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Canadian Native Fastball Championships a boon to cityPosted: August 14, 2012

Invermere’s As and Arrows defend national titles

The Canadian Native Fastball Championships held in Cranbrook August 3 to 6 was a boon to the city, says Mayor Wayne Stetski.

Sixty-five teams from around the country took part in the tournament, held at Cranbrook’s Quads and Moir Park.

Stetski said Cranbrook received a nice economic boost from the tourney, with up to 1,000 people believed to be in town for the weekend. Restaurants and accommodation businesses were packed all weekend, he said.

“It enriched us not only economically but culturally, as well,” Stetski said, adding, “And the local teams fared quite well!”

Playing with heavy hearts, the Invermere As and B.C. Arrows (also based out of Invermere) went about business as usual, winning the Senior Men’s and Masters’ Divisions in the tourney, as they did last year in Winnipeg. However, the As were without Randy Martin, who died suddenly earlier this year. Both clubs dedicated the tournament to Randy, and they come through in typical battling style. However, the As needed extra innings to beat the Westbank Cardinals 4-3 in the early morning hours of Monday, August 6. The As also ‘renamed’ their team ‘Randy’s As’ for the tournament.

Robert (Hawk) Martin, Randy’s younger brother, inspired and focused, was an absolute monster with the bats during the weekend and earned tourney MVP honours. Both Randy and Hawk are tournament co-organizer and A’s/Arrow’s manager and lynch pin Dean Martin – the central figure behind the legendary success of one of Canada’s most successful First Nations ball teams, of any kind.

Aqam (St. Mary’s Indian Band) co-hosted the tournament along with the Shuswap Band.

It is the eighth time Invermere’s Shuswap Indian Band-based ball clubs have captured national titles. They have also captured eight North American championships and are currently in California playing in that annual tournament.

The Red Nation Jets, comprised of players from six different provinces, won the women’s championship, defeating The Pride from Saskatchewan.

Stetski said the city would like to apologize to residents living near the Quads, with some having complained due to the late hour of the Monday morning final (2:30 a.m.). Overall, though, the mayor said, nearby residents were accommodating and understanding.

“I appreciate the patience of the people in the area,” he said.

For results go to: http://www.nativefastball.ca/champions.php

http://www.nativefastball.ca/

http://www.nativefastball.ca/host.php

Ian Cobb/e-KNOW

Team images from http://www.nativefastball.ca/

All other images by Ian Cobb/e-KNOW (taken during action on Sunday afternoon, August5)

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