PORT HARDY—The game was closer than the score would indicate, but it’s still fair to say the Port Hardy Fast Balls ran away with the men’s championship in the annual Indian Summer Classic tournament Sunday at Beaver Harbour Ballpark.
Utilizing aggressive and opportunistic baserunning — along with some timely hitting — the Fast Balls upended the top-seeded Woss Brewers 11-5 in the men’s fastpitch portion of the tourney.
It was a similar story in the women’s slo-pitch final, where the Quatsino T-birds parlayed a couple of big innings into a 13-4 victory over top-seeded and previously unbeaten Combo B.
Fast Balls 11, Brewers 5
Winning pitcher Brian White and Brayden Demoe each drove in a pair of runs for the Fast Balls, who got a balanced offensive effort while keeping the Brewers at bay with solid defence.
Shelby Cockell made several running catches from his spot in centre field, and shortstop Jake Colbourne extended deep into the hole to rob the Brewers’ Chris Carlson of a hit for the game’s final out.
“It was a pretty good game,” said Jordan Campbell, who celebrated his birthday with the win for the fastballs. “We had good pitching, and the defence showed up.”
Cockell led off the game with a bloop single and came around to score without another bat being swung, setting the tone for a game in which the Brewers struggled defensively in a five-error performance.
Cockell raced to second on a wild pitch and came all the way around to score when catcher Ivan Hall’s throw to second sailed into the outfield. It was more of the same in the fifth inning, when the Fast Balls broke open a 2-2 game with a five-run outburst. The carnage began with two runs scoring on a fielder’s choice ground ball that never left the infield and included a two-run bloop double by White and Cockell’s sharply hit RBI single.
Two more runs in the sixth inning pushed the Fast Balls’ lead to 9-3 and chased Brewers starter Bill Rushton.
“Billy’s a really good pitcher,” said Roger Yuri, who gave the Fast Balls a 2-1 lead with a second-inning double. “But we finally started catching up with him.”
The Brewers never led, but came back twice to tie the game 1-1 and 2-2 before the Fast Balls’ big outburst. Brad Galeazzi, Ivan Hall, Rushton and Ray Bono each delivered RBI singles, and Chris Carlson and Hall had two hits each in the loss.
“They’re a classy team,” Campbell said with a nod to the Brewers’ dugout after the game. “It’s always a good game when you play them.”
Combo B 4
Janey Henschke’s double staked Combo B to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but that proved to be the team’s high point as the Quatsino club charged back to win going away.
The T-birds bounced quickly back with seven runs in the bottom of the first — and were limited only by the five-run rule.
Alysha Nelson and Tara Nelson had run-scoring doubles, Trish Speck and Erin Klatt also drove in runs, and the T-birds got three straight bases-loaded walks to end the inning having batted around without recording an out.
Combo B closed to 7-4 with two more runs in the second, getting five consecutive singles, but left the bases loaded and never crossed home plate the rest of the game.
“It was good defence,” T-bird infielder Arlene Clair said.