Hartford Prress Box By Jerrod Birmele
Hartford All-Star Baseball Tournament of Champions deemed successful!
It took a weekend and a plethora of staff and volunteers to make it happen, but the 2019 Hartford All-Star Baseball Tournament of Champions is in the books! And while the field of teams was much lower than in years past, the organization gave it their best effort to see that it was memorable for everyone who attended. Warm temperatures and summer sunshine warmed up the park throughout the tournament, and in turn, it heated up the players, as well!
In the Instructional Division, Paw Paw took home the championship, courtesy of an undefeated run through the tournament. They defeated South Haven in first round action, before matching up with Hartford in the winner’s bracket to determine who would make the championship series. They defeated the host team, and had to wait two days to find out their finals opponent. In the end, the team defeated Allegan to capture the division title.
HARTFORD 12U… All-Star Baseball team played in the 2019 Eaton Park All-Star tournament the end of June and came home with the championship trophy. It was a great tournament and they went undefeated, winning the championship game in extra innings. Pictured are (from the left): Front row – Terrance Payne, Brody Johnson, Lennon Ellis; Back row – Brian Sewell, Jaylin Bachman, Bryce Vujecht, Braeden Birkhead, Luis Rodriguez, Lincoln Birkhead, Robert Sewell, and Luke Williamson. They are coached by Andy Bachman, John Johnson, and Dustin Ellis.
Hartford was eliminated from the tournament in third place. They won their first tournament game over Allegan, before suffering defeat at the hands of Paw Paw. They fell to the loser’s bracket, where they played South Haven once again, and went on to victory. However, their tournament run, and season, was ended one game later by tournament runner-up, Allegan.
Paw Paw’s Max Macias was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, while Allegan received the Best Sportsmanship Award.
In the Minor Division, the competition was fierce, but in the end, Paw Paw was the team that took the championship home in thrilling fashion, winning two games on the final night to capture the title. They began the tournament with a victory over Hartford, and followed it up one day later with a victory over Eau Claire. The team would suffer defeat at the hands of Decatur, dropping them to the loser’s bracket where they faced off with Hartford one more time. They were victorious, setting themselves up for a rematch with Decatur in the championship series. They captured both games in high-scoring fashion to walk away with the championship trophies.
Hartford was eliminated from the tournament in third place. As mentioned, they suffered two defeats at the hands of Paw Paw to bow out with a 3-2 record for the tournament. But in the process, the team defeated Watervliet, South Haven and Eau Claire, making their tournament run successful.
Decatur’s Payton Wiggins was given the Most Valuable Player award in a losing effort, while the team from South Haven was awarded the Best Sportsmanship.
In the Pony Division, no one could match up with the team from Three Oaks, as they outscored their opponents over three games, 44-0, on their way to a tournament championship.
Because of a limited number of teams, round robin play commenced on Saturday, with bracket play being hosted the next morning to determine the champion. Three Oaks defeated Allegan, 15-0 and Hartford, 15-0 in round robin play, giving them the automatic #1 seed for bracket play. In the finals, they matched up with Allegan, and won that game, 14-0, to clinch the championship series.
Hartford was eliminated in third place, having gone 0-3 in the tournament. They suffered defeats to Allegan and Three Oaks in round robin play, and lost a hard-fought, 7-1 affair to Allegan to bow out of the tournament one game short of the championship game. The team played hard, but just could not get over the hump.