Mas­ter men’s soft­ball pro­vides drama, ca­ma­raderie

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NICHOLAS MERCER TC ME­DIA nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The com­pet­i­tive spirit is hard to keep down or file away.

It doesn’t care about your age or what game you’re play­ing - it if wants to come out, it’ll find a way to make it­self known.

Even if the body is a bit older, that spirit will do its best to will ev­ery­thing to the fin­ish line.

Just ask the lo­cal ath­letes who par­tic­i­pated in the re­cent Mas­ter Men’s Fast­pitch Cana­dian Cham­pi­onships held in St. John’s Sept. 1-4.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tour­na­ment were Ward Gosse (3Cheers), Glenn Lit­tle­john (3Cheers), David Crane (3Cheers), Chris Hussey (New­found­land 1), David Kennedy (New­found­land 1) and David Whe­lan (3Cheers).

By the end of the week­end, the body might’ve been a bit bruised and sore but they pushed on. 3Cheers made it all the way to the fi­nals where they squared off with the Rusty Jig­gers from Mis­sis­sauga, Ont.

Be­hind the for­mi­da­ble pitch­ing per­for­mance of Gosse, who was also named tour­na­ment MVP, and the timely hit­ting of Mark Dwyer, 3Cheers de­feated the Jig­gers 5-4 in eight in­nings to win gold.

Mean­while, New­found­land 1 took home the bronze medal in the four-team tour­na­ment.

“It was a great vic­tory,” said Goose. “At this point if you’re still able to con­trib­ute and still able to pitch, I’m just happy to be out there.”

“I said, ‘What­ever bat Gossey is us­ing is fine with me’ Glenn Lit­tle­john

The win aside, just see­ing the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of ev­ery­one in­volved re­ally sold the week­end for Gosse.

“I had the big­gest smile on my face be­cause not only were we hav­ing fun, but just to see these guys get to­gether and com­pete against ev­ery team we played, it was in­spir­ing,” he said.

It was re­union of sorts as well. Gosse and Glenn Lit­tle­john were mem­bers of var­i­ous teams through­out the years, but they hadn’t played to­gether for close to a decade.

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Lit­tle­john. “I thought (Gosse) was nuts when he asked me. Now, I can’t do what I used to do when we were play­ing, but it’s al­ways been about the chal­lenge of get­ting in the bat­ter’s box.”

There was also mat­ter of find­ing his equip­ment. Lit­tle­john knew where his glove was, but the rest — ball pants and cleats — had to come from other sources.

He bought a new pair of pants and borrowed some cleats.

“I said, ‘What­ever bat Gossey is us­ing is fine with me,’” said Lit­tle­john.

The Mas­ters tour­na­ment was not all about the win though. Off the field and in the dugout, it had the feel of a re­union, es­pe­cially for the New­found­land teams.

For them, it of­fered play­ers the chance to re-live some of their glory days and keep the story go­ing about the one that got away.

“We had a phe­nom­e­nal group,” said Gosse. “I told many peo­ple it was prob­a­bly one of the most fun times I’ve had at the park, bar­ring any­thing I’ve done in ball. It was a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and it was great to see old friends. “It was great.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The 3Cheers Pub mas­ter men’s fast­pitch team had plenty of lo­cal tal­ent on it. The team won gold at the re­cent Mas­ter Men’s Fast­pitch Cana­dian Cham­pi­onship held in St. John’s Sept. 1-4.

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