PORT HARDY — After watching Blue Sox shortstop Len Miller rob his team of yet another hit with a diving catch, Bushrats captain Adam Ireton strolled into the Blue Sox dugout between innings.
“I don’t know what they’re paying you, but we’ll match it,” Ireton said, flinging a Bushrats jersey at the laughing Miller.
Miller and his teammates certainly had the last laugh in the Filomi Days Slo-pitch tournament Sunday, claiming the A final with a 16-1 romp over the Bushrats in the highest-scoring game of the four-day tourney.
In an experimental format, the tourney was played strictly with wood bats, which depressed the high scores typical to the sport.
“The wood bats really introduce a new element to the game,” said Glenn Moore of Port McNeill, who scored the only run in the Talons’ 1-0 win over Port Alice in the tourney’s B Final. “It’s a lot more about defense. You really have to hit the ball well to get a hit.”
The Blue Sox did plenty of that in the lopsided A final, banging out a staggering 24 hits in a tournament that produced a previous high score of 10 runs.
Miller had four hits, including two doubles, en route to earning male MVP honours in the A division. Teammate Alex Mattes went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, and Jake Colbourne had three hits and four RBIs and came the closest to hitting a home run by banging a ball high off the left-field fence that went for one of his two doubles.
Aaron Miller, Brian Texmo and Janey Henschke added three hits each.
“A good, old-fashioned, out-behind-the-barn whuppin’, is what this is,” Dean Hunchuk said from the Bushrats bench as he watched the Blue Sox close out the assault with four runs in the seventh inning.
The Bushrats, meanwhile, managed just four hits total. They scored their lone run when Kevin Smith led off the second inning with a double and came around on a two-out single by Christie Morrison.
The Talons essentially clinched their B final victory in the top of the first inning. Moore led off the game with a single and, following another hit, found himself hung up between third and home. When the relay throw went to third base, he simply bolted the other way and crossed the plate with the game’s only run as the teams posted bagels for the next six-and-a-half innings.
“Never throw behind the runner,” Moore said with a grin.
The C final went to the Salmon Kings with a 7-1 win over the Rez.