SOINTULA—There was once a time when Ross Michelson could take his son Richard to the ballfield for a friendly game of pitch-and-hit.
On Sunday, however, it was all business.
Father and son faced off Sunday in the showcase game of the annual Sointula Invitational Baseball Tournament, which pits the two hometown clubs — the “Old Guys” and the “Young Guns” — in an annual battle for bragging rights for the next year.
Score this round for dad.
Starting on the mound for the Old Guys, Ross coaxed Richard into an infield pop-up that turned into a double play in the first inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, the roles were reversed, and Ross laced a pitch from Richard into right field for an RBI single, part of an early-game outburst that gave the Old Guys a 13-0 lead through three innings.
The Young Guns would have their say before it was over, and Richard had an RBI hit and scored two runs in his team’s 10-run fifth inning off a series of Old Guys relievers. But the rally fell short and dad’s team closed out a 13-11 win one inning later.
The annual tournament is a mix of homecoming party and community fundraiser for the close-knit Malcolm Island community. Local contractors contributed a huge dump truck of firewood and a load of prime topsoil to highlight the raffle prize selection, and both the indoor kitchen and outdoor oyster and shrimp grills did brisk business in support of the Sointula Recreation Association.
“It’s a whole community thing,” said Wanda Laughlin, who has worked this tournament since its start in 1994 and who is current chair of the rec association. “Everybody’s out doing something; everybody’s chipping in. We need to try to do something to fix up our halls.”
The tournament included two teams from the Comox Valley, the Hyde Creek Hillbillys and Port McNeill Rangers of the North Vancouver Island Baseball League, and assorted individual players who grew up in Sointula before moving away.
The Hillbillys won their third straight tournament title in dramatic fashion, scoring a 9-8 win over Paul’s Balls of Courtenay on a two-out, walkoff ground ball by Taylor Galeazzi in the bottom of the final inning.
Paul’s Balls had just taken the lead in the top of the inning, overcoming a 6-3 deficit through a combination of timely hits and fielding miscues by the Hillbillys.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Ivan Hall, who started the game for the Hillbillys but had long since moved to the outfield by the time all the fireworks commenced. “They were two pretty even teams, actually. It could have gone either way.”
2012 Sointula Invitational Baseball Tournament
Monday, May 21
Championship: Hyde Creek Hillbillys 9, Paul’s Balls 8
Semifinals: Hillbillys 9, Port McNeill Rangers 5; Paul’s Balls 6, Cardinals 5
Saturday, May 19
Hillbillys 21, Sointula Young Guns 6
Sointula Old Guys 12, Port McNeill Rangers 1
Paul’s Balls 7, Courtenay Cardinals 0
Hillbillys 6, Old Guys 2
Cardinals 16, Young Guns 2
Rangers 3, Paul’s Balls 0
Sunday, May 20
Cardinals 11, Old Guys 2
Paul’s Balls 8, Young Guns 4
Hillbillys 8, Rangers 0
Old Guys 13, Young Guns 11
Cardinals 6, Rangers 1
Hillbillys 6, Paul’s Balls 1