Ashlynne Moore of Port McNeill

Road trip meets homecoming at Woss tourney

Lots of returning faces for annual Slo-pitch tourney.

WOSS—For some players, the annual Woss Slo-pitch Tournament was a homecoming. For others, it was a road trip.

And for the Solutions of Union Bay, it was all of the above.

The Solutions were conspicuous throughout the July 26-28 tourney, with their bright yellow uniforms and boombox blaring a stream of tunes from their dugout — including what appeared to be their theme song: the Beatles’ We All Live in a Yellow Submarine.

“We formed a few years ago, and now we’re ready for some road trips,” captain Graeme McFayden said.

It was the first appearance in the tourney for McFayden and the Solutions team, but several of the squad’s players had taken part in prior years. Tia (Heard) Russell grew up in Woss before moving to Tahsis. Current Union Bay team member Jen Balcke hails originally from Port McNeill and has played previously in Woss. And Willie Shear, the Solutions’ burly left fielder, played here several years ago for a different team from Tahsis.

“Tia’s mom said the Woss tournament was coming up again, and I asked the team, ‘You want to go to Woss, or what?’” Heard said.

“If they didn’t want to, I was going to find another team and come anyway.”

It never came to that, as McFayden and his son and daughter-in-law, Riley and Starr McFayden, jumped at the chance with the rest of their teammates.

“This is my first time playing here in about eight years,” said Russell, who spent free time catching up with friends and acquaintances.

As the Solutions warmed up for their Saturday afternoon game, brothers Al and Bill Rushton of the local Woss Strikers prepared by wolfing down burgers behind the backstop.

“This is a team we put together for one weekend every year,” Al said between bites. “The kids are up on the other field.”

While the Woss Brewers, including Bill’s son, Ryan Rushton, were falling to the Fog Duckers, the “old-timer” Strikers managed to rally from behind, then hold of a counter-charge from the Solutions to win their game on the lower field.

The tourney was played under warm, dry conditions. Infields were hosed down between games, but that didn’t stop baserunners from raising clouds of dust on their rounds of the bases.

Proceeds from the tourney went to benefit both the Woss Volunteer Fire Department and the local recreation commission. A concession and a beer garden both did brisk business between the two fields of the Woss Recreation Centre.

“A huge thank-you to all the sponsors, the volunteer fire department and the rec commission,” tourney organizer Maryanne Cheetham said. “As well as all the concession and bar staff. It was a very successful weekend.”

For their antics and attitude, the Solutions earned the Most Sportsmanlike Team Award. The tourney was won by the Woodchuckers of the Port McNeill Slo-pitch Association, who prevailed in the final over the Fog Duckers, a mixed squad of players from Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeill and even Campbell River.

Port Hardy’s Load ‘em Up claimed bronze.

 

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