Nakusp’s Zac Wethal, frustrated by his performance during the regular slo-pitch season, cracked a dramatic seventh inning, walkoff, home run Sunday to give SSP an 11-9 victory over Calgary’s Go Tux Yourself at the 32nd Annual Nakusp Mixed Slo-Pitch Tournament.
SSP had carried a 6-4 lead after six frames, but Tux rallied in the top of the final inning to take the lead, 9-6. Ryan Struck, who had brought SSP back from a 4-1 deficit with a three-run homer in the third, singled to drive in a pair. Down by one, SSP got runners aboard on a fielder’s choice and a walk with two out. Wethal, who worked out on his hitting with his dad Darren just days before the tourney, promptly slammed one over the left field fence to delight the local fans.
SSP later trounced the Vernon Black Sox 30-5 to assure a place in the playoffs for top money of $1,500.
Another of Nakusp’s entries, the Grey Jays, also made the final round with three wins in four games.
Three teams go into the playoffs with perfect, 4-0, records, the Browns of Kelowna, D-Bags, a team from Creston-Castlegar and Trail’s Kootenay Tomahawks.
The Eagles of Spokane, Washington, are again headed for final day play with three wins in four games. They were beaten 11-10 by the Cut-Offs of Golden, BC, in the thriller of the tournament on Saturday which saw the game end with a sensational bases loaded catch in left centre field by Tim Collins of the Cut-Offs who got a relay to catcher Krista Hakeman for an out at home for a game ending double play.
The tournament featured nearly two dozen blowouts with the two Cherryville teams suffering the most lopsided losses, 40-4 to the D-Bags of Creston-Castlegar, 44-6 to Calgary’s Go Tux and 45-6 to the defending champion Idiots of Kelowna.
In the highly popular Home Run Derby Sunday, Sam Fillion of the Browns of Kelowna won the womens’ event and teammate Matt Stang capture the mens’ derby. Fillion was the star of the Browns’ Saturday victory over a Castlegar squad. She hit for the cycle with a homer, triple, double and two singles.
Tournament notes: Park announcer Charlie Granewall marked his 30th summer in the broadcast both. Spokane’s Roger Williamson has played in all but one of the 32 tournaments and teammate Kerry Pease has missed just two. A total of 20 teams competed in this year’s event. Saturday action was briefly interrupted by a black bear sighting in the neighbourhood and the beaning of the Arrow Lakes Reporter by a foul ball. Both the bear and the reporter escaped unharmed.