A1 Bombers and J&B Painting merger creates super team with big goal

Written by Bob on April 13th, 2017

The J&B BOMBERS defeated the Northeast Naturals, 11-0, in the championship game of the 2017 Las Vegas Road Trip X, AA/AA-Major tournament at Sunset Park in las Vegas, Sunday, April 9. The team includes co-sponsors and managers Bob Berger and Jerry Zimmerman; players Eli Salazar, Cameron Schiller, Tyler Dudley, Freddy Carmona, Jorge Segura, Pat Burns, Tony Mancha, Blake Hunter, Tyler McGaughey, Mike Hoadley, Derrick Kennedy, Kris Walushka, Jesse Palacios, Mark Aranda, Gil Saenz, Devon McCullough and Bryan Erwin. Photo By BOB OTTO

LAS VEGAS – Both Jerry Zimmerman and Bob Berger look back with pride on the accomplishments of their respective ball clubs during the 2016 season.

Zimmerman’s A1 Bombers of Saskatoon, SK, CA finished fifth (4-2) in the ISC World Tournament, while Berger’s J&B Painting club of Agoura Hills, Calif. took 11th (2-2). And just a year prior, they finished third and fifth respectively.

Adding to those accolades, the Bombers also took second (5-2) in the 2016 ASA Men’s Major National Championship.

And during the regular season, both teams were ranked in the top-ten by the ISC.

Very good ball clubs? Certainly. Great? Close, but not quite.

While both were competitive, capable of and often beating the best in the game, neither had quite the firepower to grasp the brass rings – which in men’s fastpitch equate to winning the ISC world tournament and ASA major national championship.

So, if you come close but can’t quite win those titles, what can be done? Merge. Exactly what the two men decided to do.

By combining forces, they significantly raise the odds of winning those two coveted championships. And it appears they’ve created a ball club – the J&B Bombers – that must be considered one of the favorites to win it all.

Zimmerman and Berger left no doubt about their expectations.

“We’re going to win the world,” Berger said, “win everything. That’s our goal.”

In the merger, Zimmerman brings to the Bombers a stable of superstars from his 2016 squad – Kris Walushka, Devon McCullough, Derrick Kennedy, Freddy Carmona, Bryan Erwin, Gil Saenz, Tyler Dudley, Scott Nehaj, Mike Hoadley, Tyler McGaughey, and Marshall Kronk.

PATRICK BURNS hurled the J&B Bombers to a 6-4 win over Marchio Sausage Company in the Las Vegas Road Trip Tournament. Photo By BOB OTTO

Adding to this star-studded cast, Berger contributes Tony Mancha, Blake Hunter, Eli Salazar, Jesse Palacios, Patrick Burns, Cameron Schiller, and Mark Aranda.

Of that elite group, Saenz, Carmona, Dudley, Walushka and Nehaj were chosen ISC All-World in 2016. But that’s not all.

“Walushka, Hunter and McCullough are on the Canadian national team,” said Zimmerman of Ephrata, Pennsylvania.

And representing the USA National Team are Mancha, Schiller, Dudley and Saenz. that’s seven J&B Bombers who will play for one or the other national teams at the 2017 WBSC World Championship in July.

No doubt the J&B Bombers have the talent, but Zimmerman and Berger have set their new ball club on a challenging mission of eight elite tournaments in which to live up to their “win everything,” declaration.

Can they pull it off?

Well, at least for one weekend, the Bombers turned in an undefeated performance by going 4-0 in the Las Vegas Road Trip X tournament, April 7-9.

They started slow in their first two games, squeezing by Team Marquez of Mexico, 1-0, and then rallying to defeat Marchio Sausage Co. of St. Paul, Minn., 6-4, after trailing early.

From then on, they showed prowess at bat and in the circle by twice beating the Northeast Naturals 7-0 in the winners’ bracket final, and then rolling to a 11-0 victory in the championship of the AA/AA-Major Division.

“We started slow in the first game and got down 1-4 in the second, but the bats opened up after that,” Zimmerman said.

2017 J&B Bombers Tournament Schedule

  • Las Vegas Road Trip X, April 7-9
  • USA Softball Invitational, Ashland, Ohio, June 9-11
  • Bloomington Stix, Bloomington, Ill. (dates unknown)
  • Boys of Summer, Denmark, Wisc., July 7-9
  • Elkland Open Tournament, Elkland, Penn., July 21-23
  • ASA Major National Championship, South Bend, Ind., Aug. 3-6
  • ISC World Tournament, Grand Rapids, Mich., Aug. 11-20
  • **To follow the Bombers, visit: J&B Bombers

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