Paul Wood, front row far right, with the Battle River A’s 50 plus baseball team. (Contributed)

Maple Ridge pitcher earns silver in national old-timers championships

The Battle River A’s 50-plus team lost to the Oakville Athletics in the finals

A Maple Ridge senior helped his team to a second-place victory at the Canadian National Old-timers Baseball Federation Championships.

Paul Wood, 66, pitched in the 50-plus division for Alberta’s Battle River A’s. B.C. did not have a team in that age group at the tournament that took place in Calgary and Airdrie.

There were four divisions in the tournament: 35-plus; 43-plus; 50-plus; and 57-plus.

The Battle River A’s started the tournament strong, beating the Nova Scotia Monarchs 14-6 and claiming victory over the Oakville Athletics, the number one team in the tournament, 13-8.

The team lost to the Kindersley Clippers 8-7, but went on to beat the Monarchs again 14-9, sending them to the finals.

Ultimately, though, they lost to the Athletics 16-2 for the silver medal.

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Wood is no novice when it comes to baseball. He started coaching at 14.

“For me it’s just a lot of fun,” said Wood, adding that losing to Oakville in the final was disappointing considering they beat them for the first time in the round-robin. Oakville, he said, has won the national championship for the past five years.

However, following the final game, Oakville acknowledged him as being the “unsung hero” of the tournament because of his baseball knowledge and how much fun he has playing the sport.

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Wood will be playing in the World Old-timers Baseball Championships being held in Florida in October. He is hoping to play for Comox in the 57-plus division.

He is also planning to help out at amateur baseball camps in the United States for children who can’t afford to play.

What matters most to Wood is giving back to the community and being involved in the sport that he loves.

“I just want to coach another 20 years.”

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