For fans who love good baseball and exciting games, there was no where better to be the weekend of May 25-27, 2012, than at the Williamsburg Ball Diamond taking in the Casey At Bat Memorial Fastpitch Tournament.
Organized by Lyle Schell and the Schell family, this was the 9th tournament held at Williamsburg.The Tournament (named for Casey Schell) this year honoured the memory of Lyle’s mother, Joanie Schell. The home team, the Williamsburg Cigars, wore shirts which proclaimed on the back, Joanie’s Way: All or Nothing.
The proceeds from the tournament, $1,000, are all going to Hospice Care.
The Cigars fielded 10 players. “I made the calls about two months ago,” Schell said, “and we basically all got together here on Friday night. Pretty great results for a team that didn’t actually practice,” he said of his team which made it to the championship final.
Eight teams entered this year. They included, in the Casey Division, the Barrhaven Blues, Quebec Midgets, Donnacona Bluesox, and the Napanee Midget Express, and in the Sib division the Cigars, the Cornwall Pickmeups, the Quebec Juniors and the Cree Nation Fireballs (who travelled for 17 hours from northern Quebec).
The Cigars’ Friday night opener turned out to be a nail biter.
The team was down 6-3 against the Cornwall Pickmeups in the bottom of the 7th inning. When Jamie Smith came up to bat for the Cigars, the bases were loaded with two out.
He hit a beautiful grand slam, and brought in four runs. The Cigars took their opener 7-6.
“Boy, was I excited,” Smith said. “It was just a great moment.”
“Never in our lives, in all the tournaments, have we seen a game end that way with a grand slam,” said team-mate and catcher Bobby Hart.
On Saturday afternoon, the Cigars dominated, handing the Cree Nation Fireballs a 7-0 loss. The outstanding pitching of Neil “Cookie” Cook was blisteringly effective, backed up by great fielding and hitting by the rest of the team.
Unfortunately the Cigars went down to defeat on Sunday morning against the Quebec Juniors, 8-4, which put them in second place in the Sib division and pitted them against Barrhaven, first in the Casey division, in the Sunday afternoon semi-final.
This was a hard fought game, with the teams remaining scoreless for several innings. There was consistently fine pitching by Cook. Then, at the top of the fourth inning, Hart belted a two base hit and brought Curtis Summers home putting the Cigars ahead 1-0.
At the top of the seventh, Cory Alkerton bunted, getting two runners on base. Dan Loney batted them home, and the Cigars took the game from the Barrhaven Blues, 3-0.
In the final and deciding game of the tournament, the Cigars were pitted against the Donnacona Bluesox, who had defeated the Quebec Juniors in their semi final game to advance to the finals.
Luck ran out in this game for the Cigars, and they were defeated by the Bluesox 6-1. They took home the 2012 Casey at Bat trophy.
Named the Tournament’s MVP was Mathieu Roy, Donnacona Bluesox. Steve Savard, also of the Bluesox, was named top hitter. Neil Cook of the Williamsburg Cigars was named top pitcher.
“It was a great turn out and great weather for Casey at Bat,” said Lyle Schell. “We received lots of compliments on the event, including the barbecue (run by the Morrisburg Pentecostal Church Women’s Ministry with proceeds going to the Food Bank) and the band, Reckless. And we met our fund raising goal. Thanks to all involved for making the Memorial Tournament another great success.”