I'm back in town now after treating Mrs Fastball and the kids to a week in the Dominican Republic over Christmas. Great times, nice weather, friendly people. A few pro tips for those of you that may consider such a trip in the future.
1) Catamaran tour: Try not to pick the one day of your vacation with lightning, horizontal rain, and huge waves to go out on a catamaran tour. When I began singing "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
", some people didn't find it that funny. And the kids were terrified. Moral of the story, check the weather forecast before booking.
2) Ron Blanco: No, that's not the name of some Caribbean entertainer - Ron Blanco is Spanish for "white rum". Do not attempt to polish off a complimentary bottle of the aforementioned Ron Blanco with a friend of yours with the nickname of "Dirty", then go out on the rough ocean on a catamaran (see above) the next day. The results are not pretty and vomiting may occur.
3) Dominican Santa: If the resort brings out a local dressed as Santa on Christmas Day, you might have mixed results with your kids. Your four year-old (the Caveman) will likely be ecstatic with the prospect even if Santa doesn't quite look like the Santa from the Fitzroy Harbour Christmas party and speaks with a heavy Dominican accent ("Congratulation! Merry Chris-ma!"). Your seven year-old (Fitzroy Junior) will likely be a tad more skeptical that this is the 'real Santa' and will have to be persuaded that the real guy couldn't down that far south so he enlisted a helper.
Anyway, now for a blast from the past. Imagine if you will, 1000 people out to watch a fastball game at the Grove. Wouldn't that be awesome? Well, that's what they had for the final of the 1991 ISC tournament in Stittsville. I'd say that's about 900 more than any GOFL game drew this past season.FASTBALL: Underwood leads Tiremen past PrideBob Ferguson. The Ottawa Citizen.Jul 29, 1991. pg. B.7
When you're the reigning Canadian champion, you're expected to win.
Behind the four-hit pitching of southpaw Brad Underwood, the Owen Sound Tiremen did the expected Sunday at Alexander Grove Park in Stittsville as they beat Carp Valley Pride 5-2 to capture the International Softball Congress Eastern Canadian championship tournament.
The victory assures the Tiremen of a berth in the 1992 ISC world championships in Salt Lake City, Utah. But, despite losing in the final, the Pride also have a chance to advance to the world championships next year -- if they get some help from the Tiremen.
Owen Sound will seek their third straight Canadian crown in Camrose, Alta., the last week in August. Should they be successful they will be automatic ISC World competition entrants, a second ticket to the top as it were. This would mean the Pride, as Eastern Canadian travel League finalists would go to the worlds along with Owen Sound.
Of course, the Tiremen could take another route, too. They could win the ISC Worlds this year (Aug. 9-18) in Sioux City, Iowa, and go to the '92 event as defending champions. It makes Carp Valley's prospects even brighter.
Playing before an estimated 1,000 Sunday afternoon, the Tiremen went on top in the first inning after leadoff hitter Adam Smith reached base on an error and advanced to third on another. Underwood, whom the Pride tried to give an intentional walk, found the fourth pitch within his reach and drilled a shot to deep left and Smith beat the throw home.
After a Tim Patterson home run in the second tied it for the Pride, Darryl Sprung and Bob Richardson unloaded back-to-back homers in the Owen Sound second and the Tiremen led 3-1.
Jeff Seed led off the Carp Valley fourth with a double, took third on a passed ball and scored on Rob Dopson's sacrifice fly, reducing the Owen Sound lead to one.
But that's the best Carp Valley could muster as Underwood mowed them down with ease, posting 11 strikeouts.
Meanwhile, in the Owen Sound fifth, the Tiremen loaded the bases -- this time they were successful walking Underwood intentionally -- with one out. Mike Pederson lofted a long fly to deep right with Chris Jones scoring after the catch. Smith, too, came home when the return throw went to second.
"It took about three innings to get into the rhythm," said Underwood, 32, one of only three Owen Sound natives on the team. "I've been nursing a blister on my left index finger so I handn't pitched before in this tournament, although I was in every game as a designated hitter. My arm wasn't really loose until the fourth. But the boys gave me a cushion to work with."
Next on the agenda for Underwood and company is the Ontario Amateur Softball Championships in Waterloo Aug. 2-5. This will determine the Ontario entry in the nationals at Camrose. Owen Sound, as the defending champions, already are in that competition so should they win there, the runner-up will also travel to Camrose. Napanee Express, Arnprior Merchants and Oshawa, who competed here this weekend, will be in that field.