In 1971, Berwick decided to enter the Nova Scotia Senior “B” Playdowns. The game was popular and there were lots of good players around. Sponsorship was secured and the team entered the Valley Fastball League. This league was very competitive, comprised of exciting teams from three levels of play; Junior, Intermediate and Senior.
With Art Newton as President, Lawrence Hayden as Manager, Head Coach Pat Hampsay and Assistant Coach Lawrence Johnstone were ready to pick the team. Local pitching legends Gary Whittier and Gerry Murphy shared the duties on the mound. John Prall was catcher and veteran Al Hale played first base. Rounding out the infield, Murray Aalders at third, Dale Lloyd at shortstop, Mike Baxter at second base, and Gerry Carty and John Margeson as utility infielders. The outfield was comprised of Mike Kinsman in left and Bruce Redden in center with Paul Bethune and Eddie Nichols sharing duties in right field. With strong defence, great pitching and lots of power, especially from the bat of Mike Kinsman (who led the league in homers) the team won the league title with a record of 21 wins, 2 losses and an 11th inning tie.
The Alpines entered the tournament to represent Nova Scotia in the Easter Canadian Championships. In the first week, Berwick won their two games and tied for first. In the second week, Berwick lost in the quarter final to Brookfield but rebounded to down Brooklyn Mooseheads 6-1 to advance to the final against Halifax Keiths. The stage was set. Thousands had gathered at the Halifax Commons which, just two years prior, had hosted the very exciting 1969 Canada Games. Some players say it was the most exciting and best played games of their careers. In a fourteen inning-heartbreaking 4-3 loss, star pitcher Gerry Murphy, who had homered earlier in the game, broke his leg sliding into second. Gary Whittier replaced him and pitched 29 innings that day.
After this tournament, the Alpines went on to win the Valley League Playoffs, beating Greenwood in the final.
After the Valley League Playoffs, it was time for the Senior B Playdowns. Once again, Greenwood would become the victims. In the best of three series, Berwick edged by them 6-5 in the final to earn the right to represent the Valley in the Nova Scotia Senior B Playdowns. After a month of inactivity, the Alpines outhit the powerful New Glasgow Squad 14-7, but were defeated by two identical 1-0 losses. New Glasgow went on to win the Nova Scotia Championship, sweeping Glace Bay in the final.
All-in-all, it was a tremendous year for the Alpines Softball Team, their sponsors and fans.
The Berwick Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct the 1971 Berwick Alpines Fastball team.
Coach: Pat Hampsay
Asst. Coach: Lawrence Johnstone
Manager: Lawrence Hayden
President: Art Newton
Inducted June 2009