After going undefeated in the qualifying round, and winning its semifinal on Saturday, Norland Dental from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, took its first loss of the Western Canadian Masters Fastball Championships in Sunday’s final.
Norland lost to defending Masters Champions Andre’s, from Kelowna.
But it wasn’t over for Saskatoon.
Because of the team’s undefeated record in the qualifying round, it had to play a doubleheader, which gave the team a chance to regroup and try again.
Norland fell behind, coming into the last at-bat down 3-1.
“You gotta believe,” the team members shouted from the dugout as they hit for eight runs in the seventh inning, making it 9-3.
Norland shut down Andre’s in the bottom of the seventh to win, with two strikeouts and an easy pop-fly.
“It feels great to beat the defending champs,” said Norland coach Roger Malmgren, “BC is always tough.”
The champions came a long way from the flat lands to vie for the title among mountains — “31 hours in the bus, straight through” — said Malmgren as his team packed up, their bus idling in the parking lot.
“It’s a long way, but it was worth it, we’ve got some gold to take home.”
Andre’s pitcher, Kevin Sutherland was named the championship-round MVP. He pitched 19 and a half innings in three games on Sunday, before getting pulled in the last inning after giving up a three-run homer.
“Once I stopped throwing, I’d be done,” said Sutherland as he greeted appreciative fans after the game. “It’s disappointing, going into the last inning with a two-run lead.”
“The ball has been exceptional, the calibre is awesome, and the pitching tremendous,” said Softball Yukon’s George Arcand on Sunday.
“Whitehorse hasn’t seen fastball at this calibre for 10 years, it’s nice to see.”
The two Yukon teams in the tournament, The Roadhouse Pirates and Kal Tire, finished fifth and sixth respectively.
“They held their own considering they haven’t played this game for some time,” said Arcand.
The teams from BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan had to win their provincial titles to play at the Westerns.
The Northeast Alberta Selects, from Edgerton, took third place, and the High Prairie Playboys finished fourth.
Men’s Commercial Golf
Standings (August 3, total):
1st Yukon Tire Mechanical, 8, 73
2nd Feature Foods, 4, 63
3rd Missing Links, 4, 62
4th Northerm, 4, 61
5th P&M Recycling, 8, 61
6th Matco Transporation, 8, 61
7th Roadhouse Bar & Grill, 4, 60
8th Mackay & Partners, 8, 60
9th Low Net, 4, 58
10th Irving Collision, 4, 55
11th The Chain Gang, 6, 55
12th Kal Tire, 0, 54
13th Emco Foreskins, 2, 52
14th Macdonald & Co., 4, 51
15th Triple “J” Services, 4, 46
16th Norline Coaches, 4, 43
17th Airline Inn, 4, 42
18th NuWay Crushing, 0, 41
19th Shoppers Drug, 4, 41
20th Totaltrac Yukon, 4, 40
21st Talmark/Sit Easy, 0, 39
22nd Casa Loma Motel, 8, 38
23rd Olson Construction, 0, 37
24th Northwestel, 4, 31
25th Whitehorse Business Machines, 0, 29
26th Road House Offsales Relics, 8, 24
27th Skookum Asphalt, 0, 18