MINDEMOYA – The weather could not have come through with any more brilliance this past weekend as hundreds of young softball players convened in Mindemoya for their chance at glory during the annual youth softball tournament.
“I’m very happy,” said event organizer Greg Lockeyer. “We had 27 teams in the tournament—one dropped out two days before the weekend—so there were just over 300 kids playing.”
The event ballooned considerably compared to last year’s contingent of 18 teams and Mr. Lockeyer said the committee had stiffened up some rules, with more tweaks to come next year.
New for 2019 was an extra ballfield at Central Manitoulin Public School (CMPS) that hosted eight games and Mr. Lockeyer said the committee was considering adding new seating behind the bigger field at the community hall.
A favourite aspect of the event for Mr. Lockeyer was seeing the children laughing, smiling and running around the field.
“It’s different from running a hockey tournament; there they’re all wearing face masks so you can’t see the expressions on their faces,” he said.
The organizing committee of Tamey McAllister, Reid Taylor, Shannon Drouin, Steve Redmond, Glen Duncanson, Alan Davy and Annette King received support from a number of Island businesses as well as funding from Jays Care Foundation to help construct the schoolyard ball field. The Tehkummah Fire Department made sure the fields were well-watered every morning so that each of the 59 games took place in the best possible conditions.
“Mindemoya has a reputation of holding good events,” Mr. Lockeyer said. “This is kind of like a feeder system—at the Pearson Cup last week we had a team called the Hazards, and today we had a team called the Mini Hazards.”
The weekend’s action concluded on Sunday afternoon with the final showdowns for the peewee, bantam and midget age divisions.
M’Chigeng won the peewee B division with a score of 12-1 over the Odd Sox. M’Chigeeng’s team consisted of Lourdes Taukei, Nyala O’Connor, Makenna Beam, Carlynn Simon, James Panamick, Zack Peltier, Davin Enosse, Ethan Ense, Brian Bisson, Liam McClean and coach Renee Corbiere.
In the A division, two sister teams, the Sandlot Legends and the Sandlot Tigers, squared off. The original Sandlot team was made up of all the Novice Panthers hockey team players, however this had to be split in two due to the five boys/five girls rule.
The Sandlot Tigers eked out a victory of 10-9, with their team of Jaxsin Chatwell, Max King, Cohen Rajotte, Liam Stephens, Bryden Romaniuk, Sophie Campbell, Corie Brown, Brinley Watson, Trinity Cheechoo, Gabby Gagne and coaches Chris King, Scott Stephens and Christa King. They earned the Prescott family trophy for their efforts and Tigers player Jackson Noble won a draw for a new glove.
The bantam B title went to Two Can’s Clan of Espanola who earned a decisive 13-4 win over the M’Chigeeng Thunderbirds. The team members were Ethan Leblanc, Anderson Parker, Tyler McLennan, Jackson Noble, Owen Bucknell, Sari Smith, Nevy Newton, Emelia Lamothe, Gracie Gibson, Delayna Rantanen and Abby Parker, with coaches Dan Leblanc, Dave Parker, Michelle Parker and Kelly Paradis.
In the bantam A division, the Mon Stars defeated the Outsliders 11-5. Team members Brayden Phelps, Aiden Case, Liam Lariviere, Noah Thorpe, Chase Becks, Jordan Graham, Ava Corbiere, Abbie Heins, Aubri Cranny and Ava Assinewai had an excellent coach in the form of Landen Smith. Player Katrina Anaya from Wiikwemkoong won a brand new ball glove in the draw and Kennedy, Al and Lou Lanktree presented their family’s trophy to the Mon Stars.
The midget B division saw the Seaworld Sluggers defeat the Mystery Gang 7-2, with teammates Emma ‘Weasel’ Cassidy, Kyle Smith, Tessa Bellmore, Owen Duncanson, Hailey McGillis-Prior, Noah Hare, Nick Purvis, Malia Leighton, Jake Robinson, Kyle Wood, Memphis Cadieux and Chase Hester coached by Ryan Prior and Glen Duncanson.
The Chiefs dominated over the Purple Jellyfish in the A division, earning their maximum five runs in each inning and forcing the game to a close without needing the fifth and final inning. Their final score was 20-9. The Chiefs were Jenna Taylor, Trent Bell, Autumn Deschenes, Gave Hare, Harmony Kaiser-Fox, Cord Hughson, Todd Gordon, Whittier Gauthier, Hudson Hare, Aysia Francis-Debassige, Lattrell Peltier and Jared Cortez, not present. Coaches were Dean Hare and Mason Graham.
Taylor Dafoe won the draw for a new ball glove and the Chiefs were presented with the midget trophy. This was the first time this trophy had been presented with its family dedication which was unveiled at the infield ceremony. Doug and Cathy King are the namesakes for the midget trophy and helped present it to Gabe Hare of the Chiefs.
Overall, Mr. Lockeyer said he was pleased with how the tournament went and that they would be able to make better use of the CMPS field to expand their capacity next year when it is completed. However, he cautioned that he wants to ensure the tournament does not grow to the point of being unwieldy.