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Shakespeare Falcons win South Perth Men's Fastball League title

September 10, 2019

Stratford, ON - - Shakespeare Falcons win South Perth Men's Fastball League title



Jamie Wicke of the Shakespeare Falcons slides safely at home on his inside-the-park home run which helped propel the Falcons to a 10-2 win over the Elmira Expos in the championship final game of the South Perth Men's Fastball League playoff tournament Saturday at Mitchell's Keterson Park. ANDY BADER/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

 

ORIGINAL STORY by Andy Bader

No team in the 45-plus year history of the South Perth Men’s Fastball League has ever won the ‘A’ championship three straight seasons.

The Shakespeare Falcons won their fourth title, and their first in five years, this past weekend in the five-team playoff tournament in Mitchell, defeating the regular-season champion Elmira Expos 10-2 in the final Saturday night.

The fact the once proud league, considered one of the premier men’s fastpitch softball leagues in the province, had just five teams competing for the title this season led to speculation the league could be on its way out.

Not so fast, said league spokesman Doug Eidt.

“The more I talked to people this past weekend the more teams want to play,” he said. “I hope we can still have something. I’m not counting it out yet.”

The lack of elite pitching has put the future of the Mitchell Mets – the longest-serving SPMFL franchise – in doubt, but Eidt and some current Mets are hopeful they can put together enough interest for 2020 and beyond.

Teams in Elmira, Shakespeare, Ponsonby, New Hamburg (Nith River), Mitchell and St. Pauls (although they withdrew from the playoff tournament) could return next year, with the St. Pauls team moving to Wellesley.

Eidt is hopeful to attract a team out of Tavistock to join the league, and ideally would like to have eight. In its heyday, the SPMFL had as many as 24 teams. Eidt said a meeting will be held in the next couple of weeks to sort out options, one of which includes playing all games in a more central geographical location and spread out the pitching.

The SPMFL held its playoff tournament in conjunction with the 11-team Huron County Fastball League (HCFL) in Mitchell’s Keterson Park this past weekend.

The Falcons, after losing their tournament opener last Friday 2-0 to Nith River, won four straight games Saturday to capture the title.

Falcons’ pitcher Kirk Santala was named the tournament’s top pitcher, but he was aided by veteran hurler Fred Follings, who finished the final three wins Saturday, and shut out the Mets to begin the day. Leading 6-1 in the fifth against Elmira in the final, the Expos loaded the bases with nobody out. Follings came in and struck out the next two batters, allowed a run on a wild pitch, but escaped without further damage on an infield pop-up.

The Expos never threatened after that, and the Falcons, behind Matt McLaren’s four RBI, pulled away for the victory.

Jamie Wicke legged out an inside-the-park home run to kickstart a three-run top of the fifth, but McLaren’s two-run triple in the third gave the Falcons the lead they never relinquished.

The Brussels Tigers won their third straight HCFL championship, edging the Belmore Stingers 5-4 in nine innings in the final Sunday afternoon.

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