Contributed by Jim Teeter, Tournament Director

The 7th annual MSBL San Diego Memorial Day Weekend Fun Tournament was a 60+ wood bat tournament. Playing doubleheaders over the 3-day weekend with pool play Saturday-Sunday and single elimination playoffs on Monday, we played on five spectacular fields: Calvin Christian School, Escondido High School, San Diego State University’s Tony Gwynn Stadium, Palomar College and UCSD’s Triton Field. We got excellent feedback from our players and managers, most of whom continue to proclaim our family-oriented tournament their favorite to attend in the US. Yes, the weather is usually the best baseball weather you can find, but they say they appreciate the family oriented format the most.

This year’s tournament featured teams from Arizona, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Northern California, San Diego and Seattle. New teams were welcomed from Orange County (SoCal Fire), Coronado (San Diego Pirates) and a new Norcal Antiques 65+ team.This year’s winners were:

National Division: LA Athletics (Los Angeles), Bob Sherwin, mgr.

Central Division: Dragons (Santo Rosa), Allan Green, mgr.

American Division: San Diego Pirates (San Diego), Julian Manrique, mgr.

65+ Division: San Diego 65s (San Diego), John Hopkins, mgr.

Each team awards a Crystal Baseball Tournament MVP award, and this year’s winners were:

  • Billy Bright (San Diego 65s)
  • Dave Allen (San Diego Shaggers)
  • Zach Jones (Norcal Antiques 65+)
  • Lou McAnany (Arizona Pirates)
  • Craig Rickeman (Dragons)
  • Mike Denevi or Bob Quick (LA Athletics)
  • John Hughes (Norcal Antiques)
  • Bob Mele (Paladin USA)
  • J F Ernenwein (San Diego Patriots)
  • Donny Hiney (San Diego Pirates)
  • Doug Springford (Seattle Silver Foxes)
  • Kevin Spaise (SoCal Fire)

In the American Division round robin, the SoCal Fire team, short of pitching, posted the second lowest runs-against to the champion SD Pirates, to whom they lost 4-3 but didn’t win a pool game. In similar fashion, the Arizona Pirates, tied 10-10 and lost 11-10 Saturday before bowing to the San Diego Patriots in the semifinal game 7-3. The Cinderella Patriots team finally ran out of pitching in the championship game at Escondido High School, losing to the first-time-in-tournament 2017 champions, San Diego Pirates.

Paladin USA ran the table to earn the Central Division playoff slot along with the 2-1-1 Seattle Silver Foxes. The formidable Dragons team dropped into their slot when the San Diego Heat held on and had 2 fewer runs-against in the seeding tiebreaker. Monday morning at beautiful new (first time ever visitors allowed on the new field) Palomar College diamond, Paladin USA lost a heart breaker in their rematch with last year’s champion Norcal Antiques 60 team 4-3. The Dragons topped Seattle to earn their way into the championship game, where they defeated the 2016 champion Norcal Antiques 9-6. See the in-depth article below by Allan Green.

In the National Division round robin, a powerful Sacramento Tribe team, returning after a 2-year tournament hiatus, beat the traditionally strong LA Dodgers team, and the LA Athletics whipped a surprising San Diego Heat team 5-1 to set up a classic championship game at SDSU’s Tony Gwynn Stadium. In a fierce battle of heavyweights, the Athletics outlasted the Tribe, 3-2 in one of the best played games in that stadium in a long while.

In the 65+ Division round robin, the San Diego 65s and Norcal Antiques ran away with their pool games over the Tri Valley Antiques and San Diego Shaggers, who opted for a 3-4 playoff and 1-2 playoff. The winless San Diego Shaggers turned the table on the TV Giants to take 3rd and the San Diego 65s took all the marbles with a close win over the Norcal Antiques 65 team.

Players, spectators and families enjoyed the return of Costco dogs with barbecues at the UCSD and SDSU venues, while participants at Palomar College and Escondido High School (and backup Calvin Christian School) enjoyed the famous Rockin’ Jenny’s sandwiches and a record 1,000 killer homemade brownies made by Ann McMillan, Bonnie Miller, Ms. Bob Barr and Ms. Ray Andre. We look forward to the 8th annual tournament May 26-28, 2018.