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Shakers finally get their championship

The Bowen Island Fastpitch League hit another one out of Snug Cove field last weekend with a year-ending tournament that featured outstanding ball, a food and beverage tent and crowds of up to 300.

The Bowen Island Fastpitch League hit another one out of Snug Cove field last weekend with a year-ending tournament that featured outstanding ball, a food and beverage tent and crowds of up to 300. When it was over, a club that finished the 2009 season without a single win, had won it all.

The Shakers, lead by the arm and will of Steve 'the Mound of' Baskerville, the tournament's MVP, won their first crown, taking the Scott Helenius Memorial Trophy by beating the vaunted Firemen, 10-4, in the final.

"I can't describe it," long-serving Shaker Glen McGregor said moments after the win. "Right now I'm on top of the world. It's just a dream come true."

The final of the league's 27th season saw the black and white come roaring out with five in the first off a hard-working Corby Bernard. In the second, home runs by Mike Vertlieb and Baskerville, stretched it to 8-0. The Firemen couldn't get a sustained rally going and a two-run shot by Ewan McEachern was too little, too late.

"You gotta have your bats going," Fireman Burns Jennings said. "We just couldn't link enough hits together. But you gotta give credit to the Shakers. They were great all weekend, they had so much desire to win, the whole team. And Steve pitched so great, he was en fuego, you know?

"He was on fire."

The tournie sees each team play three games to start the top four clubs move on. The Cruisers and Celtics were the two that didn't advance, both unable to muster a win in round-robin play, though each played some good ball. The Cruisers put up a fight in an 8-4 loss to the Shakers and pitcher Mike 'the Cannon' Carachelo and the Celtics played well despite losing 13-8 to the Diggers.

Those Diggers, regular season champs, were the only club to go the round-robin without losing but in the semi-final came up against the Shakers, who'd they'd beaten 15-8 opening the tournament. Baskerville pitched a gem in the semi and his club produced enough offence to take it, 7-4. The Diggers, last season's tournie winners, kept trying to battle back but twice had a runner thrown out at the plate to seal their fate.

The Firemen, with both Eric Hunter-James and Marty Greyell going hard, hammered the Twins, 14-8 and moved on to take on Baskerville and co. in the final. Fans cheered throughout and many felt like Karen Redmond, who said the performance of Baskerville and the entire Shakers team was outstanding and the win for McGregor was richly deserved.

A jubilant McGregor, hugging teammates, opposing players, family and friends on the field after it was over, took time to pay tribute to his teammates, their historic win and inspiring pitcher. "Stevie just kept throwing hard right through the whole thing," he said. "Half-way through the final game we just knew he was gonna go all the way. He's just that determined and he was great.

"The whole team was great. Right through our line-up the bats were awesome; the guys had so much will to win. And right now just seeing all the happy faces. That's what it's all about. It's incredible."

After the game, the traditional handing out of awards for the season took place. Winners included Clayton Hunter-James of the Cruisers as the Rookie of the Year; Amos Rosen of the Celtics as Most Improved Player and teammate Jackson Miller as Outstanding Outfielder; Best Pitcher and Strikeout Leader both went to Fireman Phil 'Philbert' Wood while Home Run King and Batter of the Year were won by Digger Aaron Johnstone.

Other winners included Digger Tom Woodward as Most Sportsmanlike Player, Fireman Mark Koonts as Coach of the Year and the Twins Dan Moats as the season MVP. A new award this season went to the Most Dedicated Supporter of the league: Katfish McYarrgh.

There wasn't a game in the tournament that wasn't well attended and fans were kept loaded with food and drinks from the Celtics, who hosted the tournament with the help of girlfriends, wives, kids and other family and friends.

The league will be playing an all-star game at Bowfest.