Falling into the losers bracket with an early Sunday morning loss put the Hobbs Madd Doggs in a bind in Men’s Class E play in the 20th annual Plateau Wireless Custom Classic at Guy Leeder Complex.
No matter. The Madd Doggs rallied for five consecutive wins to take the title, including 17-14 and 12-5 verdicts in the finals over the Clovis Rebels, who had put them into the losers bracket.
The 130-team, double-elimination, five-division tournament was delayed by rain for a couple of hours late Saturday night, but finished pretty close to on schedule despite having three divisions decided in an “if necessary” game.
Both the Rebels and Madd Doggs were hurt by a rule in the Class E tournament, which turns any over-the-fence home run into an automatic out for that player for the rest of the game.
But while the Madd Doggs’ Steven Davis was penalized when he hit one out with two on and two out in the top of the seventh in the first championship game, pitcher Rob Wyatt was able to get the Rebels out in order in the bottom half to preserve his team’s three-run margin.
In the second game, the Rebels’ Greg Stimack launched one over the left field fence with two on in the bottom of the first, ending that inning and making him an automatic out the rest of the way.
“That helped us out,” said Madd Doggs player-coach Ernie Trevino. “We look at making sure that (automatic) out is well-used (as the game progresses).”
The Madd Doggs broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth for an 11-1 lead. Leadoff man Daniel Torres went 3 for 4, including a two-run double, and scored each time he reached base as well.
Torres, who earned tournament MVP honors, was 4 for 5 in the first game with a two-run single and three runs scored. Wyatt drove in four runs in the contest with a double and three singles.
The Madd Doggs scored two runs in each of the first four innings of the first game, then broke it open with seven runs in the fifth after the Rebels had pulled into an 8-8 tie with a five-run fourth. Rebels third baseman Jeremy King went 3 for 4 and drove in five runs in a losing cause.
“That game gave us a little momentum,” said Trevino, adding that he has played with and against members of the Rebels squads in other tournaments. “After that, we decided to just go out there and have a good time.”
He said the big early lead was key in nailing down the first Custom Classic championship for a Hobbs team.
“That’s the name of the game — jump on them the best you can, and hope they don’t do the same to you,” Trevino said.
The field was the largest in the history of the event. Bobby Moore, one of several tournament directors working under co-founder Roger Jackson, said it’s a team effort to pull it off.
“We work together and do the things that need to be done,” said Moore, who now lives in Missouri but at one time was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base and makes it an annual ritual to work the tournament.
“We want to make the coaches and teams feel they’re welcome here in Clovis,” Moore said. “Roger has implemented a program where he takes feedback from the teams, and the tournament has continued to grow.”
The only title for a Clovis team came in Women’s Recreation, where X-Treme outlasted Lubbock Action Sports 11-10 in the finals. Jessica Romero of X-Treme was named the tourney’s MVP.
Other champions include Albuquerque Silva’s in Men’s Competitive, Lubbock QDA Indians in Men’s Class D and Lubbock Team Texas Blast in Women’s Competitive.