Repeat winners in Dustball A divisions
Mike Thomas/Yukon News
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 womenâ€™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.
â€śA core group of girls have (been on the team for years) and then each year you pick up different people â€“ thereâ€™s always a few additions you bring on,â€ť she said. â€śThere are a few of us who have all played together and gone to the (slow-pitch) nationals a few times.â€ť
Yukon Gold won the game with four runs in the bottom of the seventh. Tied 13-13 with bases loaded, Goldâ€™s Leanne Brassard hit a line drive over third base to bring home the winning run.
â€śIt 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,â€ť said Stewart. â€śTwo of our players got injured during the game. So we used our bench.â€ť
As the teamâ€™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.
â€śLeanne hasnâ€™t played all year, actually,â€ť said Stewart. â€śWe just picked her up for the tournament â€“ asked her if she could help us out. But sheâ€™s a long-time ball player, so she can play. She knows every position.â€ť
Yukon Gold, who went undefeated in the tournament, also defeated YKAK - a combined team of Juneau and Yukon players â€“ in last yearâ€™s final.
Whitehorseâ€™s Raider Girlz placed third in the womenâ€™s A division.
Guns make it three in a row
Mike Thomas/Yukon News
Whitehorseâ€™s P&M Recycling Guns were finding the gaps in the Juneau Roundersâ€™ infield to win the menâ€™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.
â€śFrom the top to the bottom of the order, everybody did really, really good stuff,â€ť said Guns captain and first baseman Mike Tuton.
â€śIn the last inning there, we had no homeruns left and we just kept pounding the ball in the dirt and scoring the runs.â€ť
The Guns werenâ€™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.
â€śWe got in trouble with the homerun rule,â€ť said Tuton. â€ś(In the final) we had to make an adjustment. We knew they were going to limit us on our homeruns and it wasnâ€™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 weâ€™re going to get outs, we might as well make them work for it.â€ť
The Guns opened the game firing on all pistons. Their first five batters - Sheldon King, Shane King, Rob LaRose, Jessie Ritchie and Troy Cairns â€“ all scored before they accumulated a single out.
â€śIn the first inning, when our first five batters scored without any outs, it really gave us a jump in the game,â€ť said Tuton. â€śThen we shut them down without them getting any.
â€śThat set the tone for the game.â€ť
Taking third were Frankâ€™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 yearâ€™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 Whitehorseâ€™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.
â€śSo most of our runs came off of homeruns,â€ť said Donkeys pitcher Derek Baldwin. â€śIt was a defensive battle, really.
â€śWe just play one game at a time, go out there and try hard,â€ť he added, tossing out some clichĂ©s. â€śA hundred and 10 per cent all the time.â€ť
The Donkeysâ€™ title comes after a slow start to the season in the Whitehorse Co-Ed Slo-Pitch Softball League.
â€śWe had some early-season struggles. We didnâ€™t actually win our first game until last week,â€ť said Baldwin. â€śThen we won two last week and didnâ€™t lose this weekend.
â€śWe found our bats, I guess. There was no big change, we just played better defensively this weekend.â€ť
Batting their way to third in co-ed A were Whitehorseâ€™s BLC Knights.
This yearâ€™s Dustball saw 60 teams compete over nine divisions.
1st Jatâ€™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 Dâ€™s Wine Barrels (Whitehorse)
3rd Pink Ribbons (Whitehorse)
1st Mr. DJ (Whitehorse)
2nd Juneau Best (Juneau)
3rd Thibodeau Valley Liquor (Juneau)
1st Daveâ€™s Cleaning (Whitehorse)
2nd KK Mutts (Whitehorse)
3rd LSCFN (Carmacks)
1st Rabbit Creek Thumpers (Whitehorse)
2nd Kubota Hoes (Whitehorse)
3rd Puck Pockets (Whitehorse)