The game was bigger. The stands were fuller. The cheers were louder. Sooke was a hotbed of fastball activity over the weekend, with the Minor Fastball Provincial championships running in full swing as early as Friday morning and ending on Sunday afternoon.
Sooke U16 Rep boys team got the silver following a tough, but well-played match versus Richmond on Saturday night, and proceeded to beat 100 Mile House the following day as well, taking the gold podium on Sunday afternoon.
It won’t be the last time Richmond faces Sooke though — both of the elite teams will face off once again in just a couple of weeks, as both have progressed to the Western Championships in Regina, Sask.
Still, U16 Rep coach Nin Dougall is happy with his team’s performance, and that he’s feeling pretty good about the upcoming championships.
“We met a good team with hot bats, and just out batted us, it happens,” he said, noting that this is just another chance for the team to improve and sharpen their skills.
“We’re off to Regina in two weeks for the August long weekend. It would be nice to get the gold medal, but first we have some work to do.”
The U12 boys team made it to the finals, bringing in the gold on Sunday. In total there were four Sooke teams, one in every division.
And despite the nationwide low player numbers in fastball, both diamonds at Art Morris Park and Stan Jones (SEAPARC) were surrounded by a sea of people anxiously watching the best of the best duke it out on the fields.
“We’re really proud of our volunteers, they really helped make this whole thing happen,” said Chris Bryant, Sooke Minor Fastball president.
As such, countless members of the community, including several members of the men’s fastball league in Sooke were also part of the volunteering effort, helping with things such as setting up stands, painting/revitalizing fences, prepping the gravel on the diamonds and cutting the grass on the fields.