Amirco wins slo-pitch playoffsCompetitive teams demonstrate exceptional skill in thrilling games
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, August 28, 2014
The Inuvik Slo-pitch Association season ended with a bang Aug. 23 as the Amirco team routed a gutsy and determined Legion Bears team in the third game of a best-of-three finals.
The Amirco slo-pitch team won the Inuvik Slo-pitch Association title Aug. 23 over the Legion Bears team. Pictured in the back row, from left, are Jacob Pokiak, Gordie Kasook, Max Kotokak Jr., Kevin McLeod, Preston Allen, Kyle Kaglik and Manny Ipana. In the front row, from left, are Phillip Jacobson, Ashlyn Hendrick, Leah Ipana, Onida Banksland, Telly Banksland-Stefure and Thomas Anthony. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo
The Amirco team played four consecutive games to win the championship, making the team's players no slouches in the tenacious and determined department either.
The mercy rule was invoked in the third game of the final set after Amirco clawed back to win the second game by one run after losing the first game.
The games featured some outstanding plays, but none finer than a spectacular sliding outfield catch in the second game by Kyle Kaglik that amazed even Jeff Amos, a wizened veteran of slo-pitch and softball who was umping the game.
"Did you get a shot of that?" he shouted over to a reporter, still shaking his head in awe.
The legion team went from seventh in the standings when the playoffs started to come to within one win of the league title, while Amirco finished in third spot.
Along with the four consecutive games on Aug. 23, Amirco played a fifth game the night before against the formidable Aklak Air team that is a perennial contender.
The Native Yankees team had dominated the regular season, losing only one game and tying another, only to fall short in the playoffs.
Thomas Anthony of Amirco was more than a little pleased with the results.
"Here we are, champs now," he crowed.
"This is big-time competitive in this league," he added. "We haven't won this since 2011, so it feels good to get the jacket back."
Every team member will receive a jacket to commemorate the win, he explained.
"It was a lot to work to win this, man," Anthony said. "Everyone came through and pitched in, and our women sure did a good job playing. It was awesome."
The team won with some dazzling defence, solid pitching and dangerous offence, he said. There really wasn't a weakness when the team was on its game.
"We had some pretty wicked defence up the middle, and we pretty much have the same team every year, so we always play together."
"We just battled four games all day right in a row," said Kevin McLeod. "We don't give up on each other, man. It's a team game."
Chelsea Larocque, the pitcher for the legion team, and also a member of the Inuvik Benchwarmers women's team, said she could "hardly wait until next year," after coming so close to the title.
At the season wrap-up banquet following the playoff final, several players were recognized for their achievements.
Phil Alexie and Natasha Kulikowksi were designated the most improved players of the year. Jon Amos and Ashlyn Hendrick were chosen the most sportsmanlike players. Lynsey Fleming and Kyle Kuptana were announced as the winners of the most valuable players awards.