North Florida Showdown Champions
First thing before I write this article. I want to thank Carlos Rodriguez, Dave Bernhardt, Mike Donovan, and Mike Kletzky for helping me run, organize, shop, barter, etc.
A lot of us are going through big transitions at work and you all know how much time this takes, but without these guys and some others for sure it wouldn't happen. We have talked many times as long as Kyle (John's son) wants to keep this going we will. He flew in for this again and had a blast, he even played a couple games. (Much better athlete than John..hahahah).
Special Thanks to the County Commission, Village of Wellington (grounds crew), Police Benevolent Association and a host of others. You all treat us like family and provide a first class event.
The event started with our great friend and sponsor, Rocco Mangel. He opened up one of his many restaurants for the host party on Friday night and provided free food for approximately 100-125 players and families and offered happy hour drink prices for over 4 hours. From there I'm not sure where the night led.
With great feedback from several gentleman I respect, we made the change to Provided bat. We stressed out for 2 weeks that this could go bad, but I'm sold now on the idea. The balls were hard and the bats heated up very quickly. The fields were in awesome condition and the grounds crew were phenomenal. The fields were drugged and watered every 2-3 games. The weather was perfect. Our grill team provided food at the complex for lunch on Saturday, which was a huge help to us running the tourney.
I believe this was the best talent overall we have had. With 15 teams and 3 fields we broke it up into 3 brackets of 5 and our intent was to match teams up against teams they never get to play, not by rankings.
The opening ceremonies consisted of County Commissioner Dave Kerner making April 6, 2019 K-9 Cigo day. The proclamation was made due to his heroic act on 12-24-18 while apprehending a subject for attempted homicide at our local mall. K-9 Cigo was hit multiple times but allowed his handler, Ryan Soriano, time to return fire and end the threat. Both work for Mike Kletzky who is our K9 Lt.
On Saturday after round robin play some of the big boys fell to the lower division, I did no favors giving Thin Blue Line the Miami Dawgs and the NY Hounds, but after 2 great games The Thin Blue Line fell to the Gold division and wound up double dipping a much improved and classy Center Mass team. Missouri finished 1-1 but due to the competition overall they also fell, but one of the teams that made upper agreed to swap spots.
Upper team matchups after round robin were:
1. Shamrocks V Missouri 8
2. Miami Dawgs V Dayton 7
3. Hounds V SFL 6
4. Suffolk County V NFL 5
Missouri V NFL (winners)
Hounds V Dawgs (winners), I personally watched this game and no disrespect to any other game, since I didnít get to watch many, but this is what our game and our profession is all about. First great athletes across the board on both teams, and the passion and fire in this game was awesome. Nelly, sorry buddy but your monster is no longer a GOLD team, LOL. This game was back and forth with awesome defensive plays on both sides but the Dawgs prevailed. That should tell you all you need to know about how well the North Florida team played because they shut down the Dawgs in the ship. I couldn't be happier for Matt Bolen and the guys, I also know how much MVP Jimmy Black brings to the table. (PLEASE START WEARING A MASK..YOUR OLD)
Shamrocks took out Suffolk and Missouri, SFL took out Dayton, Hounds and Shamrocks
Dawgs beat SFL and NFL beat Dawgs to win it.
Jimmy Black MVP.
NFL all tourney team:
Todd Amlin, Randy Walker, Ryan Register
Miami Dawgs all tourney team:
Joel Capote, Julio Fernandez, Jerry Alayon
South Florida Lawmen all tourney team:
Brandon West, Zach Hall
Upper final standings:
1. North Florida
2. Miami Dawgs
3. South Florida Lawmen
5. NY Hounds
6. Suffolk County
6. Dayton Metro
The very competitive Gold division got started with the Guardians beating Miami Metro 5-0 and Center Mass beating Thin Blue Line. The Center Mass pitcher creates many problems for opposing teams with his length and throwing motion. The B-52 team , which is made up of local military guys and Deputies from our agency, drew the lucky straw and basically obtained 2 byes but had to fold due to players leaving. Bunch of great guys who always show and support us back to Jonís days of running this tournament.
Center Mass beat the Guardians and were sitting nice awaiting the Thin Blue Line team to work their way back. I personally thought the Line were going to gas out in the heat but Jim Smith rallied the troops and double dipped Center Mass to take the Gold.
Cody Young Gold MVP
Thin Blue Line all tourney team:
Brandon Domotor, Brian Marr, Joe Gilos, Jarret Martin, Jim Smith
Center Mass all tourney team:
Kevin Obrien, Matt Kelley, Robert Garcia
I wanted to specially thank Larry from Metro Dade Enforcers, Fed Guardians, and I am sure many others for still coming even though they lost some guys right before our tournament. Your friendship and respect for the tournament doesnít go unnoticed. I appreciate that and great job. Ryan, from Dayton Metro and your team, had some great conversations with you brother and enjoyed playing you again. Class act, thank you for coming down.
To all the teams and men that have always been here and that we have gotten to know over the years thanks a ton for being so kind to us and supporting this. Joe Monaghan, Donnie Meyers, Jim Wolters, Matt Bolen, John Erven, Jon Grilz, Nelson and the list goes on. I appreciate all the feedback from you all.
On behalf of the South Florida Lawmen