CORNER BROOK North Shore is back on top of the local men’s softball scene.
With a 7-2 victory over Whelan’s Gate at Fred Basha Memorial Park A Diamond on Thursday night, the Shore boys captured their third Corner Brook Bud Light Men’s Softball League championship in the last four years of the resurrected league’s existence. They took the best-of-seven series in six games.
Bruce Wells was strong in the victory, allowing just two hits and a walk over seven innings, with five strikeouts. The 54-year-old hurler was named the most valuable player of the playoffs for his trouble.
“It’s nice to get one again ... I won’t say I’ll be around to get many more,” he said after the win.
Wells was a mainstay in the sport for years, back when a person couldn’t walk around Corner Brook without tripping over a men’s fastpitch softball team.
Those days are gone, but Wells’ excellence in the pitcher’s circle remains. During the sport’s temporary absence from the city, Wells still tossed the ball around with his kids and their friends in his back yard.
“I just didn’t want to give it up,” he said. “I never thought we’d get back here again, but we got it back.
“It’s a bit of fun, I enjoy it.”
The veteran pitcher praised the effort, particularly defensively, of his own club, but couldn’t help but be impressed with the young squad across the field.
“They’ve got a feisty team and they want to win, God love ‘em,” he said, noting pitcher Coady Kelly was the straw the stirred the drink for the Gators. “There’s no doubt he should be most valuable player in the regular season to go with that team and take them as far as they’ve gone.
“He’s a good chucker,” he added. “And a real nice fella.”
The hair was a little greyer in the North Shore dugout than that of their opponents, but Wells said that proved to be a positive thing.
“When it comes to speed and all that, we haven’t got that like the young fellas,” he said. “But we’ve got the experience, we’ve been here for a long time. The boys enjoy a game of ball and that’s what it’s all about.”
Kelly was solid again for the Gators, despite the loss, giving up seven hits and no walks in his seven innings punched. He struck out six.
Mike Brake did the most damage offensively for the Shore, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Adrian George was 1-for-3 with a run.
Jordan Kennedy went 1-for-2 in the losing cause, while Terrence Byrne was 0-for-2, but reached on a walk and stole two bases en route to scoring a run. Barry Smith reached base on an error and wound up scoring the other run.
Considering nobody expected the Gators to win more than a handful of games this season, placing second in the three-team league wasn’t too bad of a result for them.
“We showed a huge amount of growth from where we were last year and at the beginning of this season,” said Gators’ Steve Parsons. “For what we came out and proved in this series, we can’t complain about what we did.”
What was once a team of guys brand new to the sport is now a group full of likely-lifers.
“Absolutely,” said Parsons. “We’re pumped for what we accomplished. We took out last year’s defending champions (Transmission Experts Cardinals) and then came into this series and had a few ups and downs, but we’re all happy and we’ll be back next year for sure.
“Our bats were asleep tonight and that was a deciding factor,” he added. “But we held it together pretty good overall and I’m proud of every one of us who played on this team.”