COLEMAN TOWNSHIP — The Bass Lake Ball Tournament, an annual sporting event that has its roots going back over 70 years, hit a home run over the August long weekend as hundreds of people flocked to Bass Lake to watch some entertaining slo-pitch.
Held over the August Civic Holiday long weekend, the slo-pitch tournament has morphed over the years from a strictly men’s fastball tournament, to a men’s and women’s fastball tournament and of late, a men’s, women’s and mixed-team slo-pitch tournament.
The tournament took a COVID-19 pause for a couple of years but resumed this year with six men’s teams and four mixed teams, players coming from across Ontario to enjoy playing slo-pitch together with friends and family.
“At least the last ten years all the teams have been getting closer and closer as one big family,” noted organizer Eric Bourassa. “People take turns looking after each other’s kids while parents play ball, like taking them swimming and making sure they are well fed.”
The event has a decidedly personal feel to it and a theme of fun and friendship.
But make no mistake, there is a competitive edge to play, especially in the earlier years when fastball was the game of choice and the best men’s teams from across the North would take part.
Bourassa said despite the COVID pause, some of the teams got together that weekend anyway at Bass Lake to enjoy swimming and camping together at the lake.
The tournament is considered a reunion of sorts for friends who have played ball together over the years in and around the South Temiskaming region.
The organizers of the tournament for the last few years have been Cobalt’s Ray Bourassa and sons.
Holding down the umpiring duties was Tammy White, who was thanked by organizers and players for her dedication to the tournament, under some hot and humid conditions.
“The winner of this year’s event was Active One Source For Sports who defeated the Dog House team in the final of the men’s division,” noted Bourassa. “The mixed team winners were Cleats and Cleavage over Deal Crashers in the final game.”
Bass Lake Resort manager Dan Hackett served hot dogs, cold drinks and ice cream treats to the enthusiastic crowds that he noted were upwards of 300 to 400 people over the course of the three-day event which began on Saturday, July 30 and ended August 1.
“It was great to see so many people come to the beach and enjoy themselves,” he said.