By Steve O’Hara
Last autumn a few “past their prime” guys that used to play in the Yellowknife Men’s Fastball League posed a question and searched for an answer. The question? Where could teenage graduates from the Yellowknife minor-league baseball system continue to play ball, hone their skills, and also develop an appreciation and respect for the game? The answer? The “old guys” come out of retirement and join forces with the kids and form a team. So was born the newest entry to Yellowknife Fastball, The Nexum/Carl’s Carpet Red Sox.
So 10 “well-seasoned” veterans and 8 teenagers began the process to form a cohesive unit to take on the established teams already in the league. To say it’s a work-in-progress would be accurate. The 8 young guns, Fraser Oliver, Devin Case, Spenser Rivers, John White, A.J. Lewis, Roy Hawkins, Matt Wind and Storm Hubert all have a shown an energy and eagerness to learn. The speed they have on the base paths is a key to helping the Red Sox have any success this season. Their future looks bright. They are joined by Matt Whitford who returns to Yellowknife for the summer after playing second base this past year for Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. The “old guys?” You know the saying: “the mind is willing, the body…………..uh……..not so much.”
In baseball the D.L. stands for Disabled List. The list has had its share of visits from our squad – pulled hamstrings, twisted ankles, aching backs and bruised egos. Some of us just don’t move like we used to but the season is young and hopefully as the summer plays out the joints will start to loosen up a bit more and the team will find its stride. It definitely helps to have a couple of NWT fastball legends in Paul Gard and Andy Tereposky on the pitching mound. The experience they bring to this team is much needed and appreciated.
Every team has a ringer and the Red Sox are no exception. As the only female player in the league, Jillian Huber has brought her skills and knowledge to the NWT and thankfully to the Red Sox. Originally from Saskatchewan, Huber played college ball in Texas and Kansas before returning to Canada to star for the University of Regina Cougars. In 2010 she was named her league’s Top Offensive Player and then was a First Team All-Star at Softball Canada’s National Collegiate Fastball Championships. She is a welcome addition to Yellowknife Fastball.
A big thanks to the sponsors who got behind this project in Carl Bulger of Carl’s Carpets and the chief organizer for this team, Rob Johnson from Nexum Systems Inc. So if you want to cheer on some of YK’s top young ball players, watch a talent such as Huber, or perhaps you just want to help an old-timer off the ball field to his car after the game, come on down to Tommy Forrest Park to catch some ball.