After 21 straight innings, the Hay River Heat came out on top of this year’s men’s fastpitch territorial championships, beating out the Alanco Holdings Orioles 12-8 in the final game.
“It was awesome,” Glenn Smith told The Hub. “It started out with lots of runs on both sides, but we kept hitting the whole game. It was a good game, we played the whole seven innings.”
Four teams competed for the title over the course of the weekend under sunny skies and warm weather, despite predictions of rains. Hundreds of fans turned out to watch.
“Really, we couldn’t do this without the Yellowknife teams that come down and really make it a great event,” said Smith. “It’s great to see them here.”
While the final game proved to be a close contest, the one preceding it was interesting for other reasons. Famed Hay River pitcher Floyd Daniels defected to play for several Yellowknife teams this year, causing some pre-tournament controversy. He pitched for The Rockies against his former team in the second-to-last game.
“There were some reports in the media that caused some controversy, but on the field it was intense, but good,” said Smith. “A couple of our players got hit, and there were some questions as to whether it was on purpose.”
Lyndon Daniels, Floyd’s nephew, took the field to pitch against his uncle, something Smith said worked out more than well.
“It’s good to see the younger guys coming up and stepping up,” he said. “There’s a bit of a changing of the guards.”
More than anything, Smith said the tournament was a success because of the crowds and the community involvement.
“We counted about 230 people there on Friday night in the stands and that was really exciting,” he said.
“It’s a great thing for the community, I know a lot of people really appreciate fast pitch, they can remember when it was really strong here and want to see it that strong again.”
While many of the men will continue playing with their local slopitch teams, their season as a team is over. Smith said from now on they will focus on getting the new ball diamond ready for play.
“We’re ready to keep working,” he said. “The next step is to get ready to host the Western Canadian Fastpitch Masters’ Championships next year”