Fifteen minutes after Mean Machine beat Beluga Lake Lodge with a score of 9-5 in the championship game, the teams took the field to play again. In order to win, Mean Machine needed to defeat BLL again.
The Homer Softball Association’s city tournament rules require a team to lose twice before they could be declared out of the running for the championship. BLL won all of their games over the July 30-31 tournament weekend until the final game against Mean Machine.
However, since it was BLL’s first loss of the tournament, putting them 1-1 with Mean Machine, they had to lose again to take second. Mean Machine’s first and only loss in the tournament was dealt to them by BLL.
“During the season, we were 1-1 against them and then they beat us earlier in the tournament. For the entire season now, we’re 2-2, so this is the rubber match game,” said Mean Machine coach Robert Toner, prior to the deal-breaker game. “We’re going to go out there the same thing we did when we lost and the same thing we did last time when we won and when the ball falls at the end, we’ll see who’s on top.”
Ready for action shortly after the first game, both teams hit the field with high energy for the second match-up. Jack Gist Park filled with cheers of the crowd and the sound of metal bats sending softballs soaring. Players kicked up dust on the field as they slid into the bases, vying for runs.
Mean Machine came out on top of BLL again in the second game with a 7-2 victory. The team erupted in cheers, jumping and hugging each other as the umpires called game, ending the long day of play.
“It’s actually kind of nice. I didn’t think I’d be so estatic about a city league championship,” Toner said. “We really put this team together to win this. It feels good to finally get to where we wanted to be.”
Teams in Homer’s city tournament start fresh in the tournament, meaning the top teams of the season could end up in a lower standing depending on how the games play out.
For instance, BLL took the season championships in the 2015 regular season, but placed third in the tournament.
Mean Machine took first in both the tournament and the season this year. However, while BLL came out second in the tournament, the team was fourth in the season.
“We gotta hit to win. We didn’t get enough runs. We played pretty solid defense, but they’re (Mean Machine) a good hitting team,” said BLL coach Philip Jones. “That made the difference.”
Both tournament MVPs came from Mean Machine, with shortstop Danny Stanislaw taking the male MVP slot and right center Jaclyn Arndt named as the female MVP.
Over the course of the tournament, Stanislaw scored 11 times, batted in 12 runners and had three homeruns. One of Stanislaw’s home runs was a grand slam. Arndt scored 10 runs and batted in six runners.
“Both had spectacular play in the field,” said Homer Softball Association commissioner Jessica Marx.