The Vigilantes share a team cheer before their championship game at Dustball. Casey Grove
Vigilantes fall in close Dustball final
By CASEY GROVE
The Dustball tournament in Whitehorse is a softball extravaganza and a multisensory experience: Dust bombards the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin as gusts of wind whip up dirt from the ballfields.
But nobody was complaining. The beer flowed constantly at the concession stand and cheers for big hits or good defensive plays filled the air, sometimes simultaneously, from each of the five fields at the Takhini softball complex and the three fields at Robert Service Memorial park.
Dustball 2005 featured a record 80 teams and more than 1,000 players. Three local squads, the Vigilantes, Nipples & Nuts and the Shockers, made the journey north to the contest.
The Vigilantes lost their first game, but bounced back and won three straight to put themselves in the championship for the coed C division.
Sunday, July 17 started with rain, and the continuing sprinkles turned the previously dusty tournament into a muckfest.
The Vigilantes got a slow start in the final against Akak Air and had 11 runs scored against them in the first three innings, with only a single run in response. But the resilient Skagway team came back from a 10-run deficit, and rallied to within one run by the 6th inning.
In the end though, the Vigilantes could not stop Akaks strong bats as the Inuvik team drove in two more runs in the final innings. The Vigilantes ended up losing 13-10 and grabbed second place.
It was a good run, said the Vigilantes coach David Mielke. I thought everyone played really well.
Nipples & Nuts catcher Michelle Calver stops the run at home plate as the umpire calls an out. Nipples & Nuts finished the Dustball tournament in 3rd place for the coed B division. Casey Grove
Nipples & Nuts, sponsored by Skagway True Value Hardware, fought their way through the coed B division, winning their first four games. But that early momentum wasnt enough to get the team into the championship game.
We only played one bad game, against Casa Loma who ended up winning, said John ODaniel. There were definitely tougher teams up there this year.
As a whole, it was our second best performance ever, ODaniel said. Nipples & Nuts won the tournament last year and took third this time around. ODaniel said he was pleased that his team played well against A division mens players, who, thanks to a last-minute rule change, were allowed to compete in the coed brackets as well.
We know we can play against those guys, ODaniel said. It was lots of fun.
The Shockers, Skagways only team to compete in the mens division, did not fare as well. By Saturday, the team had been bumped from the tournament bracket and spent the rest of the weekend rooting on their fellow Skagway teams.
The Skagway Coed League season-ending tournament is Aug. 5-6, with the championship game scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Mitch Snyder of Skagway tees off as teammate Jim Sager watches the shot in the 14th annual WHS/SKY Cup last weekend at the Mountain View links in the Yukons capital. The annual challenge tournament between Whitehorse and Skagway golfers was won again by the Yukon crowd. Skagway still can claim just two victories in 1993 and 1997, although team captain Snyder said they were up a match at one point on the final day. Low man for the Skagway team this year was Tanner Hanson with a 78 (who can claim bragging rights at Jewell Construction), followed by Jeff Hammermeister with a 79. Its all about the fun, said Snyder. Photo courtesy of Gary Hanson