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Pacific Parents Take 2nd Straight Softball Crown

Jun 06, 2022 02:25PM ● By Mb News Staff
A Pacific Elementary parent team claimed victory on Sunday at the 16th Annual Parents' Softball Classic tournament, after a day's worth of games and good-natured competition.

More than 120 parent players came out for the tournament, one of Manhattan Beach's annual family traditions. 

All five Manhattan Beach elementary schools fielded teams for the event: Grand View, Meadows, Robinson, Pennekamp, and Pacific (which supplied two teams). Manhattan Beach Middle School and Mira Costa High School also had teams, along with American Martyrs. One additional team, known as the Founders, is comprised of players whose kids are mostly grown, but who go way back to the earliest years of the tournament and continue to play. 

The event raised just over $22,000 for the MBX Foundation. A majority of the proceeds from the event are directed to the Mira Costa girls' softball team. 

New Blood, Repeat Champs

On the field, longtime veterans of the tournament championship faced bold challenges from newcomers. 

Pennekamp, whose school owns four tournament championships but has not won since 2012, showed up in force. As they did in August last year, the Pennekamp parents put together both a vigorous and flashy team and a sizable contingent of supporters, often cheering "PK all the way!"

Pennekamp got a scare early in a matchup with Grand View, when Gator parent Amy Kuolt drove a ball into the deep left-field corner and screamed around the bases, extending a certain triple into a photo-finish home run, narrowly beating a throw at the plate. Pennekamp recovered, though, winning 5-3, on the way to finishing 3-1 in pool play. 

Meanwhile, two teams fielded by Pacific, both nicknamed for "Top Gun" characters, Maverick and Iceman, were both seen as "upstarts" in the competition.

Maverick was one of two teams to go 4-0 in pool play, the other being MBMS, which played in a separate pool. Pacific's "Iceman" team then finished pool play 2-2, qualifying for the playoff round due to its low number of runs allowed, just 12 in 4 games. (In the interest of sportsmanship, the tournament stresses defense, with ties broken by fewest runs allowed. High-scoring offenses get no benefit.)


The playoff round pitted the two Pacific teams against one another, brother against brother. The teams were tied going into the bottom of the 6th, when Maverick scored to make it a 3-2 victory to advance to the final. 

The MBMS Waves, featuring several veterans of the juggernaut Meadows teams of 2015-19, which won five straight tournaments, drew Pennekamp in the playoff round. The MBMS team had made the final in August, and might have looked past the Dragons. Instead, Pennekamp pulled out a convincing 3-1 victory. 

The low-scoring final game between Pennekamp and Pacific (Maverick) featured sizable crowds of families on both sides of the field, with much chanting, clapping and even singing in support of each team.

Pennekamp broke through with a run in the top of the 2nd. The Dragons then displayed incredible defense in the bottom of the third, with a double play by third baseman Mike Garciaparra and an outstanding, jumping grab of a line drive to short to end a Pacific threat. 

That solid defense broke down in the fourth, however, with infield errors followed by a dropped fly ball to center field that resulted in two runs for Pacific. That was all the Panthers would need, but they added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. The final score was 3-1. 

It was Pacific's second straight tournament victory, and the school's third overall. As was often observed with the repeat-champion Meadows teams, many of the players powering Pacific's recent success have younger children, and could be around for a while to build a dynasty. 

A Day For Families, Food, and Music

By midday Sunday, the grandstands, snack stand and unused areas of the large Marine sports complex were filled with kids, family members and a few pups, all coming out to cheer, play and enjoy burgers, hot dogs and treats. Music played all day. 

The tournament was also graced by an a cappella performance of the National Anthem by Zeia Wilson, parent of one of the players for the Mira Costa girls' softball team. Wilson had let it be known that one day, she'd like to sing the anthem at SoFi stadium in Inglewood, the city where she grew up. 

"When Zeia sings at SoFi," said tournament director Dave Fratello, "you can all remember that you saw her here first."

Tournament History and Past Coverage


2006 - Pennekamp
2007 - Robinson
2008 - Robinson
2009 - Pennekamp
2010 - Pennekamp
2011 - Pacific
2012 - Pennekamp
2013 - MBMS
2014 - American Martyrs
2015 - Meadows
2016 - Meadows
2017 - Meadows
2018 - Meadows
2019 - Meadows
2021 - Pacific
2022 - Pacific

Total Tournament Titles: Meadows (5), Pennekamp (4), Pacific (3), Robinson (2), MBMS (1), Martyrs (1)

Past coverage in MB News:

"Pacific Parents Are New Champs at Softball Tourney," Aug. 2021

"Meadows Takes 5th Straight Softball Title," June 2019

"Meadows Parents Grab Fourth Straight Softball Trophy," June 2018

"Three-Peat for Meadows Parents in Softball Tourney," June 2017

"Meadows Parents Claim 2nd Straight Softball Title," June 2016

"Meadows Claims Championship in MBX Parents Softball Classic," June 2015 (see also this photo gallery)

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