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“Keep it Flat and Throw it Straight!” By Dominike Tambazidis

Aug 08, 2019 10:15AM

Keep it Flat and Throw it Straight!” By Dominike Tambazidis

The first West Coast participant, Blake Demale, will be featured on ESPN2 from August 6 to 11 for the 2019 American Cornhole League Championships. An anticipated payout of over $180,000 for this championship will be dispersed throughout the winning teams.

A local of Pleasant Hill, Blake Demale graduated from College Park in 2012 and is sponsored by Stay Pleasant Hill. He worked for PHBA Baseball Fields and is now employed by Joe and Sheila’s Stokley Property Management.

Growing up, Demale was a very competitive baseball player, and although he did not seek going pro, he knew that he loved sports and loved to play them. 

His basic cornhole skills started when his grandfather first introduced him to it when he was 10 years old. Playing hours of a game they called “beanbags,” he picked up skills of the cornhole game. He played at family reunions with homemade boards and bags and spent a lot of time as a kid motivated by his grandpa while his mother worked hard. Everyone around him showed the importance of integrity and productiveness, which carried over to Demale’s determination to win. “My first competition was at a bar and grill in Walnut Creek,” says Demale. “My grandpa and I partnered when I was 16 years old, and we won the tournament over 32 teams!”

He started getting competitive in the sport at age 15, when a colleague at Stokley Properties informed him about putting a team together for a Sunday league through the Pleasant Hill Rec and Park. He soon started playing blind draw tournaments as well as attending monthly Saturday tournaments run by Ron Stokes and West Coast Cornhole.

He practices an average of up to four hours a day and plays typically 6-10 hours a week, with tournaments nearly every weekend, locally or nationally. When Demale went pro, he was lucky enough to have top-level players nearby such as Ken Jones, a local from Lafayette, and Nick Renevitz, a local in San Ramon, to inspire and mentor him to championship tournaments. “Being able to compete against these two over the years is what has prepared me for the American Cornhole League (ACL) pro division.” Demale said.

The ACL is the hub for professional, collegiate, and youth competitive cornhole. The ACL states they are a team of passionate and dedicated individuals who drive the mission of the league: to grow the sport into a national and international sensation. American Cornhole League Commissioner Stacey Moore said, “It is our hope that each and every person in the United States learns of this new great sport and has access to play it. It is because of this goal that we truly believe anyone can play, and anyone can win.

Blake Demale will participate in main events throughout all five days of the tournament: the pro doubles bracket with his partner, Scott Phillips, the advanced singles, advanced doubles, and crew cup (4-player teams). He will also be in a conference championship (top 16 in each conference).

Demale appreciates the support of his peers and teammates, especially his partner, Scott. He would like to thank Stay Pleasant Hill for sponsoring him and making it all possible, and he has high appreciation and thanks to Tracy Bakewell, his mother, for working hard all her life and happily raising him.

 

 

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