It was just a three-team field, but the Men’s Masters 45 national tournament debuted in North Dakota with a local favorite claiming the title. Mandan Bowers Excavating - no stranger to championships in the Masters divisions on the state level - shook off an early loss to emerge from the pool play-to-double elimination format as the champion.
Bowers began strong with a victory over Team Primed (Rapid City SD) to open the tournament, but Bismarck Oswald Brothers Auto Repair struck them down in their next game to take the #1 seed heading into the bracket. They would meet three more times before the day was over.
After easily dispatching Team Primed yet again (25-11), Bowers upset the #1 seed by a narrow 21-18 margin to head into the championship game. Oswald put an end to Team Primed’s day to continue the local rivalry. Oswald would force the winner-take-all game with a 14-7 win, but Bowers got the last laugh by posting their own 7-run victory for the title.
Bowers was driven by tournament MVP Tommy Schmit and home run leader Mike Loerch. One of Oswald Brothers’ namesakes - Larry Oswald - was the tournament’s batting champion.
Photos courtesy Mandan Softball Association.