Simply put, it was for the love of the game.
After more than a decade without a competitive fastpitch league in Whitehorse, bats were swinging once again as the new league started with a matchup between the Casa Loma Jays and the Roadhouse Pirates at the Pepsi Centre on Sunday evening.
Although the Jays took a decisive 14-6 win over the Pirates, both sides seemed happy just to get in some fastpitch action after so many years.
“It was good just to see enough guys out to have two teams and a couple pitchers,” said Jays captain Mark King. “Winning didn’t really matter.
“We had two pitchers that never pitched in a game before, so it was good to get them in and some game time.”
“As a past fastpitch player, I’m just glad to see the sport get revived back here,” said Craig Tuton, Jays coach and general manager. “It’s a good sport, it’s different from slopitch, and it’s something I spent all my life playing.”
After taking a 3-2 lead in the first, the Jays further distanced themselves with a five-run second. Besides a couple grounders into left field, each bringing in a run, the three other runs came from walks with the bases loaded. However, the pitching for all teams will get better as the season progresses, said Pirates pitcher Mike Tuton, who pitched his first full game.
“I think once you get a few games under your belt then things will start getting a little bit easier,” said Mike. “I was expecting a couple different pitchers to show up.
“I think (my pitching) could have been a lot worse. I think I did well enough that I’ll definitely do it again.”
After putting Corey Adams and Derrick Baldwin on the mound for the opening innings, the Jays brought in their “secret weapon,” pitcher Matt King, for the last two innings, who usually throws for one of the two teams that Whitehorse sends to the Discovery Days tournament in Dawson City.
“He’s the only pitcher we’ve ever had,” said Mark King.
In two innings Matt allowed just one walk and one hit before closing out the game.
“I don’t think we had many expectations other than to just come out and get the first game of the league under our belts, so we can get on our way to calling the league a success,” said Mike. “There’re quite a bit more people in the stands than we expected and I think everyone had fun out there.
“It’s been a long time coming since we had fastball here.”
In their second game of the evening the Pirates defeated the Cinderwood Cardinals 18-3.
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