There were plenty of winners at the Gord Closson Fall Classic at Waldon Park last weekend.
Not only were there two first-place finishers — one each on the open and masters divisions — but the fastball tournament also celebrated its first-ever triple crown award winner, one lucky supporter drove away with a new used car, and three deserving causes shared the proceeds.
In open division pool play, the Pipers went a perfect 3-0 to finish first, followed by the Bangers, Longwood Brewing, the Braves, and the Rangers.
The Braves knocked off Longwood in the first round of the playoffs, then in the semifinals the Pipers beat the Braves and the Rangers beat the Bangers. The Rangers completed their big turnaround from worst to first by thumping the Pipers 7-0 in the final.
Chris Agnew pitched for the Rangers in the final, recording 12 strikeouts while surrendering one hit, with support from Dan Whiteford and Ryan Spence, who both hit home runs. Spence pitched for the Rangers in their semifinal, striking out 14.
In the masters division, both the Geriatrics and Lantzville finished pool play at 3-0, but the Geriatrics placed first due to run differential. The Howlers were third, followed by Mark James Excavating, and Wheatsville in fifth.
Mark James Excavating beat the Howlers in the first round of the playoffs, then eliminated the Geriatrics in one semifinal while Lantzville knocked off Wheatsville. Lantzville then defeated Mark James Excavating 5-1 in the final. Mike Peters recorded 17 strikeouts in the final, and a grand slam by Kirk Lum provided more than enough offence.
Team MVPs included Adam Burnell (Mark James Excavating), Dom Mansueti (Geriatrics), Ryan Spence (Rangers), Trevor McIntyre (Lantzville), Colin Carter (Braves), Justin Lucas (Howlers), Fabian Bavis (Longwood), Trevor Gicas (Bangers), Tim Allen (Wheatsville) and Bricklen Anderson (Pipers).
Burnell was also named the Mr. O’Keefe Most Sportsmanlike Player, the Ron Dill Most Inspirational Player for the second straight year, and the Wilky Weekend Warrior award, the first time all those awards have gone to the same person.
Steve Laplante was named Favourite Umpire, Don O’Keefe received the Chris Dame Most Positive Person award, and the Geriatrics and Braves shared the Team Participation award. A new award, the Young Buck Award in memory of Brent Harrison, went to Harrison’s grandson, Adam Bird. As the first team knocked out of the playoffs, the Howlers received the Shawnigan Lake Merchants Last Place Trophy.
The winner of the raffle for a 2010 Mini Cooper S was Rikki Wylie.
Non-tournament games also saw the nationals-bound Sooke Loggers face a Selects team put together by Duncan Tigers pitcher Craig Snyder, and lots of participation in the 60-plus wooden bat game. A handful of players took part in the first-ever grandpa/grandson game, but organizers are confident it will grow as the wooden bat game has over six years.
The proceeds from the tournament were split three ways, going to the family of Cobble Hill toddler Wilder World, who died tragically in June, to Rebecca Sanesh and Humanity for Horses, and to the purchase of a new, quieter electric lawn mower for Waldon Park.