2022 35+ Cactus
California Dirtbags 6, Seattle Ravens 1
Unity, teamwork, and selflessness were the rallying themes for the California Dirtbags in its first year. You had to be in the dugout to feel it, but the chemistry with this squad was palpable. While this was the first tournament for the California Dirtbags as an organization, led by first-time manager/player Jake Moelter, this was not the first time playing in this event for most of the players on the team.
The core of the California Dirtbags have been playing together in San Diego for more than a decade, and was supplemented by great ballplayers from Northern California, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. And while every player on this team could be a starter on any other team and was used to playing every inning of every game, the team collectively knew we were there to win a championship and was willing to do whatever was needed to achieve that common goal, even if that meant to not be in the starting lineup.
The Dirtbags were an incredible group of teammates who would not let anyone beat them. Going undefeated with an 8-0-1 record, a tie was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect week of baseball. The Dirtbags had an incredible pitching staff, who threw five complete games in nine games, including two from Benn Bruff and a stellar performance by 53-year-old John Wagner in the championship game, resulting in a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Ravens. They also played sound defense and had a relentless offense that never gave up, and secured several late come-from-behind wins, including a 10th inning, 2-out walk-off, courtesy of Ben Broccoli, against a tough Utah Blues team, resulting in a first-round bye for the playoffs.
In the final game of the tournament, John Wagner held a strong Seattle Ravens to one run that was scored in the first. Brock Robinson, Marc Boggio, Teddy “Ballgame” Weber, Adam Dick, and Ben Broccoli powered the bats to score six runs and give ace John Wagner ample room to secure the team’s first World Series ring.
Gene Maccarini, one of the team’s bulldog catchers, and captain of Poudre Fire Authority in Fort Collins, Colorado, unfortunately, had to depart the tournament early as his USAR team was deployed to Texas to help with the recent tornados that hit the region. We cannot thank Gene enough for his service to this country.
Lastly, a special shout-out to our team moms, Suzanne Boggio, Olivia Bertacco, and Tracy Nasif-Dick!
This was a true team effort, and the California Dirtbags are excited to compete in many more tournaments to come!