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By: John Koster
May 21, 2018
Empire and Stanislaus Strike Gold
Desert Shootout Reno/Sparks Coverage
The EMPIRE captures their first tournament championship
The 5th Annual Law Enforcement Desert Shootout Tournament was once again held on May 11th and 12th at the Golden Eagle Complex in Sparks, NV. The weather was slightly uncooperative but not a problem for those who love the game.A portion of this year’s proceeds went to the Ofc. John Hege Memorial Fund ( John gave the ultimate sacrifice on March 21st, 2009. As an organ donor, he lives on through those he was able help after his death. Please check out and become a donor.
17 teams converged this year to battle in the desert. The A Flight seating was as follows;
1. Cen Cal Connection
2. Empire
3. OPD
4. Missouri Lawmen
5. Aftermath
6. DEA Combo
7. J-Cats
8. Califorce

Connection and Empire looked unbeatable and were early favorites. The up and coming OPD and Aftermath squads also smashed their way into the A Flight with impressive early runs.
The home run derby was held after Round Robin play and several experienced bombers participated. This year’s crown was handed out to Sparks own hometown hero Steve Abina.
That evening, the 2018 player party was held at O’skis Pub across the street from the Nugget. They provided us food specials, hospitality and plenty of beverages. A Law Enforcement Edition Pit Barrel Cooker was raffled off and was won by retired OPD Lieutenant Jim Meeks. Thanks to all that bought and sold tickets. This evening was truly a great time and thanks to all who supported it.
Saturdays B Flight play featured an athletic High Desert Law Dawgs hustling their way through the loser’s bracket. The winners side featured a Stanislaus team that was gaining momentum after a slow start to the tourney. Both teams met and things looked bad for Stanislaus as they were down 12 runs in the bottom of the 7th inning. In one of the best moments of the weekend, Stanislaus turned in on and walked off for the championship. If these two talented teams play again soon, it will be a must-see event.
As expected, the A Flight showcased some great teams that fought until the last out. Missouri vs J-Cats, in particular, was one of the best games of the day. These two teams cannot be ignored in 2018, although the Lawman squeaked out the win this day.
As many predicted, Connection and Empire came together in the Championship. Connection was sent to the losers bracket earlier by Empire so a heated game was expected. Both teams were loaded with talent but in the end, the veteran Empire roster prevailed.
On behalf of the Officer John Hege Memorial Fund, I thank everyone for supporting our event. We also want to thank the Nugget Resort, O’skis Pub, Doug Foremaster, Tyson Becker and All American Athletics.
A Flight

1- Empire
2- Cen Cal Connection
3- DEA Combo
4- Missouri Lawmen
5t- J-Cats
5t- Califorce
7- OPD
7- Aftermath

B Flight
1- Stanislaus
2-HD Law Dawgs
3- ELDO Cartel
5t-SF Seals

A-Flight Notables;
Empire Tournament MVP – Keith Habig
All-Tourney- Ryan Coe and Donnie Sutton
Connection Tournament MVP – Steve Abina
All-Tourney- Dustin Laughlin and Eric Mattos

B-Flight Notables;
Stanislaus Tournament MVP – David Zyski
All-Tourney- KJ Vandagriff and Johnny Lopez
Law Dawgs Tournament MVP – Steve Rinaudo
All-Tourney- Brandon Muser and Charlie Hahn

October 6-9, 2022
Las Vegas, Nv. (Big League Dreams)
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