© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Pipestone Pirates catcher Chris Lang hammers a pitch from Moose Jaw Canadians pitcher X Tremblay for a triple in the fifth inning as the Pirates scored five runs and won the Softball Saskatchewan Senior ‘C’ Men’s Provincial Championship on Sunday in Prince Albert.
In the end, nobody could find an answer for the Pipestone Pirates.
The undefeated team, which was pulled together from three teams in the southeastern corner of the province, won all but one of their games via the mercy rule en route to their first-ever Softball Saskatchewan Senior ‘C’ Men’s Provincial Championship.
They beat the Moose Jaw Canadians 8-1 in the final on Sunday afternoon.
Pipestone pitcher Keenan Haight was impressed that it wasn’t a matter of a team riding one or two players to the win.
“We hit the bats really well all weekend and our pitchers came to play and that’s really all we needed,” he said. “The whole team really put it together.”
In the round-robin, the Pirates beat the Conquest Capitals 10-3, the Moose Jaw Canadians 11-3, the Prince Albert Pirates 7-6 and the Saskatoon Padres 9-2.
In the playoffs, they beat both the P.A. Liteway Jays and the Kelvington Comets by scores of 13-5 to reach the final.
The final was close through four innings.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the third, the Canadians’ Dane Roy hit a long home run over the big fence in left field to draw his team within a run.
It was as close as the Canadians would get, despite scattering seven hits over five innings.
“It is never fun coming in second and losing in the final,” Roy told Katie Brickman of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. “This was our third time losing in the finals since I can remember in the last five years.”
The team nearly withdrew prior to the 14-team tournament because of a lack of players but instead were able to ride a short bench to the final.
The Pirates clinched the provincial title with a five-run explosion in the bottom of the fifth to earn a mercy rule victory.
They used a home run by Ian Glasser, a triple, three singles, a walk and an error in the fifth to push across the runs. Quinn Glasser’s single with two runners on base brought the game to an early close
James Holiwoty was the winning pitcher while X Tremblay took the loss.
Three pitchers shared the mound for the Pirates in the tournament, giving up 25 runs in seven games.
“You knew as a pitcher that you were going to get the run support; all you had to do was batten down the hatches and help the guys out and get the outs,” Haight said. “It made it quite a bit easier.”
The busy weekend took its toll on the teams, with the Pirates down to a single person on the bench after losing three players to injury.
The Canadians’ Roy noticeably limped around the bases after hitting his solo shot.
“It was a long weekend,” said Haight, who hails from Whitewood. “I think all of the teams were pretty beat up.”
The Pirates were put together from three teams in the Southeast League, with players from the Whitewood Falcons, the Broadview Buffs and the Fleming Jets. Interestingly, the three teams are now facing off in their league playoffs.
It’s just the second time that Pipestone, named after the Pipestone Valley region that they come from, has entered a combined team in provincials.