The Annual Dallas Yarbrough Memorial Tournament was rained out on Friday June 7, but that didn't stop the rest of the weekend from going off like the crack of a bat.
"It was pretty crazy last night,” said Bret Hunter, 30, on Saturday looking back at the sudden onslaught of water the previous day. "I got up to bat and the monsoon hit."
The slow-pitch and baseball games were back up and running the following day, giving the crowds from Calgary to Edmonton something to cheer about. It also provided an opportunity for local fans and players to remember someone dear to them.
"Dallas was just the guy that brought everybody together,” said Adam Daines, 30, centre fielder for the Master Batters. “He was the rock."
He remembers spending may long weekends cruising out on Corkscrew Mountain west of Caroline on quads and watching the sunrise together along with identical twins Jamie and Jesse Yeats.
"That's kind of where everyone hung out,” he said. "That's my last memory of him."
Yarbrough died in a head-on collision on his way back to Innisfail from working on pumpjacks with a relative.
Jamie Yeats, 32, who serves as the coach for the Master Batters says he lost a best friend that day.
"He was coming to visit us when he died,” he said. “I'd never lost a best friend. He was the best and still is the only."
Yeats describes Yarbrough as the type of guy who was a natural athlete, able to pick up any sport almost instantly.
Now every year he heads up with his wife to the crash site along Highway 13 west of Wetaskiwin and drinks a Pilsner – Dallas's favourite beer – in his honour.
Darla Radke, his mother, said she's touched so many people came out to be part of a memorial tournament for her son.
"It was a head-on collision and he died instantly,” she said. "When it happens to you, you think they're lying."
This year's event raised enough money to send three local youth to a baseball camp in Okotoks hosted by the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I can't believe there's that many people that want to come and play,” she said. "I love them very dearly. I'm so glad to have them in my life."'
The fundraiser is the perfect way to commemorate Dallas, who was so good at baseball and was asked to try out for the Grant MacEwan team, she said. He decided to turn down the opportunity to be there for his mom and siblings.
"We raise money to put younger kids into a baseball school,” she said.
"I don't think if I didn't have them I would have made it through."
About 300 people participated in the weekend-long tournament, including 16 slow-pitch teams and six baseball teams.
In the baseball finals the Provost Combine Pitchers beat the Calgary Diamondbacks, who won the first edition of the memorial baseball tournament, by a score of 5-4.
Ray Bergeron, designated hitter for the Indians Alumni came up big for the team to get them into the B finals. Former Indians player Cam Culp was on the mound for the Irricana Canadians in extra innings.
"He threw a fastball and I managed to get a hold of it,” he said. "I think it cleared the fence by five feet."
In the B final the Innisfail Indians beat the Indian Alumni 6-0, with pitcher Jay Kirkham shutting the team of older Indians down throw after throw.
In slow-pitch action the Pop Fliers beat the Fuques 11-6 for the A final win. Got the Runs beat the Wolf Pack in the B final. The Crazy Pitches beat the Dirt Dogs 9-8 to win the C final. And in a particularly serious game the Legion Sluggers from Edmonton beat the Bat Asses from Red Deer for the D finals.