April 9, 2009 The social activity for Fort McMurray residents in the early 1960s’ and 1970s’ usually revolved around hockey and curling in the winter while in the summer the heart of the community was undoubtedly the ball diamond.
The ball diamond was where one went not only to catch up on local news but to watch high-calibre fastball. The news in the summer of 1978 though was strictly fastball in as much as Fort McMurray staged the Alberta Senior “A” Provincial Men’s Fastball championships with the host team Tarsands Machine and Welding defeating Calgary Oilers 4-2 for the title. Tarsands Machine and Welding had opened the double knockout tournament with a 3-1 loss to Edmonton’s Cecil Hotel and then went five straight to capture the championship. They won their second game 10-3 over Edmonton Royals with Clint and Bruce Marshall leading the attack with back-to-back homeruns in the seventh inning. Off-speed pitcher Walter Geering led the way in games three and four with 13 scoreless innings to beat Cecil Hotel 4-0 and Pinewell 1-0. Two first inning errors paved the way to a 3-1 victory in the next game against the Oilers. In the final with the Oilers leading 2-1 during the fifth inning, Clint Marshall scored on catcher Myron Feduik’s grounder to third while Bruce Marshall scored Garth Phillips and Feduik off a line drive down third base line. Tarsands Machine and Welding were represented on the all tournament team by Kenn MacKenzie, centre field; Clint Marshall, pitcher; Garth Miller, left field; Phillips. first base and Cliff Skeates at third base. Pitcher Bruce Marshall was named tournament MVP. Tarsands Machine and Welding would represent Alberta at the 1978 Senior A Canadian Championships held in St. John, New Brunswick. They lost their opening match to eventual champion and perennial powerhouse Victoria Bates Construction, who would go on to defend their title for three more consecutive years as well as earning a gold medal at 1979 Pan-American games held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Team members of the Tarsands Machine and Welding fastball are players Brian Berke, Myron Feduik, Garry Fernets, Walter Geering, Wes Gogal, Neal Greeley, Sylver Kushniruk, Kenn MacKenzie, Bruce Marshall, Garth Miller, Clint Marshall, Bari Mitchell, Garth Phillips, Daryle Selski, Ernie Sheaves, Cliff Skeates; coach Wayne Jones; staff Wally McLeod, Bill Pringle.
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