In the 1960’s Berwick fielded some of the most balanced and strongest softball teams in Nova Scotia, winning several Nova Scotia and Maritime titles in several different divisions. All of these teams were composed of essentially the same core of players – all homegrown talent from Berwick and surrounding areas. Perhaps the strongest of these teams was the 1961 Berwick Legionnaires.
The 1961 team, save for one player, was the same one that had captured the Nova Scotia and Maritime Junior title the previous year. In fact, with the exception of one player on the roster, all the players were still eligible for Junior play but during the ’61 season opted to compete in the Intermediate division against more experienced Senior players in the highly competitive Western Valley Softball League. The 1961 team was characterized by great athleticism, fleet-footed outfielders, a balance of good defense and offense, and a strong pitching staff led by two young hurlers – one left-handed and one right-hander. Coach Pat Hampsey, Co-managers Darrell Corbett and Wes Keddy, and team captain Jon Margeson provided strong leadership. Many of the players on this team became the mainstays of high quality softball in the Annapolis Valley for the next decade or more. Several players went on to star on Senior level teams at the provincial and national levels. It is worthy to note that of the individuals honoured in the first Berwick Sports Hall of Fame, three were key contributors to the 1961 Berwick Legionnaires.
The team posted an impressive record for the season: 34 wins, 2 ties, and only 7 losses. After winning the Western Valley League, the Berwick team then disposed of Cambridge and Kingston in local play-offs, eliminated Brooklyn and Liverpool in hard fought games, and then faced New Waterford for the Nova Scotia Championship. Despite being down early, the Berwick squad fought back with strong pitching and timely hitting to claim the Nova Scotia championship. A late season victory against Woodstock – the New Brunswick and P.E.I. champs – gave Berwick the ultimate bragging rights – 1961 Maritime Intermediate “C” Softball Champions!
1961 Berwick Legionnaires Fast Pitch Softball Team Nova Scotia and Maritime Intermediate “C” Softball Champions
Pat Hampsey (Player coach)
Bat Boy: John Strong
Co-Managers: Darrell Corbett
Inducted June 1999
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