BARRHEAD - Two Barrhead-area teams may have won the Jackpine Slow-pitch tournament. However, the real winner was the Children's Hospital Foundation and all the people they will be able to help due to the sizeable $19,200 donation from the event's organizers.
The softball tournament has been an annual tradition in Fort Assiniboine on the Labour Day weekend since the 1980s. However, it has only been recently that the event has become a fundraiser for the Stollery. This year marked the sixth year the tournament was a fundraiser for the children's hospital, albeit not all in a row. Unfortunately, the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to COVID.
The donation brings the Jackpine Slow-pitch total donation to $100,000.
Darren Wood, who organizes the tournament with his wife Jennifer, said they decided to make the event a fundraiser for the Stollery because they wanted to do something good.
"As parents of a daughter with cerebral palsy, we have been to the Stollery a lot, and we know first-hand the good they do," he told the Barrhead on Sept. 8 as he was heading to the Stollery Children's Hospital to give them their donation.
This year, 19 teams participated, which is down slightly from last year's 23. Most teams are local or from nearby communities, such as Barrhead, Swan Hills, Onoway, Whitecourt and Westlock, with the majority coming back year after year.
"We have a good group that comes. Most teams donate their winnings back to the tournament," Darren said, adding that in addition to the entry fee, they ask teams to bring an item for the silent auction. "It was just a great weekend. The weather was perfect, with only a bit of rain on Sunday morning, just enough to make our feet wet."
The Master Batters, mainly comprised of Neerlandia players, won their third straight title, defeating Bats Habits from Barrhead in the final.
On the women's side was Frankless, a Barrhead/Onoway squad, taking the title, defeating the Barrhead-based Swingers.