Dan Boyd | Contributed
Sooke Logger players found it difficult to say, “We were beaten by a better team,” but when you can go 7-0 in a Canadian national championship and outscore your opponents 41-13 only to then face one other team in three games including Sunday’s National Championship game and be outscored 27-1 in three games, it left a number of softball observers scratching their head.
The other team was the Newfoundland Galway Hitmen who captured their fifth Canadian National Senior Men’s Fastpitch Softball championship in six years Sunday afternoon in St. Croix, Nova Scotia by a score of 8-0 over the Loggers.
On Sunday, the Loggers played their third consecutive game against the Hitmen which was called after five innings due the seven-run mercy rule.
Scott Lieph suffered the pitching loss with relief help from Jared Cooper.
The Loggers managed only one hit, a double by Derek Mason who literally had a monster week at the nationals as he was selected the round-robin MVP after hitting .462 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in six games.
The top batter in the tournament was player-coach Kris Walushka who hit .563 and scored nine runs.
Leiph was ejected from Saturday night’s 7-0 loss to the Hitmen after hitting Ryan Boland with a pitch after the teams had cleared the benches in a brawl in the first inning.
On Sunday, Lieph gave up a solo home run in the second inning and then allowed three more runs in the sixth after hitting a batter and allowing two singles before giving up a bases loaded double.
The Loggers allowed the Hitmen to load the bases in the Bottom of the fifth inning on three consecutive walks before Ryan Boland hit a monstrous home run deep over the right field fence to end the game. It was the sixth hit of the day allowed by Logger pitching.
Entering Sunday’s game, the Loggers advanced to the championship game defeating Elmira, Ont., 2-1. Derek Mason led off the second inning with a home run.
Elmira tied the game at 1-1 in their half of the sixth with a triple, a walk and then an error by the Loggers allowed them their only run. It only stayed tied 1-1 until Dan Lee homered with two out in the bottom half of the sixth.
As a result of Saturday night’s brawl and Galway owner and former Premier Danny Williams who went onto the field from the Newfoundland bench, Softball Canada supervisors met into the wee mornings of Sunday watching video from all angles and as a result, Loggers catcher Kyle Cowick was handed an additional one game suspension and did not play in the Elmira game.
Both the Loggers and Galway-Hitmen were also both given stern warnings that if anything else transpired between the two teams the remainder of the tournament, they would be risking the loss of any medals they may win. As a result Sunday’s championship final was played without any difficulty.