2013 California Classic men’s fastpitch

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Wrapping up the 2013 California Classic Men’s Fastpitch Tournament

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

SANTEE, CA – If you’re a men’s fastpitch fan living in southern California, there’s not much in the way of top-flight tournaments to watch. Except the California Classic. It’s the only big-time tourney being offered south of Santa Barbara where Clyde Bennett hosts the Best of The West.

Now concluding its fourth consecutive year, the Classic offers good competition. This year the Sooke Loggers of British Columbia, CA stopped the California A’s from claiming its fourth consecutive title with a 9-6 victory on Sunday.

Some thought California was heavily favored. That the A’s – loaded with international stars – were a superior team. Especially with Argentine and ISC All-World pitcher Lucas Mata toeing the rubber.

Schellenberg.Kevin.CalifA's.430web Shortstop Kevin Schellenberg is one of several international stars who play for the California A’s. He’s been a member of Team Canada that finished fifth in the 2013 ISF World Championships.

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Sooke Loggers upend California A’s to claim Classic title

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Lief.Haldane.Sooke.1web
Sooke’s Scott Lieph, left, and Rich Haldane, middle, combined to pitch the Sooke Loggers of Sooke, British Columbia, Canada to the 2013 California Classic championship, denying world-class pitcher, Lucas Mata, right, of the Bakersfield, California A’s the victory. Photo By BOB OTTO

SANTEE, CALIF – The pitching and the hitting have been solid, and at times spectacular. As a result? Tournament championships – four in fact.

The Sooke Loggers from British Columbia, Canada, clinched their latest title in the Fourth Annual California Classic on Sunday by beating the host Bakersfield, California A’s 9-6 in a contest that featured four home runs and a combined 22 hits.

A hitters’ game?

Certainly, but also one that featured some fine pitching. Especially that of Sooke’s Rich Haldane. The tall right-hander from Great Britain came on in the fifth inning in relief of starter Scott Lieph, and pitched masterfully to pick up the save.

HALDANE SUPERB IN RELIEF
In three innings of relief, Haldane scattered two hits, struck out three, and didn’t allow any runs to an A’s team loaded with great hitters, one through nine.

Sooke manager Len Banner’s decision to make the pitching change was masterful in its timing. California’s Matt Palazzo had just belted a home run, cutting the Loggers’ lead to 8-6 in the fifth. And the A’s seemed to be gauging the 23-year-old Lieph’s hard riser and drop. But Banner, knowing his two pitchers’ skills, didn’t hesitate in making the change.

“They are a good combination and pick each other up,” Banner said. “Scott is a hard thrower and Rich hits his spots, moves the ball around, and changes speeds a bit more than Scott does.”

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