Terry Walsh me­mo­rial tour­na­ment a suc­cess

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Ear­lier this month, the Bay Roberts over-19 Soft­ball League held its an­nual pro­vin­cial qual­i­fier tour­na­ment. This year, it was re-named in hon­our of a beloved mem­ber of the lo­cal soft­ball com­mu­nity. Named in mem­ory of Terry Walsh, the tour­na­ment fea­tured 10 teams from the league and was a heart­felt ges­ture to­wards his fam­ily.

The pro­vin­cial slo-pitch soft­ball qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment in Bay Roberts is an­nu­ally com­prised of teams from the Bay Roberts Over-19 Soft­ball League.

There was never a name on the tour­na­ment, but that changed this year. The league com­mit­tee made the de­ci­sion to hon­our a well-re­spected mem­ber of the lo­cal soft­ball fam­ily.

Af­ter a sug­ges­tion from a player in the league, the qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment was re­named the Terry Walsh Me­mo­rial Qual­i­fy­ing Tour­na­ment.

Terry died last fall. He was 33-years-old.

His death left a hole in the lo­cal soft­ball world and when the time came this year for the tour­na­ment Robert Mercer sug­gested re-nam­ing the event in Walsh’s mem­ory.

He had been a team­mate of Terry for a num­ber of years.

Mercer sug­gested to Bay Roberts re­cre­ation direc­tor Ian Flynn about chang­ing the name of the tour­na­ment, held June 3-5.

Flynn brought it to the league com­mit­tee dur­ing pre­sea­son meet­ings. The idea was a no­brainer as far as they were con­cerned.

“Eric Par­sons and I took it to the league com­mit­tee and it was wel­comed with open arms,” said com­mit­tee mem­ber Carl­son Young. “Most of us had played with or against Terry at some point. It was greatly ap­pre­ci­ated by some of his good bud­dies who still play in the league.”

A sign was made and other steps were taken prior to the start of the tour­na­ment

When news of the im­pend­ing me­mo­rial tour­na­ment made it to the fam­ily of Terry, they were sur­prised at first.

“It meant the world to all of us to see it,” said sis­ter Krys­tal But­ler.

Terry’s mother Shirley, fa­ther Terry, daugh­ter Madi­son and other friends and fam­ily were on the field for the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies at the Wil­bur Sparkes Re­cre­ation Com­plex in Bay Roberts.

Loved the game

For those that knew Terry best, his strong pas­sion for the game of soft­ball was al­ways ev­i­dent. He was widely known through­out the re­gion for his prow­ess at the var­i­ous as­pects of the game.

Terry was a tal­ented pitcher who had no trou­ble get­ting the ball in the strike zone and was smart at the plate.

“He lived for (soft­ball),” said Krys­tal. “He was good at it and he loved it.”

League games were a can’t miss event for him, but Terry got re­ally ex­cited for those week­ends when soft­ball dom­i­nated all three days.

When things fell into place, there was noth­ing bet­ter for him.

“Terry lived for the Fri­day to Sun­day week­end tour­na­ments,” said Mercer. “He’d spend days on the phone mak­ing sure we had a team ready to go.”

Some pres­sures

Me­mo­rial tour­na­ments can be tough for or­ga­niz­ers. The qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment kind of runs it­self, but it’s the ex­tra stuff you want to nail.

The open­ing cer­e­mony and any­thing that in­volves the fam­ily is paramount, es­pe­cially with mem­bers of Terry’s fam­ily present. His fa­ther was around the ball­park the en­tire week­end.

“The only pres­sure I felt run­ning the tour­na­ment was that of mak­ing it a fun and mem­o­rable event for his fam­ily. I spoke to most of the teams and they were all on the same page,” said Young. “At the end of the day it was about Terry and his fam­ily, win­ning was sec­ondary.”

Re­flect­ing back on the tour­na­ment, Mercer was struck by how ev­ery­thing shook out. His team — Mor­row & Mor­row — cap­tured the cham­pi­onship plaque and squared off with Homelife Realty/Can-Am Plat­forms, which fea­tured an­other of Terry’s long­time friends, Con­rad Deer­ing.

In one of the semi­fi­nals, Kelly’s Land­ing was play­ing for a chance to reach the fi­nal. That team fea­tured three more of Terry’s close friends in Mitchell But­ler, Danny Mercer and Dominic Pot­tle.

“Ei­ther way, one of us was go­ing to be in the fi­nal with a chance to win it,” said Mercer.

The en­tire week­end was a re­sound­ing suc­cess and was ap­pre­ci­ated by the fam­ily.

“It was beau­ti­ful. It was re­ally touch­ing,” said Krys­tal of the tour­na­ment. “(Terry) was def­i­nitely look­ing down that day.”

“It was beau­ti­ful. It was re­ally touch­ing. (Terry) was def­i­nitely look­ing down that day.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Bay Roberts soft­ball qual­i­fy­ing tour­na­ment was named in mem­ory of long­time player Terry Walsh this sum­mer. Shown here are, from left, Robert Mercer, Mitchell But­ler, Terry Walsh Sr., Madi­son Walsh, Dominic Pot­tle, Con­rad Deer­ing and Danny Mercer.

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