By Garrett Hinchey
Article originally ran in Yellowknifer Friday, June 1st
The 2012 Yellowknife Fastball League season begins on Monday, June 8th, and throughout the summer members from each of the league’s six teams will take turns in this space profiling their squads and providing updates on goings-on around the league. As team captain of the F.E.D. Tile/Fire Prevention Pirates, I’ve been asked to kick things off by offering a little insight into the 2012 prospects for the defending league champions.
The Pirates are sponsored by F.E.D. Tile and Stone and Fire Prevention Services Ltd., and first joined the YK Fastball League in 2006. Last year, the team capped an incredible playoff run that saw the Pirates eliminate the league’s other three teams in succession before beating the regular season champion Slades Expos in a 4-2 final. Although the team’s first championship may have been of the “Cinderella” variety, the Pirates are young, hungry, and out to prove that last year’s run was no fluke.
Chief among the keys for the Pirates to duplicate their success will be consistency. The team has a deep and talented pitching staff, anchored by league MVP candidate and newly-bearded-for-added-intimidation Darcy Moshenko and Inuvik transfer Glen Tingmiak, and bolstered by ex-Junior Merchants Ryan Sheppard, Garrett Hinchey, Chad Hinchey, and Andy Williams. However, the Pirates youth does tend to catch up to them in the field and preventing the odd “circus inning” will be essential in sustained success.
With two of the league’s top five batting average leaders last season in Hinchey and Ryan Theil, the Pirates have the ability to make up some of these runs on offense – and top-notch athletes like Curtis Gibeau, Kirk Sangris, Devin Hinchey, and new recruit Kyle Kuptana allow for a line-up that mixes both speed and power. A key loss for the Pirates this year though is catcher Brad Mueller, whose middle-of-the-order bat, presence behind the plate, and beer garden experience will be sorely missed. If the Pirates want to have any hope of improving on last year’s championship season with a territorial title, effectively replacing (or coaxing a mid-season return out of) Mueller will be a must.
This season, the Pirates will host an invitational tournament to kick off the season from June 15 to 17 – the concession and beer garden will be up and running, so make sure to come down to Tommy Forrest and catch some great fastball. The Pirates begin their defence of their title on opening day, Monday, June 8th, in a finals re-match against Slades. First pitch is scheduled for 8PM at Tommy Forrest.