Fred Schneider and Blair McFayden throw out the opening pitch to start the 20th season for Nelson Mixed Slo-Pitch.

Slo-pitch celebrates 20 years of play

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Nelson Mixed Slo-Pitch and president RJ Warren says it’s been a successful journey.

For the past two decades, Nelson has been home to a recreational, yet competitive league of part-time athletes that enjoy both the challenge and the camaraderie that comes with playing team sports.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Nelson Mixed Slo-Pitch and president RJ Warren says it’s been a successful journey.

“It’s really been a change for us. We have really upgraded,” he said.

Back in 1994, there were two different slo-pitch leagues – the government league and the bank league.

“The government had eight teams and the bank had 10 teams,” recalls Joe Capriglione, a player and team manager (of the squad the Unknowns), who has been with the sport from the beginning.

According to Capriglione, in 1984 Castlegar had one league and the decision was made to attempt to merge the Nelson leagues together to create more competition.

All 18 teams, and two new teams that happened to show up, attended a meeting and the merger was completed.

“Let’s try it, we decided,” said Capriglione. “It’s been going ever since and it’s been great.”

But there was a lot of work to be done to make the 20-team league viable. There were several issues with the ball fields back in the mid-80s.

“When we started out, one of our fields was where the senior playground is now and kitty-corner to that, our other field used a soccer net.”

Warren remembers those days and the “Nelson rules” that had to be created, especially when teams played at Trafalgar Middle School.

“If you hit the portable, that was a double,” said Warren with a laugh.

He explained that teams played at the Civic for a short period, before the new arena was constructed.

“If it (the ball) went on the roof of the little rink, that was a home run. Into the stairs it was a triple. We had all these little rules. But it worked. We just had to play with the land base we had,” said Warren.

Eventually it became clear to all involved that the league needed to rebuild the fields at Lakeside Park in order to remain legitimate. The problem was who would build them and with what money?

Capriglione said “the city, financially, just couldn’t do it and we understood that.”

So team sponsors, players and volunteers banded together to rebuild and reconfigure two ball diamonds.

“The city loaned us workers and materials, but we built them,” said Warren.

He remembers the moment that reality came crashing down on him, the same time as the backstops tumbled.

“We were working on the backstops and we pulled one down from the corner and I looked up at them, they were big telephone poles with wire wrapped around it, and when those came down I thought there was no going back. We had to build them now. My heart was in my mouth,” said Warren.

But that just spurred the volunteers on and the fields were completed.

Now some feel the diamonds are an envy to other organizations.

“People just want to come there because of the background. When we play ball there, it’s just beautiful,” said Capriglione.

Today, the league sports 16 teams, rather than the original 20, and many of the players, men and women, have greyer hair.

“The difference between now and when we started is you don’t have young players coming up. We had 20 teams back then and we were all the same age and we were all playing ball.

“But as we get older now, the young kids aren’t around here, they have to move away. It’s too bad. You have more of an older team, an older crowd. You only have one or two good young teams,” said Capriglione.

But he added that the flip side of that is there are a lot of new teams.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and played in that league, and I don’t know who they are. So there is a lot of new players moving to town,” explained Capriglione.

He said it would be nice to see more young teams get into the league.

“Slo-pitch is great. People work hard and keep it going. I’m lucky to have been there from day one.”

Warren agrees with that sentiment adding 20 years has seen a lot of changes.

Unlike the “old days”, Warren said there is more organization. The league has a proper executive including a treasurer, field maintenance and a scheduler who uses an automated system to organize games.

Despite the advancements, some things remain the same.

“We still do our own field maintenance, put the lines in and do what needs to be done,” said Warren. “We try to keep a focus that we are a rec league and we are here to have fun. But it’s still competitive, especially during the playoffs.

Warren said there are many people in Nelson who were instrumental in making the league a success. Some have been involved even before the league formed.

Names like Blair McFayden, Fred Schneider and countless others played a huge role in ensuring the future of slo-pitch in Nelson.

For more, visit

Just Posted

RCMP: Appledale homicide investigation still active

A 59-year-old man was found dead on May 20

Nelson Community Food Centre celebrates with Festive Food Days

The idea is to share healthful, festive food over the holidays with people not able to afford it.

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to leader’s surprise resignation

The resignation of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer caught members of his caucus by surprise

Kootenay-Columbia MP talks throne speech, USMCA trade deal

Rob Morrison to open constituency office in Cranbrook at 800C Baker St. on Dec. 19

Kaslo commits to 100 per cent renewable energy plan

Nine local governments have made the pledge this year

VIDEO: Feds give update on flying clearance for Santa’s sled

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has this message for the country’s children

Wagon wheels can now be any size: B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

B.C. driver has car impounded for speeding to church

The driver, who said he was late to church, was clocked travelling 150 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone

Cranbrook man calls for ban after dog caught in leg hold trap

Black Lab loses teeth after biting at trap in pain and panic

B.C. Crown corporation immune from taxation, but may still have to pay GST: court

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation may still be on hook for GPS payments

‘He was good for the West:’ Sadness, surprise in Saskatchewan over Scheer

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and his predecessor, Brad Wall, both thanked Andrew Scheer

Most Read