Columbia Basin Invitational draws top teams, scores high marks

Written by Bob on May 29th, 2012

K-Club finishes third in inaugural Columbia Basin Tournament

MOSES LAKE, WA – Ryan Welsh couldn’t have hit the ball much better, and in the circle, Rick Kolda was in mid-season form. But their efforts weren’t quite enough as K-Club finished third in its own inaugural Columbia Basin Men’s Fastpitch Invitational, May 12-13, in Moses Lake, Washington.

Welsh blistered the ball at a 10-for-17 pace (.588 batting average), along with three home runs, and Kolda won three games (3-0), to help K-Club finish third with a 4-1 record.

Despite coming up short in the title hunt, K-Club manager Mike Kolda deemed the eight-team tournament a huge success.

“The feedback from the teams and players was that they thought the tournament was outstanding and greatly appreciated,” Kolda said. “All the teams said they were definitely returning next year.”

Rick Kolda was 3-0 in the tournament.

The championship was an all Washington state final as the Bucknell Park A’s from Lacey defeated JRW & Associates of Yakima, 10-1, in the finale.

The A’s Shawn Koster was selected the Most Valuable Pitcher, while his teammate, Darin Michael, claimed the Most Valuable Player award. Koster was undefeated, going 4-0. In 17 innings he struck out 46, while walking just five, and had a spotless 0.00 ERA. Rob Gunter was 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA, and had 28 strikeouts in 17 innings.

A’s manager Pat Bucknell said the 23-year-old Koster of Victoria, BC, has a good riser and drop, and throws, “an awesome changeup that just messes up hitters,” he said.

Mike Kolda fills in the bracket of the eight-team tournament.

“We had only four errors in six games and our pitching was great. As a team everyone was over .400 (batting average) and this was done with six key players not being there,” He added.

The left side hitting Michael, who patrols centerfield, was 13-for-22 (.599 average) at the plate with two RBIs in the leadoff spot. “He’s 45, but he stays in good shape,” Bucknell said, adding that catcher Darren Koster (Shawn’s twin brother) also had a terrific tournament, going 11-for-14 (.785 average).

Bucknell rated the tournament excellent with first-class facilities.

Ryan Welsh was a hitting star for K-Club.

“Mike and Rick (Kolda) did an outstanding job,” he said, but added that the one drawback was the deep fences. “The temporary fences were about 280 feet. They need to come in about 250 feet.”

As for K-Club, they opened with Spokane and hung on for a 3-2 victory. Rick Kolda hurled a complete game and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He finished with a three-hitter along with 13 strikeouts. Mike Kolda (1-for-2) led the offense with two RBIs, and Welsh ripped a double and was 2-3 at the plate.

Dan Kolda followed his son’s lead by hurling a five-inning, three-hitter as K-Club cruised to a 13-3 win over Ivory Headwear. Kolda struck out five, and Kenny Cave (3-4 with a double and two RBIs), and Carlos Gonzalez (2-4, double, and two RBIs) led the attack.

Dan Kolda is the veteran pitcher on the ball club, and along with his son Rick, shares the pitching duties.

With a 2-0 record, K-Club took on the veteran JRW squad and blasted its way to a 14-4, four-inning victory. Rick Kolda picked up his second win, allowing one run on four hits, and five strikeouts. Welsh again proved a hitting dynamo as he homered, doubled, drove in two runs, in a 2 for 3 showing. But he had plenty of support as Cave was a perfect 3-3 with two doubles, and three runs scored.

Dean Waltier was the big RBI man, driving in four runs, smacking two doubles, and scoring twice. And Rick Kolda helped his own cause by going 2-3 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs.

K-Club won its fourth consecutive game in an 18-11 slugfest over Ivory Headwear. Welsh led the attack with a 4-5 effort, slugging two home runs, two doubles, scoring three times, and driving in four runs. Kenney Cave also stayed hot, going 3-4, driving in two runs with two doubles, and scoring twice.

Rick Kolda picked up his third win, hurling six innings and striking out six. But that would be the end of K-Clubs’ win streak as JRW got some revenge with a 13-5 win. One bright spot was Carlos Gonzalez going 2-2 with two RBIs.

Kenny Cave, one of K-Clubs talented performers being counted on to help carry the team to a strong season.

The surprise team of the tournament, Kolda said, was the Bonner Boys from Missoula, Montana. They traveled over 300 miles to play in the inaugural event, and they weren’t disappointed.

“It was a great tourney with great people,” said Bonner Boys’ manager and pitcher Frank Hendrix III. “It is an important way to bring teams closer together and really helps expand this great fastpitch family, and brings us closer to one goal: getting people on the field.”

Another rosy aspect of the tournament was the cooperation of Mother Nature and the Moses Lake Park and Recreation Department.

“The weather was amazing, 80 degrees and beautiful,” Kolda said. “Moses Lake is one of the few places you can hold a tournament in Washington this early in the year. The parks and Recreation department did an amazing job. They drug and re-lined the fields after every game and went above and beyond to help us out in any way.”

As for next year? Hopefully, bigger and better.

“I hope to expand and push the tournament to 10 or 12 teams,” said Kolda.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mike Kolda says:

    Great article Bob, thanks!

    Pat, the fences were 270 and I see all kinds of HR’s in the above article.

    Thanks to everyone who came out and thank to my brother, Rick Kolda, for all of his hard work in making this thing happen!

  2. bob thurmes says:

    bob , if any of your friends interested i have eddie’s 25th year glove on ebay with signed jersey , bat , bat and 25th year program . ebay item # 330748438465 extra cash for my two girls in college

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