Masters fastpitch event this weekend at King stadium

Some of the very best fastball pitchers from B.C. and in Canada will be firing up their windmill this weekend as King Stadium plays host to the first of two high level fastball tournaments in Kelowna the next two weekends.

The Men's Masters (over 40) Fastpitch Provincials begin tonight at King Stadium with four teams vying for the right to represent B.C. at the Western Canadian Fastpitch Championships in Leduc, Alberta in August.

The Kelowna Centennials hold the local hope and will battle against the Richmond Steelers, the Ladner Masters and the Victoria Masters in the tournament that brings some of the top fastball pitchers to King Stadium.

"Every team has a good thrower," said Centennials centre fielder Keith Anderson. "It's going to be good quality ball but the pitching should be pretty dominant. It's one of those things that whoever gets their bats going could win it."

The Centennials pitching staff features Kelowna chuckers Lea Kunz, Maurice Blanleil and Gord Moore and has been pumped up by the addition of out of towners Jason Wright and Travis Moyle.

Richmond comes into the event with fireballer Rich Haldane, considered one of the top arms in all of Canada while Ladner has none other than Kelowna fastballer Rene Blanleil as a pick-up on its pitching staff.

As for the Centennials, this is their first attempt at the masters provincials as they look to advance to the westerns.

"This is going to be tough for us but it's a pretty good format," said Anderson of the round robin event, followed by playoffs. "We have a couple good throwers and we have some pretty good bats. It's just a matter of if you can string some hits together."

The Centennials open the tournament tonight (Friday) against Richmond at 7 p.m. Kelowna will then play Victoria Saturday at noon and Ladner Saturday at 2 p.m. before the playoff round begins on Saturday night.

The championship game goes Sunday at 1 p.m. with all games at King Stadium, a perfect site for the event, said Anderson.

"The stadium and the facilities are a true fastpitch stadium, not something that has been converted," he said. "It's a good venue, there is a beer garden and this year the city has put new bleachers in so it's a great venue to watch some good ball."

King will also play host to the over 50 Masters provincials next weekend.

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