1991 Glace Bay Colonels to be inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame
The 1991 Glace Bay Colonels to be inducted into Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame.
The 1991 edition of the Glace Bay Colonels won a Canadian Little League Championship and finished fourth in the world, a feat made even more amazing considering they came from such a small town.
The Glace Bay squad of 11 and 12-year-olds is the lone team being inducted into the Cape Breton Sport Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held June 3 at the annual Cape Breton Sport Heritage Awards at Centre 200.
“For a bunch of young guys from the area, they’re all local kids — there were no pickups or anything — it’s quite the accomplishment,” said team manager Henry Boutilier. “With the weather we have and the amount of facilities, we didn’t have year-round facilities for baseball back at that time. They worked hard and spent a lot of their time on the field, that’s for sure.”
The Colonels saw competition from the Northside County Ramblers, Sydney No. 1, Sydney No. 2, Reserve All-Stars, and North Sydney in the Nova Scotia Major Little League Championship. Glace Bay entered the tournament as the defending provincial and Maritime champions, but was upset 8-7 by the Sydney No. 1 team early in the round-robin portion of the tournament.
The defending champs would recover, however, and finish with a 4-1 record in the round
robin. One of Glace Bay’s victories included a no-hitter from Butch Kelloway in a 10-0 triumph over the Ramblers. In the final, Glace Bay avenged their loss to Sydney No. 1, cruising to a 13-2 win.
Coach Ernie Pyke spoke highly of the late Kelloway, who died as the result of a car accident in 2004 at the age of 24.
“He was about 17 years old, about five years after it was over and one day I was walking down Commercial Street and he hollered to me ‘Coach, that was the best year of my life,’” said Pyke.
The Colonels then hosted Lancaster, N.B., for a best-ofthree series for the Maritime title at the Cameron Bowl. Glace Bay posted victories of 12-0 and 4-0 to repeat at champs. Ace pitchers Robert Piercy and Kelloway combined for only three hits allowed and 23 strikeouts to earn a berth at the Canadian Little League Championship in Victoria, B.C. Piercy fanned 11 batters for a no-hitter in the opening game against Lancaster.
At nationals, Glace Bay continued their strong play, and Piercy threw another no-hitter in a 7-0 victory over Stoney Creek, Ont. They’d finish with a 4-1 record in the round robin
and punch their ticket to the national final.
With Canada watching on TSN, Glace Bay would win their first national title since 1988 and third in five years with a 6-0 triumph over Stoney Creek. Chris Cadegan and Craig Flemming hit RBI singles, part of a four-run third inning.
“We were standing in the Cameron Bowl in early June as part of the Colonels preparation and Henry and Ernie had us huddled at the end of practice,” said Geoff MacLellan of Glace Bay, who played first base. “They said we had the capability of being the Canadian champions and representing our country in the Little League World Series. That was a defining moment for all of us. They promised that if we worked hard, stuck together and executed when the time came, we’d be Canada’s representatives.
“We carried that each and every one of us, day after day, practice after practice, game after game and we believed in it.”
The Colonels moved on to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., and would win their first two games. A highlight was a bases loaded, game-ending triple play in a 5-3 win over Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It was the first triple play at the tournament since 1958.
“When we got to Williamsport, that was just unbelievable, something we dreamed about since we were kids. Growing up in Glace Bay, we saw other teams do it and people we knew do it,” said Roy Mugford, originally of Glace Bay who now resides in Sydney River. He played outfield and second base. “I think the pressure when we got there was a little bit off. We just kept playing our game of ball and it led to a couple of a wins and that triple play was something we’ll never forget.”
Glace Bay played in the bronze medal game of the tournament, but lost to South Shore Little League of Staten Island, N.Y., 16-0 to finish in fourth place. However, the players returned to a hero’s welcome, and were escorted by motorcade to the Glace Bay Miners Forum for a ceremony to celebrate their season.
“I don’t think it really sank in as 11- and 12-year-olds what they had accomplished,” said Pyke. “They knew they had won, they knew it was a great thing, but they didn’t realize they accomplished something winning a Canadian championship playing against teams that played twice as many games we played from twice the population we had.”
(This story is part of a series chronicling this year’s inductees).
The 1991 Glace Bay Colonels, the Canadian Little League champions. Front row, from left, are Terry Cuzner, Scott Meechan, Roy Mugford, Donnie Burke, Steve McNeil, Troy Sampson and Butch Kelloway. Back row, from left, are manager Henry Boutilier, Robert Grant, Freddie Currie, Chris Cadegan, Charles Nash, Geoff MacLellan, Craig Flemming, Robert Piercy and coach Ernie Pyke.