Chuckers earn berth in slow-pitch Nationals
A Steinbach slow-pitch team, thrown together just this summer, for the Provincial “C” Men’s Slow-Pitch Championships at the John Blumberg Softball Complex in Winnipeg during the Labour Day weekend, has earned a berth in next year’s National Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick.
The Chaco Chuckers built up an early 4-1 lead in the championship final against defending champions, Krevco Pool and Patio, and held on for a 6-3 victory and the Provincial “C” championship banner.
The Chuckers posted an equally huge upset in the semi-finals, when they eliminated the Petro-Can Classics, winning 8-6. The Classics are the defending Manitoba Masters Champions, and have competed in numerous national championships in the past.
The semi-final game started out predictably, as Petro-Can rattled off five runs in the first inning. The teams traded runs in the third inning to make it 6-1 for the Classics after three. But three consecutive singles in the top of the fourth for the Chuckers set the stage for Richard Enns’ dramatic grand slam home run, as the Steinbach team exploded for seven runs and an 8-6 lead.
There was no more scoring in the contest and the Chuckers moved on to the final, where they engineered another upset and earned a trip to New Brunswick, next August.
The Chuckers completed round robin play in the provincial championships with a 2-1 record, which put them in the quarter-finals against the Winnipeg Shortstops, the first place team in Pool “B”. A 12-8 win moved the team on to the semi-finals against Petro-Can.
The Chuckers exploded for seven runs in the first inning of their opening game in the round robin and went on to a 14-1 win. The next two contests were much closer with the Chuckers winning 8-6 and losing 5-4.
According to playing coach, James Koop, the Chaco Chuckers had hoped to compete in the “D” Division at the provincials but were bumped up to the higher category when they finished third in a field of 16 teams at a June qualifying tournament.
At the provincials, the Chuckers were one of a dozen “C” teams. There were 16 in the “D” Division and another four in “B”, which is the highest calibre of Men’s Slow Pitch in Manitoba.