Just like its name, madness ensued at the Sugar Cane Ball Park this past Sunday, Aug. 22.
Playing for the tournament championship, Williams Lake Rowdies outfielder Darren Sanford crushed a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure the win over the Kamloops’ Tomahawks at the first ever Late Summer Madness slo-pitch tournament.
The final, hosted Sunday evening, marked the conclusion after three days, and evenings under the lights, of ball at Sugar Cane that saw eight teams — Rowdies, Hakuna Matata, New Era and Ole School from Williams Lake, along with out-of-town teams Qwesqi and the Tomahawks from Kamloops, and The Bombers from Quesnel compete.
Tournament organizer Shawn Poitras said for the first of what he hopes becomes an annual event, he was thrilled with how everything went.
“Everyone said it was some of the best baseball they had seen in this city in a long time,” Poitras said. “It was really enjoyable. We had about 50, 60 people watching the final so that was great. Everything went better than I’d expected.”
Third place in the tournament went to the Rookies, who were defeated by the Tomahawks in the semifinal by one run under international overtime tiebreaker rules after being deadlocked after seven innings.
For their efforts, the Rowdies brought home $1,100 cash as the top tournament prize.
“You couldn’t have written it up better,” Poitras said of how close both the final games were. “It was crazy.”
Most valuable players in the tournament were Tanya Grinder and Nick Surette, who were both playing for the Rowdies.
The most sportsmanlike player award went to the Rookies’ Dylan Sellars.
In addition, tournament organizers paid special tribute to Williams Lake First Nation community member Byron Louie, who passed away this past January and had, in recent years, hosted the Wilfred Victor Louie Memorial Slo-Pitch Tournament at Sugar Cane in honour of his late dad.
“We managed to raise $950 for Byron Louie’s family, which was awesome, so we had great support there,” Poitras said. “All in all it was just a great weekend.”