Penticton’s Men’s Fastpitch season got off to a shaky start but ended on a high.
Stability was a problem and the league lost the Argo Rebels after one game due to player commitments. The league took a five-day hiatus as league president Dennis Thomsen reworked the schedule. Players from the Rebels who wanted to play were put on other teams.
Week two wasn’t any better. A pitcher for Berry & Smith Blaze had a heart attack on the mound. The league took another break before it was able to get rolling.
From that point stellar performances were being put on. Matt Fraser of the Interior Roofing Bulldogs won the homerun race with six after a battle with Ryan Volk of the Okanagan Underdogs and Carter Rigby of the Blaze. For those in attendance for a mid-season game between Fibreglass Specialties and perennial contenders GFX, Greg Miller threw a no-hitter for Fibreglass Specialties. On another night, Rich Haldane took the mound against the Bulldogs and recorded 18 strikeouts in a two-hit shutout.
The league became competitive with the spread of talent including the emergence of the Okanagan Underdog team with the addition of a new pitcher and a couple of strong bats in the lineup. Although they were not happy with their record at the end of the season, they know they are close to getting into the playoff mix. The regular season finished with the Blaze taking the top spot with Fibreglass Specialties second, the Bulldogs in third followed by GFX.
The semifinals would see the Bulldogs dispatch the Fibreglass Specialties in two games. After dropping game one to Berry & Smith, GFX came charging back with two blowout wins to earn their spot in the finals.
GFX and the Bulldogs had played each other four times during the regular season with three of those games decided by one run. The finals would start out the same as the Bulldogs took game one in extra innings, followed by a win by GFX in game 2 in extra innings. To change things up, the Bulldogs came out hard in game three and invoked the “mercy rule” after five innings in a 9-2 win. Not to be out done, GFX let the Bulldogs have it in game four with a 8-1 beating. The stage was set for game five. The Bulldogs got the first run but was quickly answered by GFX. The two teams would continue to trade runs until the Bulldogs brokeout to a 7-4 lead in the fourth inning and would hold on for their first championship.
Check this story online at www.pentictonwesternnews.com for the league and playoff award winners.
League and Playoff Awards:
Rookie of the Year: Nick Chernoff- Berry & Smith
Pitcher of the Year: Ted Clough- GFX
Dennis “Tex” Ewanchuk League MVP: Carter Rigby- Berry & Smith
Playoff MVP: Dennis Thomsen
League Winners: Berry & Smith Blaze
Playoff Champions: Interior Roofing Bulldogs