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Glenn Pursley, Published June 17 2012

Dukes down Loggers for fastpitch softball title

FARGO – If this is indeed the last fastpitch softball tournament held at Mickelson Field, it sure went out with a bang.

The Circle Tap Dukes from Denmark, Wis., rallied with five runs in the seventh en route to a 9-8 victory over the Sooke Loggers on Sunday in the championship game at the North American Fastpitch Association Holm Open softball tournament in Fargo.

Proposed permanent flood-protection levees open the possibility that the longtime softball complex could be nearing its end.

Circle Tap’s German Sack started off the seventh inning with a two-run home run after Loggers pitcher Scott Lieph walked in a run to cut the lead in half.

Back-to-back home runs hit by Josh Johnson and Chris Delorit closed the gap for the Dukes and tied the game at 8-8.

The trio of home runs set up Jim Corbet for his chance to win the game. Corbet hit an game-winning single that drove in second baseman Tom Crouch and clinch the championship for the Dukes.

“It was a crazy day,” Corbet said. “We actually had come from behind early (Sunday), so we ready to play until the last out.”

The Dukes defeated the Saskatoon Diamond Backs 4-3 after nine innings and then shut out the Kegel Black Knights 5-0 to make it to the championship.

“We knew we had the hitting,” Dukes head coach Chad Huebner said. “We made two comebacks and had a walk-off win early. (We had to) keep our heads in the game and get base hits, that’s basically it.”

The Loggers took an early 4-0 lead as Adam Schnarr starting things off with a one-out, two-run single in the first inning. An error by shortstop Kris Walushka allowed Nick Needham to score and started the landslide for the Loggers.

“We made a few errors and put some people up to bat,” Loggers head coach Len Banner said. “We could have got out of the inning with a double play … and then they hit four home runs. That was a tough one.”

With the NAFA Open victory, the Circle Tap Dukes receive a bid into the International Softball Conference World Tournament.

“We are ranked No. 9 as of right now and hopefully we can move up a couple more spots,” Huebner said.

SL 411 110 0– 8 11 2

CT 100 111 5– 9 12 2

Haldane, Lieph (7) and Banner. Manley, Johnson (4) and Peters. W–Manley. L–Lieph. HR- Corbert (2), Sacks (2), Johnson, Delorit, Banner.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Glenn Pursley at (701) 451-5549