After dropping last year’s tournament by a single run and coming up short in the national qualifier, the P&M Recycling Guns set out to prove they were still a top-calibre team at the Dustball Invitational Slo-Pitch Tournament at the Pepsi Softball Centre.
With a decisive 21-8 win in the men’s A division championship game on Sunday, they showed they still have what it takes.
Going undefeated leading up to the finals, the Guns faced off against the Urban Realty Reds, the club that beat them earlier this year in the national qualifier, then named the Marlins.
With an opportunity for redemption on the line, the Guns came out firing on all cylinders.
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“It went exactly the way we wanted it to start,” said coach and first baseman Mike Tuton. “We talked before the game, and our only goal was to keep the line moving, get everybody hitting, and on defence get three outs.”
Both teams started with strong offence and a steady defence, each tallying a number of runs in the first few innings. With the Reds still within three of the Guns to start the fifth inning at 9-6, it was still anyone’s game.
That’s when the Guns showed why they are perennial favourites. Invoking the five-run rule in the fourth, scoring another three in the fifth bringing the score to 17-6, the Guns took the game to the brink of the 12-run barrier.
A strong sixth inning by the Reds’ batters brought them up to within nine of the Guns and faint hopes of a miracle comeback started circulating in the Reds’ dugout.
However, with the bases loaded after the Reds decided to intentionally walk slugger Rob LaRose, Matt Kremer stepped up to the plate a delivered a massive walk-off grand slam to seal the game 21-8 and reaffirm the Guns’ claim to softball dominance.
“The depth and the skill that we had on this team this weekend was deep and as strong as I’ve ever seen our team, and it was a lot of fun,” said Tuton. “We didn’t like losing last year. We really didn’t even have to talk about it. Everybody knew that this weekend was about putting us back on top where we wanted to be, and to do it big.”
Juneau takes women’s title
A strong Juneau team foiled Whitehorse’s P&M Recycling Sistas from recapturing the women’s A division after losing in the final last year.
The top team from outside the Yukon, the Louies took control of the game early and never looked back. A strong, consistent offence and a lock-down defence surged the Louies to their first title in recent memory.
“I can’t say we had any tough games,” said coach Lee Boster. “Playing the Sistas and Fountain Tire, regardless of what the score was, we knew that at any point in time they were about to come alive. Thankfully for us they didn’t.”
The Sistas were held to two runs in inning two, a total that would hold for the rest of the game while the Louies kept pounding away.
“I think probably by the second inning when they weren’t scoring… we were kind of in control of the game,” Boster said. “I felt a little bit more at ease because we’re just going out there and hitting and scoring a few runs.”
The Louies finally broke over the 12-run limit in the fifth inning, taking the game and title with a score of 14-2.
Boster praised her pitcher Ashley Larson for leading the defensive effort. “If she doesn’t pitch a good game, then it kind of puts the defence in a lull. She pitched great.”
Concrete holds co-ed division
A slow start to the tournament didn’t hold back the Complete Concrete Athletics from tasting glory.
Although finishing the tournament undefeated, a couple of close calls against B and C division teams gave the Athletics a bit of a wake up. “Scared the pants off us,” said left fielder Joe Vigneau. “But when it came down to it we buckled down and did it right.”
“We just got better and better through the whole tournament,” he said.
Vigneau was millimetres from hitting a two-run homer in the fourth, but the ball ricocheted straight up off the lip of the fence and back into play, resulting in a double.
“That’s probably a one in a billion shot,” he said. Even with those odds, he astonishingly did the same thing in a tournament last week in Skagway.
Facing a tough team in the Whitehorse Dental Donkeys, the Athletics held their ground giving up only four runs in the first three innings and blanking the Donkeys after that.
“We started strong for once,” said coach Brett Green on the final game. “We usually take a few innings to get going, but we turned it on right away and just kept rolling with it.”
“These guys, they’re a hard team to go against, so that was very unexpected,” Green said. “We were just on today. Everyone was solid defence; everyone was on their sticks. We just kept rolling.”
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1st P & M Recycling Guns (Whitehorse)
2nd Urban Realty Reds (Whitehorse)
3rd Creephawks (Whitehorse)
1st Brewers (Whitehorse)
2nd Fountain Tire (Whitehorse)
3rd Carmacks (Carmacks)
1st Dawson City Dingbats (Dawson City)
2nd Bustins Bombers (Whitehorse)
3rd The Next Shots (Whitehorse)
1st Louies (Juneau)
2nd P & M Recycling Sistas (Whitehorse)
3rd Fountain Tire (Whitehorse)
1st Inuvik Angels (Inuvik)
2nd Dave’s Cleaning (Whitehorse)
3rd Dawson City Snatchers (Dawson City)
1st Nuway Ball Crushers (Whitehorse)
2nd Booster Juice (Whitehorse)
3rd Minions (Juneau)
1st Complete Concrete (Whitehorse)
2nd Dental Donkeys (Whitehorse)
3rd Dave’s Cleaning (Whitehorse)
1st Wounded Deers (Whitehorse)
2nd Yukon Tire Happy Hobos (Whitehorse)
3rd Valley Liquor (Juneau)
1st Where My Pitches Be (Juneau)
2nd Cindersphere (Whitehorse)
3rd Floor by Floor Rugburns (Whitehorse)
1st JayTech Jays (Whitehorse)
2nd Carmacks Recreation (Carmacks)
3rd Bailey’s Barbarians (Whitehorse)