Playing the field

Sports across the Carolinas: Spring season heats up

Softball

The first annual Duck Invitational Tournament was held in Atlanta, Sunday, March 11. The event was graciously hosted by the Atlanta Ducks Softball Club in College Park. Teams from Tennessee and Georgia competed in C and D level divisions, in a single elimination style tournament.

The number 1 overall seed, the Knoxville Cyclones, won the C Division, outlasting the number 2 overall seed, the Atlanta Assault, in an extra inning thriller, 7-6. Despite the somewhat soggy conditions, both teams played phenomenal defense, making this a close one. No team had more than a 3-run lead the entire game. Led by Charlotte area players Jared West and Quinton McNutt, the Cyclones were able to defeat the Assault with two runs in the bottom of the 8th to take the title.

In the D Division championship, the Atlanta Titans handily defeated Knoxville Good Times 17-9 to claim the title. The Titans scored early, quickly had a lead and never looked back by playing solid defense throughout the game.

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The next NAGAAA sanctioned tournament will be the 30th Annual Southern Shootout, held in Birmingham, Ala., Easter weekend. This is one of the larger gay softball tournaments in the Southeast and it will be hosting teams from as far away as Louisiana, Texas and Ohio. For more information about who will be there and what park they will play at, check out their website atnewsouthsoftball.net/.

Rugby

The Charlotte Royals took their team on the road for a St. Patrick’s Day clash in Columbus, Ohio, to play the Coyotes. This was the first of a home and home between the two teams and each was looking to set the tone for the late season match up on May 5.

The game was tight throughout, with Columbus holding a one-try lead at the half, 12-5. But in the second half, the Royals were unable to surmount the deficit and lost 29-12. Despite losing the close game, Coach Amanda Vestal remained upbeat. “Overall it was a good, competitive match…we got the ball to the line, and made good passes. It will be a good match for us later this season.”

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Earning men of the match honors for the Royals were forward Coty Webb, who scored once during the game, and scrum half, BJ Smith. Scoring the other try for the Royals was inside centerback Zach Anderson. The Coyotes were lead in scoring by Cordaro Rogers (2), with Chase Kuhn, Lucas Herman, and Matt Kretovics all finding the try zone.

The Charlotte Royals stayed on the road the following weekend when they took on the Davidson College Wildcats on March 24. This was the first matchup between the two teams after inclement weather forced a cancellation of a previously scheduled match two years ago. The Royals looked to bounce back from consecutive losses and earn their first win of the season.

After that, the Royals will head to St. Louis where they are participating in the Spring Fever Invitational, hosted by the St. Louis Crusaders. This tournament will be played April 2 involving teams from across the South and Midwest. This will be a good experience to have under their belt as they make preparations to attend the largest gay rugby tournament, the Bingham Cup in June. : :

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