“Flood it and they will come,” seemed to be the message for two sporting events involving local athletes last weekend.
Friday and Saturday’s rains would have closed fields for normal games — but when you’re running a tournament, anything short of lightning, hurricanes or blizzards is considered “playable.”
“We had to go and buy a shovel, to make a ditch for drainage,” said Monica Florence, co-organizer of the annual Peters Family Memorial 2-pitch tournament.
Batters and catchers stood in a puddle at Diamond #1, Friday and Saturday and the infield wasn’t much drier, though things improved on Sunday for the final games.
“We were hoping for 16 teams, because it was the twenty-fifth annual,” said Florence, “but ours overlapped with a year-end tournament in Chilliwack, so we only had nine teams.”
The event, which honours departed family members, is usually held in the summer but Florence said they postponed it due to the big salmon fishing season.
“The overall winner was F.Y.D. from Agassiz,” she added. “They beat Break N Balls from Vancouver. Break N Balls came through the back door, with a bunch of close games, so they were pretty tired for the final.”
Meanwhile, Hope Secondary soccer coach, Jeremy Smith took his boys team to Pemberton for a rainy Friday to Saturday tournament.
“I think my socks are still wet,” said Smith on Monday night.
The team headed out after school, Thursday, taking the Duffy Lake route via Lytton and Lillooet, rather than driving through Vancouver and Whistler.
“I think it was only 10 minutes longer, going that way,” he said. “We saw a bear, lots of deer and two steers on the road.
“Actually, compared to what the weather forecast was, it wasn’t too bad, though the fields were definitely soggy,” said Smith. “Tanner Cormier had a breakaway in one game and the ball stopped dead in a puddle and he ran past it.
“They had an electric pump out, trying to drain a puddle that was beside the field.”
The tournament was co-hosted by Pemberton Secondary and Mount Currie’s Xit’olacw Community School, so the fields were about 20 minutes apart.
“There were seven teams and we had seen all the others before,” said Smith. “We had five losses and one win, against Merritt, who we tend to be fairly close with.”
Next up for the boys is their home tournament, October 12 and 13, with around 8 teams expected, mostly from small Interior schools.
Smith said he’s very pleased with the condition of the HSS fields, after a summer of watering, fertilizing and overseeding, handled by school district staff.
“We’ve got a huge squad this year,” he added, “about 30 on the roster, though only 16 were available for the Pemberton tournament. We picked up a number of grade 12s, who had been cut from the team when they were in grade 8 and got discouraged. Now they’re coming back.
“We’ve also got a new guy helping out, named PJ Balshaw. He’s going to school at UFV but is living in Hope. He has played high-level soccer in Europe and when he was living in Port Moody, he was coaching a Metro team.
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“Recently, he has been helping with our defence and he’s bringing new drills and a new perspective. He’s very ambitious and I think he plans on helping out with the girls’ team in the spring, as well,” said coach Smith.
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