By Garrett Hinchey
Originally published in The Yellowknifer July 13, 2012
With the Territorial Men’s Fastball Championships beginning this weekend, our season long series introducing the teams from the YK Fastball League continues with the Nexum/Carl’s Carpet Cleaning Red Sox. A true mix of young and old, the Red Sox contain the bulk of the league’s junior presence, as well as some of its true “veterans” – with player ages ranging from 14 all the way to the mid-50s.
The Red Sox are in their second season in the YK Fastball League and are co-sponsored by Nexum Systems and Carl’s Carpet Cleaning. The team was created in order to bridge the gap for junior ball players in town after they became too old for minor baseball (age 14), and the roster is comprised mainly of ex-little leaguers, with some former members of the Trappers dynasty filling out the roster and providing instruction to the youngsters.
While the Red Sox are still searching for their first win this season, the team has made some serious strides since the start of the year. Even in his “advanced” age, Rob Johnson is still a threat to win the league batting title, and he and Steve O’Hara provide a veteran presence to the infield core. Transplants Jason Jonason (Ontario) and Todd Moran (Inuvik) provide power and stability to a young lineup, while the pitching duo of Mike Dove and NWT fastball hall-of-famer Andy Tereposky have proved that they still have the “stuff” to keep the Sox in games.
The real stars of this team, though, are the juniors. With the Yellowknife Junior Merchants team now just a memory, the Sox represent the continuation of a proud NWT junior fastball tradition that has seen teams win both provincial (Alberta) and national championships. The future looks to be in good hands here as well, as Sox management has managed to round up many of Yellowknife’s finest junior athletes.
The Red Sox “young guns” include speedsters Spencer Rivers and Devon Case, the versatile Fraser Oliver, sure-handed infielders John White and AJ Lewis, and the power hitting Roy “Big Country” Hawkins – who hit his first “out of the parker” at last month’s Pirates Invitational tournament. This core group is bolstered by fiveyouth “rookies” making their first appearances in the league this season. As this group continues to improve, the team’s fortunes should as well – and the Red Sox certainly have the ability and potential to add to an ever-growing NWT junior fastball legacy.
The Red Sox will attempt to turn some heads at this weekend’s Men’s Territorial Championships, which will be played from Friday to Sunday at Tommy Forrest Ball Park – and where they will enjoy the “junior advantage” of being the only team too young to enjoy the beer gardens. With the six Yellowknife teams joined by visiting squads from Inuvik and Hay River, expect some great fastball to be played this weekend, and expect the Sox to surprise a few teams along the way.