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Provincial senior club tournament begins Friday


Darrin O’Quinn has a hard time shaking the image out of his mind.

Star file photo

Darrin O’Quinn is shown in this 2015 photo.

It was a Sunday, June 29 in 2014, to be exact. In the heart of Corner Brook, right there on Jubilee Field, two St. John’s teams clashed in the championship game of that year’s Molson Provincial Senior Club baseball tournament.

In the end, the Feildians defeated Holy Cross for the title, but O’Quinn feels like every single Corner Brook entry really came up short.

He’s hoping this year, with the tournament returning to Corner Brook again, there’s a little more variety in the final.

“It’d be great for the tournament to see Corner Brook play St. John’s, whichever teams it happens to be,” he said. “That would make it a great weekend.”

A relatively new venture, the tournament began as a 50th anniversary event for the Corner Brook Baseball Association in 2010. Its success led the provincial association to sanction an annual club championship as a calendar event, with Corner Brook and St. John’s alternating as hosts. The planned 2011 debut, however, didn’t go ahead, but the tournament made its debut in 2012 at Jubilee Field, with a local club, the Hawks, taking the championship.

Since then, St. John’s teams have won each of the past three years.

O’Quinn is the president and treasurer of the city baseball association, but also a designated hitter with the Hawks, who are in first place in the local senior league this year at 10-3.

Though they would seem the best bet to recapture the crown for Corner Brook, the absence of several players — particularly pitchers Frank Humber, Cory Lockyer and Colin Wood — is going to really hurt their chances, O’Quinn said.

“We’ll have to dig deep,” he said, adding guys who have only stepped on the mound sporadically over the last year or two will be relied on more than ever.

Still, there’s plenty of pride on the line.

The tournament itself is fairly young, but the baseball rivalry that exists between Corner Brook and St. John’s is timeless.

For many players, this is their only chance to take part.

“It means a lot,” O’Quinn said. “There’s a lot of guys that never wear a (Corner Brook) Barons uniform that never play against the best players in St. John’s.”

The tournament will feature the four local senior league teams — the Veitch’s Ultramar Hawks, Veitch Physiotherapy and Wellness Aces, West Side Monarchs, and Wing n’ It Curling Marlins. Joining them are two east coast clubs in the defending champion OMT Shamrocks and the RMM Gonzaga Vikings.

The Monarchs and Marlins kick things off 1 p.m. Friday at Jubilee Field.

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