The Ontario Amateur Softball Association Masters and Legends provincial championships will be in St. Clements again this weekend.
This is the third year that the Twin Centre Minor Fastball has hosted the tournament.
“They do an outstanding job, bottom line,” said Mike Goodridge organizer of the OASA provincial championship tournament, noting that he has had nothing but great experiences working with Trevor Hehn the coordinator of local minor baseball in Wellesley Township over the past three years.
Although it is a province-wide tournament, they find themselves returning to St. Clements each year for all the village provides to guests and their families.
“The teams love to come to St. Clements. They always ask me ‘where are we going next year?’ It is a great facility and it has worked out really, really well,” he said. “It really is a joy. It is a small-town atmosphere, the wives can go to the market in St. Jacobs and all of the other things that make it very attractive.”
He went on to say that he especially likes having the tournament there because of where the profits go.
“The proceeds of the tournament go to the Wellesley Twin Centre Minor Fastball, and I know that any profits that they make go back into minor ball,” he said. “They put it back into the community; that is great.”
Goodridge has been organizing the OASA provincial championships for five years now.
“It is something that I really enjoy, it is a passion for me,” he said, noting the immense amount of help he receives organizing the event. “That is why I like to come to St Clements – it is a great facility.”
In order to participate on a masters team, competitors must be 40-plus years of age, while to be eligible in the Legends, competitors must be 50 or older.
There will be eight masters teams coming into town from St. Thomas, Waterdown, Waterloo, Wellington, Cobourg, Kitchener, West Carleton and Whitby, and four Legends teams originating from Sudbury, Toronto, Waterdown and Waterloo.
There are a few local teams to focus on during game play – the Waterloo Legends are beginning their four-year journey to the world masters games in Tokyo in 2021, the Waterloo XCoppers have been devoted participants of the tournament for 19 years and the Wellington Sox are returning this year with a very good team.
Players come to the tournament for more than just good fastball, explained Goodridge.
“The camaraderie,” he said. “They have played the game for many, many years playing against different opponents from across the province and this is the one time a year they all get together,” he said. “When the games are on, they are very competitive. But once the game is over, the camaraderie among the teams is fantastic. The friendships that are made is what makes the tournament what it is.”
Starting Friday evening, the tournament play runs through Saturday, with the championships on Sunday at 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m.
During the tournament, Darren Zack will be formally inducted into the OASA Hall of Fame and three ball players, Barry Hammond, Craig Minifie and Brian McGuire will be recognized by the Ontario Masters Hall of Fame.