RICHMOND COUNTY: Three locals were given a major pat on the back when Baseball Nova Scotia (BNS) and the Baseball Nova Scotia Umpires Division (BNSUD) joined together to host their annual awards banquet In Dartmouth last month.
Stewart Kelly and Peter Fraser, both of St. Peter’s, were given a nod for their coaching expertise. Paul Tyrrell of Arichat was acknowledged for his long-term contributions as an umpire.
Tyrrell given Umpires Division Milestone Award
Tyrrell, in his 40th year of umpiring, was presented the Umpires Division Milestone Award.
Over the years, Tyrrell visited fields all over the province and represented Nova Scotia at numerous national championships. Interestingly, at his first Bantam national in 1991, he was chosen to officiate in the gold medal game – a rarity for a rookie official.
Other visits to gold medal games included an appearance at the Cavendish Farms Pee Wee Nationals in Summerside, P.E.I. (1996) and the Senior Men’s Nationals in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland (1997). Some of his trips to national championships include the Cracker Jack Cup (1992), the Junior Nationals (1994), the Senior Nationals (2001), and the Pee Wee Nationals (2002), and four appearances at the Twilight Nationals (2005, 2009, 2012, and 2015)
With that, he’s officiated at six Little League Canada National Championships (three gold medal plates) and five Intercollegiate Nationals, officiating in gold medal games in Kentville and St. Catharine’s, Ontario.
He’s also officiated at numerous district, regional, provincial, and Atlantic tournaments.
Tyrrell played minor ball in the early 60s for the Arichat Athletic Association under the tutelage of Wilbert Stone and Edwin (Eddie) Power. He moved up and eventually played intermediate ball with the revamped Arichat Triple A’s, as part of the Richmond Amateur Baseball Association (RABA). Tyrrell was part of the winning team that won the RABA Intermediate title in 1979.
While playing intermediate ball, Tyrrell was involved in coaching minor ball with John LeBrun, as well as umpiring house-league ball. His coaching highlight came in 1973 when the Richmond County Beaver Bs captured provincial gold in Dartmouth. A noted player on that team was River Bourgeois’ Mike McPhee.
Tyrrell’s greatest pleasure was to be able to play ball and umpire with some of the players he coached. Some of these players are still active in ball today.
After intermediate ball, the Arichat native continued to coach and became more involved in the Richmond Minor Baseball Association, acting as secretary for five years. Tyrrell became a registered official, continued to umpire, and moved up to a higher level of ball. It should be noted that after being registered his first year, he would not accept any game fees from minor ball associations.
Tyrrell is a two-time winner (1994, 1996) of the BNS Senior Umpire of the Year award, chosen by his BNSUD peers. He is looked upon as one of the group’s leaders.
For many years, Tyrrell would visit tournaments with his travelling partner, Art Sampson, to help develop the young core of umpires. He spent the time helping out the younger up-and-coming umpires and worked hard to push these young umpires to become better umpires – many of whom have gone on to enter the Baseball Canada National Umpiring Program. Tyrrell and Sampson put on many clinics in the Highland region over the years. Tyrrell took over as Umpire in Chief after Art’s retirement.
In the mid-90s, BNSUD went through a major overhaul due to past leadership issues. Tyrrell was one of the umpires who was part of the new regime who overhauled the organization and helped restore it to a more stable entity and he is one of the few who are still umpiring today.
He officially became involved within the BNSUD executive in the early 90s when he was appointed Eastern district superintendent by Earl McKenna. Tyrrell is a past-president of BNSUD (1999) and has been the secretary of BNSUD for the past 16 years as well as wearing the hat as the Umpire in Chief for the Highland region for 17 years.
Kelly wins Grass Roots Coaching Award
Stewart Kelly was presented the Grass Roots Coaching Award for the province of Nova Scotia.
Stewart coached baseball in Richmond County for the past six years, beginning with 6U, 9U, and now 11U. During this time, he has earned the tremendous respect of his players and their parents, his assistant coaches, and of the board members of the local association.
He is a selfless and modest individual who goes above and beyond to not only develop the skills of his players, but to enhance their baseball experience and foster their love for the game. He does this by applying fair play principles in each and every game; encouraging his players to be the best they can be while having fun; involving his assistant coaches and parents in decision making as it applies to the team; and on numerous occasions has generously financed the purchase of items (such as clothing or equipment) for his teams.
During the 2017 season, for the first time in over 20 years, Richmond County fielded an 11U Rep Team (coached by Kelly) that competed in a provincial tournament.
His team (Richmond Cougars) lost a thrilling 3-2 extra-inning championship game to the New Waterford Dodgers, claiming a silver medal in the U-11 B division and capping off a memorable first season.
Peter Fraser named Coach of the Year
For his efforts with Strait Area Sting 11U A team, Peter Fraser was named Coach of the Year for Nova Scotia.
What happened to this team in the run of a few months was truly amazing and it was due to the fact that Fraser showed them and taught them family, discipline, how to play and best of all, the ability to believe in themselves.
There was so much encouragement and no matter what the outcome of the game was, those boys left the field feeling proud, all because the coach emphasized every great point in the game, not a negative word was spoken.
Many of the parents and even grandparents commented on how encouraging Fraser was to all the players.
Being from a small community, you are guaranteed to have players that will perhaps struggle to play at a higher level. Fraser focused on these players and in a few short months, they were playing with confidence and lots of heart.
This team started the season with eight straight loses, but the players’ confidence started to build. The wins came again and again and gradually rose to the top of the standings. Fraser’s coaching philosophy was a huge contributing factor to this small town success.
He has been coaching baseball over 30 years. He is extremely dedicated and motivated and spent a huge amount of time with this team.
Alongside of that, he has four children, one of which played AAA baseball out of New Glasgow. He works full time as a paramedic and his wife also works full time as a nurse.