Gosse still

Robin Short
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has the passion

Eighteen years after taking his first cuts in St. Johns senior mens softball, after countless innings twirled in a Hall of Fame right arm, passion for the game still draws Ward Gosse to the ball park each and every summer.

Even on those chilly June days, and the those sultry August evenings. To a lonely Lions Park, where the fan contingent is considerably less than any bingo hall in the province.

For Ward Gosse, though, the enthusiasm and love of the game lingers. For that he is to be commended.

After all those years, a spark kindles within his gut. And nothing like the national championship at home to add a little kerosene to the fire.

At this level, yes, Gosse says in reply to the question of whether he still gets a charge out of tugging on the spikes and glove.

This is what its all about, to get here and play at the Canadians, to play at the ISCs, or even to play at the provincials.

After six days at the Labatt Canadian senior mens fastpitch championship, Gosse and his Roebothan, McKay, Marshall team are undefeated at 9-0 heading into the semifinals tonight.

Dominating team

Never before has a Newfoundland softball team appeared so dominant, at least on paper. And while Gosse did his part on the mound this week, certainly much more than hired help Frank Cox of Ontario, hes third on the pecking order behind the Owen Sound mailman and Robbie OBrien, the erstwhile St. Johns resident who now toils in Ontario.

Not that Gosse looked like a third-rate rocket-launcher Thursday night, as the host blanked the defending champs from St. Thomas, Ont. 5-0 behind Gosses three-hitter and 10 Ks.

Gosse is proving hes not ready for slo-pitch and golf just yet.

Sure, he says, youd like to have the opportunity (for the ball in the big game), but I also realize, too, Im getting a bit older. The host club is a team chock full of talent, from imports Frank Cox, Tim Macumber, Rob and Sean OBrien, who all have national team experience, to the veteran slugger, Colin Abbott, to the youngsters like Steve Mullaley, Jason Hill and Blair Ezekiel. On this team, Gosse isnt The Man he was on just about every other team for which hes dressed. Not even a minor concern, said Gosse in response to the ol chemistry question you know, can a team laden with stars check their ego at the on-deck circle? We all know each other through the years and Ill tell you, weve had some good laughs on the bench during some games that have been a little intense. The veteran leadership of Colin (Abbott) and Sean (OBrien) and Robbie has been amazing. Im enjoying every minute of it. Its been a busy summer for the 39-year-old product of Bay Roberts, who appeared in a handful of International Softball Congress tournaments with an outfit called MinnDak Millers. But for an athlete who prides himself on physical conditioning, dont expect a few weekends of back-to-back ball to slow Gosse. No, what will finally be the coup de grace to a brilliant career will not be Gosses body breaking down, but a realization some day work and family comes first. Ball did get in the way this year, going away to play in five tournaments in the States, the ISCs and now this, he says. Its hurt work a little bit because I am in the customer service industry (a Realtor with Coldwell Banker) and you have to service your customers properly. So that and family is what its (retirement) going to come down to. I dont think its going to be about not feeling good. Gosse is the St. Johns senior leagues all-time home run and RBI leader, and when its all over, hell be mentioned with the like of Ross Crocker, Ron Boland, Ford Metcalfe and Pat Kelly in the pitching department. Mostly, though, hell want to be known as a Canadian champ. This is what Ive enjoyed the most, he said of the national playoffs. Its a position Ive wanted to be in for a number of years, and that is position ourselves to make a run at something. rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Labatt, The Man, International Softball Congress

Geographic location: Lions Park, Ontario, Newfoundland Owen Sound St. Thomas Bay Roberts

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