By Mike Auge
Originally Published in Yellowknifer June 15, 2012
This is the second in a season long series introducing the teams in this year’s YK Men’s Fastball League and in attempt to draw in the fans, they’re introducing the best teams first. A couple of weeks ago you were introduced to the powerhouse league champions, the Pirates. Today, I get the privilege of introducing the defending Territorial Champions, the Home Building Center Diamondbacks.
A relatively new squad in the league, the Diamondbacks are in their 5th season in the league thanks to the generous sponsorship of the folks at Home Building Center. The team relies on their veterans to carry the load on both offense and defence and the results tell the story as the team has won several titles in their short history. Bruce Waugh and Darin Strain have been playing in the league for decades and their wealth of big-game experience and old-school guile more than makes up for their lack of speed on the basepaths. On the mound, Bruce was the opening day starter and leads a strong, two man staff that is among the best in the league.
Behind this veteran core is a group of youngsters hungry for more fastball glory. The firefighting trio of Rob Andrews, Chris Kelln, and newcomer Marcus Watt will capitalize on any mistake made by opposing pitchers. Stellar outfielders Andy Penton and Russ Robertson have the range and gloves to catch any ball hit in the air and Brian Couvrette and Tyler Blewett bring this same Gold Glove calibre defence to the infield. Of course, no team would be complete without a pinch-running specialist and the Diamondbacks have one of the best in Jared MacNeil.
Despite this wealth of offensive talent, the Home Building Center squad has run into trouble in the past when their bats fall cold. This hot and cold offensive style often finds them stuck in tight, low-scoring battles with key hits being few and far between. In order to combat this deficiency, the team’s management signed a couple of sluggers that they hope will come up big for them this year. The aforementioned rookie, Marcus, has shown he has the power to make a difference with a home run in his second at bat of the season, and fellow rookie of the year candidate Lorne Gerwing is off to a blistering start, batting over .440 through 3 games.
With this influx of new talent don’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks continue their winning ways this season starting this weekend when the always fun Pirates Invitational Fastball Tournament returns to the ballpark. After a 3-year hiatus, the Pirates have resurrected their early season tournament and the diamond should be rocking all weekend long. Come on out to the field for some great action running from Friday at 6 all the way through to the final Sunday night. And, of course, don’t be surprised if that final features the talented Diamondbacks looking to another trophy to their collection.