The South Bay Tides 12U Major (pictured above) from Redondo Beach, California, won its first USSSA tournament of the year this past weekend at the Spring Championships Super NIT by defeating the Slammers Black 17-3 and capping a 5-1 overall run. Manager Scott Stelzer’s club improved its record to 12-9-2 spanning the fall and winter seasons and outscored opponents by a combined 66 to 16 margin.
The Super NIT attracted 279 total teams from across 19 age divisions and skill classifications. The 12-Major field featured 16 squads from four states; Colorado, California, Arizona and Nevada. While the far majority of the teams were Major classified, there were five that carried either AA or AAA designations into Metro Phoenix this past weekend.
The teams were broken into four pools of four teams to compete in a three game first round. The South Bay Tides were placed in Pool B along with the Slammers Black, Scottsdale Heat-Red and SGV Saints. The Tides quickly announced to the rest of the field that they were a legitimate title contender with an 18-4 blowout of the Heat. Owen Stelzer (3 IP), Anthony Macias (1 IP) and Nicholas Gonzalez (1 IP) all made mound appearances in the one-sided game. The Tides were quickly brought back down to earth after a second game defeat at the hands of the Slammers Black from Englewood, Colorado. The Slammers won 4-2 and forced a virtual must-win situation in the third pool game for the Tides.
The boys from Redondo Beach came through and defeated a fellow California-based team, the SGV Saints from South Pasadena, 10-3. Slater Nunez and Jesus Chavarria each threw three outstanding innings to give the Tides the second seed within their pool.
The seeding worked out so the Tides cracked the eight-team single elimination bracket field. They had a stiff opening challenge taking on the Desert Bandits who won Pool C with a 2-0-1 record. Stelzer’s team didn’t blink as they shutout the better-seeded Bandits 8-0 behind four excellent innings from pitcher Khaleb Romero.
In the semifinals against Wilson Sandlot (winners of Pool D) who was fresh off a 10-2 trouncing of the SoCal Toros in the quarterfinals, the South Bay Tides threw yet another shutout. In a nearly identical result to the quarterfinals, the Tides won 9-0 and rode the arms of Slater Nunez (5 IP) and Owen Stelzer (1 IP) into the title game.
The sixth game in three days presented a chance for payback for the Tides. They avenged their only loss in this Super NIT in a big way – plating 17 runs and winning in mercy-rule fashion. This was the Tides’ first USSSA tournament win in six appearances, previously finishing second at the Labor Day Kick off Classic Qualifier.
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