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By: Brandon West
Apr 16, 2024
John Scollo Memorial coverage. North Florida is crowned ELITE 8.
North Florida Wins HUGE EC Battle Royale
The 2024 Scollo Memorial, turned out to be the best one yet. The leap of faith in moving from our home base and comfort zone to the premier complex in the country paid off. I told my team this was a top 2 experience in police ball for me, for many reasons.
This year’s tournament was played on Thursday and Friday at the Space Coast complex in Viera, Florida, the home of USSSA. The tournament included 26 teams.

The host party was at the American Muscle Car Museum on Wednesday night and it did not disappoint; Andrew and Mark, thank you. The food and atmosphere was the best I’ve had the privilege of being involved with. We booked it again for next year. A special thanks to Brevard County Sheriff Ivey and his grill team, for cooking the food.

The opening ceremonies on Thursday, included many new things. Brevard Sheriff’s office flyover, Jordan Oaks singing the National Anthem, FHP honor guard, Erin Smith sharing a very personal tragedy of PTSD, Suicide awareness. First Help/Blue Help.

The brackets were stacked as I normally stray from the rankings and place teams against teams that rarely get a chance to play each other. The one thing that is obvious through two tournaments this year is there is more parity in teams, teams are getting younger and more athletic and every game now is a battle. It was impossible to pre-determine an upper and lower bracket so teams controlled their own destiny.

Due to weather issues up north, the bracket games were pushed back from 9am until 1pm start. After bracket play, the top seeds in Majors were Max Elite, SFL, and Center Mass. Top seed in Gold was powerhouse Kentucky Blues.

The Easton and Miken bats, provided by Brett Helmer, and the Worth Gold Dot balls provided by Mike Macenko were perfect for these fields. There were many great games played by lot of teams, NFL, Miami Metro Dawgs, Max Elite and SFL made it to the final four undefeated by beating the likes of The Brotherhood, Great lakes, Suffolk and NY Empire. This tournament consisted of 16 of the top 17 teams on the east coast. In two tightly contested games in the stadium, Miami Metro Dawgs and NFL moved on to the winner’s bracket finals in the stadium, with NFL prevailing.

SFL, then went on a run by defeating, The Brotherhood, Great Lakes and Miami Metro Dawgs securing a rematch with NFL. SFL won the first game over NFL to set up the finals in the IF game. NFL came out and dominated the championship game and continued their early season spectacular play. A 2nd place in Tampa and a 1st place in The Scollo, securing the coveted Elite 8 for the World Series in Las Vegas. NFL is a very talented, never say die team, always proud to take the field against Matt’s team.

On a personal note, I am so proud of my SFL team, showed so much heart and fight and left it all on the field. To host the tourney, do the party the night before, opening ceremonies, then play and coordinate things from across an 85-acre facility, I couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished.

The Gold division consisted of the bottom 8 teams that dropped down. Once we all saw a short manned Kentucky team fall down, I knew this would be major trouble for the other 7 teams. The Secret Squirrels and Chicago Metro both battled hard with Chicago coming through the losers bracket to meet Kentucky in the ship, with Kentucky winning the Gold.
There are so many things I could go into on this final write up, but that would take me forever. I am thankful for the old school teams who always support this tournament and I am thankful for the new teams who gave us a chance to impress and came down this year. To the Northern Lawmen, Chicago Metro, Kentucky, Great Lakes, teams that are not our normal ones and the new start up team Indian River Sheriff’s office…much appreciated. You all made this a success.

After speaking with USSSA this morning, they said they were ready for us to be back. They appreciated being included in tournament events, parties, etc and so many of you all took the time to speak to them.. This circuit is different, we are different, don’t ever forget what we all represent. It is way more than softball.

The winners from both Divisions took home rings this year along with a nice plaque. The MVP’s took home custom Rockwell watches, by Paul Chaves and custom turfs by Terry Dugan. I appreciate you gentlemen stepping up and sponsoring nice items for the players.

Majors:
NFL – Champs
Mvp: Matt Bolan
All Tournament: Kenny Hernandez, Joey Tomasi, Chase Morgan

South Florida Lawmen – 2nd place
All Tournament: Zach Legato, Steve Stropp, Shawn Swinford

Miami Dawgs – 3rd place
All Tournament: Antonio Gomez, Erik Rodriguez, Rob Fuentes

Gold:
Kentucky Blue – Champs
Mvp: Brian Dawson
All Tournament: Trey Binder, Brett Smith, Mike English

Chicago Metro – 2nd place
All Tournament: Justin Rzeszutkol, Scott Waxweiller, Jim Knapp

Secret Squirrels – 3rd place
All Tournament: James Lovett, Norge Alvarez, Marcos Guadalupe

So many people to thank, who all played a part in the tourney:
USSSA and staff (Matt, Chuck, Ralph, etc), American Muscle Car Museum (Andrew Mackey) Donnie and Becky Meyer, Terry Dugan, Paul Chaves, Andy Wurm, Jason Coker, Dave Bernhardt, Steve Rubiano, Rocco Mangel, Matt Linder, Nikens Chelot, Hogsnappers Restaurant, Kelly Richter, Kyle Scollo and Tiffany Vanyo, Karen Solomon and Erin (Blue Help).

Truly takes a village to put this on.

Thank you to all the teams for being here and your continued support! I appreciate all the friendships this tournament and police softball has provided. Goal is 36 teams next year.

Brandon West, Dave Bernhardt, Kevin Drummond
SFL #25



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