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Cobourg set to host Canadian fastball championship

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

Brenda Whitehead and Ewart Timlin are two of the key organizers gearing up for a big August event - the Under 16 Boys Canadian Fast Pitch Championship, which Cobourg Legion Minor Softball is hosting at Legion Fields.
CECILIA NASMITH/Northumberland Today

Brenda Whitehead and Ewart Timlin are two of the key organizers gearing up for a big August event - the Under 16 Boys Canadian Fast Pitch Championship, which Cobourg Legion Minor Softball is hosting at Legion Fields. CECILIA NASMITH/Northumberland Today

COBOURG - 

The country’s best will come to Cobourg’s Legion Fields in August, as Cobourg Legion Minor Softball hosts the Under 16 Boys Canadian Fast Pitch Championship.

Ten teams are expected. Host chair Brenda Whitehead said there will be four teams from Ontario, as well as teams for sure from Newfoundland, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The four Ontario teams, including the host Cobourg Legion Dodgers, have been determined

Cobourg hosted the Ontario Amateur Softball Association bantam elimination tournament this past weekend with the top three teams qualifying for the national championship. Belmore won the elimination tournament while Tavistock was the runner-up and Shallow Lake placed third to qualify.

Team arrivals begin Aug. 8, Whitehead said. This will be a welcoming day, with coaches’ and managers’ meetings, plus a welcome banquet sponsored by the Cobourg Lions Club.

“All the teams will come together for food, fellowship and fun,” she said.

Paralympic athlete Rob Snoek will address the boys, and three local special guests will be part of the evening — “three generations of decorated fast-pitch players who live right here,” Whitehead said.

“Ewart Timlin has been put into the Softball Hall of Fame as of 2014, Jennifer Dalgarno-Ashley recently won the gold medal at the masters’ games in New Zealand, and Josh Maguire everyone knows. He’s the captain of Team Ontario, competing at the Canada Games a week before the event.”

Round-robin play begins the following day, with four to six time slots each day, Aug. 9 to 11, playing on two diamonds at Legion Fields.

On Aug. 12 and 13, the medal rounds will be played, with eliminations and competition for the gold medal as Canadian champion.

Whitehead noted that organizing this event is one way Cobourg Legion Minor Softball is celebrating 2017 as their 60th year.

“It’s the longest-running sport organization in the Town of Cobourg,” she said.

The championship qualifies as a legacy event on several levels, including the fact that the hometown team at this event will be the Cobourg Legion Bantam Dodgers. They were the Clippers until 2014, when they changed the name to honour the late Layton Dodge — a beloved long-time Cobourg Daily Star sports reporter who was a fixture at pretty well every local sporting event.

“He was a softball legacy himself — men’s league announcer, reporter, always a supporter,” Whitehead said.

And at Legion Fields, the event venue, Diamond 1 is named after him.

He’d have reason to be hopeful for his namesake team’s prospects, she said. The Dodgers have a core group who have played together for about seven years.

Whitehead said she has a great committee working to make this happen, and the community has come forward with some wonderful sponsorships. But they could always use a few more volunteers, and anyone who can help can is asked to e-mail her at u16vounteers@gmail.com.

cnasmith@postmedia.com