The first qualifying tournament for the Sunburst Circuit MLB The Show 23 tournament wrapped up this week. Bayko came out on top and punched his ticket to the LAN-play final tournament in Orlando later this summer. Bayko will face the winner of the upcoming second qualifying tournament for a share of the $10,000 cash prize.
Bayko Wins First Qualifier for $10,000 MLB The Show Tournament
A Dominating Run
Bayko absolutely dominated the competition this entire tournament, winning the winner’s bracket to enter the final undefeated. His competition wouldn’t be a pushover though. GOATRP won the lower bracket and awaited Bayko in the final. The final would be a best-of-three of nine-inning games on Legend difficulty.
The first game looked like it would be a high-scoring affair early. In the bottom of the first, Bayko hit a pair of RBI singles down the left-field line to take an early 2-0 lead. However, things remained quiet until GOATRP responded in the 5th inning. An opposite-field solo home run by Luke Raley made it a 2-1 game.
GOATRP would have his opportunities in the coming innings. In the 6th inning, GOATRP had runners on first and second with two outs but grounded out to third with Randy Arozarena. In the following inning, GOATRP had runners on the corners again with two outs. A ground ball up the middle from Jose Siri looked like it would score the runner and tie the game. However, the ball hit off the pitcher’s leg. This allowed Bayko to get the third out and keep his slim 2-1 lead.
The biggest chance for GOATRP came in the top of the ninth. GOATRP had bases loaded with only one out, still trailing 2-1. At this point, Bayko finally pulled his starter Zach Eflin and brought Jason Adam out of the bullpen to face Christian Bethancourt. With a full count, GOATRP swung and missed on a low and away slider and was now down to his final out. Again, it came down to Jose Siri. Siri got a hold of a high fastball, but it ended up falling to Bayko’s Jose Siri in centerfield. With the 2-1 victory, Bayko was now one win away from a trip to Orlando.
However, we wouldn’t get the conclusion immediately. Technical difficulties forced the remainder of the series to be postponed. When play resumed, Bayko was locked in. A hit-and-run in the top of the third put Bayko in front 1-0. Bayko followed this up with a two-run homer from Randy Arozarena two batters later to make it 3-0. 3 more runs in the 4th had Bayko running away with it at a 6-0 lead.
GOATRP responded with an RBI single in the 4th to get on the board. He continued in the 5th with a Christian Bethancourt home run to pull to within 4 runs. However, Bayko rallied to score 3 runs in the top of the 7th inning. Bayko was now leading 9-2 when the players got disconnected. After the players started again, Bayko put up two more runs to win it 11-2 and sweep his way into the finals.
The Sunburst Circuit
Bayko is now one step closer to the title of Sunburst Circuit Champion and the $8,000 cash prize. The Sunburst Circuit is an invitational MLB The Show 23 tournament. The tournament is organized by the Tampa Bay Rays, and players are only allowed to use the Rays in the tournament. The Sunburst Circuit is made up of two qualifying tournaments, where the winner of each will face off later this summer in Orlando. This final showdown will be the first in-person LAN-play final for a major MLB The Show tournament. 1st place will take home $8,000 while 2nd place will earn $2,000. There were 380 players that competed in this first double-elimination qualifier.
Now Bayko can sit back and await his challenger. Registration for the second qualifying tournament opens June 26 and run through July 9. The tournament will run from July 15-23, with the final taking place on July 29. The winner of this tournament will take on Bayko in the Sunburst Showdown at Full Sail University in Orlando on August 28.
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