Adam Schnarr in good form at a practice session in Sooke.

High hopes smashed as Loggers meet with disappointment at the ISC

Sooke Loggers had a great season overall, but did not fare as well as they expected at the ISC Worlds.

The Sooke Loggers entered the ISC tournament with high hopes. And with good reason. Their performance this season has been phenomenal. Not only did they perform well, they won almost every tournament they entered. You could count their individual losses on one hand.

  • May 19, the Sooke Loggers won the Kelowna May Days tournament.
  • June 16, the Sooke Loggers won the NAFA Open-Holm Classic title.
  • June 23, they won the inaugural BC Cup in Vancouver’s South Memorial Park.
  • On July 31, they took the Fourth Annual California Classic on Sunday.

Their only loss of the season was against the Randy A’s in the Bob Law Memorial Challenge ending on July 21, where they made it all the way to the finals and then slumped in a 5 – 1 defeat.

They entered the ISC World Tournament ranked eighth overall. Their odds were good.

But even good odds in the past can’t guarantee success in the future.

The Loggers played their first game at the ISC on Sunday Aug. 11 against Kitchener’s Bell Cartage Outlaws, and enjoyed a 10 – 4 victory. Their second game, played on Monday, was close and humbling, as they squared off against the Bloomington Styx and lost 4 – 3. Third up was on Tuesday, against the Bell Cartage Outlaws, which saw a 4 – 1 win.

Their fatal exit game was played on Wednesday when they met the Houston Carnage.

The first three innings were scoreless. Then, in the top of the fourth, Houston hit the ball out of the park, and ran in two players for a 2-0 lead.

The Loggers, play as they might, could not catch up.

By the bottom of the seventh, the game looked pretty grim. The Loggers had not gotten anyone on base to threaten a tie.

With hopes rapidly fading, two out and not even a man on base, Klye Cowick gets up to bat, hits one, and gets on base. Then, Adam Schnarr comes to bat, and with a count of two balls, two strikes, Schnarr hits one that is almost (but not quite) out of the park and he runs in Kyle for their first point of the game. “Six feet short of tying this game up,” said the announcer.

The nailbiting begins.

Next up, with the finality of two out weighing heavily on his mind, Chris Walushka steps up to bat. According to one of the game’s announcers, Chris Walushka was “doing a good job at the plate. He’s making sure he stays aggressive.”

Two strikes later and no balls, the stakes are high — for both teams.

Bottom of the seventh, two out, and two strikes, one man on base … and Lo! there is a strategic time out: the Carnage managers come out to chat with their pitcher.

The announcer contemplated the timeout as a tactic. “I think this might be … a very smart ploy on the side of the Carnage. You’re just halting play, just a bit. You’re giving Walushka time to think about the fact that he is in the hole no balls and two strikes. So you extend that a bit, you  give [the Carnage pitcher] a little bit of time to regroup … and we’ll see what transpires here.”

As Yogi Berra once ever-so-famously said, “Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.”

Strategy or not, it worked. The game resumed and Walushka swung at the pitch … and missed. Strike three. The game was over, and the Loggers were out.

Looking back, Manager Len Banner noted, they pitched well and played a good defence. “We just couldn’t get the bats going for some reason, Adam Schnarr was the only player that really hit consistent the whole week.”

Again, the wisdom of Yogi Berra comes in handy here. “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”

Still, the loss stung. “It’s a bit frustrating that there are four teams that we have beaten this year still left in the final eight,” said Banner.

Although all things considered, it was a good season.

“I’m sure once we get over the loss we can look back at the season and be pretty satisfied with the way the season went for us,” wrote Banner in correspondence. “I’m proud of the boys from the Island, on a budget a quarter of the big teams, of what we did over the last two years.”

In only two years of playing at the international level, the Loggers have put Sooke on the international fastpitch map as a contender. We, in Sooke, have a world-class men’s fastpitch team, and the pride of the community is clear.

Consider the comments on our Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/SookeNewsMirror)

  • Michelle McInnis Connor writes, “Too bad but a great run!!! They should be very proud of themselves for making as far as they did!!! Congrats “Boys” !!!!”
  • Nel Burger Sooke Loggers reflects, “should be proud to attend the tournament, you have to play well to get there. It’s not always about winning, the experience is a win in itself. Well done Sooke Loggers!!”
  • Jan Radford comments, “Sad to hear but way to go for them for doing so well. They should be very proud of their accomplishments! We are!”

And on the Sooke Logger’s Fastball Club’s Facebook fan page,  surge of community support is equally apparent.

And once the disappointment of this loss is put behind them, they too will rise from the ashes. “The Loggers will be back next year to take on the best players in the world,” promised Banner.

And the ISC? Well, the title ultimately went to the number-two-ranked team, the Hill United Chiefs, from Six Nations, Ontario, with a 1 – 0 victory over New York.