The 2017 “Summer Slugfest” was held this past weekend at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City. This annual event featured “Unlimited Home Runs”, and rockin good times. Upon initial announcement, 15 teams were looking to get a piece of the action. One by one, team captains lost players, and had to bow out. In the end, 5 die hard teams were able to muster up the needed 10 players to field a team for the weekend. Due to the amount of teams and the fields already reserved for the weekend, all teams were given extra round robin games. Each team played “4” round robin games on Saturday, then were seeded based on their record and all came back on Sunday, for the Double-elimination portion of the tournament. Despite the heat there was indeed a plethora of Big-bomb Home Runs throughout the weekend and a “6” game guarantee for all teams!
Midway through Saturdays round robin games, pool play was halted to make way for the annual “Home Run Derby” for this event. Thirteen ballers signed up to see if they could smash their way to winning a brand new Top-Shelf Miken bat. With representatives from all 5 teams competing in this event, the 3 finalists were last years defending HR Derby Champ Adam Nikolic from “Unlawful Assembly”, Bryson Clark representing LASD Red, and Bryan Witt of Fort Irwin “Outlaws”. This years format featured the traditional allotted pitches for each round, but then also included a single “Money Ball”. The money ball was a 52 core, 525 compression golf ball like “Ultimate Evil”, rocket ball. A hitter only needed to blast out the money ball, to advance to the next round. In that final round, both Bryson Clark, and last years Champ Adam Nicolic fell just short of going yard, with some deep line drives. Bryan Witt came to the plate and sent his very first pitch deep to right center field, clearing the entire stadium. Congratulations to Bryan Witt, for becoming the 2017 Summer Slugfest Home Run Derby Champion!
All but the Home run derby participants were resting and watching from the Big League Dreams restaurant in the air conditioned dining areas throughout the derby and thus they were well rested and ready to ball! With everyone rejuvenated pool play wrapped up with two final rounds and the teams pool play records were as follows:
** Side note: Being a co-ed team playing in a mens division, 10 runs were added to the “Ten Ringers” first inning total. In an attempt to make things equitable and interesting, the tournament directors felt the 10 runs would level the competition a bit and avoid the very lopsided losses that Ten Ringers suffered when they participated the previous month.
POOL PLAY RECORDS:
3-1 Fort Irwin “Outlaws”
3-1 LASD MCJ “Red”
2-2 “Unlawful Assembly”
2-2 “Ten Ringers”
0-4 “Los Bandits”
At the end of pool play on Saturday, all teams were seeded, placed upon the double-elimination brackets, and given their game times to return on Sunday morning. The opening game kicked off on Wrigley field at 0900 hours between #4 seed “Ten Ringers” and #5 seed “Los Bandits”. This game proved to be a back and forth battle, but in the end, the “Ten Ringers” held on for the win, 18-11. “Ten Ringers” moved on to face the #1 seed Fort Irwin “Outlaws” in the next round, again on Wrigley field. Ten Ringers couldn’t keep the momentum going, and despite getting an added 10 runs, the Ten Ringers only scored an additional 2 run for a total of 12 runs. Twelve runs, wasn’t going to be enough for the #1 seeded Outlaws, as they walloped out 21 runs, pummeling the scrappy little co-ed team. Outlaws advanced into the winners bracket finals while Ten Ringers were bumped to the losers bracket. Over on Yankee stadium, #2 seeded LASD “Red” faced off against #3 seed “Unlawful Assembly”. Red had defeated the Unlawful ones during pool play on Saturday. But, during this game, the Assembly were seeking retribution. They jumped out to an early lead and held on for the 19-10 victory. In the final round of the winners bracket, #1 seed Fort Irwin squared off against #3 seed Unlawful Assembly. This was a very hard fought see-saw battle that lasted all game long. Nearing the end of regulation, Fort Irwin was ahead, and being home team with their final at bat, they needed to only place a hit or two and run out the clock. The next three batters in their line-up, were some of their best, being the #2, #3, and #4 hitters. All of these batters came up to the plate swinging away and did not “take” any pitches (to allow time to burn off the clock). With time expiring the #4 hitter flew out, thus extending the game for another inning. Unlawful Assembly came up next and capitalized on their opportunity and scored some runs. In their final plate appearance, Fort Irwin wasn’t able to keep pace, and the final count was 25-21, Unlawful Assembly upset the #1 seed. This controversial game got in the head of some of Fort Irwins players and that coupled with the fact they now had to play right away against a well rested Ten Ringers in a losers bracket game, made things a huge mountain to overcome. Ten Ringers were again given the ten run spot, but ultimately didn’t need it, as they edged out the hot and exhausted Outlaws, who were on their third straight game in the heat of the desert. When the dust settled the final count (minus the 10 run spot) was 20-19. The #1 seed was surprisingly bumped from the tournament much earlier then anyone saw coming. Ten Ringers then went on to face LASD Red in the next round of the losers bracket. Ten Ringers chose to give up the 10 run spot, and only asked for the co-ed rule of “walking a male player without pitching a strike would give that player 2nd base automatically”. LASD Red agreed to this co-ed rule, and the game started. Now the situation was reversed on the Ten Ringers and they now had to play back to back games while LASD Red was resting in the clubhouse. LASD Red being rested and ready to ball, was too much for the scrappy lil Ten Ringers to overcome. Final score 20-10 LASD Red moves into the chance to avenge an earlier defeat at the hands of Unlawful Assembly. This would be the rubber match of the tournament, as these two teams were 1-1 against each other. Now, Red was faced with the same thing already mentioned with Fort Irwin, and Ten Ringers (having to contend with back to back games in the heat of the desert stadium). Despite facing the well-rested winners bracket champs, Unlawful Assembly, LASD Red hung in there till the end, and it was a much closer game then the 21-13 score indicated. Congratulations to “Unlawful Assembly” for being the 2017 “Summer Slugfest” Cathedral City Big League Dreams Champions!
Despite the summer heat, overall it was a good weekend on and off the fields. Saturday night all of the teams went out to local establishments and enjoyed nice refreshing beverages, live bands, and team camaraderie.
As always, we want to thank all of the Public Safety Players, the families, and friends that participated in the Guns & Hoses Softball 2017 “Summer Slugfest”, and an even bigger thanks to the guys that participated in the 2017 Summer Slugfest Home Run Derby! Next up is “Hot August Days”, to be held in the much cooler coastal climate of Huntington Beach Sunday August 20th! See ya then!