Special to the Record
The 2012 Canadian National Oldtimers Baseball Tournament is history, and that history will, unfortunately, not include the Hamilton Stealers as champions of the 50+ age division. And, Tim McDonald and Kevin Dobbelsteyn will, unfortunately, not be listed as members of the winning team.
The two local boys were picked up by the Ontario team to bolster its chances of success at the Prince Edward Island tourney. The event was held the August long weekend under wonderful weather conditions of about 31 degrees all weekend long. Most of the games were at diamonds in Charlottetown, but some took place in Summerside as well.
After a long trip to the Island, including the four-hour time shift, a Friday doubleheader did not go well. With games against Spring Lake of Alberta (a 3-2 loss) and the Nova Scotia Monarchs (a 5-4 loss), the bats were rather uninspired. Although Hamilton held the lead heading to the last inning in both games, the opponents rallied to snatch away victory.
With a lobster supper in North Rustico to soothe the disappointment of a bad day, the team regrouped on Friday night.
Saturday morning, the Stealers headed to Summerside for a second doubleheader. Playing much better ball against the Pleasant Valley Lakers (a 6-4 win) and long-time rivals Oakville Golden A’s (a 7-6 win), the boys gave themselves a chance to finish in the top four teams and a chance at the title. When the Nova Scotia team played to a tie in one of its games, the back door opened and in walked the Stealers!
Sunday’s single-elimination game was right back against the Oakville team. Scoring five runs in the first inning, Hamilton was on fire. After 4-½ innnings, the Stealers led 9-4. And then, hell froze over. The Oakville team scored six runs in the fifth and another five runs in the sixth to grab a 15-9 lead. A good rally in the seventh pulled the Stealers closer at 15-12, but that was it.
On Monday, Oakville lost the title to the Dufferin, Ontario team in extra innings.
The national event turned into a great experience for Tim and Kevin. They met some great guys on the Hamilton team and enjoyed five top-notch ball games. The boys played well, with McDonald catching almost every inning and guiding the team from behind the plate, and Dobbelsteyn playing third and pitching and contributing at the plate from the number five spot.
The 2013 tournament will be the long August weekend in Edmonton. Rumours have started that the Valley will send one (or more) teams next year . . . could there be a Valley vs. Valley final? Watch for updates!