Organizers and volunteers have been working since early spring to make sure everything goes as planned as the Eastern Canadian Bantam Softball Fastpitch Championship Tournament is held in St. Croix this week.
A total of eight teams are vying for the 2012 championship including the Port Perry Jacks and a team from Teeswater, Ontario. As well, three Nova Scotia teams will be in the hunt for the title, including the host team, the West Hants Thunder, four-time provincial champions East Hants and the Sheet Harbour Rockets.
Other teams include the Quebec Express, the Sunbury Slammers from New Brunswick and a provincial team from Newfoundland.
A total of 28 games are scheduled between 1 p.m. Aug. 23 and the championship game at 2 p.m. Aug. 26. The opening ceremonies for the tournament were scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Thursday evening, just prior to the Thunder's opening game against New Brunswick.
Twenty of the 28 games will be played in a round-robin format, with each team playing five round-robin games before the playoffs start Saturday evening.
All teams will make the playoffs with the third through eighth place teams only being allowed a single loss in the playoffs while the first and second place teams will have to lose twice before being eliminated.
The West Hants Thunder have played some incredible ball this summer but have also proven they can be somewhat inconsistent. They just finished playing in the Nova Scotia Provincial Championship where they were steamrolled 14-2 by the Sheet Harbour Rockets before bouncing back with a solid 9-7 win over Trenton and a 17-5 victory over Spryfield, before being defeated 9-5 by East Hants in the championship semi-final, a game they trailed only 5-4 in the fourth inning.
Local fans are encouraged to drop by the St. Croix ball field to take in a few games and cheer on the Thunder as they hope to be in Sunday afternoon's championship game.
Games to watch
Friday, August 24
West Hants vs. Quebec Express —noon
East Hants vs. Sunbury — noon
West Hants vs. East Hants — 4 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 25
West Hants vs. Port Perry Jacks, from Ontario — 11 a.m.
East Hants vs. Newfoundland — 11 a.m.
East Hants vs. Sheet Harbour — 1 p.m.
West Hants vs. Newfoundland — 3 p.m.
Note: the playoff schedule begins Saturday, Aug. 25
1. 3rd place vs. 6th place — 6 p.m.
2. 4th place vs. 5th place — 6 p.m.
3. 1st place vs. 2nd place — 8 p.m.
4. 7th place vs. 8th place — 8 p.m.
Sunday, August 26
5. Winner of playoff game 1 vs. the winner of playoff game 2 — 10 a.m.
6. Winner of playoff game 4 vs. the loser of playoff game 3 — 10 a.m.
7. Winner of playoff game 5 vs. the winner of playoff game 6 — noon
8. Winner of playoff game 3 vs. the winner of playoff game 7 — 2 p.m. This is the championship game.
(Playoffs will be a single elimination loss for teams three to eight but the first and second place playoff teams must lose twice before they are eliminated.)