While local softball fans are anxiously awaiting the two exhibition women’s fastpitch games between Team Canada and the American world champions this week in Whitehorse, many of the Dustball finals had a similar international setting.
Sixty-eight teams took part in the Dustball International Tournament at the Pepsi Softball Centre over the weekend, with Whitehorse squads winning eight of 10 divisions, including all three A divisions facing Alaskan teams in Sunday’s finals.
In one of two extremely close Division A finals, Whitehorse’s Trappers made good use of their last at bat, scoring three runs to take a 10-7 win over Juneau, Alaska’s Kappler Computers and their first ever co-ed Division A title.
“They’re a very good hitting team and I think we were a little fortunate on a few plays to do as well as we did,” said Trappers captain Curt Campbell. “It worked out.
“We were fortunate that we didn’t have to play them again. It would have been really interesting to see who would win the next game.”
Tied 7-7 at the top of the seventh inning, Trappers’ Rob LaRose put a solo shot over the right field wall to give his team back a one-run lead. A couple batters later, after Trapper Paula Vich was thrown out at home on a hit by Jesse Ritchie, Greg Woodford hit a line drive to centre field to put in Ritchie, making it 9-7.
After a single from Dana Woodford, teammate Chad Curlew put a line drive through the hands of Kappler’s second baseman, putting in Greg Woodford for the final run.
The Trappers would have topped out the five-run inning rule, had Kappler’s left fielder George Damian not made a remarkable over-the-head-catch with the bases loaded to end the inning.
“It was a great tournament and we’ll be back next year – we’ll get them next year,” said Kappler captain Scott Damian.
Only taking one loss over the weekend, Kappler defeated the Trappers 12-9 on Saturday, coming back from being down 7-2 early on.
“Our girls were playing a championship game on the other field, so we didn’t get them until half way through this game,” said Damian after the finals. “If we had our proper line-up in at the beginning, we would have given them a better run.”
“We have a lot of cross-overs, and so do they, so both teams were hurting,” said Campbell.
“We had great coaching. I want to give special thanks to our coaches (Mike Gleason and Mike Menzies) because they are players too and they sacrificed to just concentrate on the coaching,” added Campbell. “It made a world of difference. It’s very hard to be a player-coach – you either do one or the other – and they sacrificed to coach us.”
Local team golden in women’s Division A
Yukon Gold beer tasted extra delicious for the team by the same name after Sunday’s women’s A division finals.
The Whitehorse team won their third straight title with a 14-2 thumping of Juneau’s Chicks.
“We always play a real solid defensive game, which always keeps us in games,” said Yukon Gold captain Carol Fields. “Today the bats really got going and that made a huge difference. So we’re really consistent defensively and when the bats get going we’re hard to beat.”
Yukon Gold saved the best for last, scoring six runs in the final inning. Up 8-2 with the bases loaded, Gold’s Kate Olynyk grounded up the third baseline to put in Annette King and Cody Claggett. With runners on second and third, a pair of grounders up the middle from Laurie Fahr and Diedre Davidson each put in a runner. Two more runners then got in on sacrifice flies from Michelle Massie and Terri Cairns.
“We were hitting a lot better today; yesterday we had problems finding our bats and weren’t hitting consistently,” said Fields. “Today we strung a lot of hits together and had really aggressive base running – we really picked up our base running today.
“This weekend everyone contributed at different times. Kim Solonick definitely came through with some really big hits for us in every game this weekend. She’s a really steady and consistent hitter. Kate Olynyk hit really well this weekend – the people we needed to play well, played well. It was a real team effort this weekend for sure.”
Yukon Gold reached the finals having to play an extra game after losing 10-6 to the Chicks Saturday afternoon, prompting the Juneau team to feel a third game should have been played to determine which gets the title.
“The final was (our only loss) so they need to implement an ‘If game,’” said Chicks captain Sunshine Hard. “So if you’re undefeated at the championships and you get beat once, then they have to beat you twice.
“That’s what we do in America.”
Skagway crew outgunned in men’s final
Making their sixth straight appearance in the men’s Division A final, but having lost the last two, Whitehorse’s P&M Recycling – otherwise known at the “Guns” or “Young Guns” – regained the title with a tight 14-13 win over Skagway’s Chico’s Bail Bonds.
Undefeated in the tournament, the P&M Guns were almost forced into extra innings after Chico’s scored to come within a run in the seventh, also getting the tying run to third. However, a diving catch by Guns first baseman Mike Tuton on a grounder and a quick throw to second for the force produced the final out.
“It takes a team,” said Guns coach Aaron France. “All 13 guys were played and come Sunday, the championship game, you go with the 10 hottest. That’s why we’re a good team.”
Playing with the tournament rule that prevents one team from hitting three or more home runs than the other, the Guns made an effort to put runners on bases before attempting to clear the outfield – it seemed to work.
In the finals, the Guns hit three three-run homers, with two coming from Rob LaRose and one from Frank Country. Teammate Craig Claggett also hit a solo home run during the game.
“All 11 that are playing can really hit the ball,” said France. “You got to get a couple guys on base – you don’t want to hit solo home runs because you can only be plus two (over the other team).
“You want to maximize your home runs.”
Playing in Division A for the first time – only losing their two games against the Guns during the tournament – Chico’s won the C division last year and the B division in 2007.
“We got a little lucky getting into A, but we did well,” said Chico’s captain Mark Jennings. “It was a well played game. Those guys are fundamentally sound.
“With us it’s tough. We don’t play together – we play co-ed down in Skagway – and we just threw a team together and came up here. So it takes a little while to get in the groove.”
Men’s A division
1st P&M Recycling (Whitehorse)
2nd Chico’s Bail Bonds (Skagway)
3rd Royal Flush Plumbing (Whitehorse)
Men’s B division
1st Kappler Computers (Juneau)
2nd Southeast Mine Supply (Juneau)
3rd Rounders (Juneau)
Men’s C division
1st Jat’s Landscaping (Whitehorse)
2nd Roadhouse Reds (Whitehorse)
3rd Klukwan (Haines)
Men’s D division
1st Frank’s Auto Detail (Whitehorse)
2nd Ramrod (Whitehorse)
3rd WD 40’s (Whitehorse)
Women’s A division
1st Yukon Gold (Whitehorse)
2nd Chicks (Juneau)
3rd White Pass (Skagway)
Women’s B division
1st YKAK (Whitehorse/Juneau)
2nd Nuway Ball Crushers (Whitehorse)
3rd Champagne Aishihik (Whitehorse)
Women’s C division
1st Co-op Raider Girlz (Whitehorse)
2nd Parts Plus (Juneau)
3rd Pillagettes (Whitehorse)
Co-ed A division
1st AFD Trappers (Whitehorse)
2nd Kappler Computers (Juneau)
3rd Jat’s Landscaping (Whitehorse)
Co-ed B division
1st Ryder Construction (Juneau)
2nd Terrorizers (Whitehorse)
3rd Haz Gas (Juneau)
Co-ed C division
1st Sandors Sluggers (Whitehorse)
2nd Riverdale Pub Crawlers (Whitehorse)
3rd Ticam Tile & Stone (Whitehorse)
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org