The Del Norte Recreation Department kicked off summer slowpitch locally with its annual Men’s Slowpitch Firecracker Tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

This year the tournament crown went to a brand new challenger out of Redding.

Let’s Bang coach Andrew Chess said his star pitcher, Charlie Fox, found the tournament on the Del Norte Recreation Department’s website, and the crew, mostly made up of players from Redding, decided to come try it out.

“Hopefully we will be back, this was really fun. I have to talk to the guys, because it is a four-hour drive for some of us and for Charlie it’s about a six-hour drive,” Chess noted. “It was a lot of fun though and I hope we do it again next year.”

Chess said the Let’s Bang squad plays year round, competing in various league games or tournaments for all but eight to 10 weekends per year. Although Let’s Bang has been to many tournaments in the region, Chess said he was inpressed with the Firecracker.

“It was a fun atmophere, we played a lot of games and the weather has been nice,” Chess said. “Where most of our team is from it is probably 108 today.”

Let’s Bang got off to a rough start to the tournament, falling 9-4 to Northwood’s Realty in the first game of pool play. The visitors managed to bounce back with three straight wins, however, to finish in a three-way tie for the top seed with Northwoods and Lucky 7 Casino.

Let’s Bang grabbed the No. 1 seed thanks to its low run total and went undefeated on Sunday to win the championship. Let’s Bang got revenge on Northwoods Reality in the semifinals of the double elimination tournament, setting up a rubber match between the two teams in the championship with Northwoods needing to win twice to capture the title.

Let’s Bang took care of business in the first game, however. Let Bang’s top hitter in the tournament, Jared Atterbery, smacked a three-run home run with two outs in the fifth inning to break a 4-4 tie, and the team from Redding was able to hold on for a 7-5 win over Northwoods.

Fox was the MVP of the tournament and Chess said he is one of the best slowpitch pitchers he has ever seen. Chess said Atterbery was one of three hitters over .600 for the tournament along with Jason Wiegand and Jason Stevenson.

“It was a good team effort. We turned over 14 double plays, Charlie had right around 16 strikeouts and he had about 17 foul outs, which counted as a strikeout in this tournament too,” Chess said. It was a really fun tournament.”

The end of the Firecracker Tournament also signals that the Del Norte Recreation Department’s summer slowpitch leagues are about to begin. Men’s league games are scheduled to begin July 10. They play Mondays and Wednesdays through August.

The co-ed league will start on July 11 and play Tuesdays and Thursdays through the summer.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.

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