The slo-pitch tournament organized and hosted by the Ashcroft Volunteer Firefighters Association over the weekend of April 29 was a resounding success, raising $4,700 that will enable the fire department to purchase equipment for the new primary engine.
Nine teams took part, and the event’s organizer, Captain Jonah Anstett of the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department, said it was a busy but satisfying weekend. “We had a great turnout, and we had a blast. Everything turned out well.”
The weather was not entirely cooperative—Saturday was on the chilly side, and Sunday had a smattering of rain—but that did not dampen the spirit of the players or the onlookers, who kept the concession busy. Anstett estimates that the event brought between 200 and 250 people to the area for the weekend, many of whom stayed at the Legacy Park campground in Ashcroft, which was opened early to accommodate the visitors, while other stayed at hotels in Cache Creek.
The last time slo-pitch was played in Ashcroft was in 2003, and Anstett says the village crew did a great job getting the diamonds back up to par. The Ashcroft Green Js team placed third, losing a hard-fought semi-final match to Kamloops team Nine Jerks and a Squirt.
“The community has been amazing,” says Anstett. “And local businesses in Ashcroft and Cache Creek donated lots of raffle prizes and packs.” He notes that while he was the main organizer for the event, the entire fire department did a great job. “It’s a team thing. The whole crew did well.” However, Ashcroft fire chief Josh White singled Anstett out for praise. “I’ve been saying that ‘Chief’ Anstett did an amazing job.”
Casper (“Just call me Casper; everyone knows me”), a Slo-Pitch National carded umpire from Kamloops who was first base umpire during the Green Jays’ semi-final match, agrees with White. “For a first-year tournament it was great. Well done, really impressive. I’ve never seen a first-time tournament go so smoothly and so well.
“Everyone was so friendly. And when the fire department had to leave to attend a fire [a small one at Koppers just after 5 p.m. on Saturday] things went really smoothly. It’s a great group and a great cause, and I had a fantastic time.” Casper’s only regret? That he didn’t get a chance to play.
Anstett says they are already planning another tournament for next year. “We already have four teams lined up, and plan on inviting a number of the teams that were here this weekend.
“The sportsmanship has been awesome. Everyone is competitive, but they’re having fun. And I had so many people from the community come up and say how great it was to see the event, and how glad they were to have slo-pitch back.
“It was just a great weekend.”