With two outs and two men on base in the bottom of the seventh inning, a successful swing of the bat could have given the Inuvik Huskies the Bob Park Fastpitch Tournament title at the Pepsi Softball Complex on Sunday.
Instead, a ground-out gave the championships to Whitehorse’s Roadhouse Giants with a 14-12 win over the visiting Huskies.
“That was one heck of a Sunday,” said Giants captain Mike Tuton. “That’s kind of the way we wanted to finish it.
“These Inuvik guys come up all the time. They’d travel anywhere for a fastball tournament, and they are never out of a game.”
A pair of two-run shots over the fence in the first and third helped put the winning run to the plate for the Huskies in the final inning. However, a big, 11-run second inning, sending the entire Giants line-up around the bases, was too big a gap to overcome for the Huskies.
“Even though we got 11 runs in the second inning, we knew we had to keep going in to play,” said Tuton. “They’re a good team, but our bats just took off this weekend.”
With the seven-run mercy rule hanging over their heads, the Huskies twice avoided early elimination in the fifth and sixth inning, getting a few runs in each to stay alive.
The Huskies, who won NWT championships last year, just “wouldn’t go away,” said Tuton.
“I knew we could climb back – their pitcher was kind of tired from pitching all weekend,” said Huskies captain Donald Hendrick.
Giants pitcher Brian Clark, a Whitehorse native who came up from Vancouver to pitch for the Giants, played all seven innings of the finals.
“We would have (put in another pitcher) if we had to, but we gave him the ball this weekend and wanted him to be on the mound,” said Tuton.
Clark, who threw a no-hitter in a 8-0, semifinal win over the Roadhouse Pirates, was given the Best Pitcher Award for his prowess on the mound.
Teammate Jessie Ritchie, who fans the infield with swings of his bat, was given the tournament’s MVP award.
“Nobody swings the bat harder than him,” said Tuton.
In the third place final, the defending champion Cinderwood Hitmen went 10-3 over the Roadhouse Pirates, with the mercy rule ending the game in the fifth.
“We’re the defending champs, so obviously we wanted to make it to the final,” said Hitmen captain Currie Dixon. “We had one bad game and that was it – we lost the important game in the semifinal. But it was a good weekend. We went 3-1, so we’re definitely happy.”
The Hitmen, who are undefeated in the Whitehorse Fastpitch League this season, went up 3-0 in the third after two scored on a blooper to right field from Brian Power.
Fourth inning line drives to right field from Jordan Cowman and Gary Seed each brought in a pair of runners, eventually ending the inning up 9-0.
All four Whitehorse league teams took part in the second annual tournament, in addition to the Huskies and the Dawson Dingbats.
“I feel pretty safe in saying, right now, that fastball is back in the Yukon,” said Tuton. “Look at the turnout of people we had all weekend to come and watch – it’s a great sport.
“I think our four teams are getting strong enough to say fastball is back. This is our third year and we’re really happy with the progress we’re making.”
Contact Tom Patrick at