Tournament Review Articles

2022 T.O.C. Recap

8 Teams Battle It Out For Guns & Hoses Glory during the 2022 Tournament of Champions Season Grand Finale

The 2022 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 Edison Park in Huntington Beach under specially ordered, picture perfect softball weather. This final Guns & Hoses event would decide which team would be crowned as TOC Champions for 2022 and forever enshrined upon the big custom G & H perpetual TOC Trophy.

The 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. All teams were given one warm up game to shake the dust off, and then all teams moved on to the Double-Elimination brackets. After the warm up games concluded, each team Captain made their way to the registration table and chose a sealed envelope, for their team’s placement upon the 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.

Bracket play opened up with LASD IRC Slaps edging out the CDC team known as Hard Times by a count of 18-10. Next up was USMC Heaven’s Gate Guards vs the Police combo team going under the name Pickles. The youth and exuberance of the Marines caught Pickles off guard as they ran up the score 22-3 and the game was called as a mercy. The third game of this round was also a mercy after 5 innings as Covina PD got the best of Orange City Fire 17-2. The final opening round game of the winners bracket was a back and forth boat race between CBP Portrunners and Local 47 Storm. When the dust settled it was Portrunners advancing with a score of 24-18.

The semi-final games in the winner’s bracket were quite different as LASD IRC locked horns with the Fightin Leathernecks from Camp Pendleton. This was an absolute nail-biter all the way to the end, as USMC Heaven’s Gate Guards, barely squeaked by the Sheriff’s Team of LASD IRC 8-7. The other semi-final game was a little more lopsided as CBP Portrunners ran out of steam during this game and only plated 5 runs. Covina PD had thoughts of advancing as they crossed the dish 22 times to advance into the winners bracket finals.

With Double-elimination, the loser’s bracket always has some catching up to do, with the teams battling it out for one more shot at the Championship. With that said, this means that one more loss for any of these teams and it’s a pack-your-trash, and hit the road scenario.

Opening up the losers bracket games was CDC Hard Times going fist-ta-cuffs with team Pickles. This was another see-saw battle, but in the end Pickles stayed crisp and the Corrections Officers team did indeed befall on Hard Times by a score of 14-12. Over on Field #2, Local 47 Storm, caught some electricity in a bottle as they battled with the newcomers of Orange City Fire. These teams stood to-to-toe and the Firefighters appeared to get a little bit more in-sync with each game they played, but in the end, the Storm rolled on and drenched the Firefighters 24-8.

The next round of the lower bracket gave way to the cop combo team of Pickles and CBP Portrunners. Portrunners had looked very solid in their first two games of the day by plating 20 & 24 runs respectively. But was there enough gas in the tank to get that run producing engine going again? As the game progressed it was evident this would be a lower scoring affair, so each and every run counted big time. In the end, Pickles snuck past the border guards with a score of 9-7. Field 2 had a solid match-up taking place between two very evenly matched teams, LASD IRC Slaps and Local 47 Storm. The Sheriff team was just coming off a 1 run loss to the Marines and they vowed to work their way back to getting another shot at the USMC team. Work hard they did, as LASD IRC toppled Local 47 by 10, with a score of 23-13.

That last victory by LASD set up the most exciting game of the tournament, between Pickles and LASD IRC. IRC was a sure thing to win this game into the late innings with a 21-9 lead. Despite being behind big time, Pickles did not sour, and they trudged on and caught up to the LA County Sheriff team at 23-23 at the end of regulation time. This set up the G & H sudden death overtime rules. One extra inning, load the bases, 2 outs. Well, this was a first time in G & H history that a sudden death game has gone into 4 overtime innings as neither team could plate the run needed to secure the victory. In the bottom of that 4th OT inning, Pickles finally smacked the game winning hit to bring in the winning run. 24-23 Pickles edged out yet another close victory to advance again.

At the same time Pickles and LASD were battling it out, the winners bracket final was taking place between two G&H Juggernauts, Heaven’s Gate Guards and Covina PD. Covina PD had been easily handling everyone in their path on the brackets to this point, but the Marines defense was a little tighter as they were able to claim the victory by holding Covina PD to just 5 runs, while plating 14 themselves. Heaven’s Gate Guards moved into the Championship game, while Covina PD drops to the loser’s bracket final against Pickles. The winner would get a shot at the Marines for the 2022 TOC Title.

As Covina PD and Pickles squared off against each other, combined they scored 53 runs! With lots of runs being plated this was indeed yet another exciting game that team Pickles was involved in. But, in the end, the Pickles dried out and were snapped by Covina PD by a count of 32-21. Congrats to Pickles for one hell of a losers bracket run, and their 3rd place finish at the 2022 TOC.

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
USMC Heaven’s Gate Guards were undefeated on this day, thus far, but Covina PD had also looked very strong all day, with their only bracket play loss coming at the hands of the Marines. This was a very tight game through the first few innings with a score of 7-7. But, 7-up would not be the end score as the young Marines plated a few more runs than the cagey old veterans representing Covina PD. When the dust settled and the Umpire yelled “Ballgame!” it was Heaven’s Gate Guards that found themselves victorious with a hard fought game, score, and match of 19-12. Congrats to Covina PD for their solid run all day long and their 2nd Place finish at the 2022 TOC.

USMC Heaven’s Gate Guards are crowned and forever enshrined as the 2022 Guns & Hoses Softball TOC Champions!!! Congratulations to the young Marines hailing from Camp Pendleton for not only going undefeated all day, but for winning respectfully and graciously as well. For their victory, Heaven’s Gate Guards received a variety of Grande size adult beverages, team custom sublimated jerseys, team name and picture on the big perpetual TOC Trophy, and bragging rights for an entire year, until the 2023 TOC.

As always, we at Guns & Hoses would like to extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the teams, players, and fans that attended this year’s Tournament of Champions as well as the entire 2022 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 2023 “March Madness” season opener.

Full 2023 season schedule coming soon! Thank you

— Team G & H

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