PORT ALICE — Who Senciw went three years between appearances in a North Island slo-pitch tournament.
The layoff didn’t seem to hurt a bit.
The Port Alice team, cobbled together for just the second time, capped an unlikely run to the A division title with a 15-6 win over Load ’em Up of Port Hardy in the 3rd Annual Fred Donaldson Memorial Tournament at Angus Dawson Memorial Ballpark.
The last time the team was assembled was for an appearance in the 2008 Indian Summer Classic in Port Hardy. And it won that tourney, as well.
“It’s kind of a family team,” said Toby Roberts, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs to pace the winners. “The Senciws, of course. The Bradshaws, the Grays and Robertses. And a couple stranglers.”
“Stranglers?” teammate Kirstie Bradshaw asked.
Roberts scanned the dugout to inspect his celebrating teammates.
“Well, yeah, I guess we got some stranglers, too,” he said.
Who Senciw, which snuck into the A bracket as the fourth and lowest-seeded team, certainly throttled the competiton once it got there.
The team beat the top-seeded 67’s in the semifinals, then shut down a Load ’em Up team that averaged 19 runs per game while sweeping unbeaten into the final. Load ’em Up was coming off the championship of the annual OrcaFest tournament in Port McNeill and was seeking to extend its unbeaten tournament streak to 10 games.
“I forgot what it’s like to lose,” Load ’em Up player/coach Steve Clair joked. “It was a good game, but I think we beat ourselves.”
Load ’em Up suffered several key errors in the field and had a key baserunning gaffe while at the plate. The squad was never able to put together a big inning against Who Senciw, which jumped ahead 6-1 after two innings and, after Load ’em Up closed to 6-4, added five runs in the fourth and four more in the sixth.
The father-daughter duo of Ken and Kristie Bradshaw each had three hits and two RBIs and took male and female MVP honours in the A Division for Who Senciw. Team namesake Matt Senciw added three hits and scored three runs, Rory Webb had three hits and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and Kristy Gray drove in two runs.
Brian Texmo and Jim Johnson each hit solo home runs for Load ’em Up, Arlene Clair blasted a two-run double and Mike Cox laced an RBI triple.
The Lucky Baggers of Port Alice, runners-up in last year’s A final, claimed the B final this season by edging the Bandits of Port Hardy, 13-12. The Runs, last year’s A champion, topped the Ballerz in a C final between Port Hardy clubs.
3nd Annual Fred Donaldson Memorial Tournament
At Angus Dawson Memorial Ballpark, Port Alice
Final: Who Senciw 15, Load ’em Up 6
Third: 67s; Fourth: Woodchuckers
MVP — Male: Ken Bradshaw, Who Senciw; Female: Kirstie Bradshaw, Who Senciw.
Most Sportsmanlike — Male: Tony Knighton, Load ’em Up; Female: Raylene Clair, Load ’em Up.
Final: Lucky Baggers 13, Bandits 12
3rd: Generals. 4th: Salmon Kings.
MVP — Male: Mike Schofield, Lucky Baggers; Female: Sterryn Lazarowitz.
Most Sportsmanlike — Male: Dave Stewart, Lucky Baggers; Female: Nikki Therrien, Bandits.
Final: The Runs def. Ballerz
3rd: Rekkers. 4th: Rez.
MVP — Male: Len Miller, The Runs; Female: Janey Henschke, The Runs.
Most Sportsmanlike: Male: Jim Paul, Ballerz; Female: Izzy Nelson, Ballerz.
Most Sportsmanlike Team
(Free entry to 2012 tournament)
Woodchuckers 20, Lucky Baggers 11
Who Senciw 15, Bandits 5
67s 22, Rez 12
Salmon Kings 17, Generals 16
Ballerz 13, Rekkers 8
Load ’em Up 23, The Runs 21
Woodchuckers 19, Who Senciw 17
Generals 13, Rez 8
Bandits 9, Salmon Kings 7
67s 15, Rekkers 3
Load ’em Up 15, Generals 4
Lucky Baggers 10, Ballerz 2
Bandits 14, The Runs 14 (tie)
67s 11, Salmon Kings 8
Lucky Baggers 11, Rez 0
Load ’em Up 20, Rekkers 10
Who Senciw d. Ballerz
Woodchuckers 15, The Runs 6