So Cal Hustlers Win SoCal ASA “C” Qualifier

From the So Cal ASA Website: SOCAL ASA : Softball
(Click link above for scores and more)

The 2006 Region 14 Men’s “C” Fast Pitch Nationals was hosting this past weekend by Vicki Oltean and the City of Palm Springs, CA. Temperatures were mild for the desert for this time of year with the high’s in the 80’s with strong winds on Saturday only.

The tournament was small as only five teams, all from Southern California, entered. However, as usual, Vicki provided teams with more than enough games as she had a 2 game round robin to seed the teams into the double elimination.

It’s very disappointing that teams from other Associations do not enter the National Qualifier’s to see how they stack up against others that they would not normally play. Teams only play when it is conveniently located to them, So Cal being guilty of the same as the Rounders were the only team that went last year to Stockton and nobody the year before in Fresno. Maybe adding bonus points to a teams Alliance standings would encourage teams to play in this event no matter where it is located.

The So Cal Hustlers were the number one seed out of the round robin portion of the tournament with two of their three wins being come from behind victories.

They just missed a third win leaving the tying run at third to end the game. The final game of the night matched the Hustlers against Level One to determine the top seed. In the game, Level One held an early 7-1 lead but the Hustlers kept chipping away to send the game into the only tie breaker game of the day. After holding Level One scoreless in the top of the inning, the Hustlers scored a run to end the game and take the top seed. Palm Springs Express was the third seed and their wins were just opposite of the Hustlers as they had big leads and then they hanged on for the win.

In double elimination, the Gamecocks had their own come from behind victory as they scored three runs with two outs in the 7th inning to beat the Latin Heat in the first game of the day. Game two had Palm Springs Express over Raymar 7-3 with Graham Balog earning the win. The Hustlers used their game break to eat their Wheaties, coming out and beating the Gamecocks 12-2 to take game 3 with Bobby Cole in the circle.

In the first game of the loser’s bracket, it was a wild finish. Latin Heat and Level One both had some big innings, with Level One taking a 13-7 lead into the top of the seventh. With one out, Latin Heat scored 7 runs and then Cecillo Smalling held off Level One in the bottom of the inning to take the victory. The second game of the loser’s bracket had a re-match with Latin Heat and the Gamecocks facing each other again. Latin Heat kept their momentum going keeping Cecillo pitching and earned their win 9-1.

In what was considered the “Championship Game”, the So Cal Hustlers jumped on Palm Springs Express early and won the game 8-0. The Hustler’s had Bobby Cole in the circle to earn his second victory of the day. The Hustlers are the first team to earn their berth to the “C” Nationals to be held Labor Day Weekend in Marrietta/Cobb County, Georgia.

In the loser’s bracket final, it matched the Palm Springs Express against the Latin Heat. Cecillo started his fourth game in a row and held the Express to 3 runs and the Heat earned the win and the second berth to the Nationals with a 7-3 victory.

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