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Elmvale Angels - Baseball

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By - Jo-Anne McGinnis

As the only member to play baseball from the inception of the Elmvale Girls team, to the powerful eight year dynasty where we were known as the Elmvale Angels, I am proud and honoured to be chosen to trace the history of the Angels for you. The tale that I will relate is backed up by proof, mainly provided by Coach John Brown and Manager Joan Player, in the form of certificates that we were presented with each year. This brilliant recording of our history has allowed me to be accurate with facts and statistics, including the names of every Angel that ever played.

Overview

As the only member to play baseball from the inception of the Elmvale Midget Girls team in 1973, to the powerful eight year dynasty from 1977 to 1984 where we were known as the Elmvale Angels, I am proud and honoured to be chosen to trace the history of the Angels for you. The tale that I will relate is backed up by proof, mainly provided by Coach John Brown and Manager Joan Player, in the form of certificates that we were presented each year. This thoughtful gesture that resulted in the recording of our history has allowed me to be accurate with facts and statistics, including the names of every Angel that ever played.

My name is Jo-Anne McGinnis, and I pitched for the Elmvale Angels; Woo! I grew up playing baseball every chance that I got, in our back yard at home and at the Elmvale Ball Park. There would be friends, neighbours, and family from down by the tracks, so it was always game on! We played Work-Up, so we learned to play every position well, except for Pitcher, because the ball was lobbed in softly instead of pitched in hard.  The idea was to get up to bat by advancing by outs, so if you started out as Right Fielder, for instance, the next out would move you to Third, to Short, to Second, to First, to Pitcher, to Catcher, to Batter. There were four batters, and you wanted to be one of them for the whole recess or baseball session.

We learned to hustle for balls and play them with proper form and technique, because the ultimate goal was to get up to bat and stay there. In the case of a fly ball, the fielder traded places with the batter, so it was a good way to become a batter without ‘Working Up’ to it. This also taught us to hit the ball in the holes, because sometime there were seven or eight fielders to contend with. Work Up is an excellent way for coaches to discover hidden talent, and an opportunity for players to showcase abilities at different positions.

John Brown always claimed to know where an Elmvale baseball player attended grade school, because the ones who went to the Catholic School were better skilled in ball. That is because we didn’t have a gymnasium and the Public School did, so this meant that as soon as the snow got below our knees we started fielding grounders and shagging flies; mainly because we were sick of snow soccer.

In 1973 Bill and Shirley Stoddart, Harvey Graham and Bernice Dutfield put together a team of girls known as the Elmvale Midget Girls, and entered us in the Georgian Bay League. I was so excited because I had never been on a team before, even though the girls who went to the Public School were used to League play. After a few practices it became evident that this team needed a pitcher. Now remember, I was pretty good at every position except pitcher because I had never done it, so when Bill Stoddart asked me to try, I said sure! My first pitch nailed Barb Van Natter in the side of the head, and I don’t think she played any more after that, but I' m pretty sure that helmets became mandatory around that time!

Despite our inexperience, we emerged victorious as League Champions in the Georgian Bay League, and then we went on to win the League Play-Offs. After a great start to what turned out to be an awesome career of pitching baseball, I was stunned to discover I would be ineligible by one month to play with the team the next year. Ron Marchildon of Penetang was the Coach of the Penetang Ladies team in our League, and he must have been impressed by something he saw, because that winter he approached me about pitching for an All-Ontario team that he wanted to put together in Penetang. After being assured that transportation would be included, I said sure! Back then it was PWSU, with the U standing for Union. The games were all nine innings, and I was basically our only pitcher; at 16 years old.

Much to the surprise of many, but not some, we won the Intermediate Gold Championship by ousting Belleville in their park, and I think I got home two days later! My teammates and I were rewarded for our efforts in 1995, when we were inducted into the Penetang Sports Hall of Fame.  I played for The Penetang Red Sox the next year, 1975, but we were unable to secure another Championship.

Meanwhile, the Elmvale Midget Girls team that I had outgrown was now entering a new Division, and I was now able to rejoin my old teammates in the Georgian Bay League. We played hard and well, and we prevailed as League Champions in 1976, then dominated the Play-Offs and won them as well.  My teammates were: Dawn Janes, Kathleen Lake, Mary Ferguson, Lana Stoddart, Betty Lou Fiegehen, Janice Furlong, Diane Graham, Kim Janes, Pam Jordan, Janice Ritchie, and Jane Bertram.

One more note; in 1976, Brenda Columbus, one of the best middle infielders to ever play in the Barrie League, was honing her skills in Penetang playing for Ron Marchildon and the Red Sox. Brenda and I would connect the next year as teammates in 1977, and she would have my back at Short Stop for the next eight years; a journey shared only with John Brown, Joan Player, and Jean Fox.  Sadly, Brenda (BC) has joined fellow Angels John Brown (Brownie), Joan Player and Kelly Grantham (Granny) in 'Baseball Heaven', and as I write this, I realize just how much I truly miss each one of them....

We continued to play in the Georgian Bay League where we had dominated for so long. What comes next is largely due to the vision and dreams of Coach John Brown and our faithful Manager Joan Player, who was “just about to say that!” That used to drive Brownie crazy when she would state the obvious after a rather bad play on our part, and he would scream:” then why the hell didn’t you say something”?  

Please read on now that you know how the Angels came to be. I am happy to share my memories and opinions with you as we enter the era of the Elmvale Angels.

Coaching Staff

Elmvale Angels - Coaching Staff/Assistants/Players

Coach- John Brown 
Co-Coaches- Annette Craddock, Angela Hummelink, Tom McLennan
Manager- Joan Player
Scorekeepers- Bev Stacey, Steve McGinnis, Judy Milan
Bat People- Steve McGinnis, Jodie Player, Billie Jo Player

Deceased Angels - John Brown, Brenda Columbus, Kelly Grantham, Joan Player

 

1977 Angels

Angela Craddock 6 years
Mary Ferguson 1 year
Jo-Anne McGinnis 8 years
Lana Stoddart  4 years
Diane Truax  2 years
Brenda Columbus  8 years
Debbie Gillespie  5 years
Eva Charlebois  5 years
Jean Fox  8 years
Diane Graham  1 year
Kathleen Lake 1 year
Janice Ritchie  2 years
Muriel Archer  1 year
Kim Janes  1 year

New in 1978

Roxanne Weatherill  3 years
Wendy Martin  3 years
Bonnie Maw  7 years
Connie Maw  1 year
Sue Weatherall  1 year
Trish Downey  6 years

New in 1979

Barb Thompson  2 years
Judy Lutes  2 years
Mary Devine  2 years

New in 1981

Darlene Carlson  1 year
Debbie Charman  4 years
Shirley Howie  1 year
Angela Kirton  4 years
Iris Knappett  1 year
Cathy Wilson  1 year
Brenda Posie  4 years
Barb Schlorff   3 years
Debbie Smith  4 years
Brenda Vasey  1 year
Linda Watson  2 years

New in 1982

Kelly Grantham  2 years
Anna Storie  4 years
Carol Petit  1 year

New in 1983

Gayle Gibb  2 years
Fran Jordan  2 years
Leeane Boyd  2 years
Denise Ritchie  2 years

New in 1984

Anne Bovair  1 year
Sharon McMaster  1 year
Debbie Walker  1 year
Nancy Watson  1 year

Stats

Elmvale Angels

1977-1984

Wins            Losses               Ties

 262                 66                     4

A total of 45 women played for the Elmvale Angels over eight seasons 

Honourary Angels & The Boys Behind the Centre Field Fence

Elmvale Angels - Honourary Angels By Jo-Anne McGinnis

These special fans were recognized for their loyalty to our team. They served different roles such as driving, providing food and drink, and supporting us in many ways. Jean Columbus, or Mother Superior as we affectionately called her, certainly provided all of these services at one time or another. She was pretty good at offering us advice as well, especially to her daughter Brenda. Jean and Christina Vollick were the first two Honourary Angels, appointed in 1977.

Christina Vollick or Bobba as she was affectionately known, would sooner chew the tire off your car then let you through her gate without paying the admission fee! Her family could be found running the booth which was usually busy for our games,

Annette Craddock became an Honourary Angel in 1978 for her support, dedication, and perfect attendance as a fan. Annette went on to become Brownie`s Co-Coach for the next four years.

For some reason we stopped honouring our fans with this tradition after 1978, but some of the Angels feel that to overlook certain people would be a gross over-sight. For this reason, the Angels would like to now add nine deserving fans to this elite group, and we would like them to know how much we appreciated seeing their familiar faces at home and away games. It made things much easier to be small town girls playing in big scary cities, to hear your encouraging voices from the crowds.

Peter Vollett - Was our sponsor and friend who, along with Brownie, had us looking good and out-fitted with the best equipment.

The Rowatts - Gummy (Paul), Joan, and Diane rarely missed an out of town game or tournament for years. Joan also fed many of us, and supported us at home as well.

Ross and Madeline Ritchie - were big fans as well, especially Big Ross! They were present at many out of town events to show their support for our team.

Lorna Edwards - Loved to be involved in our after game affairs where she would tell us where we made our errors during the game. She rarely missed a game no matter how far she had to travel, and she was usually my ride and my date to Angel functions. Sad but true.

Harvey Martin - His daughter Wendy caught for the Angels from 1978 through 1980, and her father was a faithful fan in the stands. His smile and gentle nature made him a favorite with our team.

Marvin Graham - Prepared the diamond for us for every practice and home game. He loved being part of the Angel scene, and he donated an award to be presented to the player each year with the most RBI`S in the Play-Offs.

Thank you.  You were appreciated more than you will ever know!

The Boys Behind the Centre Field Fence

Centre Field is where the boyfriends and husbands would park their vehicles and set up their cheering zone.  They were an extremely noisy, supportive, thirsty bunch with their coolers and supplies lined up beside their lawn chairs.  Every year we had a new Team Theme Song and the boys would crank it out between innings, usually with the help of the sound system in Bill Player's van.  One year, our song was Under Cover Angel, and another year, it was Paradise by the Dashboard Light but the song that seemed to attract the most public response was Off to the Rodeo.  Who could forget Brownie and his Allemande Left & Allemande Right!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Centre Field fans for their years of loyalty, patience and babysitting!

Bill Truax, Carl Edwards, Tim Kennedy, Harry VanCasteren, Floyd Maw, Rob Campbell, Martin Hope, Bill Player, Dave Middleton, Steve Watson, Don McFadden, Tom Parker, Rick Johnstone and Craig Adams......to name most!

In memory

Tribute to John Brown 1947-2006 written and delivered by Trish Downey Campbell as part of Brownie's Eulogy  

It was mentioned to me awhile back that should the inevitable happen, Brownie would like me to speak on behalf of my team mates.  Of course, I was encouraged to think that he thought that much of me because I can assure you there were times during my playing days when he didn't think that much of me.  I also pointed out to him that I would have the last word and maybe he'd like the chance to rethink his decision.

However, it is indeed my honour today to represent all the ladies who had the privilege of membership in Brownie's elite squad know as the Elmvale Angels.  I'm here to provide you with a glimpse of just what Brownie did for us, what he means to us and how his influence will continue to guide us.

The Angels were founded in the mid 70's by Joan Player and Bernice Dunfield who both recognized Brownie's leadership talents early on.  Joan was able to convince Brownie that girls ball was worth a look and his decision to become the Coach set in motion the beginning of a number of record-setting teams.  After several successful seasons in the Georgian Bay Softball League, Brownie was anxious to take the team to the next level.  The team was accepted in to the Barrie & Districk Ladies Softball League after a very convincing presentation lead by Brownie.  The pinnacle of the Angels success was when we captured the All-Ontario Championship in 1982.  I am proudly wearing the infamous 'disco jacket' that, by the way, I've been waiting more than 24 years to don....this jacket represents both Brownie's and the Angel's crowning achievement.  We were the underdogs going into the tournament but armed with one of Brownie's greatest gifts, the belief he instilled in us that we were winners, we did just that!  The papers read 'Angels WIn It All', 'Angels on Cloud Nine after Title Win' and 'Ontario Title Result of seven years of hard work'.  Brownie, who the media refereed to as the 'guiding light', as usual deflected all the credit to his players saying, 'we were the best team there because we played the kind of ball we were capable of playing'.  Brownie, we were the best team there because we had the best leader and that leader was extremely adept at getting the absolute best from us.

Just getting back to the jacket for a minute, at the end of that championship season, we had our annual picture day.  I have or at least had a nasty habit of being fashionably late - Brownie would have other words for it.  Anyway, knowing that the individual pictures were always taken first, I didn't arrive quite on time and by the way, everything ran on Brownie time in those days.  Brownie was spitting mad at me and decided to change it up....the team picture was taken first.  Sometime later that Fall, the championship jackets were ordered based on who was in the team picture.  Needless to say, I missed out on getting a jacket and back then, it was all about the jacket!  I do, however, have a lovely individual picture.  Brownie, I know it's a little late to thank you and it's a little ill-fitting but I'm proud of it, all the same.

Brownie had a degree from the University of Common Sense.  He knew what made each and every one of us tick.  He knew who needed the pat on the back and also who needed the proverbial kick in the butt.  My butt just happened to be black and blue most of the time.  He taught us to 'Want the Ball' - a phrase that still runs through my head every time I'm faced with an opportunity or adversity.  He also taught us to 'Make a Difference' and again, that message has followed us throughout our lives.  From Brownie, we learned that sport is not always about being the best athlete, but instead, it is about who played smarter and that translates to who was coached the best.  Even though all of my team mates did not play on that storied team, we can all say that Brownie was our Coash, our Teacher, our Motivator, our Mentor and likely most importantly, our Confidante and Trusted Friend.

Off the field, Brownie's teachings continued.  Who could forget the late night strategy sessions on his back deck accompanied by a number of cold beverages.....actually, sometimes the venue changed for such meetings to a local main-street establishment.....who could forget the California Cuties (enough said).... who could forget the Annual Awards banquets where all players were made to feel special....who could forget Brownie's prowess with automobiles - his sense of direction may have been somewhat lacking but he certainly knew how to drive that Corvette....remember the rental van for the trip to Peterborough, who could forget.....actually, I remember the rental van's sliding door coming off in his arms after one of his more memorable 'snaps' at us.....who could forget Room 240 - that room existed in every town that we played in - it was Brownie's meeting room, the war room, where the team play would be put in place for the upcoming game.....who could forget.

Brownie, we all know you're already up there in God's field of dreams imparting both your wonderful sense of humour and sage advice to those who have arrived before you.  Harvey Martin has been searching out talent for years now, Joan Player has the line-up sheet ready to go and Kelly Grantham is warming up out in centre field.  It will just be a matter of time before you're standing in the 3rd base coaching box with your hat on sideways, sending signals, yelling encouragement and kicking dirt at the umpire.  So, godspeed, they're waiting your arrival.....by the way,, if on the way up you decide to carry a piano, that's OK, just don't stop to play it!

We'll all be down here rooting for you.....Foxy, Stodds, Gilly, Drapes, BC, Nutsy, Smitty, Eva, Ang, Wimp, Posie, Lutesy, Jo-Anne and many, many others along with myself will remember you.  All these years you thought we were players when all along, we were your biggest fans.  Those were the times of our lives and we have you to thank for that.  We will never forget!

Elmvale Angels – 1977 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

We had proven that we were extremely competent in the Georgian Bay League, and our first year as the Elmvale Angels with John Brown at the helm would prove to be no different. Clad in our new green and white unies, compliments of Peter Vollett, we posted a record of 17 wins and 1 loss; Brownie eventually got over the loss!

I was the pitcher and was caught by Angela Craddock and Mary Ferguson. Leftie Lana Stoddart played some First Base and Short Stop, not at the same time, and she really provided a punch with her bat. Diane Truax was the first Captain of the Elmvale Angels, and Brenda Columbus and Angela Craddock served as the Co-Captains. Brenda also won the Most Sportsmanlike Player Award for the Georgian Bay League, I was awarded the Most Valuable Player, and hard hitting Jean Fox, fresh from Orillia, earned the League Batting Championship.
Debbie Gillespie, or Gillie, roamed the outfield for the Angels and provided a very strong arm and bat for our team. She was a very polite player, always saying, sometimes over-saying “thanks for coming” or “ever nice!”, or “sorry!” Deb was playing Left Field at the Provincials in Toronto at Stanley Park, and the game was tied and running late, in fact we had to gain permission from the city to continue the game because it was after curfew time. There was a girl on Second Base and the ball was hit on the ground to Gillie in Left Field. The runner raced to Third Base and Debbie reared back and let the ball rip. The umpire, for reasons known only to herself, ran to Third Base with the runner, and squatted down to see the play unfold. The only problem was, she squatted facing the infield, but the play was developing from behind her and she couldn’t see the ball. Doesn’t it hit her right in the back of the head and knock her out cold! Now there is another delay in the game, but what I remember, is apologetic Gillie standing looking down at the unconscious official and saying “Sorry! You shouldn’t have been standing there!”

Eva Charlebois was built like a short pop machine and exuded power in her arm and bat alike. She would ride her bike to games and practices in Elmvale; from Perkinsfield, to warm up! Eva was a dedicated teammate and player for 5 years; from 1977-1981, ironically moving out West the year BEFORE we won the Provincials.

Janice Ritchie, Kim Janes, Diane Graham, Kathleen Lake, and Muriel Archer rounded out this first roster of the Elmvale Angels, but unfortunately did not return in 1978.

Saint Mary's - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

This was an exciting time for the Angels as we prepared for our first Provincial Tournament. We didn't know what to expect, but we looked good and left town thinking we were going to win. Funny thing about the Provincials, it didn't matter how good you looked, it was all about how well you played! We lost our first two games in what seemed like only four hours and were headed home wondering what had just happened, but determined to take what we had learned and build on it for next year.
Some players will fondly remember our camping excursion in the pouring rain in Saint Mary's, while others may recall tipping an outhouse over in a corn field with Joan Player in it! We came home a better ball team for the experience and I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Elmvale Angels - 1978 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

The Angels had certainly gained respect in the Georgian Bay League and in 1978, we bolstered the line-up with the acquisitions of Trish Downey, Roxanne Weatherill, Wendy Martin, Bonnie Maw, Connie Maw and Sue Weatherall. Our record was an impressive 25 wins and 6 losses and we won the Georgian Bay Championship title once again. We also won the Orillia Rotary Tournament and were finalists in the first annual Elmvale Tournament. Brenda Columbus and Jean Fox won League and Team Batting Championships, Janice Ritchie, the Most Improved Player and Bonnie Maw, the Rookie of the Year.

Trish Downey, or Fleecy as I dubbed her, had a love-hate relationship with Brownie from day one. Her mischievous nature and 'unruly' behaviours landed her in Brownie's bad books many times during her 6 year tour of duty with the Angels. Trish took some of the heat of me, as it seemed that I was a good person for him to blame stuff on. We were both grateful when Smitty eventually came along....then Brownie had his hands full! John once claimed that if he had to have two kids, he would pick Brenda Columbus and Trish Downey, so he would have an Angel and a Devil! It's a wonder we didn't all end up in therapy!

Roxanne Weatherill was quite young when she joined our team and she was Utility infielder who hit left, hustled hard and laid down some pretty mean bunts. We were down by a run in the PWSA tournament one year and Roxie was our go-ahead runner on Third Base with the score tied and two out. I was up to bat. I cranked a screamer about neck high straight down the third base line. Roxanne took off for home full tilt with her head down, but just as she raised her head, the ball hit her square in the throat and she was out cold. She was gently brought around, with strange women putting ice down the top of her uniform and she came up swinging. This I gave her crap for, running in fair territory. She was our third out!

Bonnie Maw was a loyal Angel for the next 7 years, eventually assuming a Player/Coach role. Nutsy, as she was affectionately known, was not the most graceful player on the team but she always came up with the ball and made the right play. I recall Bonnie sitting in the stands at Elmvale Ball Park, crying her eyes out because she had torn her knee. Brownie had his back to the play and was taping up her injury so she could go back in and play. The batter nailed a loud foul ball, Brownie ducked and Nutsy took it right on the side of the head. I don't remember if she finished the game, and she probably doesn't either!

Connie Maw was taken out of the stands at an Angel's game to become our ninth player, so in reality, we couldn't have won with out her. She only played the one year and she was MVP for that one game but how she earned her nickname Spot is quite another story!

Sue Weatherall was brought in to share catching duties with Angela Craddock. I'm sure we all recall Sue's dog sharing our team water jug! No, really! Wendy Martin was also a good catcher, a great team mate and really comical when she got mad because it was different to her normally jovial nature.

Brownie and Joan Player had done a remarkable job of forging our successful team, but little did we know that we had said good-bye to the Georgian Bay League. It seemed our Coaching staff had bigger plays in store for us!

Saint Thomas - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

I would like to tell you that we fared better this year in Saint Thomas, and we did; we won one game! We lost the next two, however, and were left scratching our heads again wondering what we had to do to win at this level. We spent most of the weekend watching the Provincials again, and doing a lot of team bonding and partying, never suspecting it would take another four years before we would be able to succeed in our quest for Gold.

I lost my ball glove at the Saint Thomas tournament and I stressed about it all winter as I had been presented with the glove as the MVP Award for 1977 for the Angels. I dreaded telling Coach Brown about it, so I didn't! You can imagine my surprise when I received a parcel in the mail in the spring post-marked from Saint Thomas. In it, was my glove! I don't know to this day who sent it, or where it came from, but I suspect Brownie had something to do with it. All I know is that I was pretty happy to see it!

Elmvale Angels – 1979 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

This was a huge transition year for the Elmvale Angels as we moved up and into the much tougher 16 team Barrie League; time to see what we had learned. There were 4 Divisions, and I am proud to say that we competed admirably for 6 seasons in the elite ‘A’ Division. Our record for our first season in the new League was 27 wins, 12 losses, and 1 tie, which landed us tied for first place. We lost first place when it came to runs against for the season but, to our credit, we won the Edgar and Midland Tournaments.

Judy Lutes, her sister Barb Thompson and Mary Devine became new Angels this year when they came to play from Orillia. Lutesy was a solid power catcher and hitter and a fun addition to the team, as were Mary and Barbie, who would cry every time Brownie felt the need for some strong criticism of her sister Judy.

Brenda Columbus had a big year for trophies, winning the League MVP, Best Infielder, MVP in the Edgar Tournament, and she was voted to the League’s First All-Star Team. Eva Charlebois, Judy Lutes, Lana Stoddart, Debbie Gillespie, and Trish Downey were named to the League Second All-Star Team, and I was voted Most Valuable Pitcher in the Edgar Tournament, an event that we all looked forward to each year, held at the Adult Occupational Centre.

I don’t recall how many years the Barrie League had been going when we joined in 1979, but at that time all games, home and away, were played in Barrie at Shear Park. By the next year, 1980, Brownie was already the President of the League, and our home games were played in Elmvale from then on. This was huge because we had a large following of fans, and we were able to be financially independent from our takes on the gate and proceeds from the Snack Booth. Of course, the majority of our expenses were covered by our sponsor, Labatts. Our fans and sponsors really helped in the build of our momentum!

Peterborough - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

This was one of those weekends where everything went wrong! We were running late for our first game when Coach Brown broke off the key in the ignition of our rental van. We all looked at each other, Brownie cussed, and Roxanne Weatherill grabbed the broken key, spliced it together enough to get the van started, and stated, "I've got a darned ball game to play, let's go!" Of course, that's not what she really said, but close enough.

We finally got to the game and had to start without a proper warm-up. My first three pitches were perfect strikes, yet the count was 3 and 0 for some reason. I looked to the bench at John for help or advice, so he asked the Umpire what was going on. That's when we learned the pitching rules had changed, and instead of presenting the ball before it was pitched, it now had to be hidden in the glove for three seconds before being pitched. Talk about being unprepared! I adjusted immediately and found this new way to pitch was an excellent way of hiding the change-up!

We didn't win a game again this year, but we played cards and partied hearty in Room 240, our hospitality suite that we always had at every hotel. Whether that was the actual room number or not, we always called it Room 240. Brownie was furious that we had lost, and enraged that we were taking it better than he was, so he refused to pull over the rental van on the way home for us to relieve ourselves of our sponsor's product. We all had to go, but Jan Ritchie had been in dire straits for hours when he finally pulled over at an abandoned gas station. He yanked the sliding door across to let us out and to his surprise and our amusement, the door came off right in his hands. We started to laugh, a bad move in retrospect, and he screamed at us and threatened to leave us there. I remember sharing a filthy men's urinal with Foxie and being grateful when we landed safely back in Elmvale without Brownie killing us!

Elmvale Angels -1980 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

Surprisingly, there were no new addition to the Angels roster this year but perhaps that explains why we cleaned up at the League Award Banquet and at our Team Banquet. Our record was 37 wins, 11 losses, and 2 ties. We finished second in regular season League play, won the Edgar and Elmvale Tournaments, were finalists in the Barrie and Midland Tournaments, and we were voted the League’s Most Sportsmanlike Team.

We had 5 Angels named to the League First All-Star Team: Eva Charlebois who also earned Best Outfielder honors; Brenda Columbus who won Best Infielder, MVP of the regular season as well as the Play-Offs, and the Most Consistent Player title; Trish Downey; Jean Fox who was named to the All-Star team in the Elmvale Tournament was also chosen Most Offensive Player. I won Most Valuable Pitcher for the regular season and the Play-Offs, as well as for the Edgar and Elmvale Tournaments, and Bonnie Maw, Judy Lutes, and Lana Stoddart were named to the League Second All-Star Team. Debbie Gillespie was deemed Most Improved Player, earned a spot on the All-Star Team at the Elmvale Tournament, and voted Best Outfielder.

Judy Lutes won the Batting Championship, Most Inspirational Player, Most Sportsmanlike Player in the Edgar Tournament, and picked for the All-Star Team in the Elmvale Tournament. Wendy Martin, or Wimpy, won the Most Sportsmanlike Player honors for the League, and Bonnie Maw was named Most Dedicated Player and was assigned to the All-Star Team at the Elmvale Tournament . Barb Thompson and Roxanne Weatherill shared the Most Improved Player Awards for the League and the Angels.
Manager Angela Hummelink was recognized as the Person Making The Largest Contribution to The Barrie League, while Coaches John Brown and Annette Craddock were elected to the League First All-Star Team.

Georgetown - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

After a rain delay that caused the Angel's first game to be rescheduled from 9AM to 5PM, the team was unable to get it together and lost to Belleville 2-0. We came back strong beating Richmond Hill 7-5 in nine innings the next game, and then defeated host club Georgetown 6-1. Riverside handed us our second loss by emerging victorious10-2, and once again we were headed home empty handed.

Despite our disappointment, the 1980 Angels excelled in League play and captured the Play Off Championship as well. We won three Tournaments, were Finalists in the other two that we played in and were awarded 35 awards as team at the League Banquet.

Elmvale Angels – 1981 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

Despite the successful 1980 season, the Angels coaching staff decided to add 11 new players: Debbie Charman, Shirley Howie, Angela Kirton, Iris Knappett, Cathy Wilson, Brenda Posie, Barb Schlorff, Debbie Smith, Brenda Vasey, and Linda Watson. Our record was 31 wins and 12 losses, and we got a sniff at the Provincials when we won silver; getting closer. We finished second in the League and the Play-Offs, were finalists in the Barrie Tournament, and won the Elmvale Tournament. Tom McLennan joined the coaching staff, and Judy Milan took over as Scorekeeper, a duty she did well at until she accidently left my name off the starting line-up at the Provincials in Sarnia, so Anna Storie had to pitch back to back games. I saw the humour in the human error, but Brownie saw things quite differently. Just ask Judy!

Eva Charlebois was named to the League All-Star Team and the Elmvale Tournament Team, Deb Charman deservedly won Most Versatile Player, while Brenda Columbus took the Coach’s Award, named All-Star Short Stop of the League, and won the Marvin Graham Award for most RBI’s in the Play-Offs. Trish Downey was named to the League All-Star Team and the Elmvale Tournament Team and voted Best Infielder at the Barrie Tournament where she WAS on time Brownie!

Jean Fox was chosen Most Productive Infielder, while Bonnie Maw was Most Inspirational Player and the League All-Star Right Fielder. I was the Most Valuable Pitcher for the League, and voted to the Elmvale Tournament All-Star Team and selected Most Popular Player. Barb Schlorff was the most Sportsmanlike Player and Debbie Smith earned First Base rights on the League All-Star Team.

This was the year that I was transformed from a thrower to a pitcher, thanks largely to the acquisition of catcher Debbie Smith. Smitty was a first rate, knowledgeable, competitive, opinionated, bossy, loud catcher with a definite plan; win at all costs! She taught me the plan and together we focused on learning batters, hitting the glove, and utilizing my change-up that batters loved to hate. Smitty hit from the left side of the plate with power, was an awesome bunter, and she won the Provincial Batting Championship in 1982 hitting .750 for the weekend!. She used to sit on the umpire’s feet because her knees would give out, playing through pain in order to get the job done!

Debbie Charman came to us from Stayner and is fondly remembered by me as being one of the best infielders that I ever had the fortune to play with and against for several decades. Angela Kirton, or Drapes as I christened her, was very young when she joined the Angels and fretted as she served her time on the bench waiting for her turn. Angie was a very good ball player as a youth, and I believe that her pitching abilities should have been developed. Drapes eventually filled positions in the infield, mainly Second Base, and was a good contact hitter who seldom struck out, and despite a lot of teasing comments about her speed or lack thereof, I’m pretty sure she could always beat me!

Shirley Howie, Iris Knappett and Cathy Wilson were used as capable utility infielders with our team, wile Linda Watson, Brenda Vasey and Brenda Posie all roamed the outfield and brandished big bats for us. Barb Schlorff came to the Angels as a catcher, but she filled in at 1st base when needed as well.

Stouffville - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

We added 11 new players this year and Brownie was hoping for a Bronze medal, praying for Gold and won Silver! The Angels played very well all weekend, beating Georgetown 7-5 despite a 3-2 deficit in the first inning. We also ousted Queen's Hotel, our arch rivals, 8-4 and then routed Danville 1-0, haha! The Angels earned the right to advance to the PWSA Regional Championship game by defeating Sudbury 11-1. As we were undefeated, we had to be beat twice by Aurora to lose and that is exactly what we did. We lost the first game 7-1 and the second game 5-2 but were proud and content with our silver medals....for now!

Elmvale Angels - 1982 - PWSA ALL-ONTARIO CHAMPIONS SENIOR TIER 2 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

Our time had arrived! In 1982 we boasted a record of 41 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie, and we won Gold at the Provincials! In addition, we captured the League regular season Championship followed by the Play-Off Championship. We also emerged victorious at the Midland, Penetang, and Elmvale Tournaments, and were finalists in the Barrie PWSA Regional Tournament.

Anna Storie joined our team and she and I shared pitching duties. Finally we had found the missing link that would lead us to victory. Anna and I got along splendidly, and we respected each other as ball players and pitchers, which is very important when playing a team sport. Carol Petit also became an Angel for a year and served as a utility player.

Kelly Grantham too became an Elmvale Angel. She was a gifted athlete: tall, left-handed and powerful! Kelly was an all-round talent, excelling not only as a ball player but also in hockey, track, basketball and volleyball. I once saw her pound a home run with the bases loaded at a Tournament in Hillsdale when she still played for Queen’s Hotel. WOW!

Brenda Columbus was voted Most Sportsmanlike Player and was the All-Star Short Stop chosen at the Elmvale Tournament, Kelly Grantham Most Valuable Outfielder and was elected to the All-Star Team at the Elmvale tournament. Angie Kirton must have graduated off the bench by this time because she was selected Most Improved Player, and I was voted Most Valuable Pitcher in the League Play-Offs and the Elmvale Tournament. I was also included on the League All-Star Team along with Brenda Middleton and Debbie Smith. Smitty won the PWSA Batting Championship, MVP for the Angels, the Coach’s Award, and chosen for the All-Star Teams for the League and the Elmvale Tournament. Anna Storie earned the PWSA Most Valuable Pitcher honors, and Bonnie Van Casteren the Most Inspirational Player title.

Sarnia - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

Finally, Gold at last! We had to move up a Division because we had won the Intermediate Silver medal in Stouffville, so we entered Senior Tier 2 for the first time. The competition was even stronger but we persevered and won the title, first beating Cookeville 4-1 with Anna Storie pitching a one-hitter. It took eight innings for the Angels to register a 3-2 victory over Richmond Hill in the second game when Trish Downey tripled and Deb Charman drove her home. Anna Storie pitched her second one-hitter in two games, beating Norwich 4-1 and the Angels then blanked Belleville 7-0 to advance undefeated to the finals against Norwich who would have had to beat us twice. This time, it took only one game as we came out on top in a 7-6 victory, to rightfully claim the Senior Tier 2 Provincial Championship!

It would be horribly remiss of me to not mention one play that proved instrumental in winning the PWSA GOLD. We were playing Norwich in the finals and the score was tight. Bonnie Van Casteren was running from Second Base going for Home on a Jean Fox hit. The throw from the Outfielder was off line and it drew the Catcher about eight feet up the Third Base Line. Bonnie was running full out right at her. Everyone in the park knew she was out, but she leaped like a ballerina/ballplayer right up and over the Catcher and landed square in the middle of Home Plate on one foot. Safe at Home! Because of this play, we went on to defeat Norwich 7-6, which clinched the PWSA title.

Anna Storie, who had won her third PWSA Gold in three years, was deservedly named Most Valuable Player. Debbie Smith won the Batting Championship, hitting .750 for the weekend! Awards were presented at a convention centre in Toronto where we were wined, dined and treated like winners all weekend long!

Elmvale Angels – 1983 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

With a record of 41 wins and 10 losses, the Angels once again won the Barrie League Championship and the Play-Off championship. We had the distinction of winning the Barrie Tournament undefeated, with no runs given up against us. In addition, we captured the $1,000 purse at the Midland Tournament, and we were finalists at our Tournament in Elmvale.

We were entered in the CNE Tournament, which meant travelling to Toronto to the EX six times in a little over a week in order to hopefully win the event. We made it to the finals undefeated which meant Burlington had to beat us twice in one night to win, or we only had to beat them once. We had the game in command in front of thousands of fans, but the wheels fell off late in the game when two errors were made in Left Field. Burlington went on to win the game, and then they beat us again. So disappointing that we repeated the exact same feat the next year when we faced Burlington again in the finals; undefeated. That is why we have two Bullova travelling alarm clocks and the Burlington players have two shiny gold Bullova wrist watches!

New to the Angels this year were Gayle Gibb, Fran Jordan, Leeanne Boyd, and Denise Ritchie. Gayle played the field and wielded a big bat, but Fran also played the field and caught a bit. Leeanne was a utility player, and Denise was instrumental when called upon to steal a base or lay down a bunt for us.

Deb Charman earned the Angels MVP Award for her efforts, while Brenda Columbus won honors as Most Sportsmanlike Player for the League and at the Angels Banquet, and was presented with the coveted Coach’s Award. Trish Downey hit her way to another League Batting Championship and seemed to be adjusting to her rather sudden new position in field and first base.

I was the MVP at the Midland Tournament, and Bonnie Van Casteren slugged her way to become the Angel’s Batting Champion. The Coaches picked Anna Storie to be MVP for the Angels and was also chosen MVP for the League Play-Offs. Good job Edna Boyle, Anna’s unusual nickname!

Belleville - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

Our game on Friday night was against Richmond Hill and it was a nail biter. We lost 1-0 in 20 innings for our first loss of the Tournament, with Anna Storie pitching the complete game for Elmvale. I still haven't quite figured that one out yet....We lost our second game as well to Scarborough 5-3, thus being rendered ineligible to participate in the PWSA finals later in the season in Barrie, as we had needed to place as one of the top three teams.

Elmvale Angels – 1984 - By Jo-Anne McGinnis

This turned out to be the final chapter in the eight year reign of the Elmvale Angels. Once again we had an impressive record with 43 wins and 11 losses. We won The League Championship and owned the Play-Offs, and took Silver at the PWSA Senior Tier 2 Regional Qualifiers. The Angels won the Richmond Hill Tournament undefeated without giving up a run, for the second time in the history of the team. We all know how we fared at the CNE Tournament for the second year in a row, but this was an event that I really enjoyed, not only because of the venue and the crowds, but Anna and I got to hit at this Tournament because they didn’t use the Designated Hitter, which was rare.

Joining the Team for this last year was Anne Bovair, Sharon McMaster, Debbie Walker, and Nancy Watson, who cleaned up at Awards Night winning the League MVP, League Play-Off MVP, and the Angels MVP. As a result, Nancy was presented with the Coach’s Award.

Deb Charman’s competitive good nature was recognized when she was chosen Most Sportsmanlike Player for the League and for the Angels. Gayle Gibb was named All-Star Left Fielder for the League, Fran Jordan for Centre Field and MVP for the Angels. Angie Kirton was granted Most Improved Player status, and Sharon McMaster the All-Star Designated Hitter Award.

All good things must come to an end, and so did the Elmvale Angels. At that time we were ready to move on and prepare for our futures. Some went off to University and College; some met their mates and were married and had children (or had children and got married). Some chose to remain on their own or found their life partners, while still others are no longer with us.

I am happy to say that I personally knew the other 44 players who were the Elmvale Angels, and I can only hope that I have left a positive impression on every one of you.

The Angels hosted the PWSA Regionals, which were played in Elmvale, Hillsdale and Wyevale. We won our first three games before being beat by Agincourt 5-3, which was still a good enough record to send us to the Championship game again. We played all weekend to a full house of fans and visitors and we provided them with first rate baseball. We played Cambridge in the final game, losing 4-3 as the result of a Cambridge player hitting the ball over the Left Field fence. We played a pretty good team and we were happy with Silver.

A Cambridge player who may or may not have had a past with Angel Catcher Debbie Smith, came into Home Plate late in the game with her cleats high and nailed Smitty in the leg, ripping it open pretty good. A big melee ensued and their player was ejected for her shenanigans. Smitty's leg was a mess for the rest of the season because it didn't have time to heal between games. We played 28 days in a row because our League play, League Playoffs, the CNE Tournament and our Annual Labour Day Tournament in Elmvale. Smitty had to wait until the season ended for her wounds to heal!