Tritons find solace in Slo-Pitch return


CFB Esquimalt’s slo-pitch team captain Chief Petty Officer Second Class (CPO2) Michael (Rob) Tibbetts was selected as the CANWEST Men’s Slo-Pitch Team MVP and the Men’s Slo-Pitch Tournament MVP. Sailor First Class Roseline Clark from Esquimalt Tritons won Game MVP playing for Edmonton. Photo: CPO2 Tibbetts

Peter Mallett, 
Staff Writer

The Esquimalt Tritons capped off their return to the baseball diamond with a third-place finish at the Canadian Armed Forces National Men’s Slo-Pitch Championship in Edmonton, Sept. 19 to 23.

3 Wing Bagotville defeated Esquimalt 15-5 in the tournament semi-final on Sept. 22, knocking the Tritons out of medal contention. Since the only medals handed out were to the winner and runner up, third place teams did not receive medals.

“A third-place finish was not the result our team had worked towards but determined effort has provided a solid building block for the team for future years,” said Chief Petty Officer Second Class (CPO2) Rob Tibbetts, the team’s captain and second baseman, and Coxswain of HMCS Corner Brook.

This year’s tournament saw the return of the CAF Slo-Pitch Nationals for the first time since 2018, said CPO2 Tibbetts. The 2019 National Championship was cancelled due to budget cuts, while the 2020 and 2021 tournaments were cut due to health and safety regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bagotville defeated CFB Halifax in the Gold Medal game.

CPO2 Tibbetts and his teammates had hopes of a gold medal ahead of the National Championships. They had earned their spot in Edmonton after winning five of six games at the Canada West Regional qualifying tournament in Wainwright, Alta. from Aug. 21 to 26.

Their berth in the Nationals came after their 12-6 win over CFB Winnipeg in the qualifying tournament’s Gold Medal Game. The Tritons opened robin play in Edmonton with a 21-12 win over CFB Kingston, with Warrant Officer Bartlett earning the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) honours. They then suffered two consecutive losses, falling 20-12 to Bagotville and 19-13 to CFB Halifax to close out round-robin play.

The blue and gold rebounded and advanced to the tournament semi-final versus Bagotville after a 16-7 victory over Kingston in their opening playoff game.

CPO2 Tibbetts was selected as the CANWEST Men’s Slo-Pitch Team Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Men’s Slo-Pitch Tournament MVP. He said he and his teammates were excited to be back in action.

“Our sport promotes many of the best qualities of our personnel: dedication, comradeship, competition, and mentorship,” CPO2 Tibbetts said. “I was extremely proud of this team and how we came together, leaving it all on the field every inning of every game.”

Women’s Slo-Pitch Team

The Esquimalt Tritons Women’s Slo-Pitch Team also returned to action this year but did not qualify for the Women’s CAF Nationals in Edmonton. Esquimalt was defeated 30-19 in the Canada West Regional Championship game to CFB Edmonton. 

However, one of Esquimalt’s top players, third base standout Sailor First Class (S1) Roseline Clark, did get a chance to shine. CFB Edmonton added S1 Clark to their roster as a guest player in their successful quest for a national title. S1 Clark won game MVP honours with Edmonton in their 29-20 win over Halifax in the tournament semi-final.

“It feels really great to be a national champion and I still can’t believe what an incredible experience I had last week,” said S1 Clark, a Naval Communicator currently posted to Naval Fleet School Pacific (NFS(P)).

To top it off, her mother surprised S1 Clark by driving to Edmonton from her home in Winnipeg and became part of her team’s cheering section for the tournament.

“She became the ‘Team Mom’ and could celebrate all our achievements with us,” S1 Clark said.

Edmonton defeated Petawawa 18-3 and captured the gold medal.

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