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FIDDLER'S FACTS: Famed ball tournament underway


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The 14th annual Jimmy Fiddler Memorial Baseball Tournament got underway Friday at Kiwanis Park and City Diamond in Charlottetown’s Victoria Park and it continues today.

The championship game is set for Sunday at 3 p.m. at City Diamond. The tournament, named in honour of Jimmy (Fiddler) MacDonald, the Hall of Fame pitching standout from the 1930s and my father, has attracted eight of the best mosquito AAA teams from this region, including four from Prince Edward Island.

There are three teams from the Halifax area in the tournament, including Halifax, Dartmouth and Tri County, as well as the always-strong Fredericton team representing New Brunswick.

The Capital District Islanders, under the guidance of veteran fastball standout Jamie Macdonald, are the first-place club in the Island league, but the other clubs are capable and competitive. Eastern Express handled by ex-standout senior pitcher Quen Johnston won the P.E.I. kick off tournament in June while Scotty Ellsworth’s Mid-Isle Cougars and Summerside Chevys, under Sean Campbell, are capable of going a long way in this competition.

A look at the schedule for this weekend’s Jimmy Fiddler Memorial Baseball Tournament in Charlottetown. Friday’s results were unavailable at press time.

Today

9 a.m. – Capital District vs. Dartmouth, City.

9:30 a.m. – Summerside vs. Tri-County, Kiwanis.

11:15 a.m. – Eastern vs. Fredericton, City.

11:45 a.m. – Mid-Isle vs. Halifax, Kiwanis.

1:30 p.m. – Capital District vs. Tri-County, City.

2 p.m. – Eastern vs. Dartmouth, Kiwanis.

3:45 p.m. – Mid-Isle vs. Fredericton, City.

4:15 p.m. – Summerside vs. Halifax, Kiwanis.

Sunday

8:30 a.m. – First vs. Eight, City.

8:30 a.m. – Second vs. Seventh, Kiwanis.

10:30 a.m. – Third vs. Sixth, City.

10:30 a.m. – Fourth vs. Fifth, Kiwanis.

12:45 p.m. – Semifinal, City.

12:45 p.m. – Semifinal, Kiwanis.

3 p.m. – Final, City.

Celebrity dinner

The Boys and Girls Club of Summerside Celebrity Dinner Monday night at Credit Union Place attracted a sold-out audience, 1,050 tickets sold, with big names from the wide world of sports in attendance.

There were the usual array of NHL hockey greats and guys we usually don’t see down this way like Bryan Trottier, Billy Smith, Mike Bossy, Peter Mahovlich and Johnny Bucyk, but it was great to see NFL star Brian Westbrook, boxing legend George Chuvalo and popular boxing and MMA star Butterbean, Eric Esch.

As usual, master of ceremonies George Matthews and Boys and Girls Club executive director Adam Binkley put together a most entertaining evening, not too short and not too long, perfect timing. I even got a chance to talk at length with long-time friends like Paul MacWilliams, Bill Dickie, Jim Rankin and Gary Somers.

I also had a chat this week with original Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Al Woods, whom I visited a few years ago in San Francisco. Al is here with the Trent Birt celebrity golf tournament which may be still continuing if you read this paper earlier Saturday morning in Charlottetown.

Birthday

George Brookins, who lugged sports teams from P.E.I. all over the Maritimes and beyond for the better part of 50 years, celebrated his 80th marker a few days ago.

Brookins transported many junior, midget, UPEI and Holland College teams to Atlantic Canada tournaments and in plenty of cases at cost only. A number of the head coaches that had the pleasure of travelling with George, including Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant, found the time on Thursday evening to thank George for the help along the way. It was a classy gesture by Gallant who, although out of province, found the time to wish Brookins all the best on his 80th birthday.

Brookins, whose dad raced the great 1946 Maritime champion trotter Christie Budlong, was and still is a horse owner. In fact, he was Marc Campbell’s first owner.

Among those at the gathering were sports figures from Kensington, some from the soccer community, where the sport is enjoyed by high school kids playing on the land that Brookins donated to the community. All the best George and many more.

Harness racing

Live harness racing returns tonight at the city track with an 11-dash card, post time is 6 p.m.

The $2,350 feature has attracted a field of six, including Oh To Be Me, Zero rate and four others. I am happy to see the city track did not call for a top class or an open mares tonight, helping Truro with their big Grand Circuit Week. It shows we are trying.

The $7,500 Exhibition Cup Invitational goes tonight at Truro Raceway and In Spades has an inside post with the co-favourites like Czar Seelster, Do Over Hanover and Euchred on the outside. Also in this group is Rose Run Quest, who impressed in winning in 1:54 at Summerside last week.

Congratulations to Kenny Arsenault on his Governor’s Plate victory aboard Czar Seelster last Saturday night. Ken gave the winner a smart, clever drive and proved he still is among the top five drivers in the region and has been for the past 30 years.

Mark MacDonald drove Ray Schnittker’s Hickfromfrenchlick to victory in the $100,000 Lawrence B Sheppard Memorial at Yonkers last Saturday night for two-year-old colt pacers. It was one of seven winners MacDonald drove during the two-day period.

Santiago Style, who raced here last year and won earlier this year in 1:49 and change, is in to go tonight at The Meadowlands. Top three-year-old Lather Up is to qualify today at The Big M.

At Woodbine tonight, McWicked, who has been razor sharp of late, has the rail in the $34,000 open against the likes of Ellis Park (James MacDonald), Easy Lover Hanover (Doug McNair) and four others.

At Yonkers, New York, tonight Mark MacDonald handles Great Vintage, 3-1, in the $44,000 open for trainer Jimmy Takter against the likes of Always At My Place (George Brennan) and five others.

Ex-Maritime champion Pappy Go Go was a fast-closing second in 1:54:4 in a $24,000 trot this past week at Woodbine. The Tad the Stud four-year-old has been very sharp since coming to Ontario from USA tracks.

A nice story on John Duffy on the Standardbred Canada website. The personable Duffy, younger brother of ex-jockey Lloyd Duffy, is a class act who has been with Meridian Farms for 16 years.

Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at fiddlersfacts@hotmail.com.

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