Agassiz teams shine at Brigade Days ball tournament

This year's event attracted 14 teams from the Fraser Valley

Using a little tongue action to guide his throw

The game of two-pitch baseball came back to town for the Brigade Days weekend, attracting 14 teams from down-valley and a few from local or formerly-local players.

“That’s two more than last year,” said organizer Jeff Smith on Tuesday. “We could have done more but we need more facilities for that.”

Games started at 6 p.m. on Friday, using two diamonds at Sixth Avenue Park and one at C.E. Barry School. Diamond No. 1 had the lights on for a second game before the fireworks display kicked off at Sixth Avenue Park.

There were 30 games in total, with teams paying $350 each for a four-game guarantee. The top four teams got to play an extra match for the prize money of $350, $250, $150 and $100.

Two-pitch has a history of being self-regulated by volunteer umpires from other teams but Smith figured he would make things cleaner and simpler by bringing in paid umpires this year.

“I play slo-pitch in Chilliwack, so I asked Bob Cochrane (slo-pitch umpire) to arrange all of the umps for me. It made my life a whole lot easier,” said Smith, who played on Chilliwack’s Filthy Animals team on the weekend.

“My slo-pitch guys aren’t used to some of the two-pitch rules but we’ve taken the rules down to about as easy as you can get,” explained Smith. “The big adjustment was on a caught fly ball. In two-pitch, it’s a dead ball and everyone else gets to go back to the base that they came from.”

In slo-pitch, other runners could get tagged out — or they could tag up and try to steal a base, as in traditional baseball, he said.

Despite the mixture of slo-pitch, two-pitch and “haven’t played in years” players, Smith said the games were relatively close.

“Nobody lost all that badly, even though there was no ‘mercy rule,’” said Smith, who grew up in Hope but now resides in Agassiz. “And there were no injuries that I’m aware of — and I’m a first aid guy.”

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather, either,” added Smith. “Not to complain — but it was even a bit hot out there!”

In the end, it was Agassiz-based teams that claimed the top three places and $750 in prize money. Jimmy’s Pub beat the Hope-based NGAFs in the consolation final and the Agassiz Shufflers edged out the Ballers for first place.

The game of two-pitch got its start in Hope in the early 1980s and was very popular until 2007, when only six teams were registered and the league folded shortly after. Slo-pitch had a short run of a few years and now the local diamonds are underutilized, though Hope Minor Softball is making a comeback.

Meanwhile — despite its smaller population — Agassiz has kept the game alive.

“I think they had 19 teams this year,” said Smith. “They play from April till just about July.

“Some of the players are from Hope, too. Hope could get it going again — but no one wants to step up and organize it,” he said.

Smith should know of what he speaks, as he was also the Brigade Days president this year.

“I took it on, on a temporary basis, hoping that someone would step in… but no one did.”

The rebirth of Hope Minor Softball gave Smith some hope that the town could rekindle the two-pitch game as well.

“Don’t take it too seriously, though,” he advised. “Just go out there and have some fun.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hundreds fill Chilliwack streets for Black Lives Matter march

‘Canada has a problem too,’ reads at least one protester’s sign

IHIT names homicide victim found in the Fraser Canyon this week

Police asking for tips into the suspicious death of 29-year-old Alicia Berg

$25 million Fraser Valley highway project 18 months behind schedule

Ministry says information security protocols have ‘evolved’ since construction on project wrapped up

Chilliwack RCMP heard gunfire en route to suspicous activity

Chilliwack man, 42, sent to hospital after shooting, RCMP have confirmed

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Run for Water: Abbotsford man raises $100,000 running 100-mile marathon

Kevin Barata ran up and down Ledgeview Trails 32 times, exceeding elevation of Mt. Everest

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Most Read