PORT ALICE—Load ‘Em Up took the top spot in the fifth annual Fred Donaldson Memorial Slo-pitch Tournament last weekend after a hard-fought comeback against the Blue Sox.
A field of ten teams went through a round-robin stage Friday night and Saturday to determine the standings for Sunday’s playoffs. Load ‘Em up took out the Generals early Sunday to earn their final berth after coming through the round-robin stages unbeaten, while the Blue Sox, also unbeaten before the final, dispatched the Woodchuckers in the other semifinal to claim their spot.
After a single base hit between the teams in the first inning left the game tied scoreless, Cody Diotte hit an RBI double to right field to open the scoring for the Blue Sox in the second. Load ‘Em Up, true to their name, got the bases loaded in response but were unable to open their account.
A left field, two-RBI double from Ryan Handley extended the Sox’s lead in the third. With one out in the third, Load ‘Em Up got on the board with an RBI of their own before a superb second-to-first double play from the Blue Sox dented their momentum.
A series of fielding errors in the top of the fourth allowed the Blue Sox to go 6-1 up before Load ‘Em Up’s Tony Knighton smashed a home run with a runner aboard to bring the score to 6-3.
A solo homer from Handley to open the fifth added to the Sox’s tally before Load ‘Em Up turned the game on its head. Three catches in a row put paid to the rest of the Sox’s order and sent Load ‘Em Up to bat four runs behind the competition.
A base hit to open was followed by a homer and RBI from Mitch Nelson. Two ground outs could have blunted the momentum but instead the side got a third base hit followed by back-to-back RBIs. Another base hit was followed by a homer and RBI before the Sox got their third out via a force play and found themselves trailing 7-9 going into the sixth.
As in the fifth, three catches in a row by Load ‘Em Up made for a quick turnaround and, on bat, the side had found its groove. A two-run double from Jim Clair was followed by an RBI from Knighton to stretch the lead to 12-7 and leave the Sox in a tough position going into the final inning.
The Sox got two on base after a strikeout and a catch in deep centre field, but the target was too much to ask and a swing for the fences at left field was caught by Knighton to give the title to Load ‘Em Up.
In the B Division, the Fire Ballers put paid to Playing Hard and the Ballerz dispatched the Aces to make the final, the Fire Ballers taking the title.
The C Division saw Multiple Scoregasms beating out Storm for the win.