Contributed by Jim Teeter, Tournament Director
The 10th annual MSBL San Diego Memorial Day Weekend Fun Tournament was held May 28-30. Playing doubleheaders over the 3-day weekend with pool play Saturday-Sunday and single elimination playoffs on Monday, we played on five great diamonds: Calvin Christian School, Carlsbad High’s immaculate Ralph Cripe Field, Escondido HS, San Pasqual HS, and UCSD’s Triton Field.
Teams hail from the southwest, including Northern California (6), Los Angeles-Orange County (6), New Mexico (1), Washington (1) and San Diego (4).
2022 Winners were:
Tribute 60, LA Athletics 65, Paladin USA 65, Silver Foxes 65, Dragons 70
Each team awards a Crystal Baseball Tournament MVP award, and this year’s winners were:
Frank Milian (70 Tri Valley Antiques)
Bert Avila (70 Dragons)
Dan Huntley (70 North County Mudcats)
Dan Hart (70 Vets)
Tom Leeman (65 Berrys Athletic Supply)
Mark Reichardt (65 Cal Vets)
Rick Fahrney (65 Dodgertown West)
Gary Nelson (65 Dragons)
Mike Denevi/Dave Dietrich (65 LA Athletics)
Rick Salmeri (65 Paladin USA)
Gary Stonebrook (65 Sacramento Tribe)
Vince DelaMontaigne (65 San Diego Heat)
Steve Heard (65 San Diego Shaggers)
Glen Kost (65 Seattle Silver Foxes)
Paul Contreras (60 SoCal Angels)
John Hadley (60 Cal Tribute)
Jim Milligan (60 Giltner Padres)
Al Arbelo (60 South Bay Zephyrs)
In the 60s division, the youngsters didn’t wake up until Sunday. Or was it just good pitching? Nobody scored double digits at UCSD’s Triton ballpark. Then Sunday the small division (4 team) recorded three ties. Go figure. No ties in the playoffs. The Tri-Valley Tribute team seemingly woke up with a 15-7 victory over the dominant pool team, Giltner Padres. Then the SoCal Angels took a red hot South Bay Zephyrs team 13-7. In the championship game, the Tri-Valley Tribute saved some pitching and won the 60s gold 12-1.
Ten teams in the 60 division pre-Covid, now 10 teams in 2022’s 65 division. Pool play determined National, Central, and American divisions. The graduates scored a lot of runs Saturday. A couple of blowout games landed the Shaggers and Vets in the American division and they came out smoking in the playoffs. The 65 Vets stoked the rivalry with a 14-6 semi-final victory. But their dream wouldn’t continue in the championship game, the Seattle Silver Foxes rallying for a 17-6 victory.
The 65 Central division started with a red-hot match of San Diego teams, Berrys Athletic Supply vs the San Diego Heat, who prevailed. But Paladin USA sneaked in under the radar and put out the fire, taking the championship 14-4.
The 65 National Division again featured four teams who were anyone’s pick, each making quick work of their opponents. In semi-final play, the Dodgertown West team fell to their cross-town rival LA Athletics, and the Sacramento Tribe fell to a strong 65 Dragons team. But in the end, the champion LA Athletics shut out the Dragons 7-zip.
For the first time, the tournament included a 70+ Division. The Tri-Valley Giants and 70 Vets fell in their semi-final matches, setting up the 70 Dragons and North County Mudcats, who have developed an epic rivalry in this tournament as 60+ and later as 65+ teams. In the championship match, the Mudcats built an 8-5 lead, fueled by a 6-run first inning. The game came down to an odd display of beloved (?) 70 rules. With a two-out, bases-loaded 3-2 count, Mudcats pitcher, Dan Huntley, picked off the runner at first base. No stealing in the 70 division. But the eventual winning run scored when the ball was thrown away at home allowing the run to score. And the Dragons won the first-ever San Diego MDW 70+ championship.
Once again, players and their travel partners enjoyed the Rockin’ Jenny’ssandwiches and 800 killer homemade brownies made by team Knudsen, McMillan and Miller. And once again Costco dogs were bbq by Missy Knudsen and Tony Sanchez. Now, who’s going to pick up the leftover Starbucks coffee boxes?