Display of sportsmanship unites opposing ball teams
Baltic coach is ‘class act,’ Brandon little league fans say
August 08. 2012 11:35AM
An act of sportsmanship at the Huset’s Speedway Tournament in Brandon last month has united players, coaches and fans from two opposing teams and separate communities.
“This guy did something that was such a classy act,” said Al Kirkeby, an assistant coach for the BV Lynx Black (12U) squad. “You can be big rivals in sports, but when it comes down to it in the end, you can have a lot of respect for the other team because there’s just not enough of that in sports.”
Kirkeby was so inspired with sportsmanship displayed by Baltic T-Bones coach Jerry Muston, that he felt the need to share the kind act story.
The story goes as follows: Because of a several-hour rain delay on the second of the three-day tournament, the games were limited to 90 minutes in order to speed up play. The time limit also came with another stipulation: If the 90-minute timeline came in the midst of an inning, the final score would revert back to the last full inning played.
And that was the case in the game between the BV Lynx Black and Baltic T-Bones, who held a 4-0 advantage over the Lynx after five innings.
With the 90-minute time limit winding down, the BV Lynx Black offense went to work in the top of the sixth inning and put up five runs to take the 5-4 lead.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Baltic began its last at-bat. The first batter was called out, the second hit a single, which was followed by a walk and the fourth batter hit a ground ball to the Lynx pitcher for the second out. With the tying run on third and the winning run on second, the field ump announced the game was over, and the final score was 4-0, Baltic’s favor.
“Our guys were standing there with their mouths hanging wide open,” Kirkeby recalled. Although the time limit ruling gave Baltic the win, Coach Muston asked to play the game out.
“He didn’t want to win that way,” Kirkeby said.
In yet a second gesture of sportsmanship, the field ump allowed the inning to be played out. And it was short-lived for the T-Bones after its next batter hit an infield grounder and was thrown out.
“By playing that game out and taking the loss, it guaranteed them (Baltic) that they wouldn’t go on to be in the trophies,” Kirkeby said.
Following the game, Kirkeby and the Lynx coaching staff used the opportunity for a lesson on sportsmanship.
“We told the boys that was quite an act of sportsmanship that they just saw and that winning isn’t always so important.” Kirkeby said.
In their post-game talk, the coaches also encouraged their players to cheer for the T-Bones at their next tournament game, which was an 8 a.m. game on Sunday. In the stands Sunday morning alongside the Baltic fans were a delegation of Lynx Black players and parents.
“The Baltic parents were so impressed and told us how classy it was,” Kirkeby said.
The T-Bones went on to win that game – in a big way, Kirkeby noted.
Muston’s act of sportsman served as a lesson for Kirkeby and the other team coaches, too.
“If the shoe had been on the other foot, would we have done something like that?” Kirkeby questioned.
The answer: Yes.
“I know now after seeing that, I know we would,” he said.