After a close final, the Kyah Wiget Men’s Fastball League has finished their season, with the new kids on the block taking home the victory.
Last week, the Moricetown Arrows and Grizzlies battled for third place, with the Grizzlies coming out on top 11-6. The Bulkley Valley Dodgers and the Moricetown Moose then played a best of five series, with the Dodgers powering ahead and dominating the first game. The second game was a closer affair, ending in an 8-6 win for the Dodgers.
Last Thursday the first game the series was up for grabs, and the two teams battled back and forth for the entire game on a sloppy, muddy field, dealing with damp, cold conditions. Dodgers pitcher Darren Loverin said the conditions were about as bad as he’s dealt with all year.
“That was the toughest game I’ve pitched last night. Even though it was wet the other games, with your breath showing, there was dew on the balls, it was slippery. There was no way to keep it dry,” he said.
The game couldn’t have been much closer. The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead at the top of the first, but the Moose came right back for a 2-1 lead. After each team scored a two run home run, the score was 4-3 after the second. One run each had the Moose leading 5-4 after the third inning.
In the fourth inning, the scores jumped, with a two run home run and a runner stealing home putting the Dodgers into the lead by two. The Moose came right back with four runs however. By the end of the seventh, the score was tied 13-13, sending the game into extra innings as the fog rolled in and the daylight faded. In the top of the eighth, the Dodgers scored two runs, and managed to hold the Moose scoreless, to win the game 15-13, and sweep the series.
“When we got to the field last night, they were saying ‘There’s no way you guys are taking us three games in a row,’” said Loverin. “Moricetown, for such a small community, they have a lot of good baseball players. They’ve been playing there since 1923. That’s a lot of history to take down last night.”
He said the Dodgers might not have existed without the help of Jeff Johnston. Although Loverin has been trying to start up a team for over a decade, it was Johnston’s added efforts that helped the team finally get organized.
“It’s all on his shoulders. He was the workhorse, getting everybody out and making the phone calls,” said Loverin.
League organizer Conrad Nikkal said the Moricetown teams were happy to have some new competition from Smithers and the Bulkley Valley. The new team also helped bring some exposure to the league outside of Moricetown.
“They haven’t been in the league for quite a few years,” he said. “When we played in Smithers, people stopped in just to watch, and they were pretty surprised we were playing fastball.”
Next year, Nikkal is hoping to see two teams from Smithers, as well as a team from Hazelton, bringing the number of teams in the league up to six.