1979 Tournaments     


(June 15-17)   For the fourth year in succession, the Barrhead senior baseballers won their own major tournament. The Blue Jays captured the 1978 and 1979 tourneys while the Cardinals were winners in the 1976 and 1977 events.

In this year’s $7,500 competition, a six-team event, the hosting Jays as well as the Edmonton Tigers plus a team from Portland, Oregon advanced to a double-elimination series as the Two Hills Eagles, Edmonton Cardinals and the Barrhead Broncos, a last-minute replacement for the Lewis & Clark College Idaho Warriors, were knocked out. Within the double-knockout triumvirate, the Barrhead diamondeers prevailed to take the $3,500 top prize money while the Bengals from the Capital City finished second and took home $1,500. John Romano of the Blue Jays, who hit three home runs as well as being an offensive threat throughout, was named the tournament’s MVP.


(June 16-17)  Kindersley Tournament.  Moose Jaw Devons and Barrhead Blue Jays split the top prize as rain washed out the final of the Kindersley Tournament. 

The tourney kicked off Saturday morning as the Kindersley Royals trounced the Leader Barons 10-2. Cary Miller went the distance for the Royals racking up 13 strike outs as John Sutherland crushed an 8th inning two-run homer for the Royals.  Al Marshall took the loss.

Moose Jaw upended the Eston Ramblers 7-3 behind the hurling of Pete Maus. Steve Sproesser was the loser.

Unity Cardinals whipped the Cardinals of Edmonton 12-1 as Ron Zimmerman was strong on the hill allowing just one unearned run. Wayne Biggs took the loss. Unity rapped 14 hits in the win with Chris Pascal and Brad Dekraai each with three.

Barrhead advanced to the semi-finals with an 8-3 win over Saskatoon Patrick Liners.  Curt Burkhead was credited with the pitching win over Greg Bargar of the Liners.

Moose Jaw got by Kindersley 7-6 in semi-final action to set up a Devon-Barrhead final.  Ron Leach pitched well for the Royals in going the distance, but was hurt by a leaky defense behind him. After the tournament, Leach returned to Fresno, California, where he's expected to sign a professional contract with the Cleveland Indians.

Ron Leach (L) and xxx
Phil Flanagan, Jim Baba (5), Dan Andrie (6) and xxx

Barrhead trounced Unity 17-2. Veteran Keith Van De Keere went the first seven innings for the win. Unity played well at the start and held a 1-0 lead after three innings. However, in the 4th inning, with two out, the Cardinals made five errors which contributed to seven Barrhead runs and the rout was on.

Van De Keere (W), Capellette (8) and xxx
Chris Pascal (L), Egbert Stang (6) and xxx


(June 23-24)   The Enderby Legionnaires of the North Okanagan Baseball League captured top prize money in the two day double-knockout tournament held in Prince George which featured eight teams.

After taking their opening match from the Quesnel Billy Barker Inn aggregation in a 12 to 0 blowout, the Legionnaires dropped a ten-inning 5 to 4 squeaker to the Prince George Mountain Truck Service nine in their second tussle, forcing them to play four consecutive games on the second day of the tourney to remain in contention. Iron man moundsman Daryl Leier pitched three of those battles, winning them all.

During their second-day comeback, the Legionnaires disposed of the Sierra Inn of Kamloops 7 to 0, took a 5 to 4 decision from the Quesnel Bud Henning Blue Jays and whitewashed the Prince George Labatt’s 5 to 0. Enderby then capped their drive by blanking the same Mountain Truck Service squad that had edged them earlier, 6 to 0, in the championship game. Leier threw a two-hitter in the finale, decisioning Bill Janzen of the Servicemen.

After pitching back-to-back shutouts in the semi-final and final games, Leier was unanimously voted the tournament’s outstanding pitcher. Legionnaire third baseman Geoff Collins was named the top infielder while shortstop Brian Gibbons won the tourney batting title with a .715 average.


(June 30, July 1-2) 

Colville WA
North Battleford Beaver Bisons
Selkirk Selects
Wenatchee WA American Legion

Rain seriously hampered the Trail International baseball tournament played over the weekend. Originally a round-robin format, the number of games was reduced when rain completely wiped out the second day of play. Earlier, Colville had beaten the Selkirk Selects 9 to 1 while North Battleford eliminated the Selects 3 to 1. The Saskatchewan team then thumped Wenatchee WA 7 to 1 and Colville followed up with a 4 to 0 whitewashing of the Wenatchee nine, leaving just two undefeated teams remaining. Colville WA prevailed as the tourney champion, defeating North Battleford 5 to 2 in a one-game final. Jim Bosworth of Colville was declared as the tournament’s MVP. 


Kamloops Brewers blanked Prince George 7-0 Monday to take first money of $500 at the annual Enderby Invitational Baseball Tournament.

Rob Chisholm fired a four-hitter for the shutout and Rick Leroux led the offence with three hits. The Brewers featured a stacked lineup with six pick-ups for the event. Vernon's Wayne Dye pitched the 2-1 victory over Colville, WA and Dye was joined by Vernon teammates Charlie Briskham, Dave Caldow and Larry Gauthier. Two pitchers, in Kamloops for a Seattle Mariners' tryout camp, also played big roles for the Brewers. Mark Robinson, of Spokane, tossed a three-hitter as Kamloops whipped Calgary 6-1 and Barry Coghlin of Lethbridge allowed just four hits as Kamloops topped Quesnel 4-1. The host nine, the Enderby Legionnaires, were eliminated with two straight losses, 3-2 to Quesnel and 7-6 in an extra inning by Prince George.


(July 1–2)  The Nanaimo Discosport A’s went undefeated and won top money in the 1979 Lake Cowichan tournament by edging the Port Alberni 68’ers 3 to 2 in the tourney final. The tense and exciting showdown match featured a pitching duel between Nanaimo’s Terry Kleisinger and Port Alberni’s Paul LeBlanc. Outfielder Ken Brodyk of the A’s poled the game-deciding blow with a two-run four-ply blast over the right field wall.

In their opening tussle of the event, a five-team round-robin affair, the A’s knocked off their city cousins, the Nanaimo Villa Canadians, as rookie chucker Kleisinger picked up his initial mound win of the two-day competition. Their second victory came at the expense of the 68’ers while southpaw Al Hill pitched them to a third-game triumph over the Lake Cowichan Lakers. Dan Rogers earned the hillock win as the A’s set down the Port Alberni Phillies in their final round-robin clash, setting the stage for the tournament final.

Dan Rogers of the A’s won the tournament MVP trophy after blasting four home runs and going 10-for-15 at the plate.  Paul LeBlanc, ace moundsman of the 68’ers, was voted the tourney’s top pitcher.     


(July 1-2)   Eston Tournament.  Regina Red Sox captured the top prize at the $6,300 Eston Invitational Tournament downing the host club 13-4 in the final. Regina jumped into an early lead and were never in trouble. Mike Hanson was the winning hurler. Neil McMillan took the loss. Robbie McCorkle had the lone highlight for the Ramblers with a homer. 

Regina made the final edging Moose Jaw Devons 6-5 with Hanson the winner. Dan Andrie was saddled with the loss. Eston advanced with a 6-3 triumph over Unity as Scott VanOsterbridge was the winning hurler over Chris Pascal.

In the opening round, Eston defeated Edmonton Cardinals 6-1, Regina topped Barrhead Cardinals 6-5, Moose Jaw Devons over Saskatoon Patrick Liners 14-4 and Unity scored four runs in the second inning and went on to down Kindersley Royals 5-2. Ron Zimmerman tossed a six-hitter for the Cardinals. Cary Miller took the loss.


(July 2)   Battling back from an early 8-0 deficit, Hamiota Red Sox crushed Souris 17-9 Monday to take top money of $600 at the annual Birtle Tournament.  All ten Manitoba Senior League teams competed. The Cardinals jumped into a big lead as Stan Furman cracked a pair of three-run homers. But the Sox, with Ric Despaux leading off the fifth and sixth innings with homers took the lead and cruised in the late frames for the win. Despaux led the winners with four hits. Ellis Woods drove in four and Mike Laboissiere added a four bagger. Dennis Anderson went the distance for the pitching win. Three Souris hurlers combined to issue 11 walks without a strikeout.

D.Anderson (W) and xxx
Rich, Walker (L), (5), Kontzie (6) and xxx

Hamiota scored two in their final at bats to shade Grandview 2-1 to advance to the tourney final. The Lakers Tom Schlepp carried a four-hit shutout and a 1-0 lead into the final frame. Mike Laboissiere led off with a single, stole second and plated the tying run on Wayne Ramsey's single. Cliff McKague, a pinch-runner for Ramsey, promptly stole second and raced home with the winning marker as Ellis Woods rapped a double. Ron Ramsey tossed a five-hitter for the win.

Schlepp (L) and xxx
R.Ramsey (W) and xxx

In the other semi-final, Souris scored four times in the third inning to take a 5-0 lead and hung on for a 6-4 victory over McAuley Blazers. Stan Furman, who knocked in nine runs in the Cardinals' three games, got the big hit a two-run single. Ken Vertz got the win over John Lazerich, who was touched for ten hits.

Vertz (W) and xxx
Lazerich (L) and xxx

In second round play, Souris whipped Riverside 12-6 as the Cardinals jumped on three Canucks hurlers for 17 hits. Garry Davidson, Stan Furman and Dave Albrecht slugged homers, Albrecht's was a three-run shot. Keith Kontzie had four hits, two of them doubles. Bruce Gullett and Mark Fisher had circuit clouts for the Canucks who managed ten hits off Ken Vertz.

xxx, xxx, xxx and xxx
Vertz (W) and xxx

Grandview scored six times in the sixth inning to break open a tight game and down Neepawa 7-1. Deryl Ortynsky led the winners with a three-run homer and a single. Tom Schlepp fired a three-hitter for the Lakers.

Schlepp (W) and xxx
xxx (L) and xxx

In the opening game of the tournament, Neepawa clobbered Brandon Cloverleafs 10-2. Wayne Coates led the Cubs with three hits while Rob Buchanan and Ed Williams each had a pair. Grant Griffith went three-for-four for Brandon. Allan Manifold scattered seven hits to gain the mound victory.

Manifold (W) and xxx
xxx (L) and xxx

Souris pounded out 15 hits of a pair of Angusville hurlers to take their opening game 15-6. Cam Walker tossed a six-hitter for the mound triumph and helped at the plate with three hits in four trips

McGehee, Haley and xxx
Walker (W) and xxx

Import Marty Mason fashioned a neat three-hit shutout to lead Hamiota to a 6-0 win over Binscarth. He fanned 11 in the seven-inning contest. Wayne Ramsey led the attack with two doubles and three RBIs. Wes Coulson's solo homer leading off the fifth proved to the the winning run.

Mason (W) and xx
xxx and xxx

McAuley blasted Virden 16-6 in the other first round action although they barely out-hit the losers 17-16, Sam Jamieson went the route for the pitching win, fanning six. John Kodman smacked a two-run homer and two singles. Terry Lynd chased home three runs with three hits. Virden's Perry Kalynuk rapped out four hits and Morley Hartel added three.

S.Jamieson (W) and xxx
xxx and xxx


(July 8)   Binscarth Orioles outslugged Riverside Canucks 11-8 to capture top money of $750 at the Belmont Tournament of Champions on Sunday. John Picone swatted a pair of home runs and received credit for the win in relief of starter Gerry Falk. Glenn Hodgson and John Franklin each had a homer for the winners while Bob Williamson, Mark Fisher and Ron Seafoot replied for the Canucks. Seafoot took the loss.

Riverside reached the final with a 6-4 victory over the Red-Boine All-Stars. Danny Cassil's two-run homer in the ninth was the winning blow. Todd Jensen was the winning hurler besting Don Asham.

Tourney MVP Ron Fallis smacked a grand slam homer in the bottom of the seventh to give Binscarth a 6-5 decision over the Ellandale Chiefs, the 1978 North Dakota State Champions.  John Franklin picked up the win in relief of starter Bruce Bremer. Darcy Ruff was tagged with the loss.

In the consolation final, Red-Boine trounced the chiefs 13-2 behind the solid twirling of Gord Selinger. Tim Steinwand took the loss.


(July 8)   Grandview Lakers scored four times in the top of the seventh and final inning to defeat Angusville Cardinals 8-7 to win the Angusville Tournament. Trailing 7-4, a three-run homer by Brian Bullas tied it and Tom Schlepp followed with another four-bagger for the victory and $300 first prize. Schlepp got the win in relief of Bullas while Mark Haley was saddled with the loss.

Lakers advanced with a 13-4 win over Virden Oilers while the Cardinals defeated Brandon Cloverleafs 12-6. Brandon won the consolation final 8-4 behind the mound work of Brian Hodgson. Rick Bohonis took the loss.


(July 14-15)   The Quesnel Bud Henning Blue Jays emerged as surprise winners of the 1979 Billy Barker Tournament, a seven-team double-knockout affair, by doubling the co-favourite Enderby Legionnaires 4 to 2 in the tournament finale. The Jays, currently playing at the .500 level in Quesnel’s Cariboo League and early casualties in the various tourneys they have played in this season, were not expected to be serous contenders in this event.

The road to victory for the Jays wasn’t an easy one. They lost 4 to 3 to Enderby in their opening game, and saw themselves facing a do-or-die situation through the next three games. As they were battling to stay alive, teams from Smithers and Fraser Arms had bitten the dust and sent packing with two consecutive setbacks. The Jays began their comeback by defeating Grande Prairie 6 to 5 then watched Enderby whip Quesnel’s other entry, the Billy Barker Inn, 12 to 2. Hitting the diamond again, they nosed out a strong Prince George Labatt’s aggregation 5 to 4 and followed that up with a 10 to 4 hammering of the Billy Barkers in the semi-final skirmish. 

In the final showdown, Greg Aiken, a tourney pickup from Quesnel’s Red Bluff Inn contingent, went five innings on the hill for the Blue Birds and received credit for the win. Jeff Bloom took the loss for Enderby. Third baseman Doug Festerling of the winners had the game’s most significant swat, a double that drove across three counters. Teammate Wayne Holmes went deep with a fourth-inning solo tater.

The disappointing teams in the tourney were the Quesnel Billy Barker Innkeepers and the Prince George Labatt’s Beermen, top dogs in their respective intra-city loops, who, along with Enderby, front-runners in the North Okanagan circuit, were considered the strongest entries amongst the seven clubs.


(July 14-15)   Unity Tournament.   Heavy rain has forced the cancellation of the annual Unity Tournament. President Frank Herbach said it was almost impossible to reschedule the event given previous commitments for tournaments in Lacombe, Keno see and Edmonton.


(July 21-22)  Trail Selkirk Selects emerged as champions of the BC Interior in the Senior Babe Ruth championships. No detail was found relative to the proposed playoff showdown between the Selkirk Selects, representing Trail and area, and an unknown Okanagan team in a best-of-three qualifying series, the winner advancing to the provincial senior Babe Ruth baseball championship tournament. The Selkirk aggregation either won that series, if it indeed was played, or were default victors, if it was not, as they wound up being the Kootenay-Okanagan standard-bearer in the B.C. finals tourney staged in Powell River. 


(July 21-22)  The Red Deer M&K Generals captured top money at the $6,000 Edmonton Invitational Tournament downing defending champion Barrhead Blue Jays 6-0 in the final.  Pete Duncan, the former pro player, capped a sterling tourney with three hits, one a triple to deep right-centre, and three runs batted in in the final. He had seven hits, including a home run, in 12 at bats over-all.  The Generals, a collection of American players from the San Francisco area with a few Canadians thrown in, opened with an 8-3 win over Spokane Coors. Then they ripped the Edmonton Tigers 12-0 in the first game of a three-team single round-robin semi-final series, before dropping a 6-4 decision to Barrhead.

The Blue Jays eliminated Macy's of Rapid City, South Dakota, 7-3 and trounced the Tigers 10-4. Bill Bender, who also had seven hits in the tourney, opened the final with a single and scored one of three Red Deer runs in the frame. The Generals added singles in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Mike Wilgus tossed a four-hitter and fanned seven to best Barrhead's Vic Martin.  The three-day event drew just 1,600 fans.


(July 25-26)   The bats were booming as the Barrhead Blue Jays ripped the Red Deer Generals 21-1 to win the 30th Lacombe Lions baseball tournament.  The Generals had reached the final with a 21-3 victory over Edmonton Tigers and Barrhead trounced Rapid City, South Dakota, 13-2.  After tournament records of 25 and then 28 home runs were set the last two years, plans were made to double the height of the outfield fence and move it back 20 feet in right and left fields for 1980.  In the meantime, another 25 homers were smacked this year.

Blue Jays crushed nine homers in their 19 innings of play and added ten doubles and two triples while batting .453 as a team.  Randy Rasmussen, selected as the tournament's most valuable player, pounded a three-run homer in the first inning of the final and added another three-run clout in the second. Dale Tilleman and Ken Rutan each had four of Barrhead's 21 hits.  Rasmussen, who was Canada's most outstanding player at the recent Pan-Am Games in San Juan, and was the tournament MVP in 1976, is a California native who settled in St. Paul. A school teacher, he became a Canadian citizen last month. He went 7 for 12 in the tourney with three home runs and 11 runs batted in. The high-scoring affair was even more surprising given the Blue Jays were up against Mike Wilgus who fired a 6-0 shutout against them in the final of the Edmonton Tournament on Sunday.  Curtis Burkhead coasted to the pitching win and the award as the tournament's most valuable pitcher.

Wilgus (L), Epedindio (2), Goodard (2), Cardwell (4), Shirley (6), Bridges (8) and Johnson
Burkhead (W) and Teahen

Barrhead also started fast in their semi-final with a four-run first inning against Rapid City, winning 13-2 in a game called after 5 innings by the tournament's "mercy rule".  Mike Teahen crushed a three-run homer and Lorne Niven added a solo shot. Darryl Banks threw a six-hitter for the win.

Banks (W) and Teahen
Bordi (L), Elser (3), Bergland (5), Myerchin (5) and Gomez

Red Deer pounded Edmonton starter Mark Lomenda for six runs in the opening frame including four on Bill Swarberg's grand slam. The "mercy rule" ended the contest after five innings.

Ryerson (W) and Johnson
Lomenda (L), Powers (3), Brown (3) and Gerlach

Wednesday, on opening day, all four Saskatchewan teams were sent packing. The defending champion Barrhead Blue Jays whipped the Saskatoon Liners 14-0 in a five inning contest, Rapid City (South Dakota) Macy's dumped Unity 9-6, Red Deer M&K Generals topped Moose Jaw Devons 6-4 and Edmonton Tigers slipped by the Eston Ramblers 13-12.  

Wayne Commodore drove in four runs for the Tigers with two home runs and a single. Playing coach Ray Brown started for Edmonton giving up five of six runs in the fourth inning when the Tigers fell behind 8-3.  Randy Gregg swatted a three-run homer for the Tigers, but Eston also picked up three to lead 11-6. A four-run seventh inning put the Tigers ahead 12-11, but the Ramblers tied it in the bottom of the eighth. Edmonton won it in the ninth as Tim Young singled to right, advanced on a walk to Gord Gerlach and scampered home on a grounder up the middle by shortstop Doug McPhailSteve Sproesser had a circuit clout for Eston.

Ray Brown, Tom Croal (W) (4) and xxx
Steve Sproesser, Tyler Steinbach (3), Scott Van Ostenbridge (7) and xxx

Red Deer overcame a 3-2 deficit with three runs in the fourth en route to their 6-4 victory. A spectacular catch by outfielder Bill Bender saved the day for the Generals. With a runner on and Moose Jaw's Brad Hennenfent representing the tying run at the plate, he rocketed one to the left field fence only to have Bender make the catch while crashing into the wall. Bob Bridges picked up the win with relief help from Fred Cardwell.  Playing manager Marty Coil had a homer and single for the winners while Brad Devine had a two-run homer. Mike Mooney rapped a four-bagger for the Devons.

Bridges (W), Cardwell (9) and xxx
Rod Heilser (L), Pete Maus (5) and xxx

In the noon game, Rapid City's Tom Gorman had a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up four runs and the mound as Unity pulled in front 4-3. But Macy's Jeff Smith slugged his second homer of the game as Rapid City scored four times in the eighth for the win. Smith knocked in five runs.  Reliever Randy Ramirez was credited with the win. Dan Davidsmeier and Rick Witt each had three hits for Maceys. Gord Johnson drove in four runs for the losers with a pair of doubles. Glen Miller had a home run for Unity.

Ron Zimmerman (L), xxx (8) and xxx
Tom Gorman, Randy Ramirez (W) (7) and xxx

Barrhead kicked off the 30th annual Lacombe Lions tournament Wednesday morning crushing Saskatoon Liners 14-0 in a game called after just five innings due to the tournament "mercy rule". Keith van de Keere fired a two-hitter for the Blue Jays while Mike Teahen led the offense with a four-for-four day and Randy Rasmussen drove in four runs, two of them with a home run.

Van de Keere (W) and Teahen
Bargar (L), Swanson (4) and Woroniuk

Lacombe Tournament :  1980

Edmonton Central Tigers won top money at the Lacombe tournament.

Lacombe Tournament :  1982

Kindersley Royals downed Saskatoon Patrick Liners 6-5 Sunday to take top money of $3,000 at the 33rd Lacombe baseball tournament. The Royals survived four errors and stranded 15 Liners' runners in capturing the title. Cary Miller's RBI single in the 9th inning scored the winning run.  Mike Pintar picked up the pitching win scattering ten hits. Eric Minzenburg took the loss. 

Royals won a berth in the final in dramatic fashion as Mike Hansen belted a grand slam homer in the bottom of the 9th inning to give Kindersley a 7-4 win over Lacombe Dodgers.  Liners beat the Edmonton Tigers 11-4 as Dave Pagan was the winning hurler taking over when the Linters trailed 4-0.  It was the first action of the season for Pagan a former major leaguer now living in Nipawin.

Saskatoon took its opener Saturday, 4-1 over Kamloops Brewers.  Others in the competition were from Regina, Rapid City, South Dakota and Washington State University.

Writing in the Edmonton Journal in 1979, Terry Jones (who continues to write today - 2018), explained his love for the Lacombe Tournament and how it keeps semi-pro baseball alive on the prairies.

Terry Jones

Terry Jones - Lacombe

LACOMBE -- I tried to explain in this space yesterday what it is about Lacombe and why baseball fans love this place.

I mentioned how it's the same scene every year. I wrote of how they come here to sit in the sun and be part of the tradition. Watching a baseball tournament like it used to be -- here, there and everywhere. And I mentioned how the conversations in Lacombe are the same every year as the oldtimers test their memories. They sit in the bleachers, fetching up names from their memories of players they've watched perform here.

But I forgot to mention one thing.

There's something else the fans do that I forgot to point out.

They complain a lot.

About the baseball !

It's not like it used to be.

Of course it's natural for an oldtime baseball fan to believe Walter Johnson was better than  Sandy Koufax. And I suppose it follows that oldtime Lacombe fans should believe the tournament was better in the old days.

But they left here Thursday saying that the 30th annual Lacombe Lions tourney was the third worst ever.

And I agree with them.

As much as all the fans love their two days in the sun here every July, most of them sit and wonder about the future of Lacombe. Most of them are here for the scene and that's what keeps them coming back. Considering the brand of baseball in recent years, it's amazing Lacombe continues to thrive, not to mention survive.

The problem, if you haven't noticed, is that semi-pro baseball is dead in these parts.

There hasn't been a good team out of Saskatchewan for 10 years now, and that province used to provide tourney finalists on an annual basis. Alberta doesn't even had a league any more.

But the worst part of it is, you just don't see good pitching here anymore.

The Barrhead Blue Jays, as a team, batted almost .500 in this year's tournament. The scores in Thursday's semi-finals and final were 13-2, 21-3 and 21-1. While there were two excellent games Wednesday, the fact is, winning teams outscored losing teams 97-28. Two years ago there were 25 home runs in the seven games of Lacombe. Last year 28. And this year 25. There's no sight in baseball that satisfies a fan more than a home run. Except at Lacombe. The fans are sick of the sight. The Lacombe Lions announced at the 30th annual tournament they've had enough and are going to move their fences back 20 feet and add four feet in height even if the park was 320 feet down the lines and 400 to centre to start with. Lacombe fans have been yawning at all the gopher balls the pitchers have served up. There are more homers than strikeouts.

Semi-pro baseball dead?

Well, maybe there's still a faint heart-beat. But the only time you can hear it is on Wednesday and Thursday in the last week of July at Lacombe. And you can make one hell of a case that the only thing keeping semi-pro baseball alive in these parts IS Lacombe.

"There is no question," says Marty Coil of Red Deer M&K Generals, a ream that really ought to be called the San Francisco Generals because 11 of Red Deer's players are from the Bay area and only a couple are from Red Deer.

"Lacombe is the number one reason why we put the team together. It's the oldest tournament in Canada and maybe the best-run tournament anywhere. We to to a couple of other tournaments and have a budget of $9,700 for the three weeks. If we won every game we played, we would lose money. If Lacombe didn't exist, we wouldn't exits."

Gary Picone, manager of the league-less Barrhead Blue Jays agrees.

"This is the one event we play for."

Without a league in Alberta, you can understand a Barrhead and a Red Deer being kept alive by Lacombe, if only for a few fleeting weeks each summer.

But Rapid City, S.D.?

Ralph Macy owns the Rapid City team. Like Barrhead and Red Deer, they're put together for a few short weeks. Macy takes the team to the National Baseball Congress in Wichita, Kan., every year and is something of a baseball romanticist. He just loves to barnstorm with a ball team.

Without Lacombe, even the Rapid City people wonder how long they would stay in operation.

"This year we went to the World Crown Tournament in Alaska," said Macy's manager Mike Sgobba. "They had teams from Korea and Taiwan and great clubs like the Goldpanners. We thought we were really going to be impressed. Let me tell you, they can't hold a candle to Lacombe. The tradition, the organization, the crowds . . . It would be a lot easier to go barnstorming if there was more than one Lacombe.

No, semi-pro baseball in Lacombe isn't as good as it used to be. But without Lacombe, would it exist at all?


(July 28-29)   Kenosee Tournament.   The Rapid City Macys of South Dakota whipped Saskatoon Patrick Liners 9-0 in the final of the $3,400 Kenosee Invitational Tournament. 

Saskatoon advanced to the final with a 9-8 win over Regina Red Sox. Liners scored six runs in the 4th inning to overcome a 4-3 deficit then had to withstand a late Regina rally as the Red Sox scored three in the 9th and stranded the tying run on second base. John Swanson was the winning hurler while Don Albers took the loss before giving way to Randy Sawa.

The Macys trounced Unity 14-5.

In opening round action, Saskatoon beat McAuley, Manitoba, 7-3 with Greg Bargar on the hill for the win.

Regina downed Binscarth, Manitoba, 7-5, Unity topped Hamiota, Manitoba, 9-4 and Rapid City clipped the Moose Jaw Devons 14-4.


(August 2-6)   Victoria Firefighters edged Powell River-Comox All-Stars 2-0 Monday to retain the BC Senior Babe Ruth championship. Playing at Powell River, Victoria held the host team to two hits in the final of the double-knockout tournament. They got the eventual winning run in the top of the first inning when Mike Bull singled in Clay Bertoia. Bertoia also scored the insurance run in the fifth, racing home on a wild pitch. Starter Brian Martin was credited with the win with relief help from Bull.

The Firefighters reached the final blanking Trail 4-0 behind the shutout hurling of Perry Walz, Russ Mosher and Darryl Richardson led the attack each with two hits. Larry Guthrow of Powell River-Comox has named the most valuable player in the tourney while Bull was selected as best pitcher.

In opening play at the tournament, Rob Ekstrom fired a two-hitter Thursday as Victoria Firefighters smashed Coquitlam 9-1. North Vancouver slipped by Prince George 1-0 and Vancouver downed Nanaimo 7-4.

Clay Bertoaia and Dale Schmidt combined to drive in nine runs as Victoria clobbered North Vancouver 19-0 behind Mike Bull's sparkling one-hitter. Bull was also a force on offence cranking out two homers to drive in four runs. Brian Martin also had a four-bagger.

Host Powell River-Comox bounced Nanaimo from the competition with a 5-3 win while Coquitlam eliminated Prince George 6-5 and Trail Selkirks blanked Vancouver East 8-0.


(August 4-5-6)  Canadian Senior Championships Qualifier.  Saskatchewan has won a berth in the Canadian Senior Men's Baseball Championship at Chatham, New Brunswick next week. The Saskatchewan all-stars, with players from Saskatoon, Regina and Unity of the Saskatchewan Major Baseball League erupted for three runs in the 8th inning to edge the Manitoba All-Stars 3-2 in the deciding game in Carman.

Manitoba had taken the lead when Roy Kemp issued a bases-loaded walk which scored Mike LaBossiere in the 2nd inning. Ross Mahoney poked a homer in the 8th to tie and Rich Gergley then doubled and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Dwayne Andreen. Colin Blyth added a single before losing pitcher Wayne Seidler was replaced by Don Maskiw who promptly allowed a single to Bill Bell and issued a walk to Kemp which scored Andreen with what proved to be the winning run.

Kemp, who allowed just three hits in his winning performance, ran into trouble in the bottom of the 8th and yielded to Len Yonkman with two runners on base.

It was quite a reversal of form from Sunday's game in which Manitoba won 17-4.  Saskatchewan had taken the opener of the series 3-0 on Saturday.

Manitoba forced a third game as they unleashed a 17-hit attack against five Saskatchewan pitchers.  Grant Neville fired a four-hitter with last inning relief from Gord Selinger. Ross Lynd started for Saskatchewan and took the loss.  Bill Kinley had a two-run homer among his three hits for Manitoba. Brother Bob Kinley added four hits and Barry Wiebe cracked a two-run homer.

In the first game, Randy Sawa tossed a five-hitter to blank the Manitoba squad. Gerry Falk allowed five hits and fanned 12 in a losing cause. Kemp's two-run homer in the 3rd was the key blow for the winners. Kemp singled in Bell with the third run in the 8th.


(August 4-6)  The Washington State All-Stars dumped Barrhead Blue Jays 8-6 Monday to capture the championship of the Kamloops International Tournament. Washington had earlier whipped Barrhead 7-0 in the "A" side final. Jays then advanced to the championship round with the Americans by crushing Vancouver 13-5 in the "B" final.

For a team which had only been together as a unit since Friday, the team jelled in a hurry to sweep through the tournament undefeated. The All-Stars received steady mound work from the likes of Mark Peterson, Wyatt Tonkin, Craig Caskey and George Benson to go with a powerful hitting attack which collected 44 hits in four games. On defense, they made just one error in the entire tournament. Their second baseman Ron Johnson, was named the MVP of the event.

Blue Jays were in the driver's seat until the seventh inning of the final holding a 6-4 lead but watched Washington erupt for four consecutive hits and three runs to knock knuckleballer John Osborne from the mound and take control.  Big blasts in the inning came off the bats of first baseman Jim Carrithers and left fielder Scott Chapton. They added an insurance run in the eighth when third baseman Mickey Brusco boomed a triple to bring in shortstop Ken Olsen who led off with a walk. Peterson, who entered the game in the fifth, scattered four hits in the final four innings to earn the win. Blue Jays had ten hits but left nine runners stranded. Third baseman Gary Picone led the Jays with a pair of two-baggers and a single. Lorne Niven added a double and two singles. Brusco, the tournament batting champion with a .583 average was a one-man show for the winners driving in three runs with a triple, double, single and sacrifice. Johnson, had three hits and three stolen bases.

Washington had earlier whipped Barrhead 7-0 in the "A" side final as sidearm hurler George Benson held the Jays to five hits. The Americans produced a ten hit attack off loser Curtis Burkhead and reliever Keith Van De Keere. Jim Carrithers wielded the big stick for Washington slamming a run-scoring triple in the fifth and a run-scoring double in the seventh.

Jays advanced to another round with the Americans by crushing Vancouver All-Stars 13-5 in a seven inning "B" final. Tom Erasmus went the distance for the mound victory backed by the hitting of Doug McPhail who slammed a three-run triple. Maury Ornest had a grand slam homer for Vancouver.

The biggest upset of the tourney came Sunday when Don Rogelstad, the veteran Vancouver hurler, handcuffed the favoured Rapid City Macy Diesels in a 4-2 victory. Steve Pettifer's two-run homer in the fourth proved to be the decisive blow. The win knocked the Americans out of the event.

Red Deer's M&K Generals were eliminated from contention Sunday when Rapid City posted a 10-4 triumph behind the pitching of Tom Gorman and Bud Barthlow. Bill Worden paced the winners knocking in three runs with a triple and single. Peter Duncan led the Alberta nine with a triple and two singles. The Generals' Bob Bridges and Fred Cardwell gave up 15 hits.

John Mumma and Ornest each poked a pair of two-baggers to lead Hillsboro, Oregon to a 5-1 win over Vancouver. Carey Johnson and Randy Eagen combined on a six-hitter for the winners.

Darkness curtailed Saturday's meeting between Red Deer and Washington with the game called after 5 1/2 innings because of darkness with Washington in the lead 8-4. Craig Caskey went the route for the winners allowing six hits.

Barrhead knocked Rapid City to the "B" pool with an exciting 2-1 decision on Saturday. Darryl Banks tossed a four-hitter for the Jays as Dale Tilleman slapped three singles and Lorne Niven cracked a triple and double.

Portland became the second team eliminated when they dropped a tough 4-3 contest to Vancouver in spite of holding the Canadians to just five hits. Barry McDonald picked up the mound win in a relief role. Kevin Barry of Portland was the game's top swatter with a home run, double and single. Teammate Eric Brown also had a homer.

Two runs in the top of the ninth inning turned the tide Saturday as Hillsboro came back to down Kamloops 5-4 and drop the host team from further play. Gary Zagelow went the distance for the pitching win giving up nine hits. John Reinhardt led the Oregon club with a double and single.

Red Deer needed just five innings Friday to dump Portland 12-0. Mike Wilgus held the Americans to two hits. Bill Bender rapped a two-run homer for the Generals.

Barry Sayler's run-scoring single in the ninth inning Friday gave Washington a 6-5 decision over Vancouver. Mark Peterson, who relieved in the eighth, picked up the win with Greg Lindsey taking the loss. Jody Gatz led Washington's 12-hit attack with a triple and single.

Ken Rutan's three-run triple in the fourth was the ball game as Barrhead blanked Hillsboro 3-0. Brian Hamagami tossed a one-hitter for the win while the Blue Jays got eight off loser Dave Short.

In Thursday's tournament opener, Rapid City Macy Diesels downed Kamloops Shuswap Brewers 8-1. Ricky Nelson cracked a first inning triple and Tim Krauss followed with a single to begin the Rapid City offensive. They took a 2-0 lead in the first and added two more in the second on run-scoring hits by Nelson and Ron Dearth. Right-hander Bob Frishette was the winning hurler


(August 5)  In a slugfest at Enderby, the Victoria Senior Amateur League All-Stars got by Nanaimo 15-12 in the second game of a two-game final to win the B. C. Senior "B" Baseball championship.  Nanaimo had blanked Victoria 4-0 in what could have been the championship game of the double knockout tournament. The wild contest featured 32 hits, including seven home runs. The winning pitcher was Terry Adams who relieved in the fifth inning and finished the game. Paul LeBlanc was tagged with the loss. He came on in the seventh inning after pitching a shutout for Nanaimo in the first game. Victoria catcher Russ Holmes was named the tournament’s most valuable player.


(August 16)   Oregon rebounded from a loss to Victoria Firefighters in a preliminary contest Thursday to trounce the BC team 15-5 in the final to capture the Pacific Northwest Senior Babe Ruth baseball championship at Libby, Montana.

Victoria had downed the Americans 5-3 earlier in the day of the double-knockout competition. The second place finish was the best-ever for a BC representative in the tournament.

Victoria hammered Idaho 10-1 Monday to stay alive in the losers' bracket as Perry Walz pitched a five-hitter for the win. Adrian Holland drove in three runs to pace the Firefighters. Mike Bull, Dale Schmidt and Russ Mosher each had two hits.

The Canadian club dropped a 4-1 decision to Oregon in their opening game after receiving a first round bye. Brett Modlen of the Oregon champions held Victoria to one hit, that by loser pitcher Mike Bull with a single in the third inning. In other games, Oregon crushed Montana 20-7, Washington beat Idaho 4-1 and the host Libby nine whipped Wyoming 12-4.

Brian Martin fired a two-hitter Tuesday as Victoria blanked Libby, Montana, 10-0. Clay Bertoia and Darrell Richards each had three hits to pace the Firefighters.

Firefighters reached the final with an 8-6 triumph over Washington on Wednesday. Ron Ekstrom was the winning hurler helped by Russ Mosher who drove in three runs.


(August 18)   Surrey Sandpipers captured the gold medal for British Columbia Sunday at the Western Canadian Junior Baseball Championships at Barrhead, Alberta.  Jack Taylor fanned 15 in tossing a shutout as Surrey topped Regina Maroons 3-0 in the final. The Sandpipers earned a berth in the Canadian championships in Halifax over the Labour Day weekend.  Doug Simard's sacrifice fly in the second inning scored Rick Stelmack for the game's first run. They added a pair in the fourth, one coming on Stelmack's steal of home.

BC advanced to the final by downing Manitoba 10-4. Both BC and Saskatchewan finished the round-robin preliminary series with 3-1 won-lost records.  In the game for the bronze medal, Westank Steelers of Alberta beat the Elmwood Giants of Manitoba 5-0. Stelmack, the Sandpiper's catcher was named the tournament's most valuable player while the top hitter in the event was Clark Bacala of the Maroons with 13 hits in 23 at bats in five games. Tournament all-stars were - pitcher Carey Candy, Manitoba, catcher Stelmack, BC, first baseman Dan Kinasewich, Alberta, second baseman Kevin Johnston, Alberta, third baseman Pete Gattinger, Saskatchewan, shortstop Gord Tanner, Alberta, outfielders Clark Bacala, Saskatchewan, Barry Penman, BC, and Terry Lescisin BC

(September 1-2-3)   Windsor MicMacs defeated Quebec 7-4 in the final to take the Canadian Junior Baseball championship at Halifax. BC's Surrey Sandpipers won the bronze medal crushing the Halifax Padres 12-2. 


(August 17-18-19)   Vancouver Pharoahs, the BC representatives, crushed Alberta's Barrhead Blue Jays 11-4 Saturday to win the Canadian Senior Baseball title.  Rick Bultitude had the big blow for the winners, a grand slam home run. Steve Moberly had a four-bagger for the Blue Jays.  Gary Picone, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, had a double and single. Larry Mann was the winning pitcher. Brian Hamagami took the loss.

Friday, Alberta trounced Quebec 9-1 behind the five-hit pitching of Barry Kuzmenski. Gary Picone led the offense driving in five runs with two doubles and two singles. British Columbia roared back to down Chatham 10-8. The New Brunswick nine led 8-3 but Tony Powell's 8th inning grand slam brought BC to within a run and Terry Schuss rapped a three-run homer in the 9th to give the West coast squad the victory. Stan Dean was the winner over Mike Wood

Alberta crushed Ontario 14-2 in the late game. Tom Erasmus was the winning pitcher, Dave Cooper the loser. Steve Moberly went four for five for Alberta with a homer, double and two singles. On his final at bat, Windsor Chiefs' right-fielder Don Hollerhead had to make a leaping catch against the fence to rob Moberly of another extra-base hit.

Alberta won his third game of the day in eliminating the host team, the Chatham Ironmen, 12-4.

Thursday, the Windsor Chiefs, representing Ontario, shocked the defending champion Barrhead Blue Jays of Alberta 8-4. First baseman Mike Price had a pair of two-run homers to pace the Chiefs. Jim Dalton fanned 11 in going the distance for the win. Paul Rutckyj had a two-run homer.

BC used a 15-hit attack to down Ontario 9-4. Centre fielder Warren Coughlin paced the attack with three singles. Tony Powell, Rick Bultitude, Ted Springenatic and Terry Schuss each socked two hits. One of Bultitude's was a solo homer. BC grabbed an early 4-0 lead but a solo homer by Kevin Paradis leading off the third touched off a four-run uprising. Carey Johnson replaced BC starter Rick Mosher with one out and two runners aboard and blanked Ontario on four hits the rest of the way.

Ontario topped St. John's, Newfoundland, 10-8 after blowing leads of 5-0 and 8-5. Left-fielder Paul Rutckyj clouted a two-run homer, his second of the game, in the bottom of the 9th to break an 8-8 deadlock.

Kevin Keith belted a pair of two-run home runs and scored three times to lead Chatham to a 17-10 victory over the Ste. Maurice Valley League All-Stars. Scott Harvey, Curry McLaughlin and Brian Cox added homers for Chatham.


(August 17)  Victoria’s Senior Amateur Baseball League All-Stars overpowered the Saskatoon Commodores 18 to 2 in the Western Canada Senior “B” round-robin tournament in Lloydminster. Designated hitter Glen Smith sparked Victoria’s 18-hit attack with two triples and a single to drive in five runs. Playing-manager Russ Holmes did his bit by reaching base six times. He singled twice, took one walk, was plunked by pitched twice and reached base once on an error.Gary Brooke of the Victorians clouted the game’s only homer.

Howell (W), Potter (4), Adams (6) and Russ Holmes
Stroeder (L), Haanen (2), Werwick (7) and Brown

(August 18)  The Victoria Senior Amateur Baseball League All-Stars won two more outings in their quest for the 1979 Western Canada Senior “B” championship. The B. C. squad won 2 to 1 and 6 to 5 squeakers over the Edmonton Cardinals and Lloydminster Reds on the second day of the tournament. Paul LeBlanc, a pickup from Nanaimo, threw a four-hitter for the win over Edmonton and Andy Gourlay, another Nanaimo addition to the roster, hurled the victory over Lloydminster.

(August 19)  After dropping their final round-robin contest 12 to 9 to the Waskada Orioles of Manitoba, the Victoria All-Stars rebounded to wallop the Manitobans 15 to 2 in the tournament’s final game. Both clubs had finished the round-robin portion of play tied with 3 – 1 records. Paul LeBlanc won his second pitching assignment in two days, firing a five-hitter while whiffing eight. Brent Montague was tagged with the pitching loss. The Victorians erupted for 17 base hits in the rout, including home runs by Ron Holmes, George Pakos and Glen Smith. Earlier in the day, the Edmonton Cardinals captured the bronze medal by defeating the host team, the Lloydminster Reds, 8 to 5. Dale Larson of the Cards copped the knoll win over Lloydminster’s Brian Carlson.


Tournament action'

Action from the 1979 Grand Forks International Tournament

Grand Forks Tournament
(August 31-September 3)   With a purse of $4,500 ($2,000 to the winner), the fifth annual Grand Forks Credit Union International Baseball Tournament was billed as the richest ever in the BC Interior. Ten teams, in two divisions, were entered in the round-robin event.

Lewiston ID Paffile Transport
Northwest WA Mets
Seattle WA Screw Products
Surrey Sports
Trail Hotelmen

Grand Forks Slag Dusters
Lewiston ID Blue Jays
Republic WA Gold’n’Sawdust
Trail Selects
Vancouver TOS

Seattle Screw Products shutout Vancouver 6-0 Monday to win top money of $2,000 in the Grand Forks Credit Union International Tournament.  

En route to the triumph, Seattle dumped the Trail Hotelmen 12-0, downed Surrey 13-6, got by the defending champion Lewiston Truckers 8-6, dropped a 10-8 decision to the Northwest Mets and edged the Lewiston Blue Jays 2-1.

Vancouver beat Republic 16-9, lost to Lewiston Blue Jays 4-3, topped Trail Selects 9-2, shaded Grand Forks 4-3, and downed Northwest Mets 6-2.

Trail Hotelmen got one win, a 3-2 victory over Surrey while losing to the Northwest Mets 9-3 and to Seattle 12-0.

The Trail Selects lost all three starts, 12-4 to Grand Forks, 10-1 to Lewiston Blue Jays and 9-2 to Vancouver.

The two finalists dominated the tournament all-star team.:

C- Rick Pavey, Mike Carey 1B, Mark Pingree 2B, Jack Brossman 3B, Ken Moore SS, Gary Fabris LF, John Mumma CF, Dan Nurango RF, Doug Blume DH, Craig Caskey LHP, Mike Baker RHP


Calgary Cardinals
Calgary Caseys
Enderby Legionnaires
Quesnel Billy Barkers
Vancouver Pharoahs
Vancouver Puccinis

(September 1 – 3)  Vancouver Puccinis gave up just one run in four games to capture top money of $700 at the Enderby Labor Day Tournament. After three straight shutouts, Puccinis gave up a run in the final but it was of little consequence as the coast nine clobbered Enderby 12-1 to win the championship.

The host club picked up $500 for their second place showing and the Vancouver Pharoahs, the Canadian Senior "A" champions, finished third.

The Pharoahs, expected to be the team to beat, entered the event with just nine players, some of whom were not on the Canadian title winning club.

To advance to the final, Enderby downed Calgary Cardinals 6-4 in their opener Saturday as Gerry Reimer smashed a pair of two-run homers. Peter Brooks got the mound decision. Rained out on Sunday, the Legionnaires outlasted Quesnel Billy Barkers 7-6 Monday as Brian Gibbons, named the best infielder in the tournament, rapped four hits. Wayne Aalto needed relief from Geoff Collins, but recorded the win.

Enderby lost 6-0 to the Puccinis in a pre-final match on Monday.

Most valuable player was Bert-Ray Haas of the Pharoahs who batted .300 and held a hot glove on defence. Selected as top outfielder was Ross LaPage of Calgary Caseys. Best hitter was Len Gramlin of Puccinis who batted .500 and clubbed two home runs. Don Rogelstead of the winners was chosen as top pitcher in the tourney.