Braves dig up silver in Barrhead
Baseball: Local squad picks up third silver medal at 55-Plus Games
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 06:00 am
Picking up silverware and having a heck of a time doing it never gets old for the Turner Valley Braves.
The Braves won their third silver medal in a row at the 55-Plus Alberta Summer Games in Barrhead in co-ed slowpitch on the heels of a gold medal at last year’s Canada Summer Games in Nova Scotia.
“It’s all about the participation,” said Braves player/coach Harry Cowan. “With the ball we try to keep (winning) it as not the reason why we go.
“Edmonton (the gold medalists) they had a very strong team, they were better than us without a doubt.”
The nucleus from the 2012 Canada Games gold medal-winning roster remained– featuring the likes of Ray Minue, Stuart Thompson, Linda Nelson, Jackie Stickel, Shelley Young, Norma Dawson and Mickey Getten – giving the Braves a formidable team unit in Barrhead.
“Everyone did great, we had everyone from last year except for two,” said Cowan. “It was basically the same team and it will be the same team next year when we go to the Canadian Summer Games in Strathcona.”
Rather than a traditional round-robin and playoff format, each of the seven zones played one another once in Barrhead with the teams with the top three records earning spots on the podium. The Braves, also silver medalists at the 2009 and 2011 Alberta Games, finished with the second best record (3-2) by picking up wins over zone representatives from Barrhead, Camrose and Calgary.
Needing to defeat Calgary in the tournament finale by at least two runs, Zone 2 tripled up their regional rivals 6-2 to taste the silver.
Turner Valley lost to Zone 5, Black Gold/Yellowhead and lost by 11 runs to the dominant tournament winners representing Edmonton.
“A very strong Edmonton team got the better of us on that particular day,” Nelson said. “But we would sure like a rematch with them.
“When our bats finally woke up and gloves finally settled down, we were good.”
The Braves were 13 strong in Barrhead, featuring eight men and five women of which three have to be on the field at all times.
“Our expectation going in was just to play well and have fun, that’s always our expectation,” Nelson said. “We’d like to win, sure, but it’s not cutthroat for us, we’re just happy to be there.”
For Cowan, the Summer Games experience is one all seniors should strive to get involved with – regardless of age, experience or ability.
“I can’t stress enough that all the seniors should go,” he said. “The woman that won the silver medal in javelin threw it 3.8 metres and she’s 100-years-old and still competes.
“It’s about giving the opportunity to play and everyone should play. Anyone that feels they can’t, can come practice with me and see if they can still do it.”