Kelowna puts the sting on Sanford Hornets in men’s fastball tournament

The heat was on during the 100 Mile Men’s Fastball League tournament when Sanford and Dillman Hornets took on Kelowna Merchants

Shuswap Defenders pitcher Spud Barker

Shuswap Defenders pitcher Spud Barker

The heat was on during the 100 Mile Men’s Fastball League tournament when Sanford and Dillman Hornets took on Kelowna Merchants in the Sunday final at Lumberman’s Park, Aug. 12

Temperatures hovered near 30 C, which didn’t aid in the Hornets’ attempt to snuff out Kelowna’s fire to win.

The Merchants headed into the final with five wins and no losses in the two-day tournament, while the Hornets, with Reg Hooper on the mound, had one win, a tie and two losses.

Hornets captain Rob Sanford says his team felt optimistic entering the game.

“At the beginning, we felt we had a chance, but we had to get runs on the board, which we didn’t.”

The optimism held until the bottom of the sixth inning when Kelowna held a marginal 4-1 lead. Sanford says the game went sideways from there when the Hornets’ catcher was ejected from the game after questioning the umpire on three or four calls.

Kelowna walked away with a 13-1 win after the 12-run mercy rule was used to end the game.

“We were happy to see it come to an end.”

Shuswap Defen-ders pulled down third place and Jake’s Pub Old Buds were fourth in the four-team tournament.

Sanford says the tournament was made special for a lot of the players, with the presence of several coaches from the players’ earlier years.

“We had some of our former coaches who had coached us over the years watching in the stands. That was really great.”

Almost 60 per cent of the Kelowna team was made up of former 100 Mile House players and that it was good to see the familiar faces.

Sanford says the league is grateful to longtime scorekeeper Millie Halcro who put in a couple of 10-hour days in the hot sun on the weekend. He adds plans are in the works to build a roofed booth to protect her from the elements in the future.