Conscription into the military became law in 1917, further thinning the ranks of available young men for civilian sporting activities. Only one senior amateur baseball league operated in Saskatchewan during the summer of 1917, that being the four-team Northside League in Regina. There was no evidence in the print media of organized amateur leagues operating within either Saskatoon or Moose Jaw. Saskatoon’s short-lived 1916 City League was never reorganized the following season while diamond activity in Moose Jaw was limited to a few semi-regular games between the newspaper teams, the Evening Times and the Daily News.
In late August, however, a Moose Jaw team was briefly organized by ex-WCBL player Hank O’Day, who happened to be a member of the powerful Morse baseball team, to play an exhibition game against a group of Regina Northside League selects. The 1917 Morse team, augmented by pro players including O’Day at shortstop while another former WCBL player, pitcher Oscar “Lefty” Vold, anchored the hurling staff, boasted an enviable record of having only one defeat in the past five seasons. In any event, O’Day’s Moose Jaw nine, with Vold on the mound, held a 1 to 0 lead in the bottom of the fifth frame when O’Day went berserk following a disputed call on the bases, holding the game up for ten minutes with his antics until the umpire finally forfeited it to the Northsiders by a 9 to 0 count.
The 1917 Northside League had been a highly competitive one and saw the two-time defending champion Whirlwinds and a new entry, Bawlf Grain, wind up deadlocked for top spot at the end of the regular schedule. The Elevator gang then annexed the league crown by knocking off the Cyclones in two straight playoff matches. A group of 14 players from the North Side loop, the bulk of them from the Bawlf battalion, then travelled to Winnipeg to face that city’s amateur all-star team and were humbled by the Manitobans in three contests, as the Peggers claimed a non-existent interprovincial amateur tiara. Upon their return to the Queen City, the Bawlfers then gained some measure of revenge by clobbering the Alaska Bedding squad, champions of the Winnipeg intermediate league.
The curtain for the 1917 season was finally brought down at Regina’s McInnis Park when the pro-laden marauders representing Morse took on another group of play-for-pay diamondeers representing Lajord and easily captured the non-sanctioned Saskatchewan crown with plenty of money riding on the side. The complete game winning pitcher was ex-major leaguer Jake Thielman (left).