Shepherd Boys Compete in Montreal Softball Tournament

Thirteen members of the Steel City Softball League traveled to Montreal over the Labor Day weekend to participate in the 5th annual Le Rendez-Vous du Lys softball tournament.

Playing as the Shepherd Boys, the team began its first of three round robin games Saturday morning against the New York Rebels, the Montreal Gaipards and the Toronto 501 Red Tabs. The games determined the division in which the Pittsburgh team would compete in the double elimination tournament. The team lost several close games and were seeded first in the tournament’s D division, giving them a bye for the first round.

The Shepherd Boys played the Montreal Jaguars Sunday morning. The Jaguars scored their first two runs in the second inning, while the Shepherd Boys were able only to score their lone run in the third. The Jaguars answered with five more runs in the third inning, and each team prevented the other from scoring for the remainder of the game, for a 7-1 final score. The loss placed Pittsburgh in the lower bracket for the rest of the tournament.

Next the Shepherd Boys faced the Montreal Super Six, and both teams scored one run each in the first two innings. The Shepherd Boys’ bats came alive in the third with Staci, Jerry, Glen and Joe hitting singles and Ron and Brian hitting doubles. With bases loaded and two outs, Cindy smacked a pitch into right center field and collected two RBIs by driving in Joe and Brian. The fifth inning was a big one for the Pittsburgh team with eight hits including three home runs by Ron, Glen and Joe. The Shepherd Boys went on to win over the Super Six 16-4.

The Shepherd Boys competed next against Montreal’s Telemec, and good defense by both teams kept the scoring low early in the game. At the top of the fourth, the Telemec led 7-3; but in the bottom of the fourth the Shepherd Boys came alive with singles from Wolfe, Joe and Brian, with Wolfe scoring on Brian’s hit. With one out and runners on first and second, Jeff T. sent a first pitch to right field for a three-run homer that tied the game 7-7. The Shepherd Boys were able to prevent the Telemec from scoring in the top of the final inning, and in the bottom, a hit by John up the middle and into the outfield allowed Joe to score from second base for another Shepherd Boys win, 8-7.

Continuing their march from the lower bracket, the Shepherd Boys played the New York Ball Breakers. The Pittsburgh team dominated this game from the beginning, scoring four runs in both the second and third innings for an 8-2 lead. The fourth inning saw Shepherd Boys batters produce a total of eight hits including back-to-back home runs from Ron and Jerry. The Ball Breakers were knocked out of the tournament with the final score of 16-2.

In the finals, the Shepherd Boys again faced the team that delivered their only loss that day, the Jaguars. To win first place, the Shepherd Boys needed to defeat the Jaguars twice.

Pittsburgh scored in the first inning, but Montreal answered with three runs in the second. The third inning started with a lead-off walk by Jeff T. followed by singles from Jeff J. and Staci. Jerry ripped a line drive far into left field for a triple to send the three runners home, and a sacrifice by Ron allowed Jerry to score. The Jaguars quickly loaded the bases with three singles in the third, then a Jaguar batter sent a pitch far into right field for a grand slam. Two more runs put the Jaguars ahead 9-5. Following a scoreless fourth inning, Staci reached second with a lead-off of double, and two sacrifice flies from Jerry and Ron allowed her to score the team’s final run. The Jaguars beat the Shepherd Boys 9-6 to win first place in D division.

Second place medals were awarded to all Shepherd Boys team members at the Sunday night awards banquet at Sky Pub in the heart of Montreal’s gay village, where Montreal officials named Jerry the team MVP.

The combined team roster consisted of Shepherd Boys players Cindy, Jeff J., Bill, Rich, Brian, and Jeff T.; Mavericks members Joe and John; Outlaws players Glen and Wolfe; Staci from the Rogues; Jerry from the Hardballs; and former SCSL member Ron from Denver. The Shepherd Boys is the only Pittsburgh team to compete in the Montreal tournament; the team first participated in September 2000.