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The annual Jimikin memorial baseball tournament provided nail-biting entertainment

BY Joshua Janke Sep 9, 2023

Mistissini’s Robert Jr. Jimikin Softball and Fastball Tournament was a homerun success this year. 

The tournament is named after the late Robert Gillian Jimikin Jr, a young father of four who passed away in 2019. He was an important part of the Mistissini community and an active member in many Eeyou Istchee sports. 

With 10 teams in the men’s fastpitch, six in softball, and four teams each in women’s fastball and softball, this event is the largest baseball tournament in Eeyou Istchee. For the fourth year of the tournament, 24 teams took to the field, vying for a combined total of $6,250 in prizes.

With teams coming from across Eeyou Istchee, providing adequate housing for the visitors was vital to the tournament’s success. The people of Mistissini stepped up so that all players and fans had a bed to sleep in the night. 

Organized by Darlene Macleod and John Shecapio, the lodging committee worked very hard to make the event a success. The two were blown away by the support received from the community. 

“If I had a home ownership, I’d take a whole team in,” one community member commented on the “Lodging Needed” Facebook post which was distributed weeks before the first pitch was thrown. 

A total of 50 games were played in three days August 10-13, and there was no lack of drama. Games were played “no matter what, rain or shine”. With four games for each team to prove themselves in, organizers emphasised the slogan “every game counts.” 

The event lived up to the hype, giving spectators some of the closest games in tournament history. One interesting statistic about the tournament was that over 50% of all the games were decided by two runs or less. There was no shortage of amazing catches, home runs and double plays to keep the fans on the edge of their seats until the final inning. 

Even in the Championship segment, three out of four games were decided by a single run, making the margin between finalist and champion slim, and the respect for both teams large. 

The list of teams competing in this year’s event were:

  • Men’s Fastpitch: Mistissini Outlaws, Mistissini Scrappers, Waskaganish Hurricanes, Chisasibi Comets, Chisasibi Jays, Chisasibi Rockies, Eastman Fireballs, Eastman Athletics, Uashat Prospects, Ouje Bulldogs
  • Women’s Fastpitch: Mistissini Lady Outlaws, Ouje Knights, Chisasibi Panthers, Barrier Lake
  • Men’s Softball: MD, MFQ Uashat, Barrier Lake Bears, Chisasibi Lightning, Mistissini Rect’em Boys, Waswanipi Wolfpack
  • Women’s Softball: Uashat Mishen Construction, Eastmain Wildcatz, Mistissini Free Agents, Mistissini 

After the playoff dust had settled, the championship games for each division were set. The Chisasibi Panthers took on the undefeated Ouje Knights in Women’s Fastpitch. On the men’s side, the Waskaganish Hurricanes mustered an inspiring comeback in the late innings of their semi-final match, defeating the Chisasibi Comets 4-3 and moving on to face the Eastmain Fireballs for the Men’s Fastball championship. In Men’s Softball, the Barrier Lake Bears squared off against MFQ Uashat, while Uashat Mishen Construction faced the Eastmain Wildcatz in the Women’s Softball final. 

Here are the results of the championship games: 

Men’s Fastpitch:

Eastmain Fireballs 7-6 Waskaganish Hurricanes

Awards: $20,000 cash prize: Eastmain Fireballs, Best Outfielder: Curtis Shanoush, Best Infielder: Conrad Blueboy, Best Catcher: Surrone Hester, Best Hitter: Brandon Wadden, Best Pitcher: Dakota Mayappo, MVP: Adam Cheezo, Gordon Memorial Award/Most Outstanding Player: Dakota Mayappo

Women’s Fastpitch:

Chisasibi Panthers 12-11 Ouje Knights

Awards: $15,000 cash prize: Chisasibi Panthers, Best Outfielder: Delaunay Cox, Best Infielder: Shalaine Cookish, Best Catcher: Keona Simard, Best Hitter: Karlyna Louttit, Best Pitcher: Destiney Isik-Blacksmith, MVP: Harriet Neacappo

Men’s Softball: 

MFQ Uashat 8-4 Barrier Lake Bears

Awards: $6,000 cash prize: MFQ Uashat, Best Outfielder: Enrico Fontaine, Best Infielder: Elijah Decoursay, Best Catcher: Malakail Gregoire, Best Pitcher: Keanon Papatie, Best Hitter and MVP: Renaud Jourdain along with his daughter who was also MVP of the tournament

Women’s Softball:

Uashat Mishen Construction 14-11 Eastmain Wildcatz

Awards: $6,000 cash prize: Uashat Mishen Construction, Best Outfielder: Yanessa Desterres. Best Catcher: Mika Ambroise, Best Hitter: Keisha Snowboy, Best Pitcher: Tarraly Hester, Best Infielder and MVP: Leeann Fontaine

The tourney is organized by the Jimikin family with help from the Mistissini Sports and Recreation Department, which assists with the organization and obtains sponsorships, and provides live scores, updates and action photos throughout the event, on its Facebook page. 

On its Facebook page, the Sports and Recreation department gave a shout-out to everyone involved. 

“On behalf of the working committee, we want to extend our sincerest gratitude to the family of late Robert Jr. Jimikin. They gave tremendous support by giving their helping hand at finding lodging, assisting the coordinating staff, maintaining the field but most of all spectating the games with other families, friends, and fans sharing fond memories of their beloved Robert Jr. Jimikin. This tournament would not have been the same or successful without the Jimikin family. We thank you for your support, your commitment, and the love of the game.”

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Joshua Janke lives in Montreal and is studying English Literature at Mcgill University. He is passionate about writing, social justice, and creating art.