Rangers take Blanleil Memorial Tournament

Kelowna Rangers
Kelowna Rangers' pitcher Rich Haldane gets set to unleash a pitch while Travis Kunz readies himself at first against the Fleetwoods Marlins during the final game of the Andre Blanleil Sr. Memorial Fastball Tournament Sunday at King's Stadium.
— image credit: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Aside from a rain out on Friday night, the third annual Andre Blanleil Sr. Memorial Fastball Tournament went off pretty much without a hitch last weekend at King's Stadium.

The four-team tourney concluded Sunday afternoon with the Kelowna Rangers edging the Fleetwood Marlins in dramatic fashion in the final game.

George Currie's base hit in the seventh inning base hit drove home winning pitcher Rich Haldane with the deciding run as the Rangers prevailed 5-4.

The Rangers finished the round robin in first place with a record of 2-1. The semi final saw the Fleetwood Marlins beat the Surrey Rebels 7-4.  The host Andre’s Athletics had a tough weekend going 0-3.

The tournament is held annually on Father's Day weekend in the memory of longtime Kelowna player and coach Andre Blanleil Sr.,

Andre Sr.'s grandson and organizer Kyle Blanleil was once again pleased by the response to the event.

"There were four really good teams and we saw some good competition," said Kyle Blanleil. "We didn't get as many teams this year because of another tournament in Chase, but the guys from out of town who came told me how much they enjoyed it and that they'd be back next year."

As for what his late grandfather would think about the tournament, Kyle Blanleil suspects Andre Sr. would be pleased, if not thrilled.

"I think he'd be pretty happy," Kyle said. "We had a lot of support here, old faces and friends that (Andre Sr.) had relationships with and he was friends with over the years. There are people and families we grew up with that we see only once a year and it's at this tournament. It's great to see them here."

Proceeds from the tournament go to support the Kelowna Major Men's Fastball Associaiton.

Organizers hope to attract six to eight teams next year.

New Zealand juniors to visit…

The New Zealand national junior men's team will be in Kelowna early next month for a pair of exhibition games against the Kelowna Major Men's Fastball Association all-star team.

A doubleheader between the teams will be played Wednesday, July 2 at King Stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The New Zealand nationals will be performing the historic Haka dance prior to the game.


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