The threats were there all weekend, but the rain somehow stayed away.
The sixth annual Ponoka Lions Stan Baliant Slo-Pitch tournament felt a few drops and was nearly blown away by the wind on opening night, but otherwise the 18-team event went off without a hitch over the weekend at the Riverside diamonds.
Tournament organizer Irene Baliant, who along with her daughters took over running the event four years ago after her husband Stan who started the event passed away, said everyone was pleased the rain missed the event that began Friday, July 15 with the finals going Sunday, July 17.
“The only concern we had was on Friday night with the wind, it nearly blew our big tent away,” she said.
The Big Valley Stealers won the event by defeating the Free Agents from Clive in the A-final, while the B-final went to Ponoka’s Asylum who beat Red Deer’s Konfusion with another Ponoka squad, Alkabolics, winning the C-final over top of Giant Midgets from Rocky Mountain House.
A total of eight local teams – six from Ponoka and one each from Crestomere and Maskwacis – participated, but many of the out-of-town teams had some sort of representation or affiliation with Ponoka.
At least two of the three Red Deer teams had some local players or former residents as did the pair of squads from Leduc and Edmonton as well as the team making the longest trek – Peace River.
Baliant stated this was the fourth straight year a now former Ponoka resident – who lives and works in the province’s far northwest – has brought a team down for the tournament.