Tommy Forrest Ball park was once again the site of some more tournament softball action but the players this past weekend were a bit younger than those in the Yk Fastball League.
Yk Minor Fastball was out on the diamond with the Yellowknife Minor Fastball Tournament, a weekend of skill development and game play for the older members of the league, specifically the Yellowknife Wolverines program. It ended up being a territorial affair as players joined in on the action from Hay River, Inuvik and Deline.
Jenn Lukas, one of the coaches in the Wolverines program, said it was all about trying to give the players a chance to get in some more game time.
“We took the boys to Calgary at the end of May for some games and we went to Hay River right after track and field,” she said. “The girls are off to Surrey (B.C.) in about a week for some exhibition games and development so any extra time we can get for them on the field playing is always a bonus.”
The skill development portion of the came happened on Saturday morning with hitting, fielding and throwing all part of it. Once that was completed, it was time to play ball for real with everyone split into one of four teams and given a NWT team name. The rules were modified a bit in that there was a five run maximum per inning in order to keep things running as smoothly as possible for time purposes.
In the end, NWT 2 ended up coming out on top in the final over NWT 3 on Sunday afternoon.
Lukas said it ended up being a weekend full of fun.
“It’s a great way to help wind down our season,” she said. “Minor ball usually ends around late June and having the kids playing a tournament to wrap it up was great.”
The parent brigade was also a big help all weekend long, she added.
“They don’t ever hesitate to step up and help out wherever they’re needed,” she said. “They were helping us with the clinic on Saturday, they help out with coaching, they were working the barbecue, they brought food for a pot luck for the kids. I can’t say enough about them.”
Paul Gard, NWT Softball’s executive director, was also on hand to help out over the course of the weekend and he said having the community players added to the success.
“The kids that came in all seemed to enjoy themselves,” he said. “They all fit in and there’s a couple of the girls who are at the same level as the girls from Yellowknife.”
The tournament was also a chance to get a look at could potentially feature on a U16 team which is being planned for the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in Halifax, said Gard.
“It’s an early start but there’s definitely some potential players in there,” he said. “We had one kid who was hitting balls to the fence and some of the other kids looked really good out there. There’s a good nucleus to work on.”