PARRSBORO – After 28 years, the Don Yorke Memorial Slo-Pitch Tournament runs with few surprises.
Preparations were pretty much in place this week, as Neil Yorke readied for the annual weekend event that supports numerous local charities in memory of his father, a legendary local ball player and stalwart of the sport.
The only differences Yorke has observed are the more gradual trends, such as the shift in favour of more co-ed play, rather than the all-male teams seen in the past.
“We’re down a couple teams this year, and the rec division is getting harder to fill,” he said. “Co-ed seems to be picking up, and that’s the way I think it’s going. More girls are picking up the sport, and the guys who want to play more serious are going to Moncton, Halifax or beyond.”
Nine co-ed teams will compete in this year’s tournament, as opposed to only eight in the more competitive “recreation” division.
But the more disturbing trend for Yorke is not with the adult ball players, but rather in what might be coming years down the road. In particular, he said there seems to be a lack of local softball or baseball programs for youngsters, causing worry that the sport might die out altogether in Parrsboro.
“What surprises me is there’s no T-ball for the kids to learn how to swing a bat,” he said. “They’re not going to learn, or they’re going to learn the hard way, or their parents have to teach them.”
There is no lack of achievement at the high school level of the sport in Parrsboro, as the Parrsboro Regional High School boys won their second straight provincial championship last month, while their female counterparts finished second after capturing provincial gold last year.
Seventeen teams will participate in this year’s tournament, in two recreation divisions and two co-ed divisions. Games will take place at the DYM field and the Triassic Park field.
Events will begin with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. on Friday evening at the DYM field.
Following is a complete schedule of games for the weekend:
Friday, July 26:
6:15 p.m. – Sunsine Team vs Gord’s Sons of Pitches (DYM), Meldrum’s Maple Leafs vs Underdawgs (Triassic);
7:30 p.m. – Dirty Birds vs Light There (DYM), Meldrum’s Maple Leafs vs Cougar Bait (Triassic);
Saturday, July 27:
8 a.m. – Coors Light Rebels vs Dah Blues (DYM), Brewzers vs Monarks (Triassic);
9:15 a.m. – Meldrum’s Maple Leafs vs Benchwarmers (DYM), Heavy Here vs Chuck Normis (Triassic);
10:30 a.m. – Fireballers vs Kronies (DYM), Gord’s Sons of Pitches vs Sam’s Brewsters (Triassic);
11:45 a.m. – Brewzers vs Coors Light Rebels (DYM), Sunshine Team vs Heavy Here (Triassic);
1 p.m. – Underdawgs vs Cougar Bait (DYM), Dirty Birds vs Fireballers (Triassic);
2:15 p.m. – Gord’s Sons of Pitches vs Chuck Normis, Coors Light Rebels vs Monarks (Triassic);
3:30 p.m. – Dah Blues vs Brewzers (DYM), Light There vs Fireballers (Triassic);
4:45 p.m. – Dirty Birds vs Kronies (DYM), Benchwarmers vs Underdawgs (Triassic);
6 p.m. – Sam’s Brewsters vs Sunshine Team (DYM), Dah Blues vs Monarks (Triassic);
Sunday, July 28
9:15 a.m. – Heavy Here vs Gord’s Sons of Pitches (DYM), Cougar Bait vs Benchwarmers (Triassic);
10:30 a.m. – Sam’s Brewsters vs Chuck Normis (DYM), Kronies vs Light There (Triassic);
11:45 a.m. – G1 1st B vs 4th A (DYM), G2 2nd B vs 3rd A (Triassic);
1 p.m. – G3 1st A vs 4th B (DYM), G4 2nd A vs 3rd B (Triassic);
2:15 p.m. – Co-Ed 1st C vs 2nd D (DYM), Co-Ed 2nd C vs 1st D (Triassic);
3:30 p.m. – Winner G1 vs Winner G4 (DYM), Winner G2 vs Winner G3 (Triassic);
4:45 p.m. – Co-Ed Championship (DYM);
6 p.m. – Rec Championship (DYM).