It was another beautiful Alberta summer day where baseball, beef suppers and a little bit of beer ruled the day.
The Tofield Lakers put on another well-run Canada Day tournament with a couple entertaining ball games that featured long-time rivalries and a couple nostalgic blasts from the past to compliment Tofield’s Centennial Celebrations – which are continuing all this week by the way if you’re interested.
The Camrose/Armena Axemen took the tournament with 13-0 and 7-2 wins over Tofield and Bardo, but most of the locals were more interested in the Ryley-Bardo matchup that packed the stands and left the town-folk ooing and awing most of the afternoon.
The host Lakers, fresh off their 11-4 win Tuesday night, hung in tough versus the Axemen through four before running out of gas, and then dropped a 6-3 decision to Ryley. Laker and newly coined father Eldon Banack sported a fat lip for the rest of the afternoon after taking an errant curveball to the face in game one – a scary moment to say the least.
It set up a championship showdown between an unusually fully-stocked Bardo Athletics squad and a patch-work Axemen squad of former Armena products such as Wes Wilson, John Spigott, Jason Buzzell and Adam Johnson joining some of the Camrose squad out of the NCABL.
If it weren’t for a couple untimely errors, Bardo’s achilles heel all year except when they play Armena, the Athletics would have made it real interesting.
In the end, with crowd favourite Ray Lehman at the plate and the bases loaded, Axemen pitcher Joel Graumann struck him out to end the game, and end another fantastic edition of the Canada Day Classic.
Personally, despite the loss of one my chairs and later learning my dog ran out onto the field in the Bardo-Ryley battle without me knowing, it ended up being a much-too-early end of a pretty good Canada Day – a day I wish could have kept on going – just like so many others in Tofield over the years.