Bob Elliott’s Baseball: Canadian Little League champs will aim for history


Seven groups are in Mirabel, Que. this week.

Six will go dwelling when all is claimed and performed.

And the opposite — the one with desires nonetheless dancing of their heads — strikes south with a berth within the Little League World Sequence in Williamsport, Penn., an annual occasion which started in 1947.

Workforce British Columbia, Workforce Prairies, Workforce Atlantic, Workforce Alberta, Workforce Quebec, Workforce Ontario and the host Mirabel Diamond are the squads vying for the Canadian title. You may watch the competitors by following alongside as CBC’s Matthew Cullen brings you the stay motion.

The finale is ready for Saturday after which one group positive factors Canada’s berth in Williamsport to compete towards seven different Worldwide Groups: Asia-Pacific (South Seoul, South Korea), Australia (Gold Coast, Queensland) Caribbean (Guayama, Puerto Rico), Europe-Africa (Barcelona, Spain) Japan (Kawaguchi, Japan), Latin America (La Chorrera, Panama) and Mexico (Matamoros, Tamaulipas).

The winner will attempt to do what a Canadian group of 11 and 12-year-olds has by no means performed — win all of it.

Stoney Creek reached the 1965 ultimate, shedding 3-1 to Windsor Locks, Conn. In terms of the phrase Little League, they bring about again plenty of recollections. 

Little League Reminiscence I: Years in the past writing in regards to the districts at Lansdowne Park ball diamond (behind the Cattle Fortress) in Ottawa, I keep in mind asking a participant, who had a superb sport for the shedding Glebe group, when his subsequent sport was.

“Tomorrow … and if we lose, that is it,” he mentioned. “Our season will be over.”

Glebe misplaced the subsequent night time and it was pack up all of the gear. Season over. Faculty was not but out for the summer season … so my first expertise of Little League ball was not precisely spectacular.

Plus the umpire referred to as 17 walks towards one group and 14 for one other. Possibly he was getting paid by the hour.

Younger gamers needs to be on the diamonds in July and August I assumed. Our greatest two months climate smart. And hitting the ball, fielding floor balls and studying to catch fly balls. Why not broaden the strike zone? Make the hitters put the ball in play.

Little League Reminiscence II: It was a wet day in New York early within the 1990 season after I headed to Yankee Stadium early to beat the visitors. Bench coach Hector Torres and I had been sitting within the clubhouse speaking about his taking part in days and coming into the Bronx with the growth Blue Jays. An aged photographer walked by, then got here to a full cease and opened his eyes vast. He pointed a bony finger at Hector and mentioned “I do know you … will you be right here tomorrow? I am going to have one thing for you.”

Hector’s reply was “until they make a change … I will be right here.”

Hector mentioned he was intrigued and “I needs to be right here early to see what the person has.”

Toronto Excessive Park recorded their first victory of the match, whereas Mirabel Diamond and Glace Bay returned to the win column on day Four of the 2018 Canadian Little League World Sequence 3:24

The subsequent day, the photographer walked in with a manila envelope and handed it to Hector. Torres opened it and there was an image of a 12-year-old Hector sitting within the Yankee dugout with future Corridor of Famer Whitey Ford.

Writers have good recollections. Photographers keep in mind faces. Hector regarded as much as say one thing and the person was gone. By no means as soon as did he name Torres by his identify.

Torres was the workers ace of the Monterrey, Mexico group that gained at Williamsport in 1958. He gained eight straight choices. The seventh, a one-hit shutout over Hawaii and on two days’ relaxation, he held Kankakee, Sick., to 2 hits, in a 10-1 win as Mexico gained the title. Therefore the journey to New York. It was a tremendous scene to see unfold.

Immediately, the 44-year-old had recollections of being 12 once more. As if it was yesterday.

Little League Reminiscence III: The Blue Jays gained the World Sequence in 1992 and 1993, the Montreal Expos may have made it in 1994 with out a work stoppage and in 1995 the Excessive Park Braves reached the 49th annual Little League World Sequence at Williamsport.

It was a vastly completely different expertise than Ottawa: driving via the rolling Appalachians the place former Oriole and Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina grew up, free admission to all video games, households seated on blankets alongside the hills surrounding Lamade Stadium, children buying and selling pins, dwelling runs, dramatic wins, outfielders stealing dwelling runs, pure enthusiasm, tears being shed by gamers from world wide … but half an hour later you’d see children from opposing groups consuming an ice cream and sharing laughs.

Gamers had been the explanation the Braves went in 1995: the group included Mike Visca (son of Pat Visca, revered Ontario Blue Jays coach), hard-throwing right-hander Armando Arauz and slugging catcher Christian Chmielewski.

The all-star group was put collectively by the 4 Clever Outdated Males of Excessive Park. The group included Dick Perry, who on the time was concerned in Excessive Park for 25 years, Dave Trimble, a 25-year veteran and Invoice Barry, who was in his 23rd yr and the newcomer Bob Bardyn … in his 16th season.

When house-league video games start in Might, the 4 could possibly be present in garden chairs behind the centre-field fence, 210 ft from dwelling plate. In entrance, they noticed potential gamers for the present version. Between innings they’d flip to see final yr’s gamers on the bantam diamond. Or they might look left to take a look at future Little Leaguers on the T-ball diamond. They had been recognized across the leafy park because the Centre-Discipline A.C.

Excessive Park was based by Jack Wilson 55 years in the past. Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Port Arthur, Windsor South, Orleans, East Nepean and Erindale in Mississauga’s are a number of the Little League packages in Ontario.

Williamsport, Penn., native Mike Mussina arms an award to his former Yankees supervisor Joe Torre on the 2013 Little League World Sequence. (Gene J. Puskar/The Related Press)

Alumni who hung out within the Excessive Park uniform embrace Greg O’Halloran (Marlins), the Butler brothers Rob (Phils, Jays) and Wealthy (Jays, Rays), Derek Bieniasz (within the Seattle group), Derek Reuter and Tom Dejak (who each pitched within the Toronto system).

That season — like this one — included the districts, which Excessive Park hosted in 1995, and the Ontarios in Thunder Bay the place the group headed to McDonald’s.

And whereas doing what 12-year-olds do at PlayLand, infielder Greg Hetherington, grew to become caught inside a tube. How caught was he? Nicely, he was so caught that the jaws of life had been wanted to pry Hetherington unfastened, incomes him the nickname Ham Burgler. It was later shortened to Burger.

Burger Hetherington was a star receiver at McGill College the place he had 14 profession touchdowns, after which moved on the Calgary Stampeders and the BC Lions within the CFL.

World affair

Excessive Park beat the Glace Bay Colonels in Perth on the nationals as Armando Arauz fanned the primary 4 hitters he confronted, 11 in all, earlier than the ultimate out settled into the glove of third baseman Matty Medeiros in foul territory. Mike Visca drove in a pair of runs, Christian Chmielewski homered over the centre-field fence and Brent Kossitt had a run-scoring single.

Interviews performed, they boarded the bus for the eight-hour journey to Williamsport. Gamers ate sandwiches ready by wives of the Perth Legionnaires, watched Residence Alone II, Iron Will and Cool Runnings films.

Saudia Arabia — made up of sons of U.S. troopers from base in Dhahran — scored three runs within the ultimate inning to beat the Braves 5-Four within the opener. Up 4-2 within the fourth, Andrew Felice was on third and Daryl Mulzac was on first, due to back-to-back singles by the Braves hitters. The Saudi catcher faked a throw to first, the primary baseman dove, the second baseman and proper fielder took off chasing an imaginary ball. The trick play was from the film Little Massive League.

It labored within the film. It labored in Williamsport because the Saudi People pulled off the double play with the faux throw.

We recall broadcaster Joe Torre making a stir that summer season by saying Arden Hills, Minn., catcher Brian Christianson was pudgy or rolly-polly … simply as Torre was as a rookie. The 4-foot-11, left-handed catcher Hills was listed at 119 kilos.

The Dominican Republic beat Canada 7-2 and Chinese language Taipei scored a 12-2 win towards Excessive Park to conclude the schedule with an 0-Three mark.

We additionally keep in mind Matt Parrish, son of Blue Jays catcher Lance (Massive Wheel) Parrish taking part in for the U.S. West champs. Parrish flew in on an off day for the Blue Jays to see his son double as Yorba Linda beat Toms River, N.J., 8-3.


And we recall speaking to the gamers. They had been considerably south of Montreal Expos ace Steve Rogers as when it got here to considerate, revealing solutions. They had been additionally behind junior hockey gamers. There have been a whole lot of “no sirs” and “sure sirs.”

However we keep in mind two …

“Strolling on to that area was a dream come true,” mentioned Burger Hetherington mentioned. “It was identical to Mr. Trimble informed us method again after we began with our tryouts. The stadium. The inexperienced grass. The hills behind the outfield fences. We had been informed to work exhausting, do our greatest and we might get right here.” These had been wise ideas from Hetherington, who crammed out a match survey on his favorite saying as: “When caught … deny every thing.”

Moreover Hetherington’s observations, how else does one clarify the Williamsport expertise?

“The largest distinction? There’s extra ladies right here than Thunder Bay or Perth or our match mixed,” mentioned Medeiros with a smile 10,000 moms would love.

After they boarded the bus dwelling the primary video was of Arauz pitching them to the Canadian title because the Braves grew to become No. 1 amongst 176 Little League groups in Canada.



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