Special to the Record
Last year, winners of both divisions of the Investors Group Yew Bat Tournament were Comox Valley teams. This writer, at that time, wished the losing teams Victoria and Burnaby a long drive home and a wish to – see you next year!
Well, these masters baseball teams apparently cut out the article, tacked it to their dugout wall, and came back this past weekend to seek a little revenge on our teams, our media, and this writer!
Victoria arrived Friday a little short-handed. Losing to the Indians on Friday night and the Yankees on Saturday morning, the team gradually found its focus and beat the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning semifinals produced an extra-inning victory against the Jays, moving them to the final.
The Indians, after thumping Victoria on Friday, lost Saturday to both the Jays and Yankees, including a slugfest that finished 14-13 in the late afternoon. The semis saw a great game with the Yankees on Sunday morning. Behind 3-2 in the fifth, Bubba’s eyes lit up on a hanging curve ball and launched it into the boulders well beyond the right field fence. No recollection of the pitcher at the time. But, the Indians prevailed in eight innings.
The Victoria-Indians final was a slow-starter but a fabulous finisher. The Capital City crew jumped out to a 6-0 lead after four innings, seemingly on cruise to an easy victory and a short drive home. But as so often happens, the bullpen changes things quickly. After a sensational play by Marinus behind third base, the Indians caught fire and caught Victoria at 7-7 after seven innings. For a tourney record fourth time, extra innings were required.
Unfortunately, 68-year-old Tweaty opened the eighth with a single, advanced on a wild pitch (or was it a passed ball?), and scored the winning run on a single. Victoria wins the coveted old Yew Bat bat.
On the mature side, Burnaby started strong and finished strong. The Twins, the Nationals, and Sointula all tried to de-rail the mainland boys, but to no avail. After years of playing second fiddle to the Indians, this team saw their chance to taste victory. A highlight of the weekend was a three home run game for the Burnaby clean-up batter on Saturday afternoon.
On Sunday morning, the Nationals battled hard against the Twins, but came up short, 9-8. But the Twins could not duplicate the effort against the Buzzards, and fell 9-5 in the final. Burnaby wins the coveted new Yew Bat bat.
The weather threatened the tourney, but the threats turned to sun by Sunday. More impressive than the lack of rain, however, was the overall play this year. Defensively, stellar play after stellar play was witnessed as the weekend wore on. Tony Super for the Yankees was an example of spectacular play in the outfield, as was the centre fielder for Victoria as he swallowed up numerous line drives, and the infield for the Nationals.
Special thanks for Dave Fauteux and his crew for the organization of the weekend, and to Amanda Egeland for her non-stop effort on the 50-50 draws.
And, finally, See You Next Year!