Al Rushton launches one of three home runs by the Dustmen in the decisive sixth inning of Tuesday's win over the Woodchuckers in the final of the Port McNeill Slo-pitch playoffs at Centennial Field.

Dustmen claim McNeill slo-pitch title

PORT McNEILL-Two home runs, seven RBI from Ivan Hall fuel come-from-behind, 13-10 win over Woodchuckers

PORT McNEILL—Ivan Hall hit two home runs, including a go-ahead, grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning, as the Dustmen rallied for a 13-10 win over the Woodchuckers in the championship final of the Port McNeill Slo-pitch Association’s league playoff tournament Tuesday at Centennial Field.

Hall finished with seven RBI as the Dustmen bounced back from an 18-6 loss to the Woodchuckers one night earlier that forced the “if-necessary” rematch in the double-elimination tourney.

“We just wanted to build up the anticipation,” Dustmen infielder Ashlynne Moore joked of Monday’s loss. “And we wanted a tune-up for the (OrcaFest) tournament this weekend.”

Following a pattern that fit all three of the teams’ meetings in the league tourney, the Woodchuckers jumped out to the early lead. Home runs by Aaron Desbiens and Dustin Carmen staked the Woodchuckers to a 4-0 lead in the third inning and another, three-run homer by Carmen in the fourth made it 8-2.

But Hall followed singles by Keith Balcke and Ryan Rushton and a fielder’s choice by his wife, Kendra Parnham Hall, with a three-run blast in the fifth inning to draw the Dustmen to 8-5. In the sixth, he came to bat with the bases loaded and lofted the ball over the fence in right-center field to give the Dustmen their first lead, at 10-8. The team kept the inning going, with a solo homer by Glenn Moore and a two-run shot by Al Rushton making the lead 13-8 and ending the inning to the five-run rule.

“Our hitting was a lot better today,” said Jessica Garrick, first baseman for the Dustmen.

“We got some real key hits from our ladies today,” pitcher Glenn Moore added. “That was big, because it meant there were more baserunners when Ivan came up.”

Kendra Hall reached and scored three times, Ashlynne Moore was 2-for-4 with a triple, and Aleta Rushton reached base for the first time in two nights and scored as part of the team’s sixth-inning eruption.

The Woodchuckers were not finished. Brandi Payne and Randy Hunt started a rally in the top of the seventh with singles and, one out later, Matt Miller drove in Payne with another single. After a fly out left the Woodchuckers down to their final out, John Klughart drove a hit off the fence in left field. Hunt came home with another run, but Miller was tagged out trying to advance to third on a throw from Ryan Rushton to his uncle Al.

“They’ve got some great hitters over there,” Glenn Moore, the Dustmen pitcher, said with a nod to the Woodchuckers dugout. “They’re a tough team to pitch against. You just try to keep the ball off the middle of the plate, but you know they’re gonna get you eventually.”

Carmen finished 3-for-4 with four RBI, Hunt had three hits and Shanna Laflamme was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs for the ‘Chuckers.

Richard Balcke had a 3-for-3 night at the plate for the Dustmen, who along with the Woodchuckers will be back in action this weekend in the annual OrcaFest tournament, which runs Friday through Sunday.