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Newfoundland wins Canadian Senior Men’s Fastpitch Championship following dramatic tournament

Ryan Boland, Number 10 with the Newfoundland Galway Hitmen runs to home plate and a jubilant team, after hitting a grand slam.
Ryan Boland, Number 10 with the Newfoundland Galway Hitmen runs to home plate and a jubilant team, after hitting a grand slam. - Colin Chisholm

Former Newfoundland premier says ‘shit happens’ following semi-final row

ST. CROIX, N.S. – It was a wild finish to a dramatic five-day Canadian Senior Men’s Fastpitch Championship in Hants County, as the Newfoundland Galway Hitmen went home with gold medals around their necks.

Before the champagne exploded from the victor’s hands though, all thoughts were on the previous night’s semi-final game when the Galway Hitmen and the B.C. Sooke Loggers exchanged blows after a hard slide into home plate.

Galway Hitmen players poured from the dugout, along with their team owner former Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams, and punches were thrown before things eventually settled down.

Two Newfoundland players and the B.C. catcher were thrown out after Softball Canada officials spent some time around the Newfoundland dugout to quiet things down.

The Newfoundland Galway-Hitmen are the 2018 Senior Men’s Fastpitch champions.
The Newfoundland Galway-Hitmen are the 2018 Senior Men’s Fastpitch champions.

In the third inning of the same semi-final game, British Columbia’s pitcher hit Ryan Boland from Newfoundland with a pitch and Boland charged the mound with bat in hand. But the umpires were quick to calm things down with only one ejection, B.C. pitcher Scott Lieph.

In the first incident, Softball Canada officials met into the wee hours of the final morning in an attempt to determine whether additional punishment was required, and it resulted in the B.C. Catcher being suspended from the Loggers single elimination game against Elmira, Ontario, which the Loggers won 2-1.

Both the Loggers and Galway Hitmen players were all given stern warnings by Softball Canada informing them that any additional antics would result in both teams potentially being removed from medal play.

With all of that settled, the Sept. 2 8-0 win by the Galway Hitmen to win the National Championship, was a very different turn of events.

Ryan Boland finished things off with a grand slam, running to home with his whole team waiting for him at the plate.

Newfoundland players would not comment about the scuffle, while their owner and former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams said "shit happens.”

Williams was not involved in any actual fighting but made his way toward the B.C. dugout as fighting took place.

Ryan Boland with the Newfoundland Galway Hitmen receives the Top Player award.
Ryan Boland with the Newfoundland Galway Hitmen receives the Top Player award.

As for British Columbia Manager John Bishop, he said “Williams had no business going on the field because he was not a coach or manager and was not in uniform.”

Bishop later added, “I will be looking into that and see if Softball Canada officials had taken note of it.”

During the championship game, Williams could be seen in the dugout minus his Galway team jacket, which he wore the night prior.

"Surprisingly enough, Lieph was the only player ejected this time,” Bishop said of the incident in the third inning. “Couldn’t understand why Lieph was ejected and Boland allowed to stay as a result of the second altercation.”

Home team, the East Hants Mastodons, were defeated by the B.C. Loggers 2-0 Sept. 1 in the morning and then later that day, were defeated 3-2 by the Saskatoon Angels, who scored twice in the seventh after two were out and the next batter had two strikes.

Justin Schofield of the Mastodons was named the Tournament's Round-Robin Best Pitcher.

Schofield now awaits word from Team Canada whether or not he will be named to the Canadian Sr. Men’s Team for the World Championships in the Czech Republic in 2019.

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