Fenton tournament celebrates local baseball

Duncan teams took the top three spots and the host Chemainus Heat were pleased with their fourth-place finish at the 28th annual Chris Fenton Memorial Peewee Baseball Tournament last weekend.

"I think that’s better than we’ve done in quite a few years," Phil Simpson, Heat manager, president of the Chemainus Baseball Association and tournament organizer, said of the result.

Chemainus lost to the Duncan Royals in the third-place game. In the gold-medal final, the Duncan Angels topped the Duncan Pirates 12-7. "It was back and forth. The Pirates were actually ahead first," Simpson said of the final. Those teams are pretty equally matched."

The Heat’s result was especially impressive considering the youth of the roster.

"We’ve got lots of younger players," Simpson said. "Two mosquito players are playing with us because we don’t have a mosquito team in Chemainus, and that’s better than them going to Ladysmith to play."

Particularly noteworthy was that there were eight or nine home runs hit over the course the tournament, a huge increase from two in 2013.

"The talent in the Valley is definitely getting better," Simpson said.

The tournament is played in honour of Chris Fenton, who grew up in Chemainus and put in countless hours volunteering as an umpire before his death in a car accident. Chris’s mom, Rondeau Fenton, threw out the first pitch on Friday.

"That was really nice," Simpson said. "She usually shows up some time during the tournament to watch, but this year we had a ceremony with her on the first day."

Following Chris’s example, teams and coaches were respectful throughout the weekend. "We had no issues whatsoever," Simpson said. "Everybody understands that it’s a memorial tournament, and all seven teams are local, so we play each other a lot."