A pair of multi-year win streaks came to an end as new champs emerged across the board in A divisions of the Dustball Invitational Slo-Pitch Tournament on Sunday.
Whitehorse’s P&M Recycling Guns, who were going for their fifth straight men’s A title, lost in the final at the Pepsi Softball Centre. Whitehorse’s P&M Recycled Sistas, who won the women’s A division the last six years, finished third.
All three winning teams were playing in the A division for the first time.
“At least we lost in a good game. We didn’t go out and beat ourselves, throw the ball around, hit pop-flies all over the place,” said Guns captain and first baseman Mike Tuton. “We played a good hitting team. It was a slugfest, eight innings deep, and we came up short.”
P&M Recycling Guns were denied a fifth straight title in an eight-inning, 24-20 loss to Chico’s Bail Bonds, a mixed Juneau-Skagway team, in the final.
The Guns scored eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 19-16 lead before Chico’s logged three to tie in the top of the seventh. With Guns on second and third with one out, Chico’s forced the extra inning with a double play.
“It was a crazy game, one of the craziest I’ve ever been a part of,” said Chico’s captain Mark Jennings. “Those guys can really hit the ball, hit it wherever they want. I guess we just caught them on an off-day.”
With runners on base, Chico’s knocked three straight line drives from Adam Smith, Jamie Kissner and Jaymar Hill to log a total of five runs and establish a 24-19 lead at the top of the eighth. A fielding error allowed the Guns a run in the bottom of the inning before Chico’s right-fielder Robert Murphy caught a deep shot from Rob Larose to end the game.
“We just lost a good ball game,” said Tuton. “I don’t take anything away from those guys, they hit the ball hard. In the later innings, when they had to take advantage of their guys on base, they did.”
Chico’s defeated Whitehorse’s Black Sox in the semifinal, dealing the Sox a third place finish. The weekend marked the first time Chico’s competed in the men’s A division, said Jennings.
“We usually bring up a men’s team every year … We try to get the best guys in Skagway to come up, but we usually play (divisions) B and C,” said Jennings. “We decided to pump it up a little bit, get a little more talent in Juneau and compete in A and go for it because a lot of us are getting older. We had to make a run now.”
Dave’s Crew cleans up in co-ed
Dave’s Cleaning Crew captain James Semaschuk came through when his team needed him the most.
Down 7-6 at the bottom of the seventh with runners in scoring position, Semaschuk sent the ball screaming into right field, driving home Myrna Ingram and Kristian King for the win.
With the hit the Whitehorse team defeated Devil’s Hideaway of Juneau 8-7 in the co-ed A division final.
“I couldn’t have done it without the people who hit before me, that was the main thing,” said Semaschuk. “I can’t score runs if there’s no one on base.
“The team knows its role: we have the producers and we also have individuals who get on base regularly.”
The Crew, who were playing in their first Dustball, went undefeated over the weekend. They also won the Whitehorse league’s opening tournament as well.
“It was just a fresh start for all of us because we were all looking for new teams and we just put a fresh new team together,” said Semaschuk. “We’re all friends and close friends, which makes the team dynamic even better. Dave’s Cleaning is a force to be reckoned with, for sure.”
Devil’s Hideaway scored two in the fourth and one in the sixth to take a 7-5 lead. The Crew pulled within one on an RBI from Brian White in the bottom of the sixth.
Dave’s Cleaning defeated Devil’s by a run in Saturday’s semifinal. Devil’s Hideaway then defeated third place’s Ryder Construction, also of Juneau, to reach the final.
“We lost to this team by one yesterday, so this was our redemption game, and it ended in the same situation,” said Devil’s captain A.J. Votion.
“There’s no shame, but it still sucks,” he added. “Juneau hasn’t brought a good upper-division team in a while. We were really confident going into this because we had some really good girls, they carried us the whole weekend.
“It was a fun weekend. We’ll stay around for another night or two, party it up, and enjoy the town.”
Pitches Be Crazy top women’s A
It took a while for Pitches Be Crazy’s bats to start working in the women’s A division final. Their dugout was just a little too quiet, says coach/captain Crystelle Cebuliak.
“More noise” is what the team needed, she said. “The louder we are, the better we play.”
The mixed Whitehorse-Juneau team grabbed the women’s A final with a 9-6 win over the Whitehorse’s Fountain Tire Mudders.
The Pitches Be Crazy team, assembled for the international tournament, went undefeated over the weekend en route to the title.
“It feels great, it feels great to have a new winner up here in women’s A,” said Cebuliak, referring the six-time defending champs P&M Recycled Sistas placing third.
Down 5-3 at the bottom of the fourth, the Pitches put aluminum to work to score four runs. With two runners on, shortstop Taylor Larson drove one off the right field wall – right on the foul line – to score a pair of runs. Teammate Meghan Stonehouse then chopped one over the infield for another before Andrea Livette grounded through the gap to make it 7-5.
Dee Swanley Boster added another run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
At their last at-bat in the seventh, Mudders’ Naomi Smith drove in Heidi Harry on a sac fly.
“I was really happy with how the girls played on the Mudders,” said Mudders coach Roni-Sue Sparvier. “We had a solid game, we were great on the field, we were great at batting, we played a good game.
(Pitches Be Crazy) is an awesome team and it wasn’t bad to lose to them.”
“Last year when we first put in a ladies team we came in third in A division, this year we came in second, next year it’s going to be first,” added Sparvier.
1st Rounders (Juneau)
2nd Dingbats (Dawson City)
3rd Dave’s Cleaning (Whitehorse)
1st 93 Crushers (Whitehorse)
2nd Super Mega Energy (Whitehorse)
3rd Silkirk Blazers (Pelly Crossing)
1st Nuway Ball Crushers (Whitehorse)
2nd Hit N Missus (Whitehorse)
3rd Boston Pizza (Whitehorse)
1st Valley Liquor (Juneau)
2nd Sandors Sluggers (Whitehorse)
3rd Glacier Drilling (Whitehorse)
1st Hawks (Whitehorse)
2nd Castle Rock Bears (Whitehorse)
3rd Yukon Brewing Grawlers (Whitehorse)
1st Maggie May Bears (Whitehorse)
2nd FHP Ballwhackers (Whitehorse)
3rd Sam N Andy’s (Whitehorse)
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org