Nine teams battled it out on the diamonds at Merritt Central Park, the weekend of September 17 as Pukaist Heat hosted their invitational fastball Tournament. The games served as the last tournament to cap of a summer of men’s softball. 

From September 17 to 18, nine teams, hailing from Kamloops all the way to Richmond, congregated at Central Park to showcase high level of fastpitch play. 

“It’s good to see this many teams out, playing high-level ball,” said organizer, Kyle Minnabarriet. “We have some high calibre players and pitchers in this tournament.”

Aside from being the tournament organizer, Minnabarriet also dawns the uniform for the host team, Pukaist Heat. Pukaist is a traditional community in the Highland Valley area, located between Ashcroft and Spences Bridge. 

Though there are many places that could host the tournament, Minnabarriet favoured the quality of our local diamonds. 

“They’re really good fields to play at,” he said. “We like the town of Merritt, it’s a really good place to be. We just wanted to give the people a fastball tournament again because it’s been a while since we had a tournament here.” 

Making the tournament, a family event, Minnabarriet believes that it would serve the younger players some good to see a higher level of play. 

“With the kids starting in their minor leagues now, they can see here, the men’s fastpitch league to get an idea of where they can go with it as well. This is something for the kids playing in minor leagues to watch and look up to. “

This invitational will serve as the last tournament before men’s play begins again next April. 

Pukaist Heat Fastball Tournament by Izaiah Reyes