Kyle Clayton
Adrian Nash hit a homerun on his second time up to bat on opening day of last weekend’s Six Pack Sam co-ed softball tournament that hosted teams from Haines, Whitehorse and Juneau.

Juneau’s Killer Bees prevailed over Haines Packing 20 to 6 in a tiebreaker softball game on Sunday to win the Six Pack Sam co-ed tournament that fans and athletes alike said they’re glad to see return to Haines.

Haines Packing had beaten the Killer Bees in the first championship game with a score of 10 to 4, capping off the first Haines softball tournament in over a decade.

“I thought our team played well considering we haven’t been playing that much softball,” said Haines Packing pitcher Stuart DeWitt, who started playing softball in Haines when he was 14 years old. “I was happy to get second place.”

The Killer Bees took home a first-place prize of $500, Haines Packing scored $350, and White Pass from Skagway got $150 for their third-place finish.

Brian Elliot, who played for the Haines Packing team, said in his view, the semifinal between Haines Packing and Skagway’s White Pass was the highlight of the weekend. Haines won that game 24-23, and Elliott called it “one of the best softball games I’ve ever been associated with.”

“That was the game of the tournament in my mind,” Elliott said. “It was just one of those back-and-forth, drag out, crazy games you always remember.”

Players on the four out-of-town teams complimented the tournament’s organization and welcoming spirit. “It was really heartwarming,” said Emily Johnson, whose team of 19- to 22-year-olds, the Pink Sox, came from Whitehorse to participate.

The seven teams’ players ranged from teenagers requiring parental permission to a 68-year-old pitcher on the Haines Pioneers, said Connie Ward. Ward brought the tournament back to life this summer with only $500 in starter money from AP&T. Participants commended Ward for her initiative in reviving the tradition.

Kyle Clayton
Mark Sebens hits a line drive on Friday, Aug. 12 during the first day of last weekend’s softball tournament.

Ward said she doesn’t want to organize the tournament next year, but Elliott said he has no doubt it will happen again in 2023. “Connie overcame inertia, and that’s what really needed to happen,” he said. “Given that, I’m not worried about next year. I think we’ll get a team of folks together (to organize it).” Several of the visiting teams have already expressed interest in coming again.

Adrian Nash, who played on the Pioneers, agreed that the tournament had come together superbly. “It was really competitive; all the teams were well-matched,” he said. “I think it was a resounding success.”

The all-tourney picks from the Haines teams were Kati McAfee and Tyrell Horton from the Wolf Pac, Amy Nash and Daniel Stickler from Haines Packing and James Hart and Teolani Lynch from the Pioneers.

Danielle Larson of Juneau took the prize at the women’s home run derby, and Dillon Peavey of Skagway took the men’s.

All 500 raffle tickets sold out, and Ward said the bleachers were full for every game. “Everybody was so excited,” she said. “We’re back and they love it.”