Powered by three home runs, St. Thomas mercies Fingal Phantoms, 16-1,
in the season opener of the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League
May 7, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
FINGAL, Ont. - Some things never seem to change. Even with a two year absence.
The last time the St. Thomas Storm played a league game, they were here capturing the South Middlesex Men's Fastball League championship.
That was last decade. Back in 2019, St. Thomas won the title, blanking the Appin A's, 8-0, in five innings.
Two things were similar to tonight's season opening 16-1 five inning mercy, of the Fingal Phantoms.
Ben Hodgins was pitching and the Storm mercied their opponent.
The Storm blew in early scoring four runs in the first inning, before pouring in nine more an inning later for a 13-0 lead. Three additional runs came in the fifth inning.
Mitch Roy, Chris Wismer and Brady Stafford, each had a home run, a single and scored two runs. Mark Coleman was three-for-four and one base on balls.
Hodgins tossed a one-hitter over four innings, while striking out seven batters, including three in the third inning, and walking two. Wismer worked a clean fifth inning.
Fingal scored their lone run in the second inning.
"It's great to be back at the ball park. Great to see all of the guys and play a game with umpires and other teams with uniforms. It's just great to be back out," St. Thomas manager Tom Edie said. "Our chat group was quite active the past few days and everybody was excited about it. We have a good group of guys, who want to be at the ball park and hang out together."
South Middlesex returns a 10-team league, losing the Appin A's and Port Stanley Pirates, but gaining Fingal.
Alvinston, Charing Cross, Chippewa, Delaware, Dutton, Glencoe, Highgate and Moraviantown, round out the league that stretches over three counties.
The league is facing one critical challenge.
"One problem our league has is a lack of umpires," Edie points out. "It's really critical right now. The game in general needs umpires."
The St. Thomas and District Umpires Association and the Chatham Umpires Association are looking to teach those interested (over 16 years of age) in calling the game and or being base umps. Contact John Bole (519-633-7977) or Jim Hebert (519-631-0511), for more info.
This year also sees the return of tournaments, from local, to provincial championships to international events.
The Storm are hosting a tournament, featuring a U17 division and a men's division, June 3-6, at Fingal.
St. Thomas will be playing at the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) Masters (40 years plus) provincials at Kitchener, in July and the Masters Canadians, in St. John's, Newfoundland, August 31- September 4.
The more veteran players of the Storm, the over 50 Legends, are heading to the International Softball Congress (ISC) world tournament, in Moline, Illinois, August 13-20.
"The guys are excited about it. 50 year olds sounding like kids again. It's a big deal," said Edie, adding with a laugh. "Everybody plays for the right reasons at that age. Pulled groins and hamstrings and sore shoulders."
Of course the Storm want to return to the league final.
"It would be nice to repeat. That's always the goal. We do have the pitching to get there," Edie said. "Hopefully the old guys keep their bodies taped together."