Base umpire Jake Colbourne

Base umpire Jake Colbourne

Fireworks at Father’s Day Classic

Dispute leads to walkoff in A final of annual slo-pitch tourney.

STOREY’S BEACH—The A final of the annual Port Hardy Father’s Day Classic slo-pitch tournament opened with fireworks at Beaver Harbour Park. After that, incendiary devices were fired into the air.

The Port Hardy Bluesox claimed the tourney championship Sunday after Port McNeill’s Woodchuckers qualified for the A final, but declined to play and walked away in a dispute over roster makeup.

Tournament director David Deans said Woodchuckers manager John Klughart requested adding a pick-up player to the team for the final who had not been on the team’s roster for the rest of the tournament, and sitting another player who had been with the team for the weekend.

When Deans declined the request, Klughart left the park with most of his team.

Deans noted that teams are required to submit a roster at the start of tournament play. Exceptions to the submitted roster are allowed in cases where injury leaves a team shorthanded, but Deans said that did not apply in the Woodchuckers’ case.

With the bulk of the tourney’s other participants still at the park to watch the final and take part in the awards to follow, a pickup team was hastily assembled to play the Bluesox in lieu of the Woodchuckers.

Though it was just an exhibition, the Beer Gardens — named for the locale from which most of the players were recruited — provided a spirited matchup for the champs. The game was tied 12-12 into the bottom of the seventh inning before Bluesox batter Leigh Deans belted a walkoff, two-RBI single.

Beer Gardens batter Brayden Demoe hit a pair of home runs. Each time, base umpire Jake Colbourne pulled a “screamer” rocket from his pocket and touched it off to explode far overhead. Demoe’s second tater, in the top of the seventh inning, tied the game and set up Leigh Deans’ eventual winning hit.