Sooke Slo-Pitch will soon host their year-end tournament and, despite a name that might suggest otherwise, the games will be about a lot more than beer and socializing.
“The ‘Sooke til ya Puke’ tournament was named a long time ago and I guess it goes back to a time when the social part of the game was more important than what actually happened out on the field,” explained Jason Dumont, the president of Sooke Slo-Pitch.
“We actually changed the name a few years back but decided to return to the original name after a while…sort of going old school.”
But Dumont said that, while the social aspect of the game is still important, the skill level of the players has certainly gone far beyond past perceptions of the game as being less demanding than other iterations of ball and bat sports.
“We still have a non-competitive division that is more social, but we have a competitive division with some amazing athletes,” said Dumont. “And I mean really competitive.”
He cited the example of one player who has been drafted by Major League Baseball who still plays on a slo-pitch team.
“This is a guy who can hit a ball 400 feet and who has an arm that is just unbelievable.”
Slo-pitch teams are co-ed and every team must have at least four female players. Female players are pitched a smaller ball that allows them to make their hits travel just as far as their male counterparts.
The league will finish their playoffs on Thursday and will host their 35th ‘Sooke til ya Puke’ wrap up tournament on Aug. 3, 4, and 5.
“As competitive as the game can be and as athletic as some players are, the social aspect of the game is still an important part of slo-pitch. You play against these people all the time and it becomes like a big family. reunion when we have a tournament,” said Dumont.
“There’s beer gardens, food concessions, and a dance at the Sooke Legion after the games.”
One aspect of slo-pitch that concerns Dumont is a slight decline in registrations over the past few years.
“We’re always looking for new teams to join the league. People should come out and watch a little bit of the tournament at Fred Milne Park and see how much fun the players are having. Put together your own team and join us next year,” said Dumont.
Dumont still plays slo-pitch. After joining a team in 1993 and becoming addicted to the game, he now plays on a team with his two daughters, aged 20 and 22.