The men of the Bowen Island Men’s Fastpitch League opened the 2015 softball season with all the style, silliness, and occasional grace we have come to expect in the early days of a fresh, young season. The weather gods were quite as highly entertained as the fans, and favoured the League by withholding the rain until after the final game had ended. Or it’s possible that they misinterpreted Glen MacGregor’s backward-running, tumbling pop-up catch at first base as a form of sacrificial appeasement; either way, the fans and players were chilly, but mercifully dry.
Clayton Miller of the Bowen Island Mariners little league team threw a zinger of a first pitch to start the season off just right, and the first official match-up of the season was an exciting, back-and-forth battle between the Twins and the Diggers. Both teams are known for their impressive arsenal of pitchers and batters, and it showed. The Twins were up by two, then the Diggers matched them and pulled ahead by one, only to have the Twins sneak up again. With two out, one runner on base, and the final minutes of the timed game ticking away, the Diggers needed two runs to tie the game. Fortunately for the Diggers, Daniel Cowper is no stranger to clutch hitting. He smashed the first home run of the season right over the left field fence, sending the fans to their feet and the dugout into full rally mode. Some excellent base running by the next batter to put him in scoring position at third, followed by a perfectly placed base hit by a Digger rookie, and it was all over. The Diggers secured a very close and hard-fought win, 7-6 over the Twins.
The second game had some back-and-forth moments of its own, with the Firemen opening the scoring in the first inning. The Brewers, who have been practicing since at least Christmas, didn’t quite get their bats in stride until the third inning, but when they did, they sure knew how to use them. They hit a lot of well-placed balls that even the Firemen’s refreshingly tight defence couldn’t contain, including a massive homer by Derek Sinke, and inning by inning, run by run, they crept ahead of the red boys. The Firemen pulled together for a bit of a rally to close the scoring gap in the final inning, but they just couldn’t chip away enough of the Brewers’ strong lead to get a win. After a controversial call over a ball who just wanted to be fair, the Brewers walked away with an 8-5 victory over the Firemen.
The Shakers and the Cruisers finished off the opening day fun, helped and heckled along by the Brewers who had taken to the stands to celebrate their win and show off some coordinated cheerleading moves accompanied by questionable spelling prowess. Rumour has it that the team is now sponsored by National Lampoons. The Shakers appeared unshaken by the good-natured, egalitarian heckles, and the Cruisers cruised on through the game with a few select Jim Gibson-esque spears of their own. This was a hard-hitting, high-scoring, home run-smashing game, with too many big hits to list here. Cruiser pitcher Spencer Grundy’s “Scorpion” just couldn’t quite outdo Shaker pitcher Steve’s “Moustache of the Baskervilles,” and the Shakers shook down Eddie’s Cruisers in a wild 16-11 bruiser of a game.
It’s not every day you get to see baseball this exciting, featuring a roster of all your favourite male Bowen friends and neighbours. Unless, of course, you come down to the ball diamond every day. Games are Monday-Friday, starting at 6:30 every night. Bring a blanket, bring a friend, bring home a sweet spring memory.