MOOREFIELD – The Moorefield Athletic Affiliation acknowledged a century of constructing the neighborhood the native vacation spot for a superb, old school ball sport.
Residents, a number of of whom had performed on the Hilltops women’ group or volunteered with the affiliation, gathered for the celebration held contained in the Maryborough Group Centre on Ball Avenue on June 10.
Ball regalia surrounded the room, replete with archival images and newspaper clippings from the Group Information and Drayton Advocate, offering a glimpse into the previous when Moorefield, in keeping with a 1993 Group Information story, was often known as “tremendous ball city.”
“What a bunch of historical past we have now occurring right here,” Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson remarked.
“I don’t assume we have now anyone 100 years previous, however Invoice Cummings shall be developing shortly — he’s shut,” Davidson quipped to a lot laughter.
Cummings spoke of instances when bleachers on the ball diamond had been packed, as they had been that Saturday, drawing the likes of Detroit pitchers Booker Thomas and Edward Johnson.
An article within the Drayton Advocate harkens again to 1954 when Thomas and Johnson had been in Moorefield and ball video games reportedly saved “followers on edge.”
“We are able to keep in mind when to see ball at its greatest you needed to journey to Toronto or Detroit,” the article states.
“Now, they’ve the actual factor at Moorefield,” it continued. “You’re in Moorefield Floodlite Park – wowie!”
“However there was no minor ball,” Cummings stated on Saturday.
After, it could be these minor ball video games that introduced households collectively and saved children coming again for generations.
“We had large tournaments right here yearly,” Cummings recalled, noting the cash raised allowed for one more ball diamond to be constructed in addition to fencing and lighting to be put in.
“Anyone that got here and performed, even from different cities, nonetheless discuss enjoying in these tournaments,” Cummings stated.
The Hilltops gained the primary all-Ontario championship, and successive minor ball groups continued to deliver dwelling trophies all through the Eighties and onward.
“The remainder is mainly historical past,” Cummings stated.
Politicians, together with Perth-Wellington MP John Nater and MPP Matthew Rae, and county councillor Earl Campbell had been available to current certificates of recognition to the affiliation.
Representing the township with a certificates was councillor Marlene Ottens, who stated “it’s such a thrill to see a celebration of 100 years; it’s simply an incredible accomplishment and we hope there’s one other 100 years after this.”
Gerty Ottens teared up when making some temporary feedback of due to everybody who got here out for the centennial celebration.
For the previous 30 years, she has been the go-to for the affiliation. However this yr shall be her final, she introduced.
With round 200 youngsters stated to be enjoying ball within the sunshine-soaked ball diamonds that day, it made for a superb ending to her last season.
“It’s fairly thrilling how many individuals are right here,” Gerty stated as she was pulled in several instructions by folks eager to know if she actually was shifting on.
Certainly she is. The time has come after many years of summers devoted to softball, she stated.
Bev Might, who held Gerty’s function at one time, was additionally in attendance.
Might is taken into account chargeable for bringing minor ball to Moorefield in 1974, and performed a key function for the following 11 years by bringing the neighborhood collectively on the diamonds the place video games had been typically held six nights per week.
To maintain the affiliation alive, extra devoted volunteers like Might and Gerty are wanted.
Actually there’s lots of time concerned in convening groups, organizing sport schedules, dealing with last-minute hiccups, orchestrating repairs and even ensuring the funds line up.
However if you happen to requested both of the ladies if it was price all of it simply to listen to the cheers and whistling coming from the households exterior after the thwack of a ball hitting the bat, they’d definitely let you know it was.