The VLB invited the top 22 players who have played the most games in the 2016 season out to Douglas. Friends and family were encouraged to attend. The VLB again teamed up with the River Bend Foodbank to collect non-perishable food. After a drizzling morning, the weather settled down and Douglas Park was in pristine condition for the 9-inning battle. Some players said it was the best the field has ever looked, and Veto League has played some 200+ games at this location.
The Gremlins got off to an early start with the help of some blunderous defense by the Crushers, scoring six runs in the first and taking a commanding 20-8 lead going into the 7th. Rock Island's own Adlonis Hopkins started the rally for the Crushers by blasting the only homerun of the contest to left-center, a solo shot. The Crushers added 6 more that inning and after a scoreless Gremlins' 7th, scored another 6 in the 8th to take a 21-20 lead heading to the bottom of the 8th. Down but not out, the Gremlins fired off three runs of their own in the 8th, helped by the hot bats of Nick Swanson and Greg Hixson. With two outs and on a two strike count in the top of the 9th, down by 1 with a runner on 1st, Veteran Jon Weber torched a liner to right center. In what would have assuredly scored the tying run, Hixson flashed his gold glove for everyone in attendance with a diving catch to win the game for Ryan Barton's Gremlins.
Hixson was the games Most Valuable Player, going a perfect 5-for-5 with four runs, six RBI and two triples to go along with the game winning dive. As a team, the Gremlins collected 36 hits. Rookie Trent Ferugson had four of those to go along with four runs. Steve Gerard added three RBI and Swanson had two doubles. For the Crushers, Hopkins and Chris Waldron each had four hits. Scott Raes had a team-high four RBI batting last. Josh Paul added three extra base hits with three RBI and three runs scored.
As for the spectators, an estimated 80 fans turned out for the game, bringing in non-persihable goods and helping the league by purchasing concessions.
Aside from the fact that no one was shot, the highlight of the game was the River Bend Foodbank. Players and fans alike brought in 573 pounds of food, which provides 478 meals. Eighty percent of those donations stay in the Quad Cities for families in need.
Before the game, Paul announced the 2016 award recipients:
Member of the Year - Alex Miller
Regular Season Most Valuable Player - Ryan Barton (runner-up Hixson)
Post Season Most Valuable Player - Ryan Barton (runner-up Andrew Collins)
Infield Gold Glove - Brent Lafrenz (runner-up Ryan Barton)
Outfield Gold Glove - Greg Hixson (runner-up Boo Jarrett)
Eickstaedt Sportsmanship - Johnny Readus (runner-up Josh Paul)
Rookie of the Year - Greg Hixson (runner-up Andrew Collins)
Most Impreoved - Brent Lafrenz (runner-up Lorenzo Martin)