Proposal made for another Newfoundland entry in national senior championship
Theres a possibility Newfoundland will be represented by a third team in the Labatt national senior mens fastpitch softball championship which opens next month in St. Johns.
Harold Kelly, a 13-year veteran of the St. Johns senior mens league, fired off an e-mail to Softball Canada president Kevin Quinn seeking permission to add a third provincial team to the national mix.
Kelly said the correspondence came at the behest of some players from the senior league.
We have guys in our league who have been playing 10 years and might not play (in the nationals), said Kelly, who pitches for Molson Grumpy Stump in the local senior mens circuit. And they probably deserve a shot. Weve got some real good quality ball players.
The provincial team or first squad for the nationals will be laden with some of the best talent Newfoundland boasts, namely Colin Abbott, Stephen Mullaley, Jason Hill and a pair of expatriate Newfoundlanders, Robbie and Sean OBrien, who have been living and playing ball in Ontario for years.
In addition to those two, the team is expected to have the services of ace pitcher Frank Cox of Ontario.
The host team or second squad is also expected to bring in a couple of pitchers, Sean Whitten and Matt Bramwell. Both are Newfoundlanders, but Whitten now calls Alberta home, while Bramwell resides in Nova Scotia.
We copied the e-mail to Lloyd (Power, Softball Newfoundland and Labrador president) and we think hes in conversation with Kevin, Kelly said.
We think its a good idea (to add a third team). The more membership (from the local senior league, the only one of its kind in the province) we get playing in the nationals, the better. If theres a possibility we can do it, I think we should definitely do it.
A concern could be rounding out the roster with enough players capable of playing at the games top level, and more to the point, having enough quality pitching arms.
Zack as pitcher?
Kelly admits the team would need help in the pitching department and a name thats being mentioned is veteran Darren Zack of Ontario, who was once the games most dominant chucker.
We heard his name thrown around too, Kelly said. He indicated an interest (playing for Newfoundland) during the winter.
A decision on whether Newfoundland is permitted a third team could come as early as this week. If the response is positive, it would also make for easier scheduling for the tournament since another entry would likely make 12 in total. That would allow two six-team divisions with balanced schedules.
The nationals run from Aug. 26-Sept. 2 at the Caribou Complex in Pleasantville.