The same teams as last year topped all three A divisions of the Dustball International Tournament at the Pepsi Softball Centre on Sunday.
For Yukon Gold, playing in the women’s A division, a dynasty is evidently in place.
The Yukon Gold squad defeated YKAK 14-13 in the final for their fifth consecutive title in the division.
Experience gives the team the advantage, said Yukon Gold coach and outfielder Diane Stewart.
“A core group of girls have (been on the team for years) and then each year you pick up different people – there’s always a few additions you bring on,” she said. “There are a few of us who have all played together and gone to the (slow-pitch) nationals a few times.”
Yukon Gold won the game with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Tied 13-13 with bases loaded, Gold’s Leanne Brassard hit a line drive over third base to bring home the winning run.
“It was back and forth. We had a few players who got injured; our third baseman, just before the game, was playing in the mixed (co-ed) final and got injured,” said Stewart. “Two of our players got injured during the game. So we used our bench.”
As the team’s disabled list grew, Brassard was the go-to player for Yukon Gold. After their catcher was injured, Brassard was behind the plate; after their third baseman was injured, she was moved there.
“Leanne hasn’t played all year, actually,” said Stewart. “We just picked her up for the tournament – asked her if she could help us out. But she’s a long-time ball player, so she can play. She knows every position.”
Yukon Gold, who went undefeated in the tournament, also defeated YKAK – a combined team of Juneau and Yukon players – in last year’s final.
Whitehorse’s Raider Girlz placed third in the women’s A division.
Guns make it three in a row
Whitehorse’s P&M Recycling Guns were finding the gaps in the Juneau Rounders’ infield to win the men’s A division final for the third straight year on Sunday.
The Guns, who were making their eighth consecutive appearance in the division final, brought in five runs at their last at-bat to win 20-14.
“From the top to the bottom of the order, everybody did really, really good stuff,” said Guns captain and first baseman Mike Tuton.
“In the last inning there, we had no homeruns left and we just kept pounding the ball in the dirt and scoring the runs.”
The Guns weren’t swinging for the back fences the whole game. Their only defeat of the tourney was a 15-14 loss to the Rounders in which the Guns took seven unnecessary outs from breaking the homerun rule, which allows a team to hit only two more homeruns than the opposing team.
“We got in trouble with the homerun rule,” said Tuton. “(In the final) we had to make an adjustment. We knew they were going to limit us on our homeruns and it wasn’t going to take long for us to use them up. But all the big guys just started putting the ball on the ground. We figured, if we’re going to get outs, we might as well make them work for it.”
The Guns opened the game firing on all pistons. Their first five batters – Sheldon King, Shane King, Rob LaRose, Jessie Ritchie and Troy Cairns – all scored before they accumulated a single out.
“In the first inning, when our first five batters scored without any outs, it really gave us a jump in the game,” said Tuton. “Then we shut them down without them getting any.
“That set the tone for the game.”
Taking third were Frank’s Auto Salad Dodgers from Whitehorse.
Donkeys repeat in co-ed
The Whitehorse Dental Donkeys will have targets on their backs as they attempt a three-peat at next year’s Dustball.
The Whitehorse team made it two in a row, winning the co-ed A division final for the second straight year in a 10-8 win over Whitehorse’s Complete Concrete Athletics.
The Donkeys, who went undefeated in the tourney, made the best out of the homerun rule in the final. Instead of knocking solo-shots out of the park, the Donkeys built their lead with a three-run shot from
Troy Cairns in the first, followed by a grand slam from Craig Claggett.
“So most of our runs came off of homeruns,” said Donkeys pitcher Derek Baldwin. “It was a defensive battle, really.
“We just play one game at a time, go out there and try hard,” he added, tossing out some clichés. “A hundred and 10 per cent all the time.”
The Donkeys’ title comes after a slow start to the season in the Whitehorse Co-Ed Slo-Pitch Softball League.
“We had some early-season struggles. We didn’t actually win our first game until last week,” said Baldwin. “Then we won two last week and didn’t lose this weekend.
“We found our bats, I guess. There was no big change, we just played better defensively this weekend.”
Batting their way to third in co-ed A were Whitehorse’s BLC Knights.
This year’s Dustball saw 60 teams compete over nine divisions.
1st Jat’s Landscaping (Whitehorse)
2nd Pro-Tec (Dawson Creek, B.C.)
3rd Black Sox (Whitehorse)
1st Brew Jays (Whitehorse)
2nd Scared Hitless (Whitehorse)
3rd Canada Flooring Layers (Whitehorse)
1st Nuway Ball Crushers (Whitehorse)
2nd Double D’s Wine Barrels (Whitehorse)
3rd Pink Ribbons (Whitehorse)
1st Mr. DJ (Whitehorse)
2nd Juneau Best (Juneau)
3rd Thibodeau Valley Liquor (Juneau)
1st Dave’s Cleaning (Whitehorse)
2nd KK Mutts (Whitehorse)
3rd LSCFN (Carmacks)
1st Rabbit Creek Thumpers (Whitehorse)
2nd Kubota Hoes (Whitehorse)
3rd Puck Pockets (Whitehorse)
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com