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Tavistock will host the under-21 Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Aug. 2 to 7

July 22, 2016

Tavistock, ON - Tavistock will host the under-21 Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Aug. 2 to 7

Tavistock Athletics Liam LaForest lets go a pitch in Innerkip, Ont. during the ISC Canada East under-21 qualifiers. Tavistock will host the under-21 national championship Aug. 2 to 7. (Greg Colgan/Woodstock Sentinel-Review/Postmedia Network)


ORIGINAL STORY by Greg Colgan, Sentinel-Review 

The town of Tavistock will be the temporary home of junior fast pitch during the first week of August.

Tavistock will host the under-21 men’s Canadian Fast Pitch Championship Aug. 2 to 7 with 13 of the top teams across the country converging on East Zorra-Tavistock township.

While Tavistock is the annual host to the World Crokinole Championship, the under-21 fast pitch nationals will be the biggest sporting event in the township’s history. With fast pitch hotbeds like Tavistock, Hickson and Innerkip and other nearby areas of New Hamburg and Stratford supporting the sport, the location fit like a glove.

Tavistock originally showed interest hosting in past years when it was Ontario’s turn without success, but when Prince Edward Island failed to put a host city forward the bid became open to other provinces. The tournament’s co-chair, Kyle Smith, said a meeting of about 25 people led to a smaller committee being formed to put together a bid, which was sent to Softball Ontario who in turn approved and supported it and sent it to Softball Canada.

Under normal circumstances, Smith said the tournament host has about two years to organize with Tavistock having about nine months after being rewarded it in November.

“It’s been foot down and drive on and we’ve been meeting ever since,” he said. “The nuts and bolts are taken care of, now it’s the smaller details… It’s been a whirlwind.”

Ontario will have the most teams with four - the New Hamburg Mustangs, Stratford Cubs, Tavistock Athletics and the Oshawa Juniors - with Saskatchewan sending two and Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Alberta each sending a team to round out the 13-team format.

The main diamond will be Queen’s Park, which will host all playoff games, and Optimist Park will be in use during the round robin. Tournament passes are $50 for adults and $40 for seniors with daily passes for adults $10, seniors are $8 and children under 14 get in for free. Nightly passes starting at 7 p.m. at $5.

Smith said the expectations are for anywhere between 5,000 to 8,000 spectators, which comes from an estimate based on the number of fast and slow pitch leagues in the region. Three teams participating are also within a 30-minute or less drive to Tavistock.

The annual tournament comes with an operating budget of roughly $35,000, with $12,500 of that going to Softball Canada for a hosting fee, Smith said. He added a budget can go higher, depending on what’s added like beer tent, live entertainment, food tent and 50/50 draws. Fundraising and sponsorship make up the remaining revenue to help with the budget.

Ultimately, he said the main purpose is to give locals an opportunity to see the top junior teams in the country play and help raise money for Tavistock Minor Ball.

“It’s not a small venture by any means. The goal is to raise money so it can go back to minor ball and it can give kids the chance to play ball in the future. It can help pay equipment, improve the park. You always have to do that and if we can find money for a legacy fund, that’s all the better. That’s the hope at the end.”

Fast pitch is the summer sport of choice for people of Tavistock. The town boasts a population of 2,784, according to the 2011 Canadian census, and has about 250 players between the t-ball and junior level registered in the minor program. Not including adults, 10% of Tavistock plays minor ball with the number steadily rising if adults were included.

“That says a lot. It’s a minor ball system of more than 200 kids. It’s one of the stronger ones and Innerkip’s got more than 200 youth players. Softball’s doing well. People say softball’s dying, but it’s doing well and gaining in a lot of areas,” Smith said of the high numbers, particularly in East-Zorra-Tavistock township. “Innerkip has four t-ball teams in town. I think the sport’s thriving. There was a downturn in the sport for awhile, but there’s a lot of kids playing now.”

“We’re looking forward to it. It’s a big task, but well worth it… We’re excited about it,” Smith said. “We’re looking forward to it and it’s coming fast.”

For people interested in volunteering, they can contact the host committee at:

A full schedule of games can be found at:


Tavistock vs. British Columbia on Queen's Park - Aug. 2 at 1 p.m.

Tavistock vs. Nova Scotia on Optimist Park - Aug. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

Tavistock vs. Prince Edward Island on Queen's Park - Aug. 3 at 11 a.m.

Tavistock at Stratford Cubs on Queen's Park - Aug. 3 at 8:30 p.m.

Tavistock vs. Saskatchewan on Optimist Park - Aug. 4 at 12 p.m.

Tavistock at Alberta on Queen's Park - Aug. 4 at 8:30 p.m.



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