Native Yankees take back title

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A bad inning might have awoken memories of last year’s finals, but the Native Yankees prevailed in the end to win the Midnight Sun slo-pitch tournament last weekend.

Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
The winning Native Yankees gather for a photo. Back row, from left are Scott Kuptana, Alison Lennie, Judy Symns, Courtney Larocque, Jen DeBastien, Glen Tingmiak, Karla Kuptana, Kristal Tingmiak and Richard Alexie. Front row, from left are Kaiden McDonald, Matthew Skinner, Corey Baetz, Stefan Allen, Jordan Rogers, Luke Steen, and Kyle Kuptana.

The team beat the Rockin’ Robins 17-11 in the final match, though the Robins threatened with an eight-run third inning that brought the score within one.

The Yankees lost last year’s Midnight Sun tournament to Just Call Vince by one run after being up by 13.

“One bad inning doesn’t determine a game,” said Yankees player Scott Kuptana. “We just have to shake it off. We knew our bats would come back and help us out. Their bats were on fire too. Nothing we can do about it.”

The team went 8-0 in the four-day tournament, defeating the 5-3 Robins in the finals.

“It was a great weekend,” said Kuptana. “We ended up going undefeated 8-and-0. It was a tough weekend though. Lot of teams were really close. Every game was a battle. We had two games where we sneaked in a win, but (we played as) a really solid team and we came together for the 8-0, undefeated.”

The Native Yankees won the Midnight Sun tournament two years ago before their heartbreaker loss to Just Call Vince last year.

“It’s good to get back this championship,” said Kuptana.

Despite the loss in the finals, Rockin’ Robins player Kathleen Nogasak was happy with her team’s performance.

“It went really well,” she said. “Everybody played hard. They went hard all weekend. Regardless, we got second. All in all, it was an amazing weekend. These guys are amazing.”

Both Kuptana and Nogasak thanked the organizers for putting the weekend together.

The Inuvik Slo-Pitch Association will be holding the league playoffs the Aug. 18 weekend.