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Panteras Valentine Tournament 2004

Feb 13-15, 2004



Rainey's Travis Price struck

out 11 enroute to title game

victory (click to enlarge)

Team Rainey Tops So Cal Bombers for 13th Annual Panteras Valentine Tournament Title

[Norwalk, CA 2/15/04] - Team Rainey swept through the 13th Annual Panteras Tournament unbeaten, capturing the championship trophy with a 6-2 win over Ralph Trejo's So Cal Bombers in the final game Sunday afternoon at Hollyfield Park in Norwalk.  Travis Price was the winning pitcher in the championship game, while Panfilo Valdez took the loss.  Both pitchers went the distance in the game.   Paul Reyes and Chris Hunt were named as All-Tournament players.

Team Rainey and the Bombers were among the pre-tourney favorites, as two of the Southland's higher classified and ranked teams, with clearly the best pitching staffs in the Southland.  Team Rainey's duo of Travis Price (fresh from his stint at the ISF World Championships) and Tony Peeples (coming off a NAFA "AAA" MVP and National Title with Team Lyons) was dominant throughout the tournament, yielding only two runs total, while the Bombers staff of Panfilo Valdez, Lonnie Brooks and Travis Kraft gave Ralph Trejo's crew the talent and depth to reach the finals.

In the championship game, the Bombers scored first, in the top of the second inning, as Reymundo Parra reached on an infield error.  Ralph Roybal singled him to third, and he came home on a ground out to first by Jim Huerta.   Team Rainey came back in the bottom half of the second inning with 5 runs, which provided the margin of victory.  

Rainey's Reyes safe at home, first of

five 2nd inning runs (click to enlarge)

A pivotal play came when Roy Guinaldo hit a sharp grounder to short with runners at second and third.  The throw to the plate was wide, scoring Paul Reyes, with Nate Devine alertly coming home as the ball went to the backstop.  Three batters later, Rod Rainey broke the game open with a two run single to center, scoring Guinaldo and Acedo who had reached on a walk. The throw to the plate attempting to cut down Acedo was wide, and allowed Jesse Duncan to score all the way from first.  Team Rainey added a final run in the 6th on a home run to right field by Paul Reyes, a low line drive that carried over the head of right fielder Tony Jimenez.

Travis Price struck out 11 in 6 innings pitched, scattering 4 hits.  After the 5 run outburst by Rainey in the second, the outcome never seemed in doubt, as Price showed masterful control in walking only one, mixing the change up, rise and drop to baffle the Bombers hitters.  Panfilo Valdez surrendered only 3 hits to Rainey, and struck out 8, but  5 walks and a hit batter proved costly.  Rainey made the most of their scoring opportunities.

The two runs scored by Bombers in the championship game were the only runs scored the entire weekend against Rainey's pitching staff of Travis Price, Tony Peeples and Joe Salcido. 

For Scoreboard of other games and Championship Box, click menu buttons above.

For photos click "Photos" menu button at left.

Tournament Recap:

Friday night:

Long Beach Black Sox Impressive in Opening Night Win at Norwalk

[Norwalk, CA - 2/13/04]- After months of winter practices and city league games, the 2004 season finally got underway Friday night in Norwalk California at the Panteras Valentine's Tournament.  They may still be shoveling snow back east, but February in Southern California means it's time to get the rust off at Fernie's Ramirez's annual tournament in Norwalk.  This year marks the 13th year in a row.

Only one field is used on opening night, a great way to bring everyone together in one place.   If you were there, you had a sense that the players and fans alike were glad to see the season get underway.   Plenty of talk, of course, about who's playing for what team, as well as sizing up the new teams. 

One of those new teams performed very well on opening night.  Fred Hanker's Long Beach Black Sox earned the honor of claiming the first win of the 2004 season, topping a very talented Raymar squad, 9-1.  The Black Sox are the new kids on the block, but served notice that they intend to compete in the ASA So Cal Alliance.  

John Otte looked more like Mel Ott, keying a 4 run outburst with a home run in the first inning, then breaking the game open in the 5th with a towering home run to left center that seemed to disappear into the night sky.   Randy Clay started and finished the game for the Black Sox, and was in command most of the evening.  Dale Lopes returned to action, fresh from his successful managerial campaign for Team Rainey in 2003, showing no signs of rust behind the plate.  The Black Sox advanced into the 16 team portion of the bracket, where they will face the host Panteras on Saturday, while Raymar awaits a first round loser.

Don't read too much into the first night loss by Raymar, though.  Chalk it up to Friday the 13th if you want.  The rumors you've been hearing about a beefed up roster are no longer just rumors.  They are loaded with talent.  Damian Guerrero, (MadPumper95) is back, with a year of open class ball with Team Rainey under his belt.   He was the big bat in the middle of Raymar's batting order in 2002, and will give them some sock this season.  Damian brings not only his bat, but a 70 mph heater to Raymar's expanded pitching staff.  Raymar appears to be the biggest beneficiaries of the demise of Genesis, adding all three Shaws, Doug, Ken and young Matt, as well as Genesis's ace, Joe Salcido.   And just for good measure, they've added lefty Joe Edwards, who pitched very effectively during his days with Kanakas, with Tommy Obregon back to round out the Raymar foursome on the mound. 

The action gets underway again at 8am tomorrow morning, including last year's ASA So Cal "C" Alliance champion, El Segundo Rounders against Team Rainey.  Rainey vaulted into the elite teams in the country last year, finishing as runner up at the prestigious Rose Cup and California International tournaments, and just missing a spot in the Sweet 16 playoff round at the ISC World Tournament last August, knocking off the #6 team in the world, the Owen Sound Selects in the process.  Travis Price carried away three (3) Most Valuable Pitcher trophies, enroute to the biggest honor, his selection as a member of Team USA at summer's end.  Travis performed well in his first stint in international competition, pitching in the ISF World Championships in Christchurch New Zealand against the best teams in the world last week.  Travis Price at 8am in your first game of the year? Better put an extra pot of coffee on, Rounders. The kid's been pitching "a bit" in the off season.

The tournament is open to ASA class "A", "B" and "C" teams.  So on paper, at least, a betting man might project the three "A/B" teams, Team Rainey, Captain Dan's  and the So Cal Bombers as the pre-tourney favorites.  The Lakewood Jets (Edge) also look to make their mark with a roster of veterans who have excelled at the highest level of the sport, as well as plenty of former Kanakas players who made their squad among the best in So Cal for the past couple seasons.   But we've had all winter to talk.  It's now time to lace 'em up and play.  And there's almost always an upset or two in Norwalk.  Who will it be this year?

Game #2:

Edge defeated Primos, and will face the So Cal Bombers in another early match-up of top teams. 

Saturday's Games:

Game #3:  Team Rainey 6, Rounders 0

Team Rainey scored 3 in the 2nd and 3 more in the 3rd to cruise to a 6-0 victory Saturday morning.  "Papa Joe" Salcido got the start for Rainey, while Rainey's newest addition, Tony Peeples closed things out over the last three innings.   In the second,  Mike Butler walked, and Dee Nieblas was hit by a pitch.  Rounder's starter Mitch Mendenhall almost escaped, striking out the next two hitters, but Jesse Duncan delivered a two out, two RBI single to put Rainey on the board.  In the third, Chris Hunt opened with a double, followed by two singles, the latter by Mike Butler.  A couple of Rounder miscues ran the score to 6-0.   Mark Villalobos had 2 of the Rounders 3 hits in the game, while centerfielder Steve Tollington had the other.

The Rounders will face Primos at 11:30am, while Rainey moves on to face the So Cal Rebels in an 1:15 pm winner's bracket game.  In other early morning games, the Rebels topped the North County Skins.

Game 9:  Black Sox

Black Sox roll on

The Black Sox notched their second win in the tournament with a 6-4 win over the host Panteras.  Chuck Vranich picked up the win for the Sox, who advance to a winner's bracket semifinal against Kupia Kumi, who sent Latin Feat to the loser's bracket in Game 5.

Games 7 & 9Raymar, Captain Dan in Surprising Early Exits

Raymar compounded it's Friday the 13th bad luck by running into Captain Dans in their first game in the loser's bracket Saturday morning, losing and being eliminated in only two games.  Raymar had the bases loaded with one out in the last inning, trailing by a run, but a line drive to short by Damian Guerrero and a flip to third turned into an inning ending double play.

The Dan was among the pre-tourney favorites, but drew a tough Grillos team from  Mexicali in their first game of the tournament.  The Dan led for a time, behind Jason Iuli, but Grillos rallied for a pair of runs and Iuli gave way to Rich Woods.  The hot hitting Grillos completed the comeback, one of four wins enroute to a third place finish overall. 

Games 16, 21 & 28:  Santana - Another Gem by Meltz

The rebound for Captain Dan's was short-lived though, as Santana Concrete's Dave Meltz tossed a 4-0 gem, eliminating Captain Dan's from the tournament.  Santana went on to win one more game, before falling to the Edge on Sunday morning.

Game 20:  San Diego Loses Tough One to Grillos in tie breaker

San Diego Fastpitch, playing a neighbor to the south, Grillos of Mexicali, lost a tie breaker in one of the better contests of the tournament 2-1, dropping San Diego in a loser's bracket matchup with the El Segundo Rounders.

Games 11, 15 & 24: Rounders

Rounders Win Two,  Eliminated by San Diego

After an opening round loss to Team Rainey, the Rounders overcame an ugly first inning against Primos, scoring 11 runs in 4 innings, to defeat Primos 11-3.   Eric Geierman scored three runs, reaching on a walk, hit batter and base hit.  Mark Villalobos had 2 RBI on a home run, and single; Don Jewett also had two hits and an RBI.

The Rounders then went on to score 9 more in a 9-0 win over the Skins.  The El Segundo Club will now face the loser of Los Grillos vs. San Diego. In the 9-0 win, Rounders leadoff hitter Eric Geierman had a triple and a double; Mark Villalobos had an RBI triple deep in the left-centerfield gap, and sac fly, driving in two runs; newcomer Andy Lawry started at short and had a double and single and an RBI.  Steve Tollington also had two hits for the Rounders.  Starter Mendenhall scattered four hits in four innings to pick up the win.

Rounders manager Ron Kirby was the first casualty of the poly core ball today, being struck just below the knee by a line drive off of the bat of Rounder Steve Tollington.  Kirby was coaching third at the time, but had to be helped off the field with a bad bone bruise.

In a Saturday night cap game, San Diego Fastpitch beat, and eliminated the Rounders 5-2.  The Rounders jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first and had the bases loaded with only one out.  The Rounders were unable to score any more runs though, as Dan Zupp escaped the inning when a line drive off the bat of John Wilson caromed off his shin, but into the hands of an infielder for the final out of the inning.  San Diego tie the game at 2 in the 2nd, and added 3 more runs to advance to a Sunday morning game.

Elite Eight

The Elite Eight of the Winners Bracket, as of 1:15pm games are:

  1. Team Rainey
  2. So Cal Rebels
  3. Black Sox
  4. Kupia Kumi
  5. Amigos
  6. Bombers
  7. Los Grillos
  8. San Diego

Final Four (Winner's Bracket)

Winners of games below play at 12 noon, losers at 10:15am vs. winners of 8:30am loser's bracket game

  1. Team Rainey (vs. Black Sox)
  2. Black Sox (vs. Rainey)
  3. So Cal Bombers (vs. Los Grillos)
  4. Los Grillos (vs. Bombers)

Game 25: (Winner's Bracket semi-final, 6:30p.m. Saturday:

Team Rainey 4, Black Sox 0

Rainey's Chris Hunt launched a long home run over the right fielder's head to give Rainey an early 1-0 lead against the Black Sox, then added three more as they cruised to a 4-0 win, their third shutout in a row.  Travis Price struck out 13 Black Sox in 5 innings allowing only 2 hits to Dale Lopes and Cesar Rodriguez.  

Loser's Bracket Sunday Survivors: (start play at 8:30am Sunday)

  1. San Diego (5-2 win over Rounders)
  2. Panteras  (win over Amigos)
  3. Edge (win over Kupia Kumi)
  4. Santana (win over Rebels)

Earlier Action Sunday:

8:30 a.m. Loser's Bracket Games 27 & 28: Panteras

San Diego, a Saturday night winner over the Rounders faced the host Panteras, which advanced with a win over arch-rival Amigos.  The Panteras jumped on San Diego for 4 early runs, and rolled to a 7-3 win.  Dan Zupp came on in relief for San Diego, but the damage was done, and San Diego eliminated.

In the other early morning game, Santana was eliminated by the Edge.

10:15 a.m. games

The second games of Sunday morning matched the Panteras ands Edge, coming off wins, against the "drop-down" teams, which had lost their final game Saturday night, the Black Sox (falling to Team Rainey) and Grillos, which fell to the Bombers.

It was the winner's bracket "drop-down" teams winning both, as the Black Sox and Grillos advanced to the loser's bracket semi-final.  Against the host Panteras, the Long Beach Black Sox got back to their winning ways with a close 4-3 win in their 5th game of the tournament.   The Sox once again jumped out to an early lead, scoring 3 in the 1st on a single by John Ashpaugh and run scoring triple by Fred Hanker.   Todd Budke followed with a 2 run home run. The Sox scored the game winning run in the 5th on a double by Budke and RBI single by Dale Lopes.  Black Sox pitcher Randy Clay went the distance allowing 8 hits and 3 runs with 5 strikeouts.   Budke was 2-3 with 2 runs and 2 RBI, while Hanker was 1-3 with an RBI and run scored. 

*The Cinderella run of the Long Beach Black Sox, which started with the very first game of the tournament on Friday night, finally ended in the loser's bracket semi-final, as Grillos run ruled the Sox.

Loser's Bracket Final:

After Team Rainey captured the winner's bracket final against the Bombers 2-0, it was Grillos being run ruled by the So Cal Bombers, who earned a trip back to the finals.  (See above story on Championship game)

In the earlier winner's bracket final, Team Rainey scored 3 runs in the first two innings, off the Bomber's Travis Kraft, before Lonnie Brooks came on to shut Rainey out the rest of the way. The damage was done, however, as Rainey's Tony Peeples shut out the Bombers, giving them their first loss of the tournament.  The Bombers then eliminated third place Grillos of Mexicali, for another shot at Team Rainey in the Finals.

Newcomer Long Beach Black Sox were the top finishing "C" team, finishing fourth, losing only to champion Team Rainey and 3rd place Grillos.  For more details on the Long Beach Black Sox games, visit Fred Hanker's Long Beach Black Sox Site News The host Panteras and Edge (largely made up of last year's Kanakas) tied for fifth in the 18 team tournament, which marks one of the few times all classifications get to compete against each other.


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