Baseball is the bond that’s kept the memory of Chris Fenton going strong.
The Chris Fenton Memorial tournament has become a fixture in the community through the Chemainus and District Baseball Association, with the torch being passed from one generation to another. The only constant is Larry Hopwo has remained president.
Fenton was a model youth, who devoted his free time to umpiring within the association.
“It is hard to believe 32 years have passed,” read a statement from his mother Rondeau.
“Chris’ annual memorial tournament renews my belief in the youth of today, they are the future, young and strong and fearless. Our family is grateful for the love and strength the tournament has provided us over the years. Thank you.”
The latest edition of the event brought 12 robust Peewee baseball teams of 11- and 12-year-olds to the Chemainus Ball Park for an action-packed three days.
When the dust settled, the Ladysmith Orioles were the winners, beating the Salt Spring Cougars 13-2 in the final. Third place went to the Ladysmith Dodgers after an 11-3 victory over the Duncan Cardinals.
Chemainus won the tournament last year for the first time in 31 years, but split into two teams this year due to the large number of mosquito players who moved up.
The Chemainus Cardinals, coached by Glen Williams, went 2-2 with a 19-9 victory over the Duncan White Sox and a 20-6 triumph against Tri-Port while losing 11-10 to the Ladysmith Dodgers and 11-5 against the Duncan Yankees.
“Lots of first-year players,” said Williams of his team. “Only two second-year players on our team.”
It was the same story for the Chemainus Rangers, coached by Matt White and Kary Price. They tied the Duncan Yankees 7-7, lost 10-8 to the Ladysmith Cardinals, dropped a 15-3 decision against the Duncan Astros and fell 12-8 to the Salt Spring Cougars.
“We obviously lost four or five of the star players we had last year, the ones that helped us win the tournament,” said White.
“Obviously, we’re dealing with a lot of newer, younger and not so experienced ball players.”
They still gave it their all and White’s son Josh produced a great display of pitching over four innings of work that led to the team’s tie. “He absolutely pitched a gem for us on the Friday night,” enthused White.
Josh White is eligible to return next year and dad Matt expects his group could be among the tournament elite again with the experience the players have gained.
“We’ll be back next year – hopefully a little bit stronger,” he proposed.
The next big event on the schedule is the Larry Hopwo Invitational for mosquito teams June 1-3.