In the reigniting of an old rivalry, the Gastown Giants faced off against the Slades Fire Protection Expos at the 2022 NWT Fastball Territorial Championships this past weekend.
Following a 10-5 victory in the final game, the Expos would be the ones to walk away with the title.
According to Mitchell Madsen, a member of the Expos squad, the Giants got one-up on Slades earlier in the year, but now they’ve returned the favour.
“We played well. We plated the Gastown Giants in the finals,” Madsen said. “They’ve been kind of the the big team in the league the last couple years. They actually beat us in the tournament earlier this year. We lost to them in the finals. So we kind of got them back this year, or this tournament in the territorials.”
On top of avenging their loss, the championship triumph held extra significance as it marked a return to form with Slades having gone through a rather lengthy rebuild, a process that started in 2015.
“About seven, eight years ago, a lot of the guys that started Slades and were with Slades through what some might call our dynasty days back in the early 2010s kind of aged out, left the team and we had a big turnover, big transition with our team back around 2015-2016,” said Madsen. “We’ve been building ourselves up, holding ourselves up, getting better for a few years now.
“We’ve been pretty close the past couple of years, we’ve been right there,” he continued. “And this weekend, this past weekend, we were finally able to make it over that hump. So it felt really good.”
Though the Expos prevailed, that almost wasn’t the case as the game was close all the way into the seventh inning.
“We had the lead,” said Madsen. “They took the lead from us. We chipped away a little bit. Then we got a couple of runs in the top of the six and we were able to shut them down in the bottom of the seventh.
“Those are the games to get up for,” he added. “Those are the games you want to play in. Those neck-and-neck type games. Those are the fun ones.”
When all was said and done, the MVP for the territorial championship was Devin Penney of the Expos.
Penney had an accident a couple of years ago that resulted in the loss of one of his eyes. Despite this, the work ethic for the ballplayer has been out of this world, according to Madsen.
“He put a lot of time and effort — he might even be playing better now than he was before,” Madsen said of his teammate. “He was red hot this weekend.”