The weather may have been cold, but the baseball action was definitely hot when the 10th annual Casey at the Bat fast ball tournament took place at the Williamsburg diamonds, May 24-26.
Friday night, under grey skies, the tournament opened with two special presentations.
On behalf of the Fast Ball Tournament, Lyle Schell presented Lisa Casselman, of the Dundas County Hospice, with a cheque for $1,200, the proceeds from the 2012 tournament.
“With this cheque, we have now gone over the $10,000 mark in donations since the first Casey at the Bat 10 years ago,” Schell said. “We have made donations ranging from the cancer society to high school bursaries to the hospice.” Proceeds from the 2013 tournament, still being tabulated at press time, will be going to the Dundas County Hospice.
Then long time ball player and fan, Bert “Knappy” McIntosh, stepped up to the mound. Displaying the same form he must have had when he played ball with tournament namesake, Casey Schell in the 30s and 40s, Bert made the ceremonial toss.
The tournament hosted 10 teams this year. Eastmain, a Northern Quebec team, travelled 16 hours to take part in the event. Also entered in competition were the home team, the Williamsburg Cigars, Donnacona. Quebec, the Quebec Jrs,, the Napanee Jrs., the Ottawa Blitz, the Barrhaven Blues, the Domville Jrs., the Lyn Seniors and a team from Cornwall.
The home town Cigars gave ball fans plenty to cheer about all weekend long, despite the very unseasonable cold weather, and the constant threat of rain showers.
In their 6:30 p.m. opener against Domville, the Cigars swept the decks with a score of 5-0. They repeated the magic with a score of 9-0 over the Eastmain team on Saturday.
Saturday afternoon, the Cigars played an exciting game against the Ottawa Blitz, highlighted by a home run from Matt Alkerton, and some strong pitching by Corey Alkerton. Williamsburg took the win 7-1.
On Sunday morning, the Cigars faced Lyn, and fought to a tough 7-7 tie.
The tournament was set up with two divisions of five teams each, round robin format. There were three games on Friday night, with 12 games scheduled on two playing fields on Saturday and eight games Sunday. The semi-finals and the finals took place on Sunday, late day.
Sunday afternoon, the Cigars, who placed first in the Casey Division, followed by the Blitz in second spot, took on the 2nd place finisher in the Sib Division, Donnacona. (Napanee was in first place in the Sib).
It was a hard fought contest against the strong, and scrappy Quebec team (they hit four bombs): unfortunately, the Cigars went down to a 8-1 defeat. This eliminated them from the final games of the tournament.
“We had a great team,” Schell said. “The guys all played their best.”
The final and deciding match was played between Donnacona and Napanee, and was won by Donnacona 11-2, with the Quebec team belting out four more home runs.
Donnacona is the team that eliminated the Cigars in the 2012 tournament. “I’m seriously thinking that maybe I won’t invite them next year,” Lyle Schell remarked, grinning.
Top pitcher honours went to Gregg Garrity of Donnacona, as did the top hitter nod to Mathieu Roy.
Napanee player John Hass was named the tournament’s most valuable player.