LAPD wins big in Majors and Gold. The LAPD Blue and LAPD Shot Callers both went undefeated in the playoffs enroute to their championships!
Majors Division Champions LAPD Blue
“Battleground Los Angeles” was the theme for this years West Conference Championship in West Covina, Ca. Like always, there was a huge turn out from the SoCal based teams but CenCal, NorCal, Arizona and Utah/Colorado were also represented.
The Utah Metro team made the trip to defend their Gold Division championship title from last year and the LAPD Blue was looking to do the same in Majors. Last year both teams came through the loser bracket to double dip the undefeated team en-route to their championships. The weather and fields were pristine and the bats were provided by event sponsor, Easton Sports. This year the bats used were the brand new Easton Fire Flex 3 model courtesy of Police Softball supporter Brett Helmer.
In the round robin the three predetermined Majors teams, CenCal Connection, LAPD Blue and the DEA Combo all handled business and earned the 1, 2, and 4 seeds respectively. The High Desert Law Dawgs and the defending Mid Majors World Champions Border Patrol Arsenal earned the Majors division 3 and 5 seeds respectively. The young and fast rising San Diego based Silver Stars rounded out the Majors with the 6th seed.
The Gold featured a highly competitive 15 team division that included the previously mentioned defending champions, Utah Metro along with other “Mid Major” caliber teams such as the Degenerates, Arizona Ablaze, Team Galvez and Nitro2Go to name a few.
There were no real surprises in the Majors Division playoffs. The Silver Stars gave the DEA Combo a great battle but fell apart defensively late in the game and the Combo exploited their miscues. The Border Patrol Arsenal and High Desert Law Dawgs both looked impressive early on, but could not keep their feet on the accelerator. High Desert lost a key player due to injury and the loss was enough to force their elimination at the hands of the Silver Stars.
There is a reason why LAPD Blue is considered one of the best, if not THE best, team in the nation. They powered through the tournament undefeated and won most games in convincing fashion. The “kings seat” game against CenCal Connection was a hotly contested affair, but LAPD’s depth and swagger proved too much for the youthful but highly talented CenCal crew.
Many would have projected CenCal to defeat the DEA Combo for the 2nd time this tournament in order to earn a rematch with LAPD in the championship but that didn’t happen. CenCal is best known for their strong fundamentals and impeccable execution of pitching and defense, but on this weekend they fell short in these areas at critical moments. CenCal pitching issued more free passes than usual and the infield made errors on plays they normally make 99 times out of 100. That proved costly against the DEA combo and DEA veteran Danny “D-Way” Wells seized the moment by blasting a walk off home run to allow the DEA to advance to the ‘ship.”
The momentum DEA carried into the dance with LAPD Blue quickly came to a grinding halt at the hands of an impenetrable LAPD defense. LAPD jumped out early and never looked back. Team leader Dave Braun lit a victory cigar in the 3rd inning which has become a new tradition, and by the time he was done with the cigar, the game was over. LAPD Blue had successfully defended their Majors Division WCC Championship.
1 LAPD Blue
2 DEA Combo
3 CC Connection
4 Silver Stars
5t High Desert Law Dawgs
5t Border Patrol Arsenal
MVP: Buddy Lundy LAPD Blue
All Tourney: Walter Sevilla, Michael Dacken, Mark Tolliver LAPD Blue
Defensive MVP: Nate Baez LAPD Blue
All Tourney: Jason Brennan, Danny Wells, Shane Ampe DEA Combo
The Gold playoffs saw Nitro2Go claim the #1 seed followed by Utah Metro (no surprise) and the West Coast Lawmen (mild surprise from this new team). None of that matter once the playoffs started and as fate would have it, some highly projected teams had to open against each other.
Nitro’s first game was against last years runners-up Familia in a classic NorCal vs SoCal battle. It was epic but ultimately Nitro won and forced Familia into the loser bracket early. Another tough early matchup was the Degenerates facing a much improved RSO Force squad. RSO went 0-2 in the round robin but lost both games by only 1 run. They figured things out come playoff time and defeated the Degenerates in what many would consider an “upset.”
The final four unbeaten teams were Nitro2Go who would have to face Arizona Ablaze in a rematch of the 2017 Mid Majors World Series championship game. And the new kids on the block the LAPD Shot Callers were matched up against WCC defending Gold champs Utah Metro. Both were great games that saw Arizona Ablaze and the LAPD Shot Callers advance to the “Kings Seat” game.
One team that everyone had their eyes on was Team Galvez who defeated SoCal Riot before dropping a game to Arizona. Galvez was quietly working their way through the loser bracket with big wins over Familia, Reloaded, Nitro2Go and the Mixed Nutz before facing Arizona once again in a rematch. The winner would move on to face the undefeated LAPD Shot Callers and need to double dip them in order to claim the championship. Galvez gave a valiant effort but Arizona had some huge innings including two grand slams in the 2nd inning to separate from Galvez. Arizona has a history of winning big games, and they did just that on the road to the big dance.
The LAPD Shot Callers are the new(er) kids on the block but they don’t lack swagger. They have some veterans who blend nicely with their younger teammates and as a result they have a very solid core to their team. The dugout seemed to flow in harmony, just as their play on the field did. They were firing on all cylinders and simply too much for Arizona to handle. The LAPD Shot Callers appeared to be the best team in this division all weekend and they executed just as they had intended to and in doing so, earned the Gold Championship title.
1 LAPD Shot Callers
2 Arizona Ablaze
3 Team Galvez
4 Mixed Nutz
5t Utah Metro
5t Nitro 2 go
7t RSO Force
9t WC Lawmen
9t Gold Combo
13t Yard Dogs
13t SoCal Riot
13t Yard Recall
MVP: Eric Elenes LAPD Shot Callers
All Tourney: Victor Munoz, Aaron Gland and Adam Mott LAPD Shot Callers
Defensive MVP: Gabriel Barrientos LAPD Shot Callers
All Tourney: Brandon Kozeliski, Zack Waters and Eddie Bridges Arizona Ablaze
The winning teams won prize packages courtesy of: Garrett Metal Detectors, Easton Sports, Elite USA, Worth Sports, and Magic Stuff.
Policesoftball.Com would like to thank all those who attended and, win or lose, we hope you enjoyed a weekend of a LOT of softball in sunny SoCal during “Battleground Los Angeles.” We intend to secure the same weekend and same venue next year and hopefully we can build back up 30+ teams as we have had in past years. Hope to see you next year!