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Cowichan’s Closson Classic a wild success once again

Wheatsheaf wins fastball division, Chiefs win ortho
A runner makes his way from home to first during a game at the Gord Closson Oldtimers Fall Classic earlier this month. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

With only a few short weeks to plan, the organizers of the Gord Closson Oldtimers Fall Classic still pulled off a successful tournament.

Joe DiLalla, a key organizer of the event for many years, was sidelined after a kidney transplant, so the plan was to take a year off. But with less than a month and a half to go, the other organizers changed their minds, then bumped the traditional date of the event up a week to Aug. 12-14. In the end, the tournament was a little smaller than usual with only eight teams, but still raised thousands of dollars that will go to a range of causes in the Cowichan Valley.

Wheatsheaf won the fastball division, taking the final 7-6 over Victoria Fastball Club. Victoria made things exciting when Ryan Spence tied the game at 5-5 with a three-run homer in the fifth inning. The semifinals saw Wheatsheaf get past the Texas Leaguers, while Victoria defeated Mark James Excavating. MJE still ended up taking home some hardware in the form of the Shawnigan Merchants Last Place Trophy and the Team Participation Award.

The ortho division was won by the Chiefs, who beat No Base Like Home 23-19 in the final. The Chiefs had defeated the T-Birds in the semis, while No Base Like Home knocked off the Panthers.

The Duncan Oldtimers beat the Victoria Oldtimers 6-1 in the Wooden Bat Game on Sunday afternoon.

Team MVPs were Trevor Gicas (Mark James Excavating), Mark Muller (Wheatsheaf), Jake Newman (Texas Leaguers), Ryan Spence (Victoria Fastball Club), Ryne Bodger (Chiefs), There’s No Base Like Home (Lauren McKay), Tiffany Waters (Panthers), and Sarah Walmsley (T-Birds).

Other awards went to Jim Downs (Favourite Umpire), Bricklen Anderson (Wilky Weekend Warrior), Melonie Corrigan (Chris Dame Most Positive Person), Lauren McKay (Mr. O’Keefe Most Sportsmanlike Player), Aaron Emery (Ron Dill Memorial Inspirational Player), and Kyle Petersen (Brent Harrison Memorial Young Buck).

Recipients of funds raised by this year’s tournament will include the Clements Centre, and the family of John Thomas, a beloved member of the Cowichan sports community who died last month.