Haldane leads Blazers to fastball title

Rich Haldane was named MVP for leading the Kamloops Sandman Inn Blazers to the Western Canadian Masters Men's Fastball Championship title at Charles Anderson Stadium on Sunday, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more deserving MVP anywhere.

Haldane, a 40-year-old Vernon resident, did pretty much everything for the Blazers as they won a pair of Sunday games to win the title on their home field.

The tournament featured eight 40-plus men's teams and six 35-plus women's teams from the western provinces and territories. It started Thursday.

In the men's final, a 5-3 victory over Kelowna Andre's, Haldane was the winning pitcher - his seventh victory of the weekend - and he also went 3-for-5 and belted a two-run home run.

That came only an hour or so after he finished pitching nine innings in a 6-5 extra-inning victory over Ladner in a semifinal.

For the weekend, Haldane was 7-1 in 53 innings of work, his ERA was around two and he batted around .400.

He also was named the top pitcher for the round-robin, in which he went 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA, striking out 45 batters in 31 innings.

Haldane lives in Vernon but travelled here throughout the summer to play in the Kamloops Major Men's Fastball League during the week. He helped Great Britian to a seventh-place finish at the ISF World Softball Championship in Saskatoon in late July.

Kevin Derdall of the Moose Jaw Masters was named top batter for the round-robin, going 11-for-15 (.733) with a home run, six runs and four RBI.

The Moose Jaw Chillers Relics won the women's title at Charles Anderson on Sunday, hammering Edmonton Silverline, 8-2 in the championship final.

The Relics went through to the final after winning a playoff game on Saturday afternoon. Edmonton had to beat the Saskatchewan Connextion, 7-2, in a Sunday morning semifinal.

Kim Neithercut of the Relics was named MVP for the women's division.

All she did was bat .423 with eight runs and eight RBI, including a three-run home run in a Saturday game. She also pitched a victory in the round-robin and closed out the final by throwing four solid innings to end the game.

Her teammate, Yvonne Carlton, was named top pitcher in the round-robin. Carlton was 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 14 innings of work.

The top batter in the round-robin went to Edmonton Silverline's Tammy Davies, who was 11-for-15 (.733) with nine runs and nine RBI.

The lone local women's team, the Kamloops Dearborn Ford Classics, went 0-5 in the round-robin and did not qualify for the playoff round.

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