Happy's Islanders win Yew Bat tourney
The 11th annual Investors Group Yew Bat Baseball Tournament was another successful adventure at Bill Moore Memorial Park in Courtenay, wrapping up in the glorious sunshine of a Sunday afternoon.
"After several years of the trophies heading to Victoria and Burnaby, the trophies will stay here at home where they belong!" a tourney spokesperson said.
Eight teams, in two divisions, played a round robin series of games on Friday evening and all day Saturday. By sunset on Saturday, the B side playoffs were determined to be the Toneff Funeral Services Blue Jays, Brian McLean Yankees, Edwards Avenue Athletics and Fisher Realty Twins.
The Sunday morning elimination games had the Jays and the Yankees moving to the afternoon final, and the Athletics and Twins moving to the refreshment area. Under a warm sun, the Yankees slowing took control of the game and beat the Jays 5-4.
The A side playoff picture was set with Victoria (4-0), Happy’s Source for Sports Islanders (4-0), Daryl Robbins CGA Nationals (3-1), and Burnaby Buzzards (1-1-1).
On Sunday morning Victoria knocked off Burnaby and Happy’s moved past the Nationals. The A final at 2 p.m. was a very enjoyable game between two good ball teams. Happy’s jumped to a 1-0 and then a 5-1 lead, and held on for a 5-2 victory.
The pitching in this game was impressive. Always a critical element, the Islanders had the better elements on this day. Andy Marinus set the stage, as he went three innings and left with a 4-1 lead. Newcomer Bob Cripps then threw heat for two innings, and veteran Dave Bennett shut the door for the last two innings.
At the plate, Ron Carter, a spectacular tournament player, went 9-for-16 (.563). Tim McDonald and Kevin Dobbelsteyn both hit .533, with one home run between the two of them. Scott Murray chipped in with .500, and Ray VanderMark at almost .400 (and six RBI).
The Islanders had 10 players over 50 years of age. With the addition of Kelly McGiffin (formerly of the Valley) and a couple of other players from Ontario, this is the team that will be heading to the Canadian National Oldtimers Championship in Brampton, Ont. for the long weekend in August. Having won the ‘B’ side in Edmonton last year, the Islanders are hoping that the Yew Bat win will be the springboard to the ‘A’ title this year.
"Kudos to the organizers who work very hard to make this work each year. Bill Moore Park benefits greatly from the tournament, as the fields are raked and dragged and lined all weekend long. By Sunday evening, the fields are in soooo much better shape than when the guys arrive Friday at noon to get the fields ready for the event," the spokesperson said.
"These are the same guys who each year in May put up the fences, with their own trucks and trailers and labour, so baseball can be played properly at the two fields. These are the same guys who take the fence down each year in August so that football can use the baseball fields. Great work guys, you are an important asset to the community sports scene!"
– Investors Group Yew Bat Baseball Tournament