Thirteen teams participate in the memorial tournament

Teams travel from as far as Lytton and Washington state

Al O’Handley

A 21-year tradition continues to bring people back to Hope for a weekend of two-pitch softball.

The annual Peters Family Memorial tournament attracted 13 teams, some local and others from as far away as Lytton and Nooksack, Washington.

Action started on Friday night and continued to late on Sunday afternoon, using fields at C.E. Barry school and Sixth Avenue Park.

Monica Florence, who coordinated the event with Rhonda Bobb, said the tournament is in honour of the deceased descendants of her grandfather, former Chawathil grand chief P.D. Peters.

“It started with my cousin, Darwin, who passed away when he was 18,” said Florence. “We started the tournament four years later and it’s been going ever since.

“A lot of people like it and say it’s their favourite, because we give out lots of prizes,” she added. “We have lots of sponsors for the trophies and prizes, so we can give out a lot of prize money.”

Each team paid $275 for a three-game guarantee, (a $3,575 total intake) but $3,000 was given back in prize money to the top teams — in addition to the 50 trophies.

The game of two-pitch, which was locally developed in the early 1980s, has many of the elements of baseball and slo-pitch — with the biggest difference being that teams pitch to their own batters. Since your pitcher is trying to give you the sweetest, fattest ball to hit… you only get two chances. Hence: “two-pitch.”

Foul balls count as strikes, also. Hit a foul on your second chance and you’re back on the bench.

The other big difference is that the whole line-up of 10 players has to hit. It’s not “three-out and you’re back in the field” like in traditional ball — but the tenth player has no-one coming after, so he or she is the clean-up hitter and wants to drive in as many home as possible — and maybe even get a homer.

Hope resident Al O’Handley earned the honour of most home runs by a male, with 11, while Hayley (last name unknown) of the Chilliwack/Hope Rib Ticklers was the only female to hit a homer. She got one, aided by her fleet feet.

Most runs batted in for a female went to Cece of the Nooksack-based Jammers. Dave Jack of the Chilliwack and Chawathil Wolverines, drove in 37 runs while batting in the clean-up role.

To keep things fun, the tournament also has a few silly trophies — and Jack earned one of these as well.

“He got the Drama Queen award,” said Florence, laughing. “It usually goes to a female… but we decided to give it to him. And Clay from the Agassiz Shufflers got the Cry Baby award. They know they’re in the running for those, if they complain too much!”

With your own pitcher giving you easy-to-hit lobs, your chances of striking out should be close to zero. That leads to the next award.

A strikeout is counted as a knockout or “K” for short — so the tournament has the “Special K” award. Tanisha Jack of the Wolverines was struck out seven times on the weekend and Sheldon of the Cheam/Chawathil Underdogs got the male award, with 4 Ks.

After working through a rain-filled Saturday, Sunday’s eliminations and finals were mostly dry, said Florence.

The Hope/Canyon Pain & Gain team bowed out just before the final, gaining third place and $600 in prize money. The Nooksack Jammers took home $200 for their fourth-place finish.

In the consolation final, Boston Bar’s Highway Through Hell burned Cheam’s team, who were “Caught Looking,” winning $100.

In the championship match, the Rib Ticklers edged out the Wolverines, with $1,200 going to the winners and $900 to the runners-up.

The Rib Ticklers also had the tournament male and female MVPs: Landon John and Cindy Barry.