If the Dettah Dodgers wanted to blame the smoke from the wildfires blazing in B.C. for their early exit at the Slo Pitch National Canadian Championships, they wouldn’t be faulted for doing so.
The Dodgers were the lone NWT representative at the championships in Langley, B.C., this past weekend but failed to get past the first round of the playoffs, losing by a score of 10-0 in the single-elimination round.
Team captain Brian Couvrette said it just wasn’t their best game and it came at the worst time.
“You can’t win if you aren’t scoring any runs,” he said. “We just never showed up.”
The Dodgers played in what’s known as the Signature Series Co-Ed D, meaning both sizes of softball were used depending on which gender was up to bat. The men got to hit the 12-inch ball while the women used the 11-inch ball, which is the official size for women’s play.
The round-robin was the first order of business for the Dodgers and that started on Aug. 4 with two games against teams from B.C., which the Dodgers split. The following day saw the Dodgers play two more round-robin games, which also resulted in a split – one win and one loss.
Couvrette said their final round-robin game was one which got away.
“We had a great chance to go 3-and-1 but we let it slip away,” he said. “An even record after the round-robin was the goal but we could have had three wins.”
The top eight teams following the round-robin got themselves two lives for the playoffs while the bottom teams only had one and that included the Dodgers with their game on Sunday morning. It didn’t start off well as they got down early and weren’t able to come back.
Couvrette said getting down early was how most of their games went but they weren’t able to cash in on their chances this time around.
“We had baserunners but we couldn’t get them across and we struggled with the bats all game,” he said. “We just couldn’t do it in the playoff, we got down the first couple of innings and it was disappointing to go out getting shut out.”
The conditions all weekend long were humid, muggy and smoky and while Couvrette said he was expecting high temperatures, the humidity was an unwelcome surprise.
“That’s what killed us in terms of weather,” he said. “The smoke was there from the forest fires and you could smell it all the time but the humidity was bad. The smoke did keep the sun away, though.”
The Dodgers won the right to represent the NWT at the tournament by winning the Coors Slo-Pitch Tournament in Hay River last summer and the plan is to go back again if they get the chance to do so.
“We got lots of support and we really appreciate that,” said Couvrette. “It was a total team effort all weekend and we know what to expect the next time we go.”