SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Members of the Springfield community were out in full force on Sunday afternoon for the inaugural edition of the Springfield Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 76 Cornhole Tournament, held in the back lot of Spirit bar and restaurant.

Proceeds from the tournament went to the PBA, as approximately 40 teams competed to come out on top. The tournament was run with a double-elimination style bracket. Teams that lost over the course of the tournament would be bumped down to the loser's bracket, where they would compete to get back to the final. A second loss eliminated teams from play.

For Ryan Westover, a member of the local PBA who was helping to run the tournament, the turnout and community engagement was major.

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"The community responded very quickly to us," Westover said. "Usually our PBA functions have a lot of [other] police departments involved, but Springfield as a whole stepped up, and all the local parents wanted to come out, hang out and play."

"it's a good feeling to have the community support us and be a part of our PBA," Westover added. "Have a good time [and]get to know some of the newer officers."

Along with the cornhole games going on, attendees who had signed up to play and watch were treated to a buffet of hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and more.

Additionally, the PBA circulated 50/50 tickets and raffle entries that could be set towards autographed memorabilia and experiences up for bid.

As the afternoon rolled on, teams began to peel away, until the final squad was left standing. The Hunterdon County duo of Mark Rehl and Ron Zielinski blazed through the tournament with a perfect record before claiming the win in the final match.

Speaking with TAPinto after the win, Zielinski said the team's strategy was to avoid looking too far ahead and just keep forging onward. 

"Me and Mark, we look at it the same way, and it's one game at a time," Zielinski said when describing his team's strategy. "We really don't go after it and look too far ahead. We just try an play our game, one game at a time. There was a bunch of great teams today, and my hat's off to every single one of them."

Zielinski noted that he had a friend on the Springfield Police Department who encouraged him to join and that he and Rehl try to make a point of playing in benefit tournaments that allow them to give back. As a show of good faith, the winning duo donated a portion of their prize for the tournament back to the Springfield PBA.