Dramatic endings abound in the SPN Men's and Women's 'E' Nationals finals
The SPN Men's and Women's "E" Nationals wrapped up yesterday at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse with one tight game that went down to the wire and one that wasn't as close as expected, but still had some drama at the end.
Revised - The SPN Men’s and Women’s “E” Nationals wrapped up Monday at the Pepsi Softball Centre in Whitehorse with one tight game that went down to the wire and one that wasn’t as close as expected, but still had some drama at the end.
In women’s action, the Rangers from Ontario and KP’s from Alberta were tied 12-12 going into the top of the seventh.
KP knocked in four runs to take a 16-12 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Rangers got off to a promising start in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff single, but then the right centre fielder for the KP’s, Sarah Sugden, made a spectacular catch and doubled up the Ranger runner at second base for a very sudden two outs.
The Rangers scratched out a run after that, but couldn’t manage anymore, and the KP’s were “E” Nationals women’s champs.
Cindy Bogart, Coach of the KP’s, said the result was “awesome. It was good. It was really good. Got the old adrenalin just a pumpin’.”
When asked what enabled them to pull out the victory, Bogart quipped,
“We wanted it more than they did. No, I’ve got a great group of girls.”
The KP’s only lost one game all tournament. It was to the Rangers.
“So overall, we beat everybody here,” said Bogart.
She said that playing the Rangers before definitely helped.
“Oh, yes. We learned a lot from the first go-around. Corrected our mistakes from the first game and here we are.”
Bogart added, “Just love my girls. Takin’ gold back to Alberta.”
The men’s final featured the Hitmen from Sarnia, Ontario against the Alberta Nationals.
The Hitmen got off to a great start and were leading 15-0, but Alberta came back with three runs in the 4th inning.
The Hitmen managed to push one more across the plate in the fourth to make it 16-3 to increase the possibility of the mercy rule coming into effect but Alberta managed two more runs to avoid losing the game by the mercy rule.
It was 16-5 Hitmen going into the bottom of the fifth. They only needed one run to win by the 12-run after five innings mercy rule. With two outs, Robbie Waltham knocked in the championship-winning run for the Hitmen.
After the game, Hitmen coach Tyler Smith said, “It feels great ... long way to get here. Feels good.”
When asked if this made all the travel worth it, Smith responded, “Oh, hell yeah. Best feeling ever.”
Smith said of the championship game “It went good. We hit good, played good defence. They had to beat us twice. I’m glad they didn’t.”
Smith said they weren’t expecting to win by such a big score.
“No. It was a close game the first time we played them, we only beat em’ by one, so it was pretty close.”
Alberta coach Barry Bogart said, “We came up short in the final game. I wish we had more in us left but it is what it is, right? It’s still slo-pitch. It’s a game meant to be fun and we had fun.”
Bogart said the Alberta bats went cold in the final.
“Our bats were phenomenally hot until this game. This game here, not so much but – team game. We all played together. It’s not like a few of us let us down. It was all of us.”
Bogart called the overall experience “wicked. This has been a like a bucket list thing for me – to come up here to play ball in Whitehorse. We’ve been planning this trip for probably two and a half years, ever since it was announced they were gonna have it up here. It’s been everything we wanted. We came up here – great ball, great teams, everything was great. The diamonds are phenomenal, the town is great, right to even finding our rentals. Everything here has been awesome. Not a single complaint.”
The Alberta team was mainly from Central Alberta.
“The team is from all over,” said Bogart. “We’ve got some Whitecourt boys, we’ve got some Edson Boys, we’ve got some Drayton (Valley) boys, Leduc, Sherwood Park. I’m from a small town called Breton.”
Bogart added, “Just a wicked time. Glad to be here.”
The Star also ran into Barry Bogart Sr. who had a gold and silver medal draped around his neck, and is also from Breton, near Drayton Valley.
“We play most of our ball in Drayton Valley,” said the elder Bogart.
For the Bogarts, the “E” Nationals were a real family affair. Barry Bogart Sr. is married to KP’s coach, Cindy Bogart, and his son Barry of course coached the Alberta team that lost in the men’s final. His daughter-in-law, Jolene, also played for the KP’s.
Bogart Sr. said they had a great time in Whitehorse.
“We did. It was a fun, fun weekend.
“I coached on both teams. I was busy.
“I had fun. It was a good weekend. Good place, good diamonds. Everything was great.”
Daven Grikis of the Padres from Newfoundland, who was enjoying some chilli cooked up by a local transplanted from the Rock, said the “hospitality here was amazing. I’m very humbled by everybody here. Very comparable to home. I appreciate everyone that did a good job of it. It was really good.
“We placed fourth but I feel like we finished first.”
Softball Yukon Executive Director George Arcand said the tournament went really well.
We obviously lucked out with weather and only in the Yukon does it rain and sun shine, but it was great. Every team that came in was awesome. Yukon teams were really good. Played well, so, all-in-all, a really good tournament.”
Arcand said everything went pretty smoothly.
“It went great. We were almost on schedule, but even with that, we had lots of daylight, so it didn’t matter and it was great. Everybody had a good time and I think enjoyed themselves here in the Yukon.”
When asked if anything stood out for him, Arcand responded, “Not really, other than it’s my last major tournament in Yukon.
“I’m happy,” he added.
Next up is the season-ending tournament for the adult softball leagues, which play ball Aug 19-21.