Close to 600 players on 58 teams came to Langley on the weekend to compete in the provincial Slo-Pitch championships. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Provincial slow-pitch championships draw hundreds

More than 600 players and 58 teams from all across B.C. are playing in weekend tournament

Casey Grundy like to tell people that her last name is really “at the bat,” but it ‘s actually Grundy.

Grundy plays on the Ballers slow-pitch team from Bowen Island, which was making its first appearance at the provincial championships in Langley on Saturday (Sept. 14) in the first day of a two-day tournament.

For Grundy, who used to play in the Langley mixed slow-pitch league before she moved to Bowen, it was familiar territory.

Asked about the appeal of the sport, her reply was straight to the point.

“Just the love of ball,” Grundy told the Langley Advance Times, as teammate Randi Topp nodded agreement.

“Any ball tournament is a good tournament,” Topp observed.

Around 600 players on 58 teams from across B.C. came to Langley to take part in the provincials.

Team names ranged from the whimsical to traditional, with names like “I’d Hit That,” “Weekend Alibi,” and “Crazy Train” contrasting with more conventional monikers like the Expos, Grizzlies and Titans.

Kris Chicorli from Cloverdale, a member of the “Half-Fast” team, has been playing for 25 years.

“It’s just fun,” Chicorli said.

“You’re around friends, because you know everyone in this league.”

Jay Tourangeau, regional director with Slo-Pitch National, the governing body of the sport in Canada, said the slo-pitch is popular because it is open and inexpensive.

“We appeal to almost everybody because everybody can play and financially, it’s affordable.,” Tourangeau said.

He said teams came from as far away as Taylor B.c. and Vancouver Island to play in the Langley championship.

Thanks to a break in the otherwise damp, wet weather on the weekend, the tournament was able to proceed at multiple locations in Langley, including the fields at McLeod Athletic Park, home to host Langley Mixed Slo-Pitch League, a registered non-profile society that is Canada’s largest coed league.

READ MORE: Langley women golden at Border slo-pitch Battle

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: Aldergrove slo-pitch tournament uplifts five-year-old battling cancer

Slow-pitch, according to the online Encyclopaedia Britannica, is a popular variation of softball with men and women playing together, and a requirement that a pitched ball “must be delivered at moderate speed with an arc of at least three feet in its flight toward the batter. “

Base stealing is not allowed and umpires have the power to eject a piotcher or “repeatedly throwing the ball too fast. “

More photos of the event can be viewed online.

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Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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