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Eastern Nationals Debuts in Loudoun County with Record 83 Teams
Aug. 1, 2019
LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA - The 2019 Eastern National Championships was held here, July 30 – Aug. 4, for the first time in its 19-year tournament history.
A record 83 teams representing 16 states competed on the field, looking to take the first step towards the elusive Triple Grand Slam.
Division winners (as well as singleton teams) from the Eastern and Western National Championships receive a berth into the U.S. National Championship Game, which is played during seeding play at the LVSSA/SSUSA World Masters Championships next month.
Teams that win the U.S. National Game, as well as their division in the World Masters, complete the Triple Grand Slam.
Action Shots from the 2019 Eastern National Championships by Jack Eberhard
CLICK HERE to view a photo gallery from the Eastern National Championships
The tournament began on July 30 at Potomack Lake Sportsplex in Sterling, VA, with 14 teams in action in the Men’s 65 through 85 age divisions.
Starting with the three-team Men’s 65/70 Major Plus Division, top seed Venom 70 (FL) took the championship with wins in bracket play over Carolina Cobras 65 (NC) and New Jersey Hitmen 65, by scores of 18-3 and 20-16, respectively.
Venom 70 (FL) - Men's 65/70 Major Plus Champions
Venom will represent the East in the U.S. National Game in the Men’s 70 Major Plus Division. The team also will be in search of its third straight Triple Grand Slam title.
As the highest finishing Men’s 65 Major Plus team, NJ Hitmen will represent the East in their respective division in the U.S. National Game.
In another three-team division, the Men’s 65 Major Division, Pill & Pill (WV) avenged its 23-14 loss against Northern Virginia Force in the championship game, with a 21-8 victory in the “if” game to take home the championship. High Street Bucs (MD) finished in third place.
Pill & Pill (WV) - Men's 65 Major Champions
In the four-team men’s 65/70 Gold Division, top seed Bradford White/Jersey Masters 70 (NJ) completed an undefeated week, going 3-0 in seeding play, before running off another three straight victories in bracket play, including a 16-12 win over Syracuse Cyclones 70 (NY) in the championship game.
Northern Virginia Force 70 finished in third place.
With their win, Bradford White/Jersey Masters will represent the East in the U.S. National Game in the Men’s 70 Major Division.
As singleton teams, Syracuse Cyclones (Men’s 70 AAA) and Rochester Brewers (NY) (Men’s 65 AAA) will represent the East in their respective division in the U.S. National Game.
The Men’s 75 AAA Division featured a head-to-head match-up between Baileys Cavaliers (VA) and Syracuse Cyclones.
The best of three series would go the distance, as the teams split the first two games. Baileys Cavaliers took the opener, 12-6; while Syracuse Cyclones evened play with a 6-3 win in game two.
In the rubber-match, Baileys Cavaliers squeaked through a nail-biter, 5-4, to take the championship.
Baileys Cavaliers (VA) - Men's 75 AAA Champions
In the Men’s 80/85 Gold Division, Florida Investment Properties 80 and Center For Sight 85 (FL) mutually agreed to a single game championship, instead of a best two-out-of-three game series.
In the winner-take-all game, Florida Investment Properties defeated Center For Sight, 21-9.
Florida Investment Properties 80 - Men's 80/85 Gold Champions
Each team will represent the East in their respective division, Men’s 80 Major Plus and Men’s 85 Major, in the U.S. National Game.
The tournament continued on Friday with the Men’s 40 through 60 age divisions taking the field. Along with Potomack Lakes Sportsplex, Philip A. Bolen Memorial Park (Leesburg, VA) and Brambleton Regional Park (Ashburn, VA) were also in use, as 63 teams were in action.
Beginning with the 10-team Men’s 40 Platinum Division, LB/Spirits West/SMC (MD) made it through the weekend unscathed, going 2-0 in seeding play to lock up the top seed, before rattling off four straight wins in bracket play, including a 26-14 win over Giant Steel/True Point Survey (NY) in the championship game.
LB/Spirits West/SMC (MD) - Men's 40 Platinum Champions
With their win, LB/Spirits West/SMC will represent the East in the Men’s 40 Major Division in the U.S. National Game.
Suncoast Adidas (FL) won four straight elimination games en route to their third place. The team will represent the East in the Men’s 40 Major Plus Division in the U.S. National Game.
In the four-team Men’s 40 AAA Division, Gigantes O.C. (MD) avenged its 27-13 loss against top seed, Mission: Possible (PA), in the championship game; with a 30-20 win in the “if” game.
Gigantes O.C. (MD) - Men's 40 AAA Champions
Y’All Next (MD) finished in third place.
In another four-team division, the Men’s 50/55 Major Plus Division, top seed Suncoast Adidas 50 (FL) came back to win the “if” game, 44-29, over Kelleher Firm/Team USA (MD), after falling in the championship game, 33-28.
Suncoast Adidas 50 (FL) - Men's 50/55 Major Plus Champions
With their win, Suncoast Adidas will represent the East in the Men’s 50 Major Plus Division in the U.S. National Game.
Mark Thomas Law & BPA (PA) finished in third place.
RBC Wealth Management 55 (FL) will represent the East in the Men’s 55 Major Plus Division in the U.S. National Game.
In the 10-team Men’s 50 Major Division, Team Dudley/East Coast/Noble’s Painting (MD) forced an eventual “if” game, running the gauntlet on Championship Sunday with four straight wins, including an 18-8 triumph over CPD/Ancell (MN) in the championship game.
In the end, Team Dudley/East Coast/Noble’s Painting ran out of gas, as CPD/Ancell avenged its loss in the championship game, which was also the teams only loss on the weekend, with a 15-13 victory in the “if” game.
For CPD/Ancell, this will be the team’s second straight appearance in the U.S. National Game; however, this year the team will be representing the East, as CPD/Ancell was the West representative in 2018 following its win in the Western National Championships in Sacramento.
Top seed Johnny’s Auto & Truck/JJM Properties (CT) finished in third place.
In the eight-team Men’s 50 AAA Division, High Street Bucs (MD) posted a perfect 4-0 record in bracket play, including a thrilling 12-11 win over Carolina Legends (NC) in the championship game.
High Street Bucs (MD) - Men's 50 AAA Champions
Trailing 11-7 heading into the bottom of the open, High Street Bucs rallied with five runs to complete the walk-off victory. High Street Bucs began the game on a cold streak, going scoreless through the first four innings, as Carolina Legends would lead 8-0 through the first five and half innings. High Street Bucs eventually got on the board with a three-run bottom of the fifth inning, as the team chipped away at its deficit before eventually completing the comeback.
After dropping their first two bracket games, Daytona Beach Boyz (FL) went on a mini-run through the elimination side of the bracket with three straight wins, en route to their eventual third place finish.
Daytona Beach Boyz nearly had a fourth straight win, as the team plated 11 runs in the top of the open to build a slim 25-23 lead in the third-place game. The team would be unable to sustain its lead, as Carolina Legends scored all three runs it needed to escape with its 26-25 win and advancing to the championship game.
In the another eight-team division, the Men’s 55 Major Division, top seed Ameriprise FL Legends suffered its lone loss of the weekend in the championship game, 19-17, against Carolina A’s (NC). Ameriprise FL Legends would rebound quickly, winning the “if” game, 12-9.
Ameriprise FL Legends - Men's 55 Major Champions
For Ameriprise FL Legends, this will be the team’s second straight appearance in the U.S. National Championship Game, this time in the Men’s 55 Major Division. The team appeared in the Men’s 55 AAA Division last year, winning the U.S. Game. The team fell just short of completing the Triple Grand Slam, as Ameriprise FL Legends finished second in the World Masters.
Carolina A’s began the tournament on the wrong foot going 0-2 in seeding play; however, the team would get back on track in bracket play, posting an overall record of 4-2, en route to its runner-up finish. Both of Carolina A’s losses would come against Ameriprise FL Legends.
After dropping their opening game of the bracket, 31-19, against High Street Bucs (MD), The Nationals (VA) ran off four straight wins in the elimination side of the bracket en route to their eventual third place finish.
In the 11-team Men’s 55/60 Gold Division, Cardot/Madalena Construction 60 (NY) went 5-0 in bracket play, including a 27-11 win over top seed Omega IT Services, LCC 60 (MD) in the championship game.
Cardot/Madalena Construction 60 (NY) - Men's 55/60 Gold Champions
Cardot/Madalena Construction will represent the Men’s 60 Major Division in the U.S. National Game.
Omega IT Services was upset by Promotion 60 (NJ), 25-19, early in the bracket, before winning three straight elimination games on Sunday to reach the championship game.
As the lone Men’s 60 Major Plus team, Omega IT Services will be the East representative in the U.S. National Game.
Promotion finished in third place.
The lone Men’s 55 AAA team, OId Stars (IN) will be the East representative in the U.S. National Game.
All-American Restoration 60 (MN) made a valiant run through the elimination side of the bracket with three wins en route to their fourth-place finish.
In the five-team Men’s 60 AAA Division, Old Stars (IN) went 3-0 in bracket play, including a 17-16 walk-off win over Northeast JackHammers 2 (NY) in the championship game.
Trailing 16-11 heading into the open inning, Northeast JackHammers 2 scored five runs in the top of the open to tie the game at 16 all. Needing just one run to end the game, Old Stars did just that to complete the walk-off win.
For Old Stars, this was the team’s second walk-off win over Northeast JackHammers 2 during bracket play. In the opening bracket game for both teams, Old Stars trailed Northeast JackHammers, 21-8, heading into the bottom of the open.
Old Stars put forth a furious rally, plating 14 runs to complete an improbable comeback win, 22-21.
Dropping down into the elimination side of the bracket, Northeast JackHammers 2 rebounded with three straight wins, before falling short in the championship game.
The three-team Men’s 55/60 AA Division may have had one of the most thrilling championship and “if” games of any tournament.
In the championship game, top seed The Starboard/OTS 60 (DE) edged out Syracuse Cyclones 60 (NY), 14-13, to force the “if” game. Syracuse Cyclones tied the game at 13 apiece in the top of the open, while The Starboard/OTS scored in the bottom of the open to end the game.
The Starboard/OTS fell to Syracuse Cyclones, 17-7, in their opening bracket game.
In the “if” game, the rubber match between both teams, The Starboard/OTS and Syracuse Cyclones battled back-and-forth in another one-run thriller, which went nine innings.
Leading 13-9 heading into the top of the open, The Starboard/OTS added four runs to double its advantage to 17-9.
In their half of the open, Syracuse Cyclones answered back with an eight-run rally to tie the game at 17 all, forcing extra innings.
In the extra frame, both teams would exchange a run, as the game headed into the ninth tied at 18.
The top of the ninth saw The Starboard/OTS score six runs to take a commanding 24-18 lead.
However, the lead would not be enough as Syracuse Cyclones would not be denied the championship. Needing seven to win it, Syracuse Cyclones did just that to complete the walk-off win in extra innings, 25-24.
Syracuse Cyclones 60 (NY) - Men's 55/60 AA Champions
The Syracuse Cyclones will represent the East in the Men's 60 AA Division, while Longshoremen 55 (VA) will represent the East in the Men's 55 AA Division.
The Women’s 40 and 50 Divisions were played over two days at Brambleton, with six teams split into three best two-out-of-three game series.
In the Women’s 40 Major Division, Kryptonite (FL) swept Magic Stuff (MA) by scores of 8-5 and 16-3, respectively.
In the Women’s 40 AAA Division, Firestyx (NJ) swept Fireballs (MA) by scores of 21-14 and 18-6, respectively.
In the Women’s 50 Major Division, Unfazed (VA) swept Half Century Swingers (MA) by scores of 19-1 and 17-9, respectively.