Closson preps for tourney with big victory

The Gord Closson Forest Products Fastball Club got set for their annual skins tournament this coming weekend by handing the Lantzville Pub a 7-0 defeat at Waldon Park on Tuesday evening.

Solo home runs by Dave Devana in the second inning and Craig Snyder in the third, and shutdown pitching by Snyder and Brooks Robinson powered the Closson club to victory. Devana finished the night 2-for-2 with a walk and four RBIs, while Snyder was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Brad Robinson also had a pair of hits, and Trevor Gicas and Mitch Devana added one each.

Snyder pitched the first four innings, striking out nine and giving up just two hits before handing the ball over to Brooks Robinson for the fifth. Robinson had one strikeout in just one inning of work.

"[Robinson] was supposed to pitch three innings, but in the bottom of the fifth, we scored three runs, and it was over," Closson manager Joe DiLalla said.

Robinson benefited from a great defensive play when, with a man on base in the fifth as shortstop Marty Steen snagged the ball and delivered it to first base to get a valuable out.

Last Thursday, the Duncan club suffered its first home loss, falling 12-6 to Wheatsheaf in what DiLalla called a "hitter’s game."

"We hit the ball well, but they hit the ball well, too," he said. "We had one more hit than they did, but they always had a runner or two on when they got hits."

Steen hit homers in the first and sixth innings, but they were both solo shots. He finished the night 2-for-4 with three runs. Steve Lingren went 3-for-3, Mitch Devana was 2-for-3, and Snyder was 2-for-4. Duncan product Dylan McKinlay hit one of Wheatsheaf’s home runs in the third inning.

This weekend, the club will play host to the second annual Gord Closson Forest Products Skins Shootout, also at Waldon Park in Glenora.

The tournament is a unique one in that they don’t keep scores for games, but award money based on who wins each inning: $10 for each inning won in the round robin for a total of $70 per game, $20 for each inning in the semifinals, and $30 for each inning in the final. If an inning is tied, the money carries over until someone does win.

"It’s kind of fun," DiLalla said. "It’s a different way of doing things. Last year was the first time we tried it."

Games start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the last game set for 6 p.m. They begin again Sunday at 10 a.m., and the final is at 4 p.m. There were four teams registered as of Wednesday: the host club and their Nanaimo Men’s Fastball League rivals Baker Supply, as well as Victoria’s Braves and Thunder.

Drop-in fastball for players of all ages on Monday evenings, beginning at 6:30 p.m. is also starting up at Waldon Park.

"The fields are really playable," DiLalla commented. "We’ve done a lot of work on them. It would be great if we could get young kids to come out and play ball and enjoy it."