Slo Pitch tourney returns

The large tournament will bring 30 teams to Sooke

The Sooke Slo Pitch Association will be holding their large annual tournament from Aug. 4-6 around the Fred Milne Park area.

The Sooke Invitational, which has been a present in the community for about 30 years, will take place at Fred Milne Park, Edward Milne community School, and Sooke elementary.

So far there are 30 co-ed teams attending, including 14 teams from Sooke. There are also four men’s teams registered to participate from the Victoria Men’s Masters Slopitch League.

More men’s teams are expected to register in the coming weeks, according to Mike Gibson, Sooke Slo Pitch Association vice-president.

Despite its long standing history, the tournament has seen a slight decline in participation in recent years.

“It’s declined… we used to cap it at 22 (Sooke) teams, 22 years ago,” Gibson said. “But now we’re down to 14 for the Sooke league.”

He speculated reasons for the decline may be a loss of interest from younger generations, people moving away and employment, but added there is no definable reason.

“There’s not much you can do about it, teams are struggling to get players now.”

The event serves as the main fundraiser for the association, raising approximately $4,000 to $5,000 each year in concession and beer sales.

Some of the money from last year’s tourney has been put towards a temporary angled parking lot on Sooke River Road across from Fred Milne Park, which will accommodate 50 to 60 cars.

The association is responsible for the cost and work of the temporary parking lot, which was approved by council on June 25.

Gibson said the project will be completed before the tournament.