The Cowichan Lake area is set to explode into slo-pitch excitement, this weekend.
Beginning Friday, September 2, baseball fields throughout the area will be host to the 30th Annual Appollos Slo-Pitch Tournament.
This year’s tournament will employ the same setup as last year’s, with all teams competing in the same division, in a round-robin style format.
“They’re guaranteed at least five games this way,” Appollos manager Ross Forrest said.
Games will again take place at four fields throughout the area, including the Mesachie Lake Skydome, Lake Cowichan Secondary School, Youbou Little League, and Lake Cowichan’s Centennial Park.
So far, 22 teams have registered, though Forrest’s goal is to have 24 signed up before the tournament begins.
Returning champions the 1/2 Cutz will compete again, in their bid to win the tournament for the fifth year in a row.
A brand new local team for this year’s Appollos tournament is being organized by local sports fixture Ryan Rai.
“I got a couple of guys I went to the Okanagan Hockey School with; a couple from Nanaimo, some from Langley,” he said.
“The rest of the team is from Lake Cowichan.”
The team is split between two different names, including The Lucky Logger and The Rutneys.
Many of the team members played in the local slo-pitch league, this summer.
“A lot of us hadn’t played in a while,” Rai said. “As the season went on, we won a few.”
The team ended up third in the playoffs.
In addition to slo-pitch action, Saturday night will see an adult dance take place at the Centennial Hall.
The dance will take place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event is 19-plus, as there will be a bar.
“We also have our bus for transportation,” Forrest said.
Many of the tournament’s participants will be camping at the Mesachie Lake Skydome area field.
A number of fund-raisers will also be taking place throughout the weekend, including the graduating class of 2012, who will take care of concession at some points.
The annual tournament has become a yearly staple over the past few decades, for a lot of people.
The weekend’s activities tend to serve as a launching point for people all over Vancouver Island to spend one last warm summer weekend away from home.
Even those not participating in the tournament are encouraged to head out to take in some of the weekend’s excitement.
Which is the team to beat, this year?
So far, Appollos manager Ross Forrest reports that 22 teams have signed up for this year’s 30th Annual Appollos Slo-Pitch Tournament.
Of these 22 teams, the number one team to follow will be the semi-local 1/2 Cutz, who have dominated the tournament for the past four years.
The 1/2 Cutz are only considered semi-local at this point, as this year saw the team move from the local slo-pitch league to the Cowichan league.
“Most of our new players are from Duncan,” coach Dustin Mayo said.
The team lost nine players from last year, and has eight new faces.
This year’s team consists of two people from Lake Cowichan, including Mayo and player Drew Forrest.
The remaining teams consist of several local teams, and several others from throughout the Cowichan Valley.
The tentative list of 22 teams is likely to change in the next few days, before slo-pitch action kicks off, Friday, September 2.
Appollos Tournament teams
Run Forest Run
High Tech Hooligans
Shake and Bake
Appollos Tournament past champions
1996 – Oak & Carriage
1997 – Oak & Carriage
1998 – Surrey Hitmen
1999 – Seaside Computers
2000 – Terminators
2001 – Ranging Roosters
2002 – Fun Police
2003 – Oak & Carriage
2004 – Jackhammers
2005 – Jackhammers
2006 – Oak & Carriage
2007 – Lake Cowichan 1/2 Cutz
2008 – Lake Cowichan 1/2 Cutz
2009 – Lake Cowichan 1/2 Cutz
2010 – Lake Cowichan 1/2 Cutz