Sports

Athletics win tourney honouring Andre Blanleil Sr.

Lee Welsh of Andre
Lee Welsh of Andre's Athletics connects with a pitch Saturday at Kings Stadium during the inaugural Andre Blanleil Sr. Memorial Fastball Tournament.
— image credit: Doug Farrow/Contributor

If there was a more fitting conclusion to the first annual Andre Blanleil Sr. Memorial Tournament, members of his family can't conceive of what it could possibly be.

Andre's Athletics—a team featuring Andre Sr.'s sons and grandsons—earned a dramatic come-from-beind victory over Vernon's OK Merchants to capture the inaugural edition of the men's fastball tourney Sunday at Kings Stadium.

Rene Blanleil's two-run double in the bottom of the seventh tied the score 5-5 to force an extra inning.

Then, after making a spectacular defensive play in the top of the eighth, tournament MVP Matt Crowell ended the game with a walk-off two run home run for a 7-5 Andre's win.

"It was pretty special, a cool way to end the tournament," said Kyle Blanleil, a member of the Athletics, one of the tournament organizers and grandson of Andre Blanleil Sr. "We were down the whole game, so to come back and win was nice."

The Blanleil family put the event together this spring to honour the memory of Andre Sr. on Father's Day weekend.

He passed away last November after a battle with cancer.

Blanleil played fastball locally as a pitcher in the 1960s, then played alongside his three sons in the late 1970s.

His sons, Andre Jr., Rene and Maurice, and his grandsons, Kyle, Chad and Travis all play with Andre's Athletics.

As for the response from the local fastball community, Kyle Blanleil couldn't have been happier.

"It was awesome, everyone I talked to said they really enjoyed it," Blanleil added. "I think that's the most fans we've seen come through the gates in a long time. We had great support from the community."

In addition to the staging of the six-team tournament, a sign bearing Andre Blanleil Sr.'s name was unveiled on Saturday and was installed on the wall at Kings Stadium.

The Blanleil family plans to host the tournament each year on Father's Day weekend.

 

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