It was a deflating loss for Whitehorse’s Kal Tire softball team.
Competing at the seventh annual Buddy Taylor Slo-Pitch Tournament in Watson Lake over the weekend, not only did Kal Tire win their first five games, the three games leading up to the finals were late-inning, come-from-behind victories.
“We had lots of late-inning wins – we had three of them,” said Kal Tire infielder Blaine (Bubba) Demchuk. “The producers produced – let’s put it that way.
“Everyone got too tight and were a little too intense at the start, so I said, ‘Guys, just loosen it up and let’s just play the game.’ And we won five games previous (to the final).”
After trading leads throughout the final, Kal Tire was unable to summon a fourth comeback, losing 11-10 in an extra inning to the FortNielsonStuff.com from Fort Nelson, BC, playing in their first Buddy Taylor.
“Our bats weren’t that hot,” said Kal Tire captain Jen Ball. “It was a tight game. The defence – everything – was all good, it’s just that they just got lucky.
“It was tight all the way through. It was really good ball.”
Making the loss more difficult to accept, the Kal Tire team, which finished third last year, ended the round-robin section of the tournament with a 9-8 win over FortNelsonStuff.com. Down a run with just one out remaining in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kal Tire pitcher Mike Menzies knocked a two-run shot over the right field wall for the win. It was the second time Menzies won a game with the swing of bat at the tournament, hitting a three-run shot to win 11-10 over the 3-D Witchdoctors earlier in the tournament.
In Kal Tire’s previous game to their 9-8 win over Fortnelsonstuff.com, Demchuk hit a two-run homer to give his team a 17-15 win over Watson Lake’s Super A Holes, sponsored by Super A.
There was a similar matchup – and result – in the game to determine third- and fourth-place.
Whitehorse’s Coyote Video also came a couple runs short in their final game, losing 13-12 to the Fort Nelson Outlaws.
Along with the Buddy Taylor title the FortNielsonStuff.com crew pocketed the top cash prize, taking in $2,500. Finishing second, Kal Tire grabbed and even grand while the Outlaws scooped up $500.
This year’s Buddy Taylor tournament matched its best turnout of teams, once again hosting seven. Also included in the event were the Kaska Wolfpack from Lower Post and a pair of teams from Watson Lake.
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