Council Bluffs, IA - While the 2023 NCAA Men’s College World Series championship series was being decided just 10 minutes away, there was another title game brewing on Sunday afternoon at Council Bluffs Recreation Complex for Triple Crown’s Omaha SlumpBuster.
The Las Vegas Misfits FT Select 13u overcame adversity, as memories were made and some rekindled, defeating UBA Gladiators Platinum 7-5 for the 13uD1 championship.
Daren Guzman got things going early for the Misfits, with a lead off double to start the bottom half of the first. Gabe McDowell delivered shortly after to drive in Guzman & a 1-0 lead. The Gladiators, based in Omaha, immediately responded, capitalizing on a wild pitch in the top of the second, tying the game, 1-1.
The Misfits tacked on two more runs to extend their lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third, capitalizing on a throwing error off a McDowell single, that brought home Logan Pena. Gavln delivered an RBI single the following at-bat.
Guzman, the eventual winning pitcher, came on to pitch four innings in relief after Vegas’ starter departed after two innings. The righty thoughT he has escaped the UBA threat in the fifth inning, but a catcher’s interference call kept the inning alive for Hank Vosik. Vosik’s ground ball scored Cal Brown & Jaden Lamontia to even the game at 3-3.
LV Misfits shook off the tribulations of the previous inning, guided by a clutch pinch hit RBI double off the bat of Derek Wenzel, who just one batter later, came around to score thanks to an RBI single off the bat of Galvin, putting Vegas back ahead 5-3 after five.
Bryson Lee added insurance in the sixth, driving across two more, after the Henderson, NV based team took advantage of an error at second base, making it 7-3.
UBA would not go quietly, mounting a formidable rally in the top of the seventh inning, narrowing the lead to 7-5. With the tying runs in scoring position, Pena earned the save despite the best efforts the Gladiators, securing Vegas the 2023 13uD1 SlumpBuster Championship.
Memories Made, Memories Rekindled
Triple Crown tournaments are designed for teams to combine a quality tournament experience with a family vacation, devoted to creating memorable experiences.
Sunday was yet another reminder of that, fans filled the stands for cheer on the 13uD1 SlumpBuster championship game. One of those was the grandfather of LV Misfits centerfielder Jack Berbenich. Tim Berbenich, the self proclaimed “George Steinbrenner” and super fan of the Misfits, returned to Omaha for the first time in 44 years to see his grandson play.
“I have never seen something like this before,” said Berbenich, who hails from Long Island, NY. “I went to school at Creighton forever ago and never would have imagined seeing what this has become,” he said of the SlumpBuster and atmosphere in the Omaha area.
“I will be back every year now!”
2024 Omaha Slumpbuster Information
The 2024 Omaha SlumpBuster dates are set for three sessions, beginning June 13 and running through June 24. You can view those details here. A new addition for 2024 will feature the option for 14u teams to play in Pathway Omaha set for June 13-17. The all-inclusive experience allows players and coaches stay in suites on campus at Iowa Western Community College, while working with IWCC staff and competing in a 5-Game Guarantee tournament. View those details here.