It’s 1994 all over again: Twins vs. Gators

August 14, 2014

Kitchener, ON


ORIGINAL STORY by Christine Rivest

It’s 1994 all over again: Twins vs. Gators

By Christine Rivet

KITCHENER — Throwback Thursday at the International Softball Congress world tournament reacquaints us with one of the most hilarious rivalries in local fastball lore.

When the Kitchener Hallman Twins thumped the Kitchener Bell Cartage Outlaws 7-0 on Wednesday at the ISC world club team championships, it set up an elimination match with the Toronto Gators on Thursday.

So the Twins and the newly-reborn Gators go at it for the umpteenth time Thursday at noon at Peter Hallman Ball Yard.

Has it really been 20 years since Waterloo Twins (the precursor to the Kitchener Twins) manager Larry Lynch waged a war of words with then and current Toronto Gators sponsor Jack Fireman?

In the early 1990s, Lynch and Fireman played their parts to perfection, albeit with a smile and a wink. They fanned the flames of the rivalry, staking their positions in the age-old debate, amateur vs. professional, low budget vs. big budget.

Current Twins second baseman Brandon Horn, of Waterloo, recalls that long-ago, on-and-off-field battle.

Two decades ago the fat-cat and two-time world champ Toronto Gators regularly rolled through these parts racking up victories and smashing dreams with equal aplomb.

Back then, an eight-year-old Horn sat rapt in the bleachers at Hillside Park in his hometown, as Gators ace Darren Zack fired whiffs of fire and smoke past befuddled Twins batters.

As a kid, Horn even tacked up a poster of the incomparable Big Zee in his family's basement.

He and the Twins mercifully won't have to face Zack Thursday. The pride of Garden River, Ont., long ago called it a day in the open division and has moved on to the Gators' over-50 team and so too has Lynch in the ultimate irony.

Zack does pop up from time to time in the open-division Gators dugout as a coach.

"The (current) Gators are a good team. We know that for sure," said Horn after his 2-for-3 plate performance against the Outlaws on Wednesday.

"We've just got to try to keep our momentum going."

The Kitchener Twins, 3-1 here, were bounced into the losers' bracket by Illinois' Bloomington Stix on Monday.

The Gators were sent into the losers' bracket following their 6-2 loss to the Scarborough Force on Tuesday night.

The Twins will need five straight victories here through the next three days if they are to battle back to contend for the open division's world title on Saturday.

Another loss, and they are out.

On Wednesday, the Twins' bats ignited for nine hits against the Outlaws in support of Jeremy Manley's masterful two-hitter.

Wednesday's action bounced the Kitchener Outlaws, the Elmira Erb Electric Expos and the Kitchener Cubs out of the tournament. Elmira absorbed a 4-1 loss from New York's Staten Island Swashbucklers earlier Wednesday. The Kitchener Cubs fell 4-3 to Randy's A's from Invermere, B.C. also Wednesday.

Another local entry, the Tri-City Jays, were eliminated earlier from competition after notching four straight losses.

Meanwhile, the Kitchener Diamond Jaxx are still in contention for the ISC II title. They won their first three games in the ISC II bracket before losing to the Niagara Snappers 9-0 on Wednesday.

The Jaxx are back in action at 9 a.m. on Thursday against what was an undetermined opponent at press time.

Kitchener Outlaws manager Dave Kron said his players gave their all, finishing with a respectable 2-2 record here.

"It's tough when you play against the big teams," said Kron, of Mannheim. "But it was a great experience for our guys and great to play on this big stage here at home.

"I'm very proud of them."

Thursday night's marquee matchup in the winners' bracket pits former Twins manager Larry Lynch and his new team, the defending world champion Hill United Chiefs from Six Nations, against the Scarborough Force.

It's a 6:30 p.m. start at Peter Hallman Ball Yard.

Thursday also sees the ISC II bracket final at 4 p.m. at the Hallman Ball Yard.


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