A softball upswing in Winterton
Lower Trinity league helping revive a game that once energized the town
There was a mixture of excitement, pride, nostalgia and emotion on display at the softball field in Winterton on July 9, and no one symbolized this better than Marjorie Powers.
Leaning against the dugout, peering through an opening in the fencing, Marjorie intensely follows the action as young boys and girls — many of them playing the game for the first time — repeatedly step to the plate and take swings at the ball placed atop the tee.
She flashes a satisfied smile and her eyes widen as Brianna Mansfield of nearby Hant’s Harbour connects on her swing and is directed down the first base line by volunteer Cory Tizzard, who side-steps alongside her and pumps his arm towards the base.
Screams of excitement and cheering ensue as Brianna sprints enthusiastically, her ponytailed hair lashing the air with every stride.
The scene is like a breath of fresh air for Marjorie, whose mind drifts back many years to the days when this rough and ready field was a focal point in the community. She’s also reminded of her late son, Kevin Powers, whose name is prominently displayed on the billboard just beyond the left-field fence.
Kevin was a fine young ball player — some at the field described him as an inspiration — who spent many hours on the field before dying tragically in a drowning accident in 1975. He was just 15 years-of-age.
As a tribute, the field was named in his honour.
As such, there was no doubt that Marjorie would be here on this bright, pleasant evening. It’s the launch of the new Lower Trinity Soft-
I’m so glad to see things going on
here again. I’m very proud of Stephanie (Powers Green) and her group for getting it started.
— Marjorie Powers
ball League, and the beginning of a grassroots effort to revive a game that once dominated summer recreation activities in the town, and on several occasions put Winterton — a town of less than 500 — on the map provincially at various fast-pitch competitions in the 1970s and 80s.
But the field has been discomfortingly quiet over the years, and had fallen into disrepair. It’s been many years since fastpitch has been played in the town, and even the recreational slo-pitch game that took over after its demise had faded.
That all changed last week. The sounds of the game returned to the Kevin Powers Memorial Ball Park, with players of all ages and abilities, from Heart’s Content to Hant’s Harbour, taking to the spruced-up field.
“I’m so glad to see things going on here again,” said Marjorie. “I’m very proud of Stephanie (Powers Green) and her group for getting it started.”
Asked what Kevin might think, Marjorie replied with a smile: “Top of the cloud.”
Up to last week, some 100 area residents had signed up to play, including many adults who hadn’t swung a bat or thrown a ball in many years, ensuring there will be plenty of laughs and a few sore bodies following Friday evening play.
The motivation behind the new league was pretty simple — provide an outlet for young people to enjoy the game, and help build spirit and unity in the community.
It’s hoped the new league can mirror the success of a youth soccer program started recently in Hant’s Harbour, which also draws participants from throughout the region.
League president Sheila Norris never expected such a large response, both from participants and the business community.
“It’s heartwarming to see everybody here,” Norris stated.
One of the highlights of the league launch was a visit by “Mr. Softball,” Winterton resident Bill Jacobs, who was given the honour of throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
Jacobs is now in his 70s and uses a walking cane, but his contributions to softball in the area are well known. His playing days ended at age 47, largely because of the effects of diabetes, but he umpired for many more years.
Jacobs was delighted to be invited, and brought smiles to many by singing his signature song, “Take me out to the ball game,” which is the unofficial anthem for baseball. And Jacobs sure looked the part, wearing a new Toronto Blue Jays jacket and hat.
He even simulated throwing a fastpitch, despite the arthritis in his shoulder.
“It’s like a revival. It’s being born again,” Jacobs said when asked what he thought of the new league.
When asked how he felt about being called Mr. Softball, Jacobs removed his dark glasses and stated: “They can call me worst things.”
Softball action now takes place on the field every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening.
Jacobs said there were times he would turn away from the ball park as he drove by, not wanting to see the deserted field. He’s thrilled that it’s back in use.
Marjorie Powers was all smiles as she witnessed a revival of softball action at the field in Winterton last week. The field is named in honour of her late son, Kevin Powers, who died in 1975 at age 15. Right: Shown here are, from left, Michael Green, Stephanie Powers Green, Sheila Norris and Lori Hiscock.
The four are responsible for establishing the newly formed Lower Trinity Softball League in Winter
From left, volunteer Shannon Ash, first baseman Isabella Green, runner Kody Branton and Blake Williams.
The man known in Winterton as Mr. Softball, Bill Jacobs, simulates a fastpitch windup during the opening day of the Lower Trinity Softball League. Jacobs threw the ceremo
nial first pitch.
Chloe George (right) and Erin Reid stand together in the infield during a game of teeball in Winterton last week.
Myrtle Hefford (left) of New Perlican and Stephanie Powers Green watch some of the action at the Kevin Powers Memorial Ball Park in Winterton last week. Myrtle was on hand to see her grandson, Cayden Hefford, play
softball. Powers Green helped organize the newly formed Lower Trinity Softball League.
The softball field in Winterton is named in memory of the late Kevin Powers, who died tragically at the age of 15 in 1975.