Three Whitehorse teams survived last-inning pushes by their opponents to win A division titles at the Dustball Invitational Slo-Pitch Tournament on June 18.
The P&M Recycling Guns, Klondike Rib & Salmon, and the Back Door Sliders all held onto shrinking leads to win men’s A, women’s A and co-ed A, respectively, at the Pepsi Softball Centre.
The Guns captured their third men’s A title in a row — their seventh in the last eight years — with a 16-13 win over Jat’s Diggers from Whitehorse.
The Guns, who allowed four runs in the bottom of the seventh, played, “good enough to win,” said Guns head coach Michael Tuton. “Maybe we gassed ourselves out yesterday with three games, but it was just one of those games where it was up for the taking for a few middle innings there. We had a couple good innings and a couple good stops. With that five-run rule, it’s really important to go out and get five runs. On the defensive side, whenever you can get three outs to end an inning, it’s big.”
The Guns twice maxed out innings with five runs, including the third inning in which their bats started to heat up. Down 4-2, Guns pinch-hitter Joe Vigneau drove in Robin Smith and Ryan Lane to tie the game. Brian White then logged his team’s only homer of the game with a three-run shot.
“That was the turning point of the game, when Joe came in,” said Tuton. “He scored two really important runs.”
“Some of the younger guys really stepped up this weekend, which is awesome,” he added. “Ryan Lane, a new guy, played every position and played well. Robin Smith is just a gamer, comes out to play every day.
“Right through the line-up, everybody did their job. It was one of those team wins.”
All three A division champs reached the final through the bottom of the draw, each with a loss earlier in the weekend. The Guns’ one loss came Friday against the 2014 champion team, Chico’s Bail Bonds from Skagway, who went on to place third with a loss to the Guns Saturday evening.
“Ribbers” win women’s A
They had a new name and new jerseys, but the same old talent.
The Klondike Rib & Salmon — formerly the Sistas — made a triumphant return to the A division over the weekend.
“We got a new sponsor and a new name this year, but it’s pretty much the same team we’ve had for a while,” said KRS player/coach Marcia Stenzig.
“We’re super excited. We’re just really pumped about it,” she added. “We never get to play women’s ball — we never get the opportunity to do so. It’s once a year in Dustball, generally.”
Under the name the Sistas, the team won the women’s B division last year, and the A division title six straight years from 2008 to 2013.
KRS, or the “Ribbers,” captured the women’s A title with a tight 15-13 win over the defending champs AFD Titans in the final.
The Ribbers, who lost to the Titans the previous day, logged five runs at the top of the seventh for a 15-9 lead in the final. Susan Whitty brought in the first one with a sacrifice fly. Amy Vermeulen knocked a line drive to left field to make it 12-9. Valerie Ireland brought in another, thanks in part to an error at second base. Sue-Anne Stokes-Nash grounded to left field for an RBI. Karlie Knight brought in another on a sac fly.
Despite some fielding errors in the outfield, the Ribbers held on for the win in the bottom of the inning.
“We played really well together as a team, it was awesome,” said KRS outfielder/coach Diane Stewart. “It was truly a team effort. We had a really big roster with 17 women and everyone came in at different times and did their jobs.”
Back Door Sliders take co-ed A
Whitehorse’s Back Door Sliders lived up to their name in the co-ed A division.
Following a loss to the Whitehorse Dental Donkeys on Saturday, the Sliders took the “back door” to the final, coming up through the bottom of the draw.
In a rematch against the Donkeys, the Sliders took the title with an 18-17 win in the final.
“Everyone contributed and that’s the bottom line,” said Sliders head coach Dan Jordan. “We had some big hits at key moments and that’s how you win those kind of games.”
The Sliders captured their first Dustball title in dramatic fashion. With the tying run on third and winning run on first with two out in the bottom of the seventh, Donkeys’ Laura Whitty grounded to Sliders shortstop Mike Arnold, who threw to second for the force and the win.
“That kid just doesn’t make errors,” said Jordan of Arnold. “We were hoping they’d hit it there and they did.”
A total of 61 teams played this year’s Dustball, down from 72 last year. The drop in numbers is attributed to the fact the tournament is usually held in July but was moved up due to Whitehorse hosting the 2017 Men’s World Softball Championship, July 7-16.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Back Door Sliders (Whitehorse)
2nd Dental Donkeys (Whitehorse)
3rd Slammin Salmons (Whitehorse)
1st Masterbatters (Whitehorse)
2nd Mutts (Whitehorse)
3rd Floor By Floor Rugburns (Whitehorse)
1st All Pro Selects (Whitehorse)
2nd Jim Shockey Predators (Whitehorse)
3rd Sandors (Whitehorse)
1st CRB Night Hawks (Carmacks)
2nd Physio Jays (Whitehorse)
3rd CRB Challengers (Carmacks)
1st Klondike Rib & Salmon (Whitehorse)
2nd AFD Titans (Whitehorse)
3rd Booster Juice (Whitehorse)
1st Frontier Gifts (Juneau)
2nd Triple J’s Cougars (Whitehorse)
3rd Snatchers (Dawson City)
1st P&M Recycling Guns (Whitehorse)
2nd Jat’s Diggers (Whitehorse)
3rd Chico’s Bail Bonds (Skagway)
1st Fountain Tire Mudders (Whitehorse)
2nd Brewers (Whitehorse)
3rd Dingbats (Dawson City)
1st Rounders (Juneau)
2nd Territorial Terminators (Whitehorse)
3rd Wolverines (Whitehorse)