Sooke Loggers claim NAFA Open-Holm Classic title

Written by Bob on June 16th, 2013

FARGO, ND – In fastpitch softball, ball players must have short memories. They must put bad outings and disappointing losses behind them.

Sometimes easier said than done. The Sooke Loggers would know.

In last year’s NAFA Open World Series championship, the Loggers suffered a gut wrenching, 9-8, loss to the Circle Tap Dukes. After leading by four runs in the seventh inning, the Loggers saw that hefty lead vanish as Circle Tap rallied for five runs to seize the title.

But there would be no gut-wrenching loss this year. No going back to British Columbia, Canada disappointed. Loggers’ pitcher Scott Lieph made sure of that.

LIEPH TOUGH IN THE CIRCLE
He threw a masterpiece in the title game, giving up but one unearned run in the fifth, while striking out 12 in leading the Loggers to a tough 3-1 victory over the St. Paul, Minnesota Angels, Sunday at Fargo’s Lindenwood Park.

But just like last year, the seventh inning turned into a nail biter for Lieph and the Loggers.

It started well enough with Lieph retiring Wayne Petrie on a strikeout. But then it got tense. Leadoff hitter Jacob Rooke promptly singled, giving the Angels hope. Now it was Josh Wagner’s turn, but Lieph’s rise ball got him to pop up to shortstop, Kris Walushka.

TENSE TIME
Now just one out away from nailing down the win, Lieph had to deal with Rick Saunders. The Angels’ No. 3 hitter had already roughed up Lieph for two hits. And he did it again, with a double, sending Rooke racing to third.

Nervous time? Definitely.

For in the batter’s box stood USA National Team player Roman Foore representing the winning run.

But Lieph reached back and fired three consecutive pitches by Foore for the strikeout, ending the game, and touching off a wild celebration on the Loggers side. And shortly after during the NAFA awards presentation, Lieph was chosen as the NAFA Open Most Valuable Pitcher.

SOOKE’S AWARD WINNERS
Joining Lieph was Walushka, selected the Most Valuable Player, with outfielder Blake Hunter, designated hitter Dan Whiteford, and pitcher / hitter Rich Haldane selected to the All-World team.

LOGGERS POTENT OFFENSE
Sooke’s powerful lineup swung hot bats throughout the tournament, outscoring its opposition 42-10. But the championship proved tougher as Angels’ right-hander Justin Schofield held the Loggers to two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts.

But Sooke got to Schofield with a single run in the second on Whiteford’s double, scoring Hunter, who reached on an error. The Loggers added their final two runs in the third. Leadoff batter Kris Walushka belted a two-run homer with Ben Edgington aboard by way of a single. But that would be all the offense the Loggers would muster.

The Angels scored their lone run in the fifth. But it was tainted. Leftfielder Jeff Mataczynski singled to start the inning, and eventually came around on a pair of errors.

HIGH-SCORING LOGGERS
The Loggers swept through the tournament, 6-0, and marched through Pool B, by beating the Kegel Black Knights of Fargo, 4-3; the West Fargo Knights, 8-0, and Circle Tap, 10-0.

And in getting some revenge for last year’s loss, the Loggers crushed Circle Tap again in the first round of Sunday’s playoffs, 9-2. That set up a game with fellow Canadians, Randy’s A’s, from British Columbia. The Loggers hammered four home runs to take a 7-4 win, setting up the title match with Angels.

ANGELS GOOD ON SUNDAY
The St. Paul ball club finished 2-1 in Pool A and was delegated the No. 3 seed. The Angels got hot on Sunday, knocking off a very good Diamondbacks (4-1) club from Saskatoon, 8-2. And then shook off the Winnipeg Bullets, 3-2, to reach the title game. Schofield spun a six hitter and allowed the two runs, to pick up the win.

Sooke lineup: Kris Walushka, 2-for-3, 2 RBIs, run, home run; Blake Hunter, 1-3, run; Dan Whiteford, 1-2, RBI, and Ben Edgington, 1-2, run.

Angels lineup: Jacob Rooke, 1-for-4; Rick Saunders, 3-4; Jesse Delorit, 1-3, and Jeff Mataczynski, 1-3, run.

2013 NAFA Open World Series All World Team
Most Valuable Pitcher, Scott Lieph, Sooke
Most Valuable Player, Kris Walushka, Sooke

All World Team
Blake Hunter, Sooke
Rich Haldane, Sooke, pitcher
Dan Whiteford, Sooke
Jesse Delorit, Angels
Wayne Petrie, Angels
Justin Schofield, Angels, pitcher
Randy Potskin, Randy’s A’s
Chad Ghostkeeper, Randy’s A’s
Brian Newton, Randy’s A’s, pitcher
Brady Woods, Winnipeg Bullets, pitcher
Jay Dewis, Winnipeg Bullets
Travis De Jong, Kegel Black Knights
Lewis Weldon, Circle Tap Dukes
Trevor Ethier, Diamondbacks, Saskatoon
Brennen Pokoyoway, Diamondbacks, Saskatoon
Chad Starling, Diamondbacks, Saskatoon
Matt Thornton, Topeka Toros
Josh Pettett, Topeka Toros

4 Comments so far ↓

  1. bob thurmes says:

    i was pulling for the Angels , BOB DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAL WHERE THE ANGELS PLAY LIKE A LEAGUE OR ARE THEY A TRAVELING TEAM ONLY ? GOOD JOB ON ALL UPDATES ALL WEEKEND LONG AND THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR VERY , VERY FINE COVERAGE OF THIS WEEKEND TOURNAMENT IN FARGO . GO ANGELS !!!!!

  2. Bob says:

    Hi Bob, The Angels roster has players from all over. I don’t believe they play in Minnesota except for the West St. Paul Tournament held the end of July. Last year it was on July 20-22. The guy that runs the WSP tourney is Wayne Ball. He’s been doing it for almost 50 years. Jeff Larson runs the Angels. His email is: jeff.larson4@gmail.com, and his cell is 308-293-9445. Glad you enjoyed the NAFA coverage, and thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated!

  3. Scott says:

    Some of the Angels players play in the West St. Paul League under the Minnesota Angels, but they pick up a few players to have a league team so the few locals can get some games in during the week to help stay sharp for the big weekend tourney’s that they do.

  4. Bob says:

    Good to hear they have a local team.

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