Andy big winner at fastball banquet

Sometimes change can be the best thing to happen to a person.
When pitcher Bob Andy made the decision to switch Rainy River District Fastball League teams last winter (moving from Big Grassy to the Sight & Sound Wolves), he had no idea the move would work out as well as it did.
The newest Wolves’ player took his game to a new level this past season, dominating hitters from the mound while giving opposing pitchers fits with his work at the plate.
Andy finished the season with a record of 7-2. But he also was a huge part of the Wolves’ offence—hitting eight home runs over the summer.
Andy’s remarkable season was recognized by his peers Saturday in Chapple at the RRDFL’s annual awards banquet, when he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, top pitcher, and home run king.
Afterwards, Andy was quick to credit his new teammates with helping him elevate his game.
“Just playing for a different team in a different atmosphere was a really big pick-up in my game this year,” he said. “They know their ball real good and they have a bunch of great guys.
“I can’t say enough about them.”
Andy also said his participation in the North American Fastpitch Association’s World Series at the end of last season helped him improve at the plate this year.
“The year before, I had played in the NAFA tournament and I did really, really good there with my offence and it just kind of carried over into the league this year for me,” he remarked.
Having received so many accolades for his play this season, only one question remains is. How is he going to top his achievements next season.
“I don’t really know what to say about that,” he said. “I’m just thankful to win it [the MVP award]. I’m just excited that I got it and hopefully I can repeat next year.”
Andy was not the only person honoured at this year’s awards ceremony. The league also announced its all-star team, with each player named to the squad receiving a trophy.
Longtime Barwick pitcher George Oltsher, who also serves as league president, was named manager of the year for his part in guiding that young squad to the RRDFL title over Sight & Sound.
Barwick rookie Vaughn Wilson was named the league’s best new player in addition to winning the Shane Jarvis Sportsmanship Award.
The RRDFL then concluded its annual banquet by enshrining three new members into its Hall of Fame.
Inducted this year were Marty Brown, Greg Wilson, and recently retired umpire Lloyd “Gus” Lindberg—whose acceptance speech brought a tear to the eye of many of those on hand.
“I never expected to be inducted at such an early stage,” Lindberg quipped. “I only retired two weeks ago.
“This induction into the Hall of Fame is one of the highlights of my life,” he added, before listing the birth of his three children, winning the Government of Canada’s Centennial Award for outstanding work in the community on behalf of sports, and his son, Chris, placing the 1992 Olympic silver medal for hockey around his neck as the others.
Lindberg also was honoured with the Kingsley Downs Award—which normally is presented to the player deemed most deserving by the umpires.
The award was particularly meaningful for Lindberg given his close relationship with Downs, who was killed in a car accident a few years ago while returning home after umpiring a tournament.
“Everybody knows that Kingsley and I were partners together,” Lindberg said. “He was my friend. He was everybody’s friend.
“King, you’re up there in spirit and I’m down here on Earth,” added Lindberg. “I won’t be too long and I’ll be up there with you, and we’ll be able to umpire games without any discussions from anyone else.”

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