Tournament Champions: Cen Cal Connection and Familia
On Friday, April 20, 2018, 12 teams traveled to Manteca to compete in the 3rd Annual Cen Cal Connection Spring Bash. The weather was great; teams had 10 homeruns with ZN softballs being used, led to some high scoring games.
Cen Cal Connection, LAPD Blue and Stanislaus were the pre-determined Majors teams coming into the tournament. The J-Cats, Degenerates and the Warriors made up a play in bracket, with the winner being bumped up to play in the 4 team double elimination Majors playoffs. The other two teams would join, Cali Force, Oakland PD, Familia, Team Covert, Aftermath and DVI in the single elimination B Flight playoffs. Stanislaus, J-Cats and Cen Cal Connection won their brackets and the lone upset in bracket play was Cali Force beating LAPD Blue in hard fought battle 23-18.
Cali Force was the only B Flight team to post a 2-0 record, which earned them the #1 seed in the B Flight playoffs. The rest of the field was set as follows: #2 Familia, #3 Oakland PD, #4 Warriors,
#5 Degenerates, #6 Aftermath, #7 Team Covert, and #8 DVI. In the first round Calif Force beat DVI, Familia beat Team Covert, Oakland PD beat Aftermath and the Warriors beat Degenerates. In the second round Cali Force eliminated the Warriors. In the second game, Oakland PD and Familia were locked in a battle. In the top of the 6th inning, Oakland PD caught fire and put up a huge inning to go up 24-14. However, due to injuries, Oakland PD was unable to take the field in bottom of the inning and had to forfeit the game and Familia advanced to the championship to face Cali Force. This game was what a championship should be and had some great hitting with good defensive plays. Familia jumped out to a lead as Cali Force struggled to find their groove. As the game went on Cali Force got the bats going and kept the game close. Familia kept their bats going from start to finish and scored runs in every inning. In the bottom of the 7th, Calif Force came up to bat down 17-24. After scoring 5 runs, Calif force had one runner on with the tying run at the plate. But the comeback wasnít meant to be as the batter flew out to the short stop to end the game and earn Familia their first tournament championship of the season.
The Majors bracket set up the much anticipated matchup between #1 Cen Cal Connection and
#4 LAPD Blue. The game went as expected with both teams hitting gaps, timely homeruns and several lead changes. In the bottom of the 6th, Cen Cal Connection used the 10 homerun rule to their advantage and hit four in the inning to earn the walk off 23-22. The other game between #2 J-Cats and #3 Stanislaus was also very competitive and action packed as the J-Cats and Stanislaus both showed why they are two of the top mid-season favorites to compete for the Mid-Majors championship in the World Series. The J-Cats came up in the bottom of the 6th chasing 4 runs 21-17. The J-Cats put up 3 runs and had runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. The next at bat was a hard hit laser to the left center gap, but it was outshined by a great defensive play as the Stanislaus left fielder snatched the ball off the Green Monster to put the game away. In the undefeated game, Cen Cal Connection beat Stanislaus to send them into the loserís bracket and await the winner of the J-Cats and LAPD Blue. Unfortunately, the J-Cats were on the receiving end of the wrath of LAPD Blue as they showed all teams in attendance what a powerhouse they are by winning the game by a margin of 31-1. In the next game LAPD Blue eliminated Stanislaus to earn their way to the championship game. The game didnít live up to excitement of the first matchup as LAPD Blue hit lights out and made some great defensive plays to force the if game while simultaneously handing Cen Cal Connection their first loss of the season 17-2. In the if game, the tables were turned as Cen Cal Connection started off hot with some great hitting and timely homeruns to jump out to a lead. LAPD Blue never let down and mounted a strong comeback but in the end Cen Cal Connection kept pace and played solid defense which allowed them to pull out the tournament win 17-8.
Thank you to all teams who attended this tournament and showed support, Cen Cal Connection will continue to travel and support the circuit to the best of our ability. Shout out to LAPD Blue for making the long trip for a one day tournament. Look forward to many more battles this season.