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Blue Jays capture bronze medal in Chatham

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The Fort Frances Blue Jays brought home bronze medals after placing third in their division at the Ontario Special Olympics Summer Games in Chatham last weekend.

The local team finished with one win against a pair of losses in three games.

Danny Smith and Larry Flatt both homered in the Jays’ opener last Friday, a 9-4 victory over the Hamilton Tigers. Joyce Gosselin picked up the victory on the mound.

But later in the day, the Jays were stopped 16-10 by the Midland Hawks, despite Smith hitting his second home run in as many games.

Then on Saturday, the Hawks dumped the Jays again—this time 14-3—to capture the gold medal in their division. Hamilton picked up the silver.

It was the second time the local softballers have won bronze at the provincial games, the first coming four years ago in Sudbury.

Team manager Betty Salchert said she was elated with the experience the games provided her squad.

“Everyone had a good time," she noted. "I feel us getting stronger as a team. We played really well, and I think the key is that we played as a team.”

Thomas Fraser, a catcher and third baseman for the Jays, agreed.

“It’s really important [that we play as a team]. I think we played [well],” he said, adding the tournament was a lot of fun.

Salchert said one of the highlights was the fact several opposing coaches complimented her squad on their teamwork and camaraderie during the tournament.

Dave Ducasse, Karen Erwin, Steve Erwin, Jack McLeod, Gerald Nugent, Kevin Oster, Angie Pernsky, and Chris Strain also played for the Jays.

Meanwhile, Arlan Scott, also from Fort Frances, competed in his first-ever Special Olympics provincial games, finishing fifth in the long jump, sixth in the shot put, and seventh in the 100m run.

Scott, 28, earned a berth to Chatham after winning three second-place ribbons at the regional summer games in Thunder Bay in June.

Cindy Baker, head track and field coach here, said she was pleased with Scott’s performance, especially considering it was his first trip to a provincial meet.

“I’m very proud of Arlan and how well he performed,” she said.

The Games concluded a tough stretch of training for Scott, including twice-a-week workouts at Westfort field, which saw him practise all three events during each workout.

“Right now, I’m pretty tired, with all the travelling and jet lag. I’m going to take it easy right now and then see how it goes,” he said, referring to his track and field plans for next season.

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