Canim Lake Band hosts successful fastball tourney

Native ball tournament gets good response in 100 Mile House

Canim Lake Band Windwalkers pitcher Nicole Wycotte winds up on the mound in a game against Bridge Brewers in the all-native tournament at Lumberman's Park

Canim Lake Band Windwalkers pitcher Nicole Wycotte winds up on the mound in a game against Bridge Brewers in the all-native tournament at Lumberman's Park

The Shuswap Fastball Club, centred at the Canim Lake Reserve, hosted a nine-team, all-native tournament at Lumberman’s Park, July 20-21.

It featured six teams in the men’s division and three squads in the ladies’ group, with Shuswap fielding teams in each division, and a total of 19 games played during the weekend.

On the ladies’ side, Shuswap Windwalkers met the Bridge Brewers in the final, but had to settle for second place after losing 18-7.

It was an improvement over their first match-up, which saw the Brewers romp to an 18-0 shutout.

It was hot, and we had a lot of first-year players,” says tournament co-ordinator Andrea Boyce.

Pitcher Nicole Wycotte was back on the mound for the Windwalkers after a 14-year hiatus. The time off didn’t appear to affect her pitching arm, as she had no trouble firing the ball over the plate with speed and accuracy.

The Spirit Bears placed third overall on the women’s side.

The men’s division had the North Thompson Titans beating the Bridge Brewers 10-1 in the finals, and North Thompson Renegades knocked off the Fraser Canyon Warriors in the game for third place (score not available).

Home team Shuswap Defenders played in the round-robin series, but failed to move past their first game with Fraser Canyon in the single knock-out eliminations.

While there has not been a women’s fastball league active in the South Cariboo for several years, interest has remained high among women at Canim Lake.

Boyce says her team [Windwalkers] is made up mostly of daughters and nieces of the original Windwalkers.

We’re all related, so we’re a family team. We all grew up watching our moms and dads play.”

Andrea’s mom, Wilma Boyce, has played ball for 20 years and still plays with the Windwalkers, and her dad, Jerome “Stumpy” Boyce, heads up the Defenders on men’s side.

Andrea says she’d like to see more young women in the South Cariboo take an interest in fastball. She adds great opportunities exist.

There are scholarships available, but good ball players in the north often get overlooked because they don’t get the chance to play.”

On the BC Day long weekend, Aug. 2-4, men’s and women’s Shuswap teams head off to Grande Prairie to compete in the Canadian Native Fastball Championships.