Win­ning it for Justin

Cow Head soft­ball team wins cham­pi­onship in mem­ory of team­mate


Be­fore ev­ery game, the Long Range Academy Mus­tangs hud­dled to­gether and said, “let’s win it for Justin.”

And that’s just what they did. On Oct 21, 2017, the soft­ball team from Cow Head was crowned the 2A Pro­vin­cial Soft­ball cham­pi­ons when they de­feated French Shore Academy (Port Saun­ders) by a score of 17-16.

But it was an emo­tional vic­tory for the young team of Grade 8-12 stu­dents, with the loss and mem­ory of a team­mate heavy on their minds and hearts.

On Sept. 11, 17-year-old Justin Hynes, a mem­ber of the team, was killed while walk­ing to school in Cow Head.

The tragedy left the stu­dents in mourn­ing and un­sure if they would con­tinue on with the sea­son.

Even­tu­ally, they started hold­ing prac­tice three times a week.

They went ahead and par­tic­i­pated in re­gional qual­i­fier in St. Paul’s, keep­ing Justin’s mem­ory close by wear­ing “JH” on their jer­seys.

They fin­ished in first and qual­i­fied for the provin­cials.

At the provin­cials in Port Saun­ders, they wore Justin’s ini­tials on their caps.

“The boys would say ‘he’s here with us,’” said coach Shane Payne.

The tour­na­ment wasn’t a pushover for the team. They won two of their round robin games and tied the third.

They won their semi-fi­nal game, 24-21 and squared off against Port Saun­ders in the cham­pi­onship.

The score was tied 14-14 through six in­nings.

But the Mus­tangs pulled ahead and man­aged to hold on for a 17-16 vic­tory to take home the ban­ner.

It was the first time the Long Range Academy Mus­tangs won the cham­pi­onship.

“It was an in­spir­ing ef­fort,” said Payne. “It was a bit­ter­sweet, emo­tional vic­tory. (They left) our school’s com­mu­ni­ties very proud, as they picked up the pieces and played hard to win in mem­ory of their team­mate.”


The Long Range Academy Mus­tangs cel­e­brate with their cham­pi­onship ban­ner. Front (l-r) Jay­den Payne, Ethan Ben­nett, Noah Legge, Mitchell Brown. Back (l-r) Sean This­tle (as­sis­tant coach), Brady Gil­ley, Jody Ben­nett, Ga­tor Par­sons, Jamie Payne, Braden Par­sons, Shane Payne (coach), Mitchell Tay­lor, Nicholas This­tle.

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