Casa Trejo Bombers honor late patriarch by taking second in NAFA Masters World Series

Written by Bob on October 17th, 2017

The Casa Trejo Bombers of Calimesa, Calif. finished second in the 2017 North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) World Series in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15. From bottom left, Sergio Marquez, Donovan Reyes, Marlon Campbell, Alberto Ramirez, Eddie Arnal, Albert Garcia and Joaquin Juarez. Top row from left, Leo Saldana, Juan Valencia, Ralph Roybal, Gabriel Marquez, Herlan Yeomans, Shawn Campa, Carlos Vasquez, Randy Clay and Ricardo Valenzuela. Courtesy Casa Trejo Bombers

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Casa Trejo restaurant is known throughout much of Southern California for serving fine Mexican food. Oh, and one other thing: it supports championship caliber men’s fastpitch softball.

Ralph Trejo, Sr., opened the restaurant over 20 years ago and soon after he began sponsoring men’s fastpitch teams. Success was immediate with some pretty lofty accomplishments over the years.

In 2007, the Casa Trejo So. Calif. Bombers finished second in the prestigious International Softball Congress (ISC) World Tournament in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Now 10 years later, the Bombers once again achieved an incredible accomplishment on the national stage by taking runner-up in the eight-team Silver Division of the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Masters World Series in Carson City, Nevada on Sept. 15.

SEASON DEVOTED TO PATRIARCH

Ralph Trejo, Sr. sponsored men’s fastpitch softball teams for over 40 years. Trejo passed away in 2016. His Casa Trejo Bombers ball club dedicated the 2017 season to his legacy and finished it superbly by taking second place in the North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Masters World Series in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15. Courtesy Photo

But Trejo, the patriarch of the team, died nearly a year ago. However, his passing motivated the Bombers to make this season special in honor of Trejo’s devotion to the sport and to his team.

“Ralph Sr. has sponsored our master’s (age 40-over) team for about ten years,” said manager Ralph Roybal. “We dedicated the season to Ralph. Bringing home some hardware meant everything to us.”

For many teams, once the sponsor is gone, the team folds. But not so with the Bombers. Trejo’s daughter, Ruth Trejo-Garcia, continues running the restaurant, and sponsoring the team. Just as her father would have wanted.

“It’s the love of the game that he had, and wanting to keep it going for him,” said Trejo-Garcia. “My dad would have been excited about the guys winning, but he would have expected it. He always expected the best from his guys.”

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

Casa Trejo Bombers manager Ralph Roybal presented Linda Trejo, left, and Ruth Trejo-Garcia with the second-place trophy the Bombers won at the 2017 North American Fastpitch Association (NAFA) Masters World Series in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15. Courtesy Photo By Casa Trejo Bombers

Trejo-Garcia said it was such a thrill when she came into the restaurant on a recent Saturday afternoon to find the players there with the trophy, presenting it to her and her mother Linda Trejo.

“The guys surprised us with a bouquet of flowers before giving us the trophy,” she said. “It was special having my mom there because she knows how important fastpitch was to my dad.”

Ruth Trejo-Garcia proudly displays the 2017 NAFA World Series second-place Masters Division trophy that the Bombers men’s fastpitch team won in Carson City, Nevada, Sept. 15. Trejo-Garcia sponsors the Bombers through her restaurant, Casa Trejo, located in Yucaipa, Calif. Courtesy photo By Casa Trejo Bombers

In finishing second, the Bombers lived up to their name by blasting opposing pitching for 46 runs in six games, while batting .388 as a team (second highest average in the World Series), along with a tournament high seven home runs.

The ball club, said Roybal, is a mix of local players, along with talented players from Arizona and Mexicali, Mexico.

The Bombers reached Sunday’s championship game by defeating Utah, 11-4, and the So. Calif. Quakes, 6-5, on Carlos Vasquez’s walk-off home run in the seventh inning.

That set up a showdown with the Nevada KW Pirates, who proved a formidable foe, defeating the Bombers, 13-6, to claim the title.

STRONG LINEUP

Five Bombers were selected for the NAFA All-World team, including first baseman Herlan Yeomans; second baseman Alberto Ramirez; centerfielder Sergio Marquez; left-fielder Carlos Vasquez, and designated player Joaquin Juarez.

Among World Series leaders, Yeomans batted .500 with three home runs and 10 RBI, while Vasquez hit for a .562 average, drove in four runs and scored nine times, along with Juarez who had five RBI and hit at a .462 clip. Pitchers Ricardo Valenzuela finished 2-0, while Gabriel Marquez was 1-1.

“We played great top to bottom in hitting and defense and Marquez and Valenzuela ate up the majority of the innings for us and were exceptional,” said Juarez. “I believe we had the best infield at the World Series and our mixture of pitchers kept us in every game. It was a privilege and honor to play in memory of Ralph Trejo and his legacy.”

During the regular season, the Bombers played in the Masters Division of the So. Calif. Independent Fastpitch League (SCIFL) in Palmdale, competing against upwards of 10 other masters’ teams.

ON A ROLL TO CARSON CITY

The ball club played its best softball heading into the World Series, finishing second in the last SCIFL masters’ tournament before heading to Carson City.

“We finished the league with all our players playing very well,” Roybal said. “The guys from Arizona and Mexicali brought the team to a higher level.”

Though they came up just short of bringing home the championship trophy, Roybal was pleased with the outcome; pleased with the way the Bombers conducted themselves on and off the field.

“The journey for this team has always been to play the game the right way and be true to our sponsor’s name,” he said. “We always want to represent Casa Trejo the right way. The (Trejo’s) have been more than a sponsor. A family friendship has grown over the years.”

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