Larry H. Miller Toyota's fastpitch softball has its eyes turned northward to the Canadian Challenge Cup in Ontario, Canada, June 22-26.
Of course, Miller Toyota's team attitude has been lifted after garnering the 41st annual Blue-Gray Fastpitch Tournament Championship Sunday by downing the Tampa Bay Smokers, 3-0, at Lagoon Park.Miller pitchers Dwayne Dyck and Donny Hill supplied the nails by winning their games Sunday, and pitching ace Peter Meredith added the hammer by hurling a six-hitter and striking out 11 in the championship game.
Meredith was named the Most Valuable Pitcher of the tournament, while Brad Burrup, who went 11-17 at the plate in the tourney, grabbed the Most Valuable Player honors.
Shortstop Gordon Eakin also supplied a big bat in the tournament by going 11-for-22.
For Meredith, the third time was the charm. He had made two previous Blue-Gray Fastpitch Tournament appearances, both with Trans Aire of Elkhart, Indiana, and finished second and third.
But it was the work of Dyck, who pitched a perfect game against Jacksonville, Florida, Saturday, and gave up only two hits in his three games and fanned 31 hitters in 11 innings, and also, Hale, who won three games in the tournament, including a four-inning relief stint in beating Bean Station, TN., 6-1, that set up Meredith's championship pitching performance.
The 19-year-old Hale gave up only two hits, and struck out five, while walking only one against Bean Station.
The Tennessee club was the modified ASA national champion last year. Bean Station was 38-1, winning five tournaments this year, behind the pitching of former NFL football player Earl Yarbrough.
Miller Toyota (33-6) had to go unbeaten and win seven games, including three games Sunday in the grueling 30-team, three-day tournament. The Murray-based team won four games Saturday.
In the championship game, Burrup went 3-for-3, scoring a run in the fourth inning on Pratt's sacrifice fly.