April 7, 2002 – Rain don't stop the carnival, but it sure called a halt to Sunday's finale of the sixth annual Ruby Rutnik Memorial Softball Tournament. As a result, this year's winner will be determined later in play on St. Croix among the top three teams, who all happen to be from that island.
The competition among girls' high school teams began Friday at St. John's Winston Wells Ballfield.
The rain began shortly before noon Sunday, putting the kibosh to the final games. Two St. Croix teams, Central High School and Educational Complex, were set to face off. The winner of that game was supposed to play Good Hope School, the defending champion. If Good Hope won that game, it would have to play another game under the double elimination tournament rules.
Gayle Deller, who organized the tournament, said that Central and Complex will play their regular season opener on Wednesday on St. Croix, and the two teams have agreed that the game will count as the one they were supposed to play on Sunday. Whatever team wins that game will play Good Hope later on St. Croix, with Ruby Rutnik Tournament officials organizing the game. No date has been set.
Ruby's father, Andrew Rutnik, said the success of the St. Croix teams shows that the schools on that island take softball seriously. "The girls played hard," he said, "but St. Croix showed they were better trained and better prepared." he said.
However, a number of their victories came because the St. Thomas teams either couldn't field a full team or, in the case of Charlotte Amalie High School, didn't show up at all for any of the tournament games.
Here's a wrap up of the results.
Friday, Game 1 – Educational Complex beat Central 12 to 1.
Friday, Game 2 – Antilles School beat Central 17 to 1.
Friday, Game 3 – Good Hope won over Charlotte Amalie by forfeit because no one from the CAHS team showed up.
Saturday, Game 4 – Educational Complex beat All Saints School by forfeit because only seven All Saints players showed up, not enough to field a team.
Saturday, Game 5 – Central beat Ivanna Eudora Kean High School by forfeit because only seven Eudora Kean players showed up.
Saturday, Game 7- Good Hope beat Antilles 13 – 0.
Saturday, Game 8 – Central beat All Saints, which by this time had enough players present to field a team, 16 – 11.
Saturday, Game 9 – Good Hope beat Educational Complex 7 to 6.
Saturday, Game 10 – Educational Complex beat Antilles 11 to 8.
Deller said that Game 9 was the best of the tournament. "It was the closest game. There were no errors and really good hitting and pitching," she said.
Deller, who coaches the Eudora Kean team, was annoyed that her team was forced to forfeit a game. "I have never before lost a game by forfeit," she said.
In separate competition, the tournament also saw two men's teams play. After two games, Los Hispanos and the Dominicanos were tied 1-1, with the final contest scheduled for Sunday following the girls' games. Deller said that game will be rescheduled to determine the men's winner.
The tournament is held every April in memory of Ruby Rutnik, a star pitcher at Antilles School who died in 1996 at age 21 in a Washington, D.C., car crash. The money raised through the tournament funds college scholarships for St. John girls.
Ruby's mother, Janet Cook-Rutnik, said Sunday afternoon that she didn't yet know how much money this year's tournament raised. "But we sold all the innings," she said. Sponsorship of the game innings is the main source of funds at the event.
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