Reduced to a three-team circuit in 1918, the Regina Northside Baseball League was still the only senior amateur intra-city loop within Saskatchewan having sufficient player personnel to maintain operation. Moose Jaw had an intermediate league but at a level which did not measure up to the Queen City’s triad of clubs. As the Allied powers were putting the squeeze on the Triple Alliance in what would be the final year of the Great European War, one returning Canadian veteran, Charley Otton (right), had recovered sufficiently from wounds sustained on the battlefield in 1916 to take his place on the diamond with the Garrys, one of the two new entries in Regina’s Northside association of baseballers.
With only the three teams to engage in competition, a much shorter league schedule was drawn up and more exhibition games with outside adversaries, especially for the Garrys, became the norm. The schedule was never entirely completed as the Garrys jumped out into an early lead and were ultimately declared pennant winners. In August, former Western Canada Leaguer Hank O’Day again brought together a number of Moose Jaw area senior level elites to play under the banner of the Moose Jaw Robin Hoods/Millers. They hooked up with the Regina Garrys in a number of exhibition tilts and definitely had the upper hand in the horsehide skirmishes. Overall, O’Day’s dandies were clearly the best team in Saskatchewan. When the touring Winnipeg Arenas, considered the best amateur nine in Manitoba, visited the Mill City in September, O’Day’s charges took two out of three games from the Peggers. The Garrys also played the Arenas three times at Park de Young and once in Winnipeg, with the teams dividing the spoils.
Four teams formed the Saskatoon City League for 1918, but there were few contests as the Pilgrims finished first winning five of their six games.
Baseball was a major diversion for our troops serving overseas during the First World War.
(August 4, 1915) The Vancouver Daily World, under the headline CANADIAN SOLDIERS PLAY BALL AT FRONT, Vancouver Boy Tells of Exciting Game Played Behind the Firing Line
Writing from "somewhere in France," under date of July 15, Pte. G.A. Lovell, No. 1 Canadian General Hospital Corps, in a letter to Mr. P.R. Edwards, of The World staff, tells of a baseball game played behind the firing line, between officers and men of the hospital unit. The non-coms and men won by a score of 10-8.
Pte. Lovell writes in part as follows : "The hardships of war were forgotten for a space today when the N.C.O.'s and men of No. 1 Canadian General Hospital extended a challenge to the officers of that unit to a game of baseball "somewhere in France."
Practically every city of any size in the Dominion was represented in the line-up and an exciting game ensued. Both teams put up a strong game and several brilliant plays were pulled off, resulting finally in a victory for the N.C.O.'S and men. Score, 10-8. The struggle was watched with keen interest by a large number of fans, comprised of representatives of the armies of Canada, Britain, France and Belgium. To the latter mentioned the proceedings were somewhat of a mystery, but appeared to be appreciated.
Officers : Capt. Herringer C, Capt. Carr 1B, Lieut. Scatcherd 2B, Capt. Lozier 3B, Capt. Lomer SS, Capt. Harrison LF, Capt. Smith RF, Capt. Creighton CF, Capt. Luton P.
N.C.O.'S and Men : Staff Sergt. H. Scott C, Lance-Corp. E. Worswick 1B, Pte. J. Boulay 2B, Pte. O. Turner 3B, Pte. H. Rosser SS, Staff Sergt. W. Scott LF, Pte. G.A. Lovell RF, Pte. M. Adamson CF, Sergt. H. Nightingale P. Umpire Capt. Hassard.
On September 1, 1917, the Vancouver Daily World carried a story of an armed forces league.
Playing before a fair-sized crowd at St. Cloud, the Canadian Hospital baseball team defeated the Day Off Group in a seven-inning game by 13 runs to 0. It was the same old story in the same old way. The Day Off Group went to pieces in one chapter - in this instance the fourth - and before they could reassemble their forces ten Canadian runners had streaked across the pan. Eliminate this one inning and it was a regular ball game.
Monette, who once had a trial with the Montreal team of the International League, was on the rubber for the victors. He was menaced in only two stanzas, the first and the last.
Beland, Canadian right fielder, featured with the cudgel. He rapped Nelson, the Day Off Group heaver, for four singles on four trips to the pan. Every man on the Canuck nine got at least one hit and one run. With the bases full in the big fourth inning, Dubrule, guardian of the Maple Leaf keystone station, won a special prize by tripling to deep centre.
Canadians : Beland RF, Bourassa LF, Depocas C, Dubrule 2B, Monette P, Pye SS, Sinclair 3B, Varin CF, Wheaton 1B
Day Off Group : Austin CF-RF, Dion SS, Emerson 1B, Guay 3B, Keitel LF, May C, Nelson P, Strahan 2B, Walsh RF-CF
U.S. Army 2 - 0
Ambulance 2 - 0
Canadians 2 - 1
Field Service 0 - 2
Day Off Group 0 - 3
August 7, 1918, the Vancouver Daily World had news of a playoff series.
On June 28th, the Firth D.A.C. (Divisional Ammunition Column) lost in the Canadian Army Corps semi-finals to an Eastern Battalion 2-0 in a pitchers' duel between winner Bakewell and loser Cox. Bakewell allowed just three hits, while the champions collected five, two each by catcher Vino and shortstop Eagleson. This club pulled off the corps champiionship August 6th with a 3-2, 11-inning, victory over a team which featured a number of well-known players from BC such as Steeves (Malkin's catcher), Steele (Victoria) and Sabourin (Vancouver).
Firth DAC : Butler LF, Carruthers 1B, Cox P, Falconer CF, Kingsley 3B, McAvoy 2B, Piper C, Reed SS, Solloway RF
Eastern : Bakewell P, Bell 3B, Eagleson SS, Elwood LF, Flynn CF, Muckleston RF, Mysones 2B, Picton !b, Vinco CAnd, there was news in mid-August of a four team league, playing in France.
There was a hotly- contested Saskatchewan league - overseas, during the First World War, in France, "somewhere" in France ! The Saskatoon Daily Star of August 13, 1918, reported on a four-team league, The No. 8 Stationary Hospital Baseball League. The schedule for August 13th had Saskatoon and Regina meeting in a "second series" contest "somewhere in France". Moose Jaw captured the championship in the first half of the schedule winning five of six games. The winners of the second section will meet Moose Jaw in a "world's series". Duriing 1918, in the last year of the war, No.8 Stationary Hospital was located in Camiers, Charmes, Rouen and Dunkerque.
At the onset, the teams were selected then the four names were put in a hat and the managers drew a team. The clubs also played games against the Americans.
Saskatoon : Pte. J.Daubs MGR, Captain J.E.Bloomer, Captain O'Gorman, Sgt. N.Hanson, Sgt. P.E.Jones, Sgt. R.Power, Privates J.J.White, R.Robsen, C.L.Hickson, J.McTigue, Patterson, A.Campbell, P.Hoskin, Brewis and H.Thompson
Regina : Pte. F.Gordon MGR, Major J.F.Irving, Captain H.G.Craig, R.S.M. P.E.Slough, Sgt.Hindson, Cpl.D.Matthews, Sgt.Beck and Privates N.L.Clouston, A.C.Anderson, Funerton, H.Farthing, A.Sutherland,H.Waterer, J.Date and Beauchemin
Moose Jaw : Pte.Lawrence MGR, Capt. T.Sutherland, Corporals J.Castle and J.E.Johnson, Privates V.Gurr, J.Riddle, Richardson, A.Sicotte, F.Hanna, N.S.King, A.C.Alexander, M.Scott, G.Currie and C.Holford
Battleford : Pte. J.McGrannahan MGR, Captain J.Thompson, Captain C.Henry, Sgt. G.Heffern, Sgt.McKay, Sgt.Labron, Cpl.J.W.T.Duff and Privates P.Westlake, R.Dougans, W.Mitchell, M.Britton, V.Cruze, W.A.McNeill, S.M.Robinson and W.B.Spalding