On Saturday, May 31, 2014, Fire Station 92 hosted the finals of the 2014 Spring Doubles Handball Tournament. New Commissioner Chris Yokoyama did a great job of organizing the first tournament of his term. The tournament was a tribute to the LAFD tradition, with the shirt and shorts a copy of tournament gear from the 1970’s. Captain Craig Nielsen prepared a lunch of smoked pulled pork sandwiches, with coleslaw, baked beans and fruit for all who attended.
The day started with the “D” Division, which went to a third game tie-breaker. The home court advantage gave Branden Ibrahim and James Sharlein, both from Fire Station 92, just enough of an edge over Freddie Larios and Bryan Newon from Fire Station 64 to pull out the win.
The next match featured a battle of the “B’s.” Veterans Tony Arnado (FS-50) and Tony Cardona (FS-12) defeated John Garnica and Marcus Meza (FS-66). Arnado and Cardona opened up large leads before Garnica and Meza staged comebacks in both games. Ultimately, Arnado and Cardona made the big shots at the most critical moments of each game, winning in two straight.
The Masters Division match featured Alex Garcia (FS-66) and Sergio Guzman (FS-73) against Mario Rueda (Chief Deputy) and Daryl Arbuthnott (BES). Proving that there is no rank on the court, Garcia and Guzman put on a display of strong serves and kill shots defeating the “Gold Badges” in two straight.
2013 “A” Division Department Champions Ryan Carlos (FS-92) and Joe Steiner (FS-95) repeated as the top LAFD doubles team. Gary Maga (FS-69) and Kevin Egizi (FS-80) nearly unseated the champs by taking them to a third game tie-breaker, which came down to Carlos and Steiner retrieving more amazing digs and making more kill shots down the stretch than the veteran team of Maga and Egizi.
The final game of the day featured the “C” Division, which was the most uneven match of the day. “Sandbaggers” Chris Sebourn (FS-20) and Victor Davila (FS-29) dominated Ryon Jones and Mark Hatcher, both from Fire Station 65, in two very uneven games.
Winners received backpacks with the LAFD handball logo embroidered on the front. Fire Station 66 had several players in the finals of this tournament, and they are carrying their momentum into a challenge of Fire Station 92 for “Top Handball House.” The games are scheduled for June. Can the players from the “battalion that never sleeps” dethrone Fire Station 92 after over two years on top? Stay tuned for the results.
by the Assistant Commissioner