The sun was out, the cheap seats were packed and the players pumped down at Shelly Field Thursday morning as the Orcas and Athletics squared off in Parksville’s slo-pitch playoffs’ championship showdown.
The Orcas went into the game unbeaten in the Parksville Seniors Athletic Group (PSAG) year-end double knockout playoffs, which got underway two weeks ago, at 8-0. The As, at 7-1, needed to beat the Orcas in game one to force a game two to have any hopes of hoisting the hardware.
“Great day for a ball game,” Orcas’ fielder Gregg ‘Gregger’ Dawe smiled from ear to ear as he trotted off the field after a teammate came up with a deft grab for the third out.
Dawe is also president of PSAG, which is under the umbrella of PGOSA — the Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association.
The Orcas went into Thursday looking to do what the Vipers did last year — finish dead last in the eight-team league during the regular season, then go unbeaten in the playoffs to win the championship.
In game one on Thursday, the Orcas jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning off some solid hits and aggressive base running. The As answered with two of their own in the bottom of the frame to cut it to 4-2. The Athletics kept the Orcas off the board in the second inning, but the Orcas struck for three more in the third to go up 7-2 , added two more in the fourth for a comfy 9-2 cushion and cruised to a 15-5 final.
The Orcas made some nice plays on defence, but they knocked the hide off the ball most of the game, and their fielder Pat Lawson hit a grand slam in the top of the sixth to put the game out of reach.
“It was great,” Dawe answered when asked about the final day of the season, “and we capped it off with a good closing ceremonies that included a good healthy donation to the local food bank.”
There are, he pointed out, over one hundred players in the league and quite a few of them are going on to represent Parksville at the BC Seniors Games being held next week in Burnaby.
“Great team win — everybody chipped in,” he said of the outcome, adding, “amazing effort from everybody and wonderful camaraderie on the part of all the players, the umpires, the scorekeepers and other volunteers … and the spectators were great.
“We must have had at least 75 people out there watching today.”
Players have to be at least 55 to play in the league, “but we have people in their 80s still playing, and we have some really strong senior athletes,” he said, adding, “some of these guys are still playing very competitive ball.”
“They play in the World Slo-Pitch championships down in Utah each year.”
PSAG’s slo-pitch season runs from mid-April to the end of August. The league itself has been going on for almost 20 years “and it continues to grow.”