The 34th Annual Rainball Tournament weekend had a bit of everything, from towering home runs to dinks in front of the plate, line drives to all the outfield gaps to called third strikes....great teams playing great ball, tons of ballpark food, and loud supportive fans.
After almost 100 games, a short squall to insure that no one forgot why we call it "Rainball", innumberable hot dogs and hamburgers, and thrilling last inning comebacks, it came down to one final showdown game in each of the Men's and Women's Divisions.
Womens C Division
The Imperial Women came into Rainball with a six game winning streak, and saw no reason for that to come to an end. They entered the bracket play as the first seed in their pool, and promptly espressoed Heritage Coffee, 14-5, but then were knocked off the bar stool by Pat's Douglas Inn. Meanwhile, Heritage Coffee buzzed passed Lynden, Sticks N Stones, and Diamond Diehards to meet Pat's in the Championship game. The women from Louie's weren't to be denied, though, and ground Heritage, 10-0, for the championship.
Womens D Division
Only two games separated the top four teams coming into Rainball. Merchant's Wharf was alone on top of the pilings, but Chicks with Sticks were right behind. The Wharfsters took it to AEG Staffing early on, but the Parts Plus Ladies torqued them, 14-9. Chicks got the top seed after the Round Robin play, and stayed on the winning side of the bracket into the championship game. Meanwhile, Rejuvenation Spa massaged the Parts Plus Ladies, 8-7, in the semis, and then applied the full treatment to the Chicks in the championship, 10-9. It was a thrilling finish, as the Spa scored 4 in the top of the final inning, but the Chicks came back with 5 in the bottom, and had the winning run at the plate when the Spa turned a double play to wrap up the championship.
Mens C Division
Entering Rainball, Taku Oil was gushing, with only one loss in league play, but after wrenching Parts Plus Men, 14-7, the well went dry, with losses to Timberwolf and the Sitka Islanders. Allen Marine cruised past Parts Plus, but got docked by the Sitka Islanders. In the meantime, Team Imperial bottled up Allen Marine and the Wolf men and bellied up to the bar with the Sitka Islanders for the championship game. In a thrilling slugfest, Sitka came to bat in the seventh, down by three runs, but could only score two, and got edged, 24-23, crowning Team Imperial the 2009 champs.
Mens D Division
It was a pick 'em weekend for this division, as every team had beaten each other early on. Northern Lights flared out the SE Miners, 14-12, but couldn't keep the aurora, leaving Katlian St. Suites from Sitka, the Rounders, and Pavitt's to battle it out. In a thrilling semi, the Rounders rolled by Katlian St. 10-9, to set up a re-match championship showdown with Pavitt's. Pavitt's muscled out to a 16-3 lead going into the last inning, but the Rounders keep rounding the bases. With the tying run at the plate, a long fly ball to right got tracked down, and Pavitt's was the champion, 16-14.
Mens E Division
Coming into the Rainball tournament, Kappler Computers only had one loss, and the Island Pub only had two, so it looked to be hard drives against shots. Early on, the James Gang got on the short end of some big shootouts, and the Dirty Dozen cleaned up on the winners side, but Kapplers rang the bell on the Pubbers from Douglas, bringing on the rematch with the Dirty Boyz in the championship game. With the game tied in the bottom of the last inning, Dirty Dozen loaded the bases with one out, and a hard infield single shortcircuited Kapplers, making the Dirty 12 the 2009 Champions.
Mens F Division
The First National Caps only have 3 losses in league play, so all the other teams wanted to rob them of any thoughts of the championship. The Mudstingers stung Play it Again and Double Ugly early in bracket play, and the Caps sent the 10 Rightfielders down to the Losers bracket. From there, though, the 10 Men tracked down Double Ugly, 14-7, Play it Again Sports, 17-4, and Mudstingers, 21-11, setting up the thrilling rematch with the Caps in the championship game. Going into the bottom of the last, it was all tied up. The first batter was out, but the next man hit a long triple, and with everyone playing in, a hard single scored the winning run, and the Caps emerged as the champs!
This year, the newest wrinkle at Juneau softball, recycle containers, was introduced, and the crowd responded admirably. More than a truck load of recyclables was hauled away to be reused instead of going into our landfill. Let's hear it for the fans!!
With the sun out, and the games going down to the wire, it was tough to think of a better place to be on Sunday afternoon. A special thanks to all of you who supported the 34th Annual Rainball Championships.
Don't forget to check out the JSA website, www.juneausoftball.com each Wednesday for the Quiz of the league scores and standings!
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