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'A win-win': Canada's top slo-pitch players bringing bats to Orillia

'There are a lot of friendships made and it gives a release from everyday work and life,' says organizer of event that features popular home run derby
Mike Borrelli has organized the Northern Shootout slo-pitch tournament in Orillia for 15 years.

One of Canada's largest slo-pitch tournaments is coming to Orillia next month.

The 15th annual Northern Shootout, presented by Slo-Pitch National and Slo-Pitch Ontario, brings the highest calibre players to Orillia to earn Super Series points on June 21, 22, and 23.

Organizer Mike Borrelli started the event in partnership with Home Run Sports to allow local teams a chance to play in a competitive tournament without having to travel.

"We've won awards for tournament of the year," he said. "It takes a lot of work, but I have a lot of good volunteers who help to make it happen."

Borrelli says the tournament generates more than $450,000 for the local economy. There are over 80 mens' and ladies' teams that participate and come from as far as Windsor, Quebec, and Sudbury.

"It's a win-win for everybody," he said. "The people that win the most are the restaurants, the shopping centres, and the accommodations."

One of the favourites to win the top men’s division are the Tigers, who have won three of the last four national championships. The team is coached by Bruno Casula and Kevin Gowanlock from Orillia.

"The guys who play in A division train all year long," Borrelli explained. "They go and hit an hour before their games."

The highlight of the weekend is the annual home run derby that takes place on June 22 around 9 p.m.

"The refreshment garden is usually packed for that," Borrelli said. "Guys are hitting the ball on top of the curling club roof and guys love it."

Borrelli says the Northern Shootout unites the slo-pitch community.

"Teams get to see other teams that they have never played before," he said. "There are a lot of friendships made and it gives a release from everyday work and life."

To register a team for the tournament, Borrelli can be reached at 705-795-9388. The event is free to attend and a full game schedule will be available at tournament headquarters (Jerry Udell diamond at Tudhope Park) during the late afternoon of June 21.


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Tyler Evans

About the Author: Tyler Evans

Tyler Evans got his start in the news business when he was just 15-years-old and now serves as a video producer and reporter with OrilliaMatters
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