Everyone has bad or off years, where things just don’t go your way and obstacles keep popping up. That’s how this season of Fort St. John Mixed Slow Pitch felt, as rain, cancellations, and a lack of teams made things difficult.
However, the league held its year-end tournament on August 10 and 11, and despite having just 17 teams take part across four divisions, it was as successful and fun a tournament as always.
“I think the wrap-up went really well. The weather held out, the fog burned off nicely, and we received nothing but positive feedback,” said Slow Pitch President Dave Sawer.
The Warriors won the A event, while the Brew Jays (B), Backccountry (C), and The Howlers (D) made up the rest of the division champions.
The weather seemed to be the biggest factor in the down season, as some teams had as many as six games cancelled in the month of July alone, resulting in a feeling like the season was over long before the actual year-end tournament.
“There was also a lot of things going on this weekend, with the Oilmen’s Family Campout, the Dawson Creek Rodeo, and Taylor Slow Pitch year-end as well. It was a perfect storm,” said Sawer.
The Fort St. John league was set to hose its firs-ever SPN National slow pitch tournament, the Energetic City Showdown, in July this year, but that was cancelled two weeks out due to a lack of teams. It was frustrating for Sawer and the rest of the executive, but he said that tournaments were cancelled throughout the Peace Region and it was an off-year for slow pitch all around.
“It wasn’t just us that seemed to have an off year. Grande Prairie’s league lost double-digit teams, and even tournaments down in Leduc were cancelled. Hopefully next year ball will be back in the limelight,” Sawer said.
Sawer is optimistic that the SPN tournament will finally take place as well.
“It might not be next year, we may need a couple years to regrow the steam and momentum, but the volunteers and community support was there, we just had a lack of teams,” said Sawer.
When games were played this summer, Sawer was happy with how things went.
“The season went really well, and we learned a lot. We’re really trying to make it fun for everyone at their playing level, and there were no major issues or negative conduct,” said Sawer. “There was just people wanting to make the league better as a whole.”
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.