O’LEARY -- Two-time defending champions, O’Leary Summerside Chrysler Dodge Eagles will be the hosts for the 2013 Men’s Eastern Canadian Intermediate C Fast Pitch Championship tournament which gets underway on O’Leary’s Ellis and Rink fields this Friday at 4:30 p.m.
O’Leary won the tournament at home two years ago and they went 6-0 last year in Stellarton. Many of the players from last year’s roster are still with the team.
“We have the experience,” assessed player-coach Jeff Ellsworth. He said the key to a three-peat will be in staying healthy and limiting the errors.
Ellsworth is encouraged by the resurgence of softball in the West Prince area this year. That included O’Leary’s hosting of the national Under 16 girls championship last month. The Eagles team is made up of players from the four-team men’s league that played in O’Leary this year. They also played in a six-team Maritime league and will be heading to Nova Scotia in a week’s time for the league finals. They recently beat the Charlottetown Fawcetts in the provincial men’s championship series.
“It’s going to be a good tournament,” Ellsworth said, expressing confidence fans will really turn out to see the highest level of men’s fast pitch in Eastern Canada this year, happening in O’Leary this weekend.
There is one Ontario team and two teams each from P.E.I., Nova Scotia and New Brunswick vying for the title which will be awarded on Sunday.
Both tournament fields will be utilized Friday at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. and the two Nova Scotia teams Sydney Chants Funeral Cardinals and Alexandra Street White Sox, will play under the Ellis Field lights at 8:30 p.m. on opening day.
The hosts play New Brunswick 2 (Kingsclear Warriors) at 4:30 and Puslinch Kodiack from Ontario at 6:30 p.m. Both of their games are on Ellis Field.
Charlottetown Cardinals, who have six players from the Charlottetown Fawcetts who just returned from the Nationals on their roster, play New Brunswick 1 (Taymouth Tigers) at 4:30 and Nova Scotia 2 (White Sox) at 6:30. Both of those games are on the Rink Field. There are games on both fields Saturday at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and all remaining games in the tournament are slated for Ellis Field, with further Saturday action at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30. The Eagles play the White Sox at 12:30 and the Sydney Cardinals at 6:30. The Island teams don’t meet during the four-game round-robin. Charlottetown plays the Warriors at 10:30 and Ontario at 4:30.
Play-off games are Sunday. Second and third place teams at the end of the round-robin will meet in one semi-final at 10:00 and first and fourth place teams play-off at 12 noon. The semi-final winners meet in the 2 p.m. final.