Nobody gets between The Family and Papa’s McCloud Fiesta trophy

Steve Gerace
The Family poses for team photo after winning the Papa Anderson Memorial Softball Tournament in McCloud on Sunday, July 27. Front row, Brandon Hanley, Jason Willfong, Jim Anderson, Virginia “Mama” Anderson, Jerry Anderson, Rob, and Steve Gassaway. Back row, Will, Ryan Jackson, Bill Anderson, Jeff Larson, and Bubba.

Mama was watching as three of her sons helped The Family team claim another title in the tournament that’s named for Papa.

The Anderson clan has long been a dominant force on the McCloud Lumberjack Fiesta softball diamond, and the weekend of July 25-27 saw another chapter created for that book.

Billy Anderson, tossing his unlimited arc pitches high and accurate, led The Family to an undefeated run through the competition in the 2008 Papa Anderson Memorial tournament which started with 17 teams and was played on two fields at Hoo Hoo Park.

Two of Billy’s brothers teamed up to turn a key double play in Sunday morning’s semi-final, a 10-9 victory over 2 Drink Minimum which proved to be The Family’s most difficult win of the weekend.

Trailing 7-2, The Family rallied to score two runs in the  fifth, five in the sixth, and one in the seventh.

But things were on the verge of getting out of hand earlier in the game when 2 Drink Minimum loaded the bases with no outs.

Billy Anderson got the next batter by way of a strikeout, then the defense wiped out the potential rally on a double play that went from shortstop Jimbo Anderson to Jerry Anderson at second base to Bubba at first.

The Family completed their tournament sweep Sunday afternoon with a 14-8 win over Team Hammer Strength of Mount Shasta and Yreka.

They scored eight of their runs in the first inning, all with two outs. The big blow was a grand slam home run by Brandon Hanley, who was one of four Family players to make the all-tourney list.

Billy Anderson was one of two most valuable player award winners, along with Adam Crisci of Team Hammer Strength.

Tournament organizer and Family team member Ryan Jackson said Billy “pitched the best I’ve seen him. He was on big time, throwing consistent strikes and getting it 25 to 30 feet high. When it’s coming straight down it’s hard for hitters to get a read.”

Also earning all-tourney honors for The Family were Bubba, Jason Gassaway, and Jeff Larson.

Team Hammer Strength placed Ron Quigley, Josh Hansen, and Kenny Lgan on the all-tourney team.

The tournament is named after the late Ken “Papa” Anderson, who coached The Family to several Fiesta titles, often with a roster featuring many of his eight sons.

Virginia “Mama” Anderson was presented with the championship trophy after Sunday’s finale, then posed with the team for photographs.

Finishing in third place was 2 Drink Minimum, which placed Kendal Armstrong on the all-tourney team.

Charlie Fox of Legacy, which placed fourth, was also an all-tourney pick.

Jackson said the 17 team format was the biggest yet for the tournament.

“I had five or six teams on a waiting list and we have a field that was never being used,” Jackson said.

By utilizing both Hoo Hoo Park fields, more teams were accommodated. One of the teams brought a portable fence, Jackson said.

The tournament featured 33 games between Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

“There were so many teams and so many people, it felt like old times,” Jackson said.

About a half dozen teams were from the Siskiyou County area, others were from Redding/Red Bluff, Placerville/Fall River, and Klamath Falls.

Jackson thanked Brian Heile of Mount Shasta’s Roll-N-Rock for donating his time and heavy equipment  and the McCloud Community Services District for helping get the field in shape.