MOLINE ILLINOIS -- A sacrifice fly to deep right field by Jeff Ellsworth of Brooklyn. P.E.I. scored the winning run as Six Nations Hill United Chiefs defeated the New York Gremlins 1-0 in the tournament final of the International Softball Congress (ISC) Men’s World Fast Pitch championship Saturday night in Moline Illinois.
The winning run came in the bottom of the third extra inning of the game.
From his hotel room Sunday morning, Ellsworth described the feeling. “This is (ISC) championship number three for me, but definitely this is the best one,” he said.
Ellsworth had a bases-loaded chance to end the game in the eighth inning, but didn’t get the job done. “A little too anxious, he said.
In the bottom of the tenth, after Calvin Miller cranked a double and James Shields went in to pinch run, the Gremlins intentionally walked Brad Ezekiel and Jason Hill.
“I can’t believe I got that chance again,” he admitted.
“They walked the batters intentionally to get back to me,” Ellsworth said, adding, “I looked for a pitch to hit and (Sean Whitten) threw me an inside pitch.” Waiting under the ball at right field was one of Ellsworth’s Team Canada teammates, Mathieu Roy.
“He made a hell of a throw. It was very close (at the plate),” he said before the ump made the ‘safe’ call and the celebration erupted. It was so close, he said, that even the Chiefs reviewed a video replay following the celebration and had to slow down the replay to determine Shields’ leg arrived at the plate just ahead of contact by the glove.
“He had to be on his horse,” Ellsworth said of Shields’ run-scoring trip from third.
While this is Ellsworth’s third ISC championship, it is the first for fellow Islander Mitch Hardy, a pitcher from Alberton.
Hardy was kept out of the game, however, because of the dominant pitching of Adam Folkard. After throwing a perfect game, including 15 strike-outs, against the Gremlins on Friday, Folkard was handed the ball again Saturday night and did not disappoint, allowing only two hits and a walk and striking out 22 Gremlins. The Chiefs were runners-up last year in an extra innings final, but Ellsworth said Folkard made a promise to the team that wouldn’t be the outcome this year. “He was a man on a mission,” he said of Folkard’s play.
Folkard, who didn’t allow a run the whole tournament, was named top pitcher and teammate and fellow Australian, second baseman Nick Shailes was named tournament MVP.
The Gremlins are the same team the Chiefs played in the final of the American Softball Association tournament two weeks earlier with the same outcome. In that game Hardy pitched the final two innings and Ellsworth scored the winning run.