The group of players that made up the East End Squirts and Old Dutch Twins softball squads were a dominant force in the province of Saskatchewan during the 1970’s.
Those teams will now be enshrined into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame as they were inducted into the 2020 class.
“All of us on the team are very pleased about being inducted and we want to thank everyone associated with the Hall of Fame for the honour,” said Robert Doucette, who was a player for the team.
“When I talked with the other guys on the team after I found out that we had been selected for this year’s class, we were all really happy. If there was a team that really earned their spot into the hall of fame, it was this one, as they were really the forerunners for a number of strong teams that have been inducted over the years.”
It didn’t take long for the team to make an impact, as the East End Squirts would win the first of six straight city titles in 1972.
They also made it to the provincial final that year but lost to Saskatoon Westgate.
“Even though that was our first year that we played together, we just started clicking right away,” Doucette said.
“I think that had a lot to do with the coaching that we got and all of the support we got from our families. We had a really good season and I think we could have won the provincial title that year, but we took our eyes off of the goal a little bit.”
The Squirts made sure they wouldn’t make the same mistake in 1973 as they won a dramatic provincial final over Saskatoon Westgate.
“To come back and beat them, especially after we were down by six runs in the final game, was the best feeling ever,” Doucette said.
“That final was doubly sweet for me as I ended up bringing home the game-tying and game-winning runs on a double. I’ll always remember that hit. The ball went down the first base line and went into right field.”
When the team moved up to the Pee Wee level in 1973, they were now known as the Old Dutch Twins, but their impressive performances continued despite the name change.
After losing the 1974 provincial final, the Twins would finish on top of the podium in 1975 with a win in Cupar.
They would reach the semifinal round in 1976 and lost in the playdowns in 1977.
“When I reflect back on those years, what I remember the most is just how much time we all spent together and how we all grew as young men,” Doucette said.
“That team ended up producing some great leaders in the community and the corporate world. We all learned some really good values back then and that allowed us all to become really good people.”
In addition to coach Tom Lavallee, the two provincial championships squads also featured Mike Markewich, Craig Eldstrom, Kevin Lavallee, Greg Bantle, Bernie Kalika, Greg Smith, Scott Bruce, Marty Shaw, Darwin Stephens and Doucette.
Cameron Pete, Bob Tetarenko, Tim Best and manager Joe Pete were members of the 1973 East End Squirts team, while Tim Gitzel, Mike Mallo, Kelly Anderson, Bob Lowes and manager Ian Mackay were part of the 1975 Old Dutch Twins.
“We’re scattered all over Canada now, but we’re going to try and get as many of the boys back together again for the ceremony next year,” Doucette said.