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Emperors Repeat as Champions Edging Gun Hill 2-1 in Finals

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The Bronx Emperors Repeated as Memorial Day Champions.



Teams Making Playoff Round
Team
Won
Lost
Tie
Gold
5
1
Emperors
5
1

Angels

4
2
Brooklyn Knights
4
2
Gun Hill
3
3
1
Clean Machine
3
3
1
San Diego Knights
3
3
Sun Devils
3
3




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Wayne Lippold was named the tournament's MVP capping off the final game with a head first slide into home for the winning run.


Special Note
Of interest to all Stickball Fans, the Memorial Day tournament was backed by a new sponsor Boost Mobile Communications. Boost is targeting the urban youth market and sees stickball as a true urban resource.
In an exciting end to a great playoff, the Emperors defeated Gun Hill 2-1 to repeat as winners of the Memorial Day Tournament. The victory was capped by off by Wayne Lippold's headfirst slide into home giving the Emperors a narrow lead which they refused to relinquish. The slide, made on a wet asphalt field and captured on film by Bronx’s own TV station News 12, is sure to become a classic moment in the history of the game (go to video).

Weather always seems to be a big factor in the Memorial Day tournaments, but this year took a different track. For the first time in four years, the opening day wasn't’t marred by overcast skies and the threat of rain. Big blue skies and warm temperatures made for perfect conditions on both Saturday and Sunday. However, staying true to form, clouds arrived just in time for Monday’s playoff round and the a steady drizzle presented finalists teams with an additional obstacle to contend with in completing their games.

Thirteen teams came for this year’s competition including three from Florida, one from San Diego and nine from NY. There was a lot of talent out on the fields and teams were relatively even matched. The competition was tough throughout the tournament. After two days, eight teams advanced to the finals, ranked by wins/losses and runs scored.

Playoff Competition

The first round of playoff competition was marred by sloppy play on the field. The Brooklyn Knights unraveled, committing one error after another to give up a 5 run lead allowing Gun Hill to advance. In the second round, Gun Hill came back from a three run deficit to tie the Gold in the 6th inning and then pulled ahead in the seventh to win 4-3. This victory brought Gun Hill into the final round.

Meanwhile the Emperors advanced by capitalizing on their opportunities, and playing great defense. In the first round, the San Diego Knights opened the game by loading the bases with no one out, but were only able to drive in one run. The Emperors answered with two runs on only three hits in the bottom half of the first inning, which was all they would need, though they got one more run as insurance to take a 3-1 victory. The Emperors then went on to defeat the Angels in the semi-finals by the same score, 3-1, to advance to the final round.

By the final game, the rain had become a significant factor. The steady drizzle had created a wet and slippery field, making running and defense much trickier. Gun Hill jumped off to a 1-0 lead, but in the 6th inning the Emperors mounted a rally. Wayne Lippold drove in the tying run and then made his now famous head first slide on the slick asphalt for allowing the Emperors to take a 2-1 lead. Although Gun Hill put two runners on base in the last inning, Emperors shortstop Eddie Rodriguez made a tough defensive play, stopping a line drive from becoming a ground rule double and instead turning it into a force out at 3rd base.

Congratulations to the Bronx Emperors for repeating as Memorial Day Champs and to all the players and fans who participated in the tournament.


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