SoCal Alliance Majors Champs- Stanislaus Gold Champs
GOLD CHAMPIONS - STANISLAUS
The annual Policesoftball.Com West Conference Championships were held the weekend of May 16/17, 2015 at the Chino Hills Big League Dreams facility in Southern California. For the first time ever, the usually dry SoCal area was dealing with a significant rain storm on the days leading up to the event. As a result, the fields were extremely saturated and the event was touch and go even into the Friday evening hours.
Big League Dreams staff and Policesoftball.com communicated regularly and hatched a plan to push the event back from a Saturday morning start to a mid-afternoon start. The first few round robin games were a challenge as players struggled to find the best footwear to deal with muddy conditions. But by playoff time the dampness was unnoticeable as the field crews had done an outstanding job making the fields in near perfect condition.
As always the event was sanctioned through USSSA and the Policesoftball.Com California umpire crew chief, Dan Potter brought out his regular squad who are considered some of the top umpires in the region. This was once again a provided bat tournament courtesy of Brett Helmer/Easton Sports along with Ben Zaredini & Dan Potter from the Code3 Softball circuit. The Code3 bats were red hot and received overwhelming positive reviews from the players. Special thanks to Brett, Ben and Dan!
The round robin saw both Majors and Gold teams bracketed together. Majors teams had to spot 7 runs to Gold teams which made some games very interesting due to the time limits involved. The only bracket that was a “play in” featured four “bubble” teams who bounce between Majors/Gold and they were: Sin City Aces, LA Lawmen, Arizona Ablaze, and CenCal Connection. They were slated to play a "best of" series with the top 3 teams going Majors and the 0-2 team going Gold. Some had projected that the odd team out would be Arizona Ablaze as there were reports they would be shorthanded. Arizona Ablaze proved the forecasters wrong in convincing fashion. Not only did they advance to the Majors playoffs, they also posted a perfect 2-0 record to earn the #4 Majors seed. CenCal Connection and Sin City Aces finished with the 7 & 8 Majors seeds respectively. The LA Lawmen were snakebitten in both games and it took bottom of the 7th magic in walk off fashion for Ablaze to defeat the Lawmen. Every time these two teams step on the field against each other you can expect an exciting and oh-so-close game. Majors teams, DEA Combo, Alliance, and WC United all handled business to win their brackets and secure the 1, 2, and 3 seeds respectively. There were two “upsets” as Gold team Most Wanted defeated Majors team SoCal Lockdown and Gold team Stanislaus prevailed over Battle Born.
They playoffs went late into the night in order to make up for lost time in the morning. This made for a festive and lively atmosphere at the BLD complex. Although some teams were eliminated on Saturday night, everyone came back the next day either still in the hunt, or with the opportunity to play in the drop down Platinum and Silver single elimination playoffs. All teams got AT LEAST 5 games and most got 7 or more. Policesoftball.com takes a lot of pride in ensuring every team gets their fill of softball against similarly talented competition. Just like in the MLB some teams are better than others, but given the totality of the circumstances we believe teams are placed where they belong come playoff time.
Throughout the playoffs the newly formed Lethal Force squad led by Hall of Famer Joe Mestres ruled like a boss. They were playing scrappy softball based around strong pitching, solid defense and timely hitting. They defeated Nitro2Go in the undefeated game to advance to the championship where they would need to be double dipped. Meanwhile Stanislaus was gaining steam storming through the losers bracket (loss courtesy of Nitro2Go) and when they met in a rematch Stanislaus was able to avenge their earlier loss by eliminated Nitro2Go. Stanislaus advanced to the championship but many felt their lack of depth (only 11 players) would hurt them considering they had to win so many games to get to the dance. Stanislaus proved the doubters wrong as they defeated Lethal Force which meant an “IF” game would be needed. The loss might have shocked Lethal Force because they could not mount much of an offense and Stanislaus jumped out early and never let off the gas. Stanislaus celebrated their Gold Division championship which was their first title this year and the first Policesoftball.Com event championship since they won the Small Market World Series many years ago in Palm Springs.
The Majors Division featured many of the top ranked teams in the entire nation. West Coast United could be the most improved team in the circuit as they brought in some seasoned veterans with championship pedigrees along with fast rising rookies who will be impact players in the circuit for years to come. Still, they could not overcome the other fast rising team Battle Born and they were sent into the losers bracket. The SoCal Alliance was playing like a team possessed as they were not only winning, they were winning inside of 5 innings almost every game. A big upset was SoCal Lockdown’s bottom of the 7th come from behind win over the defending World Champs the DEA Combo. The undefeated game was set between the SoCal Alliance and SoCal Lockdown. Meanwhile in the losers bracket both the DEA Combo and Battle Born were getting their groove on so a head to head collision was imminent. That occurred early on Sunday morning when Battle Born unleashed an offensive barrage that was impressive to say the least. Alliance defeated Lockdown to advance to the ship and the only two remaining teams Lockdown and Battle Born faced off for a ticket to the dance. It appeared Battle Born had the hot hand coming into the game but their offense went cold largely due to the worksmanship of 2014 Defensive Player of the Year, pitcher Matt “Huero” Mejia. Mejia’s defense was rock solid behind him and their offense was equally as dialed in as they defeated Battle Born and moved on to face the Alliance in a rematch. The game was tight early on but the Alliance offense and defense were relentless and they jumped ahead and didn’t look back. Eventual MVP Buddy Lundy sealed the game with a walk-off drive off the green monster to plate the winning run. The SoCal Alliance defended their West Conference Champions title (they won it last year) and they continued their undefeated 2015 campaign and 3rd consecutive tourney victory (DEA Kickoff, Bacon Ball Vegas and WCC).
Champs; 1, SoCal Alliance
2. SoCal Lockdown
3. Battle Born
4. DEA Combo
5t. Arizona Ablaze
5t, WC United
7t.Sin City Aces
7t. Cen Cal Connection
1. Cen Cal Connection
2. Sin City Aces
3. Arizona Ablaze
4. WC United
Champs: 1. Stanislaus
2. Lethal Force
4. Most Wanted
5t. Hit Squad
5t. Gold Combo
7t. SoCal Riot
7t. LA Lawmen
9t. CC Heroes
9t. Team Vargas
9t. WC Titans
1. LA Lawmen
2. Team Vargas
3t. CC Heroes
3t. SoCal Riot
5. WC Titans
Stanislaus Gold MVP: KJ Vandagriff
Stanislaus Gold All Tourney: Scott Block, Ryan McKay, Travis Hudson. Defensive award: Kevin McCarthy
Lethal Force Gold All Tourney: Joe Mestres, Gabe Chavez, John Bartlett
Alliance Majors MVP: Buddy Lundy
Alliance Majors All Tourney: Tommy Hayes, Kris Ulibarri, Mike Snyder. Defensive award: Bryan Schmidt
SoCal Lockdown Majors All Tourney: Steven Martinez, Ruben Moya, Cody Collette
Winning teams won prize packages courtesy of Elite Sports. Policesoftball.com would like to thank Ontario Ford for donating a new 2015 Ford Raptor pick up to the Majors MVP Buddy Lundy.