Yukon College and Office Supply Centre are the kings and queens of the diamond.
The two teams won their respective divisions at the Yukon Minor Softball Territorial Championship at Whitehorse’s Pepsi Softball Centre on Saturday.
Yukon College took the U-14 division title with an 18-8 win over Dave’s Cleaning Crew in the final.
Head coach Chris McNutt nicknamed his team the “Big Black Train,” referring to their black jerseys and, perhaps, their base running as well.
“They were demons on the base pass,” said McNutt. “We said, we’re going to go aggressive in the final tournament and run with speed … They’ve had good hitting, so we said OK, speed on the base pass. Be aggressive, push that double into a triple, steal home. We might have gotten 20 runs this weekend just stealing home.”
“We played well. Lots of good throws to first base and we got most of our runs by stealing home and bases,” said College outfielder Kyron Crosby, who caught a pop fly for the final out of the game. “It was a good tournament. The fields were perfect; the ball didn’t bounce around too much, so it was fair games. The umps did a good job.”
The College crew won three straight for the title. In addition to aggressive base running, the team excelled from the mound, despite having lost their top pitcher to an injury.
“Jacob Finton here, our starting pitcher, had a solid three innings,” said McNutt. “We lost our starting pitcher (Liam Hudson) to a sprained ankle – the best pitcher on our team – but the other guys stepped up and really came along. Josh Zaccarelli also pitched extremely well. Matthew Tremblay got a big hit, just creamed one deep. For the most part, every one just played solid. Zack Zimmerman played excellent all weekend, all season, whatever position he went in.”
The two teams had a much closer contest earlier in the day. Yukon College beat Dave’s 15-14 in the semifinal, pushing Dave’s to the bottom of the draw where they defeated third place’s M&M Meat Shops to reach the final.
“I was really proud of how we played like a team,” said Dave’s head coach Ryan Hennings. “They’re happy with their performance. They were in tough with that team. We have a lot of the younger age … We have a lot of 12-year-olds and they have all 13-year-olds – not that we’re making any excuses. We played well, we played hard and I’m proud of everyone.
“They came a long way, had fun, and I think that’s what’s most important.”
Office Supply Centre came together as a team when they needed to most. After losing to Canadian Tire earlier day, they bounced back to beat them 10-8 in the U-12 division final.
“They started out pretty rough, but they came together as a team near the end and they definitely learned some skills,” said Office Supply co-head coach Ryan Mannen. “They surprised us at some positions, but the thing I’m going to take away from it most is the teamwork. At the beginning of the season we had a real mix of different characters and they learned to play as a team.”
Office Supply lost three out of four games to Canadian Tire during the regular season.
Canadian Tire beat Office Supply by four runs in the semifinal, forcing the eventual champs to come up through the bottom of the draw and reach the final with a win over third place’s MacPherson Rentals.
“Our pitcher Cole (Cowan) was far and away the best pitcher in the league this year,” said Mannen.
“(First baseman) Paige (Stockley), who completely blossomed as a player, made that great catch at the end to win it for us.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org