Above, the Moe’s team leads the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Season-ending tournament played out by historic rivals
RBI’s hopes for three-peat dashed as Hambones climb back to top

Story and Photos by Ani Drozdowska

If the Skagway Coed Softball League championship game seemed familiar, it was. This year’s season-ending tournamens was played out by historic rivals.
In nine of the last 10 years, RBI and Hamilton have competed for the trophy. Since 1999, Hamilton held firm onto the tournament championship, winning five consecutive years. In 2004 and 2005, RBI won back-to-back titles. This year Hamilton prevented the threepeat, and upon the win, Hambones captain John L. O’Daniel welcomed the trophy back.
All eight Skagway teams competed in the two-day tournament which started on Friday, July 28. Under an unusually hot July sun, Hamilton Construction beat RBI 5-2 in double elimination.
When asked about the Hamilton win, Wade Brown of RBI stated, “I would have rather seen Moe’s or the Liquor Store win for a change, but they played a great tournament; they deserved to win.”
His comment seemed to be the consensus for the day. This is Hamilton’s second tournament win this season. During the Fourth of July tournament the Hambones also defeated RBI in the championship. With so many trophies for Hamilton’s team, Mel Telloni of Alaska Liquor joked, “Like they really need another trophy.”
The Hamilton team played an undeniably great season. Team member Cindy O’Daniel attributes the success of the team to their pixie dust and red shoes.
Moe’s team captain Cory Thole quipped, “One day I will have stolen all their pixie dust and they will go down to Moe’s in the championship.”
Until that day comes, Hamilton remains the team to beat.

The RBI and Hambone teams congratulate each other on another fine championship game.

“The trophy is back where it belongs,” said Hambone Nate Jennings about the win.
In third place, Moes Frontier Bar from the bleachers cheered on the teams, singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game “ during the seventh inning stretch. Moe’s finished the season in first place in the standings. “Best in five years,” Thole affirmed, when asked about this year’ss Moe’s team. Like other teams, Moe’s was missing key players in the finals.
Ben Seale of RBI added, “It’s interesting to see who comes to play in the tournament, because the teams that started the season are different than who ends them.”
Between injuries, work schedules and college, many teams lost players. This year the Haines Fair was moved two weeks earlier, which coincided with the playoffs.


Rhianna Mitchell of Skagway shows off with her derby-leading Dolly Varden, and Bill Atkinson of Whitehorse with the top Yukon king so far. AC & EP

There once was a salmon who swallowed a squid...

Many brave souls faced rain and high water last weekend for Skagway’s second Pat Moore Memorial Game Fish Derby.
Prizes abounded for a wide variety of categories. For example, Travis Jemmett, a pedi-cab driver, won a prize for being the first seasonal worker to bring a fish in. The fish happened to hold distinction as the smallest of the day as well at 9.4 pounds.
Holding onto first place through the first weekend was Ryan Spencer for his 21.4 pounder. Spencer hails from Troup, Tex.
The day before the derby began, Greg Jones said he caught a 40-pound fish. “Here’s the derby winner right here,” he said before releasing the proverbial “her” back into the waters in the hopes the twain would meet again.
While Jones never had a reunion with the one that got away, on Saturday those aboard Jones’ charter boat, Dock Holiday, were treated to a solid 15-minute session of breaching whales.
Bill Atkinson, with lucky derby ticket number 1234, caught an 18.9 pound beauty that held a solid third place on Sunday. “If anybody wants to know where I caught it, it was by the hole in the wall,” said Atkinson, before his wife Ellie could stop him from revealing the location. “I don’t care,” he laughed.
It seems Atkinson interrupted the king salmon’s snack, as the gutting process of the fish revealed a squid in its mouth and five in its stomach. Since the beginning of his fishing career at age 10, Atkinson said he’d never seen anything like it.
Derby Chairman Andrew Cremata gleaned much inspiration from the Haines fishing derby, which has been going on for 25 years. He attributed much credit to Kim Larson of Haines for helping out.
“This year we’ve been really lucky with volunteers,” said Cremata. Proceeds from the event go toward the Taiya Inlet Watershed Council.
The derby concludes Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. with a salmon bake (what else?) at Pullen Park.