The Cathedral City Police Department hosted their 2nd Annual tournament at the Big League Dreams facility in their home town. This year the tournament was renamed the Officer Jermaine Gibson Memorial in honor of the fallen Cathedral City officer who lost his life in the line of duty in March. Officer Gibson crashed during in a vehicle pursuit of a stolen car being driven by a parolee. Proceeds from the event were for the benefit of the Cathedral City Police Department slain officer memorial fund.
The event grew from 6 teams in 2010 up to 14 teams this year. Tournament Director All Holloway was very pleased with the turn out and the support from the participating teams. Participating teams included: SoCal Lockdown, West Coast PSC, Red-Alliance Combo, Riverside Heat, Cathedral City PD, OC Probation Lockdown, Riverside Co. Probation, Coronado PD, US Border Patrol Indio, Beverly Hills PD, and the Santa Cruz Sheriff team.
Round robin winners were: West Coast PSC, OC Probation Lockdown, Riverside Heat and Beverly Hills PD. After the round robin the tournament took a one-hour break for a fundraising home run derby. Al Holloway asked all for a moment of silence in memory of Officer Gibson. Al thanked the SoCal Alliance police softball team & Easton sports for donating the HR derby prize package and then the derby commenced. There were 32 participants in the derby and there was no shortage of high profile participants. Three former police softball World Series Home Run Kings participated: Reigning King Robert Mason, King George Reyes and King John Wasabi Birtcher joined noted sluggers such as Kevin Burger, Chad Johnson, and Brandon St. Aubin to name a few derby veterans. As expected the big name hitters slugged it out to the final one-pitch round but when the dust cleared it was hitting machine King George Reyes who claimed yet another derby championship. John Wasabi Birtcher showed no signs of rust despite an extended leave from the game. Birtcher was firing on all cylinders to claim the runner-up spot.
The playoffs were single elimination so every team was playing with their collective backs against the wall. The three upper teams, SoCal Lockdown, Red-Alliance Combo and West Coast PSC all advanced to the semi-finals as expected. Riverside Heat and OC Probation Lockdown battled hard but it was Riverside Heat who advanced to the final four. Although eliminated, OC Probation Lockdown made a strong statement by posting an impressive 4-1 record on the day. In the semi-finals Red-Alliance Combo and SoCal Lockdown battled in a see-saw contest and it took a walk off double down the line by Red team leader Robb Roggeveen to propel his squad into the championship game. West Coast PSC ended Riverside Heatís impressive run. Although eliminated the Heat finished 5-1 and pounded the ball hard all day.
The championship game was also a round robin rematch of West Coast PSC and the Red-Alliance Combo. Red jumped out quick with 7 first inning runs and things looked dim for West Coast PSC as they went 3 up, 3 down in the bottom of the inning. Red-Alliance had used all their home runs and over the next few innings West Coast PSC demonstrated good bat control in chipping away at the lead without using any home runs. There was a mid-game lead change and West Coast PSC was then able to open up a double digit lead by utilizing their 2 allotted home runs. Red-Alliance battled back, and got within a few runs in the top of the 7th but the West Coast PSC defense held their ground to secure the victory. In doing so the new West juggernaut West Coast PSC claimed their first police softball tournament championship of the year. Team leader Scott Spalding would like to add more championships to his teams resume before the end of the season. Scott gave special props to team MVP Steve Wrathall who pitched a dazzling tournament, shut down the middle defensively and was a team leader in hitting. (Note: Wrathall debuted for the team in San Diego and is quickly getting a name on the circuit as being a top caliber pitcher). All Tourney honors went to: Alex Garcia, Ryan Wise and Eddie Arceo. The Red-Alliance coach Robb Roggeveen named Tommy Gutierrez, George Reyes, Danny Wells and pitcher Tony Garcia as his All Tourney selections. Tourney director Al Holloway congratulated the winners and praised all the participating teams for their support of the event. Al hopes to make the tournament even bigger next year as he has already secured a date in May 2012 for his 3rd annual event.