So Cal Teams Celebrate Martin Luther King’s Legacy at TBL MLK Classic
By Casey Ryans
Travel baseball teams in Southern California celebrated and honored the great work and efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. by playing to the best of their abilities in The Baseball Legends MLK Classic.
The Baseball Legends organization welcomed over 60 teams Jan. 17-19 competing in 5U, 6U, 7U, 8U, 9U, and 11U age divisions. Pool play began early morning on Saturday, Jan. 17th and finished late evening on Sunday, January 18th. Bracket play for each age division began on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 19th).
Thirteen teams in the 8U division went head-to-head to become the tournament champion. SGV Hustle of West Covina was the only team to finish pool play undefeated (4-0), while MVP of Norwalk and Easton Elite of Whittier both finished with only one loss. During bracket play on Monday, SGV Hustle and MVP both made their way through different sides of the bracket to face each other in the finals. SGV Hustle beat MVP, 8-6, and earned their seventh championship title.
Three undefeated teams led the 9U division through pool play. MVP of Norwalk, SGV Hustle of West Covina and Chino Hills Thunder started bracket play with a 4-0 record. Chino Hills Thunder beat SGV Hustle (9-1) in the semi-finals to have their chance at winning the championship title. MVP continued their undefeated season by beating the Chino Hills Thunder (10-2) in the championship game.
The 11U division was loaded with tough competition. MVP Casillas of Norwalk and Team Victory USA of Thousand Oaks finished pool play with an undefeated record, while the So Cal Knights of Anaheim and MVP Rodriguez of Whittier both finished with one loss each. Both undefeated teams got a bye during bracket play. The So Cal Knights were knocked out of the first round, and MVP Casillas slid past MVP Rodriguez in the semifinals. During a hard fought final game, Team Victory USA was named champions for the second tournament in a row after defeating MVP Casillas, 5-3.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s courage and countless efforts to better America will forever be remembered. The Baseball Legends organization celebrated MLK by encouraging players to strive towards success on and off the field.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving,” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
2015 The Baseball Legends MLK Classic Champions
5U – SGV Hustle Black
6U – Chino Hills Thunder
7U – LA Cachorros
8U – SGV Hustle
9U – MVP
11U – Team Victory USA