Hot weather, lively crowds, and high-calibre competition - including a home-team championship - made up the Western Canadian Baseball Championships in Estevan over the weekend.
The 13U AA Estevan Brewers won their division with a 15-5 mercy win over the North Langley Trappers Sunday afternoon at Mel Murray Cactus Park, not long after the 15U AA Brewers fell 9-0 in the finals to the Stettler Storm one diamond over.
The Vancouver Community Mounties seized the 18U AA title with a 3-1 win over the Elmwood Giants at Panteluk Park at Lynn Prime that afternoon.
Estevan Minor Baseball Vice-President Mel Murray, who the diamonds that hosted the 15U and 13U tournaments was named after, said it was an excellent weekend.
"We had nothing but great weather. In fact, maybe a little bit too hot. But everybody survived. But probably the best part of the whole weekend was all three Estevan teams were in the hunt for the finals, really. And you couldn't ask for anything better than that than to have the host teams involved."
The weekend's opening ceremony on Thursday night included a barbeque sponsored by The Tower Cafe that fed over 700 people at Lynn Prime.
All three divisions had five teams, bringing a ton of people to the city, and filling the stands with vocal fans.
Murray said he hopes the four-day event helps spark additional interest in minor ball, like when Westerns were previously hosted in Estevan.
"I hope it does. It did in 2004 and 2008 when we hosted Westerns. It's really impacted, right after that."
Cactus Park was named after Murray in 2021 as a tribute to the contributions he's made to the game through coaching, volunteering at the diamonds, and through Estevan Minor Baseball over the years.
Murray said it was special to see the park bustling throughout the weekend.
"I really enjoyed it. I just enjoy coming to the ballpark and getting things ready for the kids. I just love baseball. If the kids need something, I'll make sure I get it done. Coming down, I drive along First Street and all the cars and all that, it's just amazing to see what's down here."
Murray added that Estevan Minor Baseball had compliments from every visiting team for how well run the tournament was.
He pointed out Nadra Williamson as being critical to its success, as she took care of all the necessary paperwork and scorekeeping.
Murray said the Saskatchewan Baseball Association reached out to Estevan to see if they'd be game to host Westerns. Murray said he's glad they did. It provided an exciting weekend of high-end ball and should prove to bring in a lot of money for Estevan Minor Baseball.
They have yet to determine the total money raised. But Murray said it should go a long ways to renovating Panteluk Park, with the diamond likely in store for a new outfield, infield, and backstop. He added that all money raised by Estevan Minor Baseball goes directly to the facilities.