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Capital City Cardinals Win Sacramento Father/Son 'Father's Day' Tourney


By Tournament Director Jeff Gardenhire and Alan VanNess, President, SMSBL

(Photo credits Jane Burkitt)  This was the seventh annual Father/Son tournament hosted by the Sacramento Men’s Senior Baseball League and the third held on Father’s day weekend.

In 2015 the tournament was named after Val Lewis, Father/Son format originator, to show our appreciation for his vision.  There were four teams this year that also play in Arizona at the MSBL World Series.  We had eight teams this year, adding two newcomers. We were also glad to have two teams from our neighboring bay area Tri-Valley MSBL.  

Jeff was quoted as saying, "If there is a baseball heaven, then this is what I envision it looking like. Fathers and sons and daughters playing baseball on Father’s Day weekend.”

Alan VanNess, President of SMSBL, added, "Last year we decided as a board to partner with a charity to add a benevolent feel to it.  In our first attempt last year we raised $5,000 for the Wounded Warrior project!  This year we partnered with Make A Wish. Our players stepped up again with $2,500 in donations. We spent hours finding raffle prizes from local businesses. My wife Tina and our daughters hosted the booth on Saturdays collecting donations and selling raffle tickets. Tina is passionate about her role and is a bull dog!  We would also be lost without the tireless help from Jane Burkitt, our official Sacramento photographer.  I would like to briefly share a story of one of our own SMSBL families who brings home the message of how fragile life can be.

Ryan Salmeri had Auto Immune Disease and his younger brother Shane donated half his liver. The operation was performed at UC San Francisco in 2011. Their father Rick would like to please make it known there is a shortage of organs being donated and please use this success story to make an awareness of the shortage.  Rick plays in our new SMSBL 60+ Golden League on the Yankees.  You can find out how you may be able to donate to the Make A Wish foundation at www.smsbl.com.

By the way, there was actually a tournament played!  The Capital City Cardinals defeated the Giants 17-11 in the finals to win the tourney. Cards manager Derek Bulock was kind enough to comment on the tournament.

"Thanks to the great idea from Val Lewis, the founder of the tournament for not only Sacramento but the National tournament held in Phoenix each year.  I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Sacramento MSBL and MSBL National for providing the great opportunity for all of us old ballplayers to play the game we love with the people we love. I have been playing Father /Son Baseball now for 13 years and it is by far the best baseball I have ever played in my life.

"As the years go by and I continue to recruit players, it is the easiest sell in the world. I simply tell people that you have never been in a better dugout. You are no longer teaching your kids how to play. You go to battle with them. It’s quite unique and I feel lucky to get to experience this with all my friends and family.”

Derek continued, "It was a pleasure to play the Giants. It was a see-saw battle with about six lead changes along the way with us finally coming out on top. It was nice to have an all Sacramento finish to the tournament.”

The Tournament MVP went to Trey Furrey, a 17 year old who plays for Andrew and Derek Bulock at Folsom High School.  He comes from a family of athletes and is now becoming a bit of a prospect himself. His uncle played in the NFL and his father Matt was a baseball player at Ohio State. His attitude and all-around makeup as a player is excellent.  Trey ended up going 11 for 17 with five extra base hits and nine RBIs.  "This was a perfect weekend,” emphasized Bulock

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