The Alvinston Indians are one of the hottest fastball teams in Ontario, and two Sarnians are a big part in the squad’s success.
“There was never any thought of me not playing here (in Alvinston) after I moved to Sarnia,” said Aaron Stocking, the 28-year-old second baseman and former Wardsville resident.
Stocking is among the team leaders in most offensive categories.
“It’s a bit of a commute but I’m happy to come,” he said of the 40-minute drive to home games.
On the night The Journal met with Stocking at the Alvinston ballpark, the Indians rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat Glanworth 5-4 with a walk-off, two-run homer.
“It’s nights like tonight that make the drive home a little better, that’s for sure,” Stocking said.
Actually, much of the post-game travel to Sarnia has been enjoyable this season, with the Indians 12-0 at home at presstime. They were also riding a 19-game winning streak and leading the St. Thomas and District Men’s Fastball League with a record of 20-1.
When schedules allow, Stocking travels to home games with Sarnia’s Kevin Morgan, a player-coach with the Indians.
Morgan, 44, has played fastball for nearly four decades, starting in the Sarnia Minor Athletic Association system. He also played with the Sarnia Ranson Juniors, Camlachie and Petrolia during the heyday of local fastball.
“It would have been nice if (fastball) would have kept on going because there were a lot of good players from Sarnia, but it just seemed to fade away and then it was done,” he said.
Morgan is happy to make the trek to Alvinston several times a week to play the game he loves.
“It’s the only place left to play in Lambton County,” he said.
Despite being an elder statesman on the team he still gets the odd at-bat when the Indians are short players due to work commitments or Alvinston is winning by a wide margin.
Indians skipper Paul “Chico” McCart says Morgan’s value goes far beyond his stats.
“He’s a very important team guy,” said McCart.
Earlier this month, Morgan was part of a tournament team from Waterdown that won the Ontario Amateur Softball Association (OASA) Masters Plus 40 Fastball Championships.
He scored what proved to be the winning run in a 3-1 win over Toronto in the title game.
Meantime, Stocking is joining several Alvinston teammates on a tournament team to compete next month at the ISC World Fastball Tournament in Kitchener.
– Barry Wright