Field Notes

The Brew Co. players hoist their championship trophy.

Brew Co. wins coed softball championship

The Skagway Brewing Company beat the Skagway High School team 16-9 in the championship game of the season-ending tournament for the Skagway Coed Softball League. The tournament was held the first weekend in August.
Brew Co. outfielder Nate Kaczmerek had this to say:
“Graham and Nate took the tournament to a new level. It was a team effort but the Kaczmereks were driving the Brew Co bus and thus were able to rise above and in the end the trophy was theirs.”
They basked in their own glory, albeit imaginary.
Graham added, “Nate went 4 for 5 and I went 5 for 5, with three home runs, two doubles, and at least three broken hearts.”
The idyllic statistics have not been backed by anyone. Not even other members on their own team. A bruised, if not broken heart, might be of Brooklyn Merkwan, his girlfriend who took a ball to the face at first, after a bad hop from Graham at the shortstop position.
Fantasy and heartache aside, the High School played a good game and in the 3rd inning were ahead 9-7, but failed to produce another run. Coach Bruce Weber said they had good relays, knew the fundamentals, and had the basic plays down.
The championship game was their fourth game in a row.
“I was impressed (with the High School team),” mentioned Jeffery Hitt after watching the tournament.
The season’s conclusion was unusual and unpredictable.
The original schedule had the final tournament slated for the weekend before Whitehorse’s Dust Ball Tournament. On that schedule each team played each other once.
The weekend before the Skagway Tournament was to be held, the season was extended to include eight teams. The top two teams, Hambones and B&S Plumbing, opted not to continue the season. The last place team, Chilkat Guides (with a perfect losing streak), was excluded from the second round. In the second round the eight remaining teams played five games and the tournament without Hambones or B&S. – ANI DROZDOWSKA

Valerie Jensen kicks hard toward the finish line. Molly Dischner

Skagway runners among top finishers in Yukon River Trail Marathon

Skagway’s Valerie Jensen fought to the finish of leg four in the 10th annual Yukon River Trail Marathon relay in Whitehorse on August 3.
“It’s frustrating,” said Jensen, “I’m neck and neck with this lady and I’m busting my butt to pass her on the uphill just to be passed at the top.”
Jensen’s team ‘Run 4 Fun’ (which included teammates Jaime Butler, Heather Seale, and Kelly Roberts) finished in second place out of the 21 four-person relay teams participating.
Things stepped up a notch in this year’s Yukon River Trail Marathon. The competition was fiercer and the little race drew a wide selection of competitors. Runners came from as far as Colorado and Florida to run – not bad for a race of only 212 people.
Considered one of the hardest marathon courses in North America, The event includes a marathon and half-marathon, and participants can run the marathon individually, in teams of two, or in teams of four. The route follows a myriad of hiking and ski trails throughout Miles Canyon; the trails are often sandy and the route renowned for its deceptively steep hills.
Veteran runners found this year’s back-country course to be much better marked than last year’s, with water stations well-placed throughout the race. At least one water station was carried into the woods along the course for several miles to be set up on top of a monstrous hill in leg three of the race.
Along with Run 4 Fun, Skagway was represented by the O’Daniel family, whose team ‘Kaylie’s Followers’ (with Kaylie O’Daniel running leg one, followed by Teresa Wilson, Cindy O’Daniel, and John O’Daniel) took fifth place for mixed-gendered relay teams. Skagwegian Jason Jones finished the half-marathon—his first-ever race—in seventh place.
And Ben Seale, last year’s top marathon finisher, set a personal record with a time of 3 hours and 37 minutes.
“The thing that sucks is you set your PR (personal record) and guys still come in before you,” said Seale, who shaved a full hour off his time from his first Yukon River Trail Marathon five years ago.
Seale finished in third place, a good illustration of how the race is getting newer (and faster) blood. Yet perhaps the blood coursing through racers’ veins this year will only serve to spur on faster Yukon River Trail Marathons in the future.
“Competition is good because it makes you go faster,” said Jensen of her tit-for-tat leg four.
Jensen was well matched with the anchor racer of Whitehorse team ‘8 Cheeks to the Wind.’ The two women took turns in the lead; Jensen finished a short minute and a half behind 8 Cheeks to the Wind’s first-place finish.
This year’s race also marked a sounding bell in the fights of larger life challenges. For Heather Seale, it was her first race since giving birth to her daughter eight months ago, and an acid test of her post-baby training. For Teresa Wilson, it was a triumph over cancer; she completed chemotherapy treatment just one year ago.
In the end, this race is a fight of man vs. nature more than man vs. man. Whether busting a lung to climb a steep hill or sprinting through sandy soil, the challenging course and raw natural beauty serve as humbling reminders of our own physical limits.