pool play wins/losses were as follows:
1 – MCLB Barstow Fire 6-0
2 – “Hard Times” 2-4
3 – CDC “.40 Cal” 2-4
4 – Local 47 “Storm” 2-4
At the mid-point of pool play games, all teams were afforded a much needed game break, and everyone hit the café near the fields for some grub and drinks. After the lunch break, all teams, and even wives, girlfriends, kids, families and fans gathered on the Championship Field to line up in the infield. Everyone in attendance observed a 30 second moment of silence to pay tribute to all of the Public Safety First Responders and civilians that lost their lives on September 11th 2001 and for the 13 US service men and women that were recently killed during the attack at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. It was truly awesome to be a part of those few minutes on Field #7 in Huntington Beach on this day.
Let the playoffs begin! Now, it was a win and move on or lose and go home scenario once bracket play started. There were some close victories and almost an upset of the only undefeated team in a very close game that came down to the final inning.
First up, over on field 5 was the #4 seed Local 47 “Storm”, locking horns with the #1 seed and undefeated during pool play, MCLB Barstow Fire. Although teams pitched to their own batters, this game was indeed a pitchers duel as not a lot of runs were scored until the end of the game. It was a nail-biter at the end, but Barstow Fire eeked out the win 6-4. Field 7 was witness to #3 seed CDC .40 squaring off against #2 seed “Hard Times”. These two teams were evenly matched all day long and this game proved no different. This one was a boat race all the way to the finish line as “Hard Times” narrowly got through by plating one more run in the final inning, and secured a 10-9 victory. This set up the Championship game between #1 seed MCLB Barstow Fire and #2 seed Hard Times. This game was back and forth with each team having a strong inning during the game. Although even closer than the score shows, as Hard Times fell upon, well, hard times and left a lot of base runners on base during this game. Final count was 13-7 Barstow Fire. Congratulations to Barstow Fire for battling it out all day long and despite some very close games, was able to stay undefeated on the day. The 2021 “9-11 Memorial – Patriot 1-pitch” Champions MCLB Barstow Fire!
All in all it was a great day of Public Safety Softball competition and camaraderie. The weather was unbeatable and DJ “Big Jockstrap J” was bumpin the jams while the boys were ballin-it-up on the diamonds!
There was a lot of laughter and yucking it up with the 1-pitch format. The teams all said they enjoyed it and are looking forward to this specific tournament again in 2022.
We are still seeking to secure fields for the annual “Oktoberfest” and at this point the October tournament is still considered TBD. The season Grand Finale will be held Saturday November 6th at the Huntington Beach Sportsplex (upper half Fenced Fields).
We appreciate and value your support and we look forward to seeing everyone again at the next two G & H tournaments to close out the 2021 season.
- Team G & H