Milestone on the horizon

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John Browne
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Gosse six away from 100 homers

Veteran Ward Gosse is six home runs shy of reaching a mark that no one in the history of the Molson St. John's Senior Men's Softball League has ever reached.

No one has ever made it to the 100 home run plateau in the 53-year history of the league, and while he's close, Gosse isn't making a big deal of the quest.

Ward Gosse

Veteran Ward Gosse is six home runs shy of reaching a mark that no one in the history of the Molson St. John's Senior Men's Softball League has ever reached.

No one has ever made it to the 100 home run plateau in the 53-year history of the league, and while he's close, Gosse isn't making a big deal of the quest.

"I'd like to see that one-zero-zero next to my name, but It's not an ego thing where I'm going to hang on until I reach it," he said.

"If I can get those six (homers) over the next year or two, it would be nice, but if I don't reach the mark, I still won't have any regrets.

"I've had a lot of good years in the league and I've played with a lot of great players. It's been a great ride, put it that way."

The slugger closest to Gosse is long-time retired Hall of Famer Len Beresford, who hit 73 home runs in his career.

In any case, Gosse, better known for his pitching exploits, said he certainly doesn't expect any handouts as he goes for the century mark.

"I'm 42 and I still get pitched tough. The boys are always coming at me.

"It's not they they are grooving the ball down the plate and saying 'Here, hit it.' I don't expect any favours," he said.

"I've got a lot of friends in the league, but we are all very competitive on the field."

"Besides," said Gosse who failed to clear the fences in 11 games last season, "it's not the biggest thing I'm trying to do."

Gosse, who became the first pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts last season, said he doesn't know how long he'll continue to play and while he'd like to finish his career with 100 dingers, he's not staying around just to reach that mark.

Gosse would like to finish his career with a national gold medal, something that has eluded him while he has accomplished just about everything else over a long, brilliant career. "I've been on Newfoundland teams that have won a couple of silver medals and a bronze, but I'd really like to finish my career with a Canadian gold medal," said Gosse, who has been named the top pitcher in the national tournament three times.

Gosse, who has been playing local senior ball - give or a take a few years - since he was 16, will suit up for Lower Path Grill and Bar this season after playing with Roebothan McKay and Marshall last year. The nucleus of the RRM team is playing under the Imageware Custom Apparel name this season.

And while his career is winding down, Gosse shows no signs of cutting back at the elite level of the game.

He will also play four tournaments with Albaugh Inc. softball team out of Iowa, and he's looking forward to playing in the ISC (International Softball Congress) event, as well as the Canadian championship with Three Cheers all-star team that includes Colin Abbott, Sean Whitten, Sean O'Brien, Steve Mullaley, Jason Hill and and Derek Mason out of British Columbia.

"I just want to enjoy the game for the next year or so," said Gosse. "When I was a player-coach (Roebothan McKay and Marshall) the last few years, I was making decisions when I really didn't want to make decisions. I was trying to pitch here and play in the United States which meant I wasn't always available to play with the local team.

"When I didn't show up I felt kind of bad."

Gosse admits he's lots a little of his hitting skill, but his arm remains in pretty good shape.

"I can still gear up for the hard stuff. I've lost a little bat speed and my stance has changed over the years," he said.

"I hit the ball pretty well in (out-of-the-province) tournaments last year, but the biggest thing I found that I've lacked over the past few years in terms of hitting is my focus. At my age, I find it more of a pride factor that I can still contribute with my arm. Overall, I'm hoping to get some of that drive back for the next year or two.

"You look at a guy like Colin (Abbott) and see how long he's been able to play at the elite level and that's the way I'd like to finish my career. Right now, I still think I have something to contribute."

Overall, Gosse says he has nothing to complain about.

"I'm a very lucky guy. I have a supportive wife and three young children and an employer (Remax) which has allowed me the opportunity to travel and play in the big tournaments over the years.

"I've been a realtor for seven years, but most people know me as an athlete.

"I'm trying to make the transition over the next few years where people will refer to me as Ward Gosse, that realtor guy," he said with a chuckle.

While Gosse has been remarkably consistent over his career, he has noticed some definite changes.

"I used to be the young guy on the teams and now I look around and I'm the old guy," he said, laughing.

The 54th Molson St. John's Senior Softball League is scheduled to open with a doubleheader tonight at Lions Park.

National junior champions Kelly's Pub Junior Canadians is set to take on West Side Charlies Bud Light at 6 p.m. followed by defending league champion Kelly's Pub Molson Canadians and Lower Path Grill and Bar at 8 p.m. Imageware Custom Apparel is the other club in the five-team setup.

Meanwhile, the nine-team intermediate league begins play Wednesday at Lions Park.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Albaugh, Softball Congress, Senior Softball League

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Iowa, British Columbia United States Lions Park

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Recent comments

  • Jonny
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    no doubt this is an impressive record. It would however be that much impressive if it was in a sport that was played anywhere outside of Newfoundland and had any significance nationally or internationally.

    Perhaps if the game wasn't played on a field for children it would be taken a little more seriously.

  • Rhonda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Well it seems Jonny hasn't been outside of Newfoundland. Softball is a huge sport not only in Canada but all over the world.

    My husband has played the game for most of his life at a Rep. level. Now my daughter is playing at a Rep. level also and attend's a softball academy at her high school.

    I'm amazed that Mr. Gosse has just about reached his 100 home run. I hope the paper will report it when he does reach it. Good on ya Ward!

  • Earl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Jonny is uneducated, and obviously hasn't played the game. I'm willing to bet he wouldn't be able to even get his bat on the ball (which can reach speeds between 80 and 90 mph from roughly 40 feet away), let alone hit a home run off a top-notch pitcher.

  • Baller
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Well that just shows how little you know about the game! This game is played in every province in Canada, competitively. Despite being one of the more talented leagues in the country it is also one of the smallest Sr. Leagues with only 4 actual Senior teams. Try telling Colin Abbott this game has no significance who has about 10-12 different rings , from World Championships, Canadian National Championships and Pan-Am Championships. Try telling the 10 or 11 Newfie boys who just got named to the Canadian National Team 40 man roster that it has no significance. Alot of these athletes are recruited by teams from the US to play a season where they draw the highest talent in the world, with players from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe, and play for an ISC World Championship. Kind of significant to some. Just because your no good at it, dont hate on the players who love to play!

  • Bob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Ward certainly has dominated the diamond for as long as I can remember. There isn't much he hasn't accomplished in the local Sr. league, and with the exception of a gold medal, at the national level.

    That being said, it's unfortunate that amongst local softball circles and watercoolers around newfoundland, everyone continues to talk about Ross Crocker, Len Beresford, Ford Metcalfe....the list goes on. Ward has certainly did his part in the continuing respect that the rest of this country has for Newfoundland softball.

    And year in and year out, he continues to show up at Lions Park where he gives 100% every pitch. At 42, he's still one of the hardest outs, and can still throw it by any player in that league. I'm glad you said in the next couple years Ward, if you'd said this year, you might not see a pitch to hit.

    And to John Browne, good story, basketball must be done for the year.....

  • Kris
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Hey Jonny.....Why don't you try hitting a homerun in this sport instead of trying to tear down those who are out there competing? Get a life.

  • pat
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    The only ball players worth mentioning came out of Fox Harbour, they had that killer instinct.

  • Jonny
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    no doubt this is an impressive record. It would however be that much impressive if it was in a sport that was played anywhere outside of Newfoundland and had any significance nationally or internationally.

    Perhaps if the game wasn't played on a field for children it would be taken a little more seriously.

  • Rhonda
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Well it seems Jonny hasn't been outside of Newfoundland. Softball is a huge sport not only in Canada but all over the world.

    My husband has played the game for most of his life at a Rep. level. Now my daughter is playing at a Rep. level also and attend's a softball academy at her high school.

    I'm amazed that Mr. Gosse has just about reached his 100 home run. I hope the paper will report it when he does reach it. Good on ya Ward!

  • Earl
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Jonny is uneducated, and obviously hasn't played the game. I'm willing to bet he wouldn't be able to even get his bat on the ball (which can reach speeds between 80 and 90 mph from roughly 40 feet away), let alone hit a home run off a top-notch pitcher.

  • Baller
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Well that just shows how little you know about the game! This game is played in every province in Canada, competitively. Despite being one of the more talented leagues in the country it is also one of the smallest Sr. Leagues with only 4 actual Senior teams. Try telling Colin Abbott this game has no significance who has about 10-12 different rings , from World Championships, Canadian National Championships and Pan-Am Championships. Try telling the 10 or 11 Newfie boys who just got named to the Canadian National Team 40 man roster that it has no significance. Alot of these athletes are recruited by teams from the US to play a season where they draw the highest talent in the world, with players from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe, and play for an ISC World Championship. Kind of significant to some. Just because your no good at it, dont hate on the players who love to play!

  • Bob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Ward certainly has dominated the diamond for as long as I can remember. There isn't much he hasn't accomplished in the local Sr. league, and with the exception of a gold medal, at the national level.

    That being said, it's unfortunate that amongst local softball circles and watercoolers around newfoundland, everyone continues to talk about Ross Crocker, Len Beresford, Ford Metcalfe....the list goes on. Ward has certainly did his part in the continuing respect that the rest of this country has for Newfoundland softball.

    And year in and year out, he continues to show up at Lions Park where he gives 100% every pitch. At 42, he's still one of the hardest outs, and can still throw it by any player in that league. I'm glad you said in the next couple years Ward, if you'd said this year, you might not see a pitch to hit.

    And to John Browne, good story, basketball must be done for the year.....

  • Kris
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Hey Jonny.....Why don't you try hitting a homerun in this sport instead of trying to tear down those who are out there competing? Get a life.

  • pat
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    The only ball players worth mentioning came out of Fox Harbour, they had that killer instinct.