The team in 1958

Gorge Hotel Senior Men's Softball Champions

Gorge Hotel Senior Men's Softball Championship Crest 1956

This team won an unprecedented six, back to back, senior men's B.C. Championships. The amazing run began with the Cec Fletchers Senior Men's softball team winning in '54 and '55 under Manager Bob Burrows Senior. The Fletchers became the Gorge Hotel team in 1956, and the legendary Joe Bryant then managed the team as they went on to win four more BC Championships.

Under his leadership, the Gorge Hotel Men continued their winning ways year after year as they provided their many fans with thrilling victories over the Arrow Furniture team, the Chinese Students, Duncan Mayo Lumber, and United Services, among others.

The team enjoyed great stability over those years, and the roster included Ken Gunter, Jim Morrison, Corky Bryant, Ben Price, Bernie Clarkson, Ed Foychuck, Don Paulin, Jim Nelson, Chick Newman, Ab Wiebe, Gordy Jones, Verne Evans, Marc Cunningham, Fiori Goegan, Les Wilson, Barry Jackson, Stan Stewart and Archie Sluggett. Sports writer Jim Taylor wrote in the Daily Times that "Joe Bryant, the fiery coach, whose frequent and sometimes vigorous disagreements with umpires, players and fans, added interest to the league last season, is returning for his sixth year as coach and his 20th in softball. He will have quite an array of talent from which to choose." Ironically, one of Joe's best friends, Gordie Perkins, was a professional baseball umpire.

The media of the day often noted that the team's pitching was their main strength. They had four of the best in the Province and it was Ed Foychuck, Barrie Jackson, Dave Prior and Ab Wiebe who provided the fire power. Wiebe was interesting for his unorthodox semi-overhand style, and he was tossed in the first inning of an important game as the umpires ruled his delivery illegal. Foychuck, who had joined the team in 1954 as their ace, came in to the game and the team won. Foychuk and Jackson could pitch three games in a day with little difficulty. Their athletic strength and endurance combined with their gift for pitching made them two of the most formidable pitchers that an opposing batter had to face. Ed Foychuk is often remembered as the well-dressed member of the team. Les Wilson, the excellent catcher, was also a leader as a jovial character on and off the field. Gordy Jones, the outstanding athlete, rounded out a tough line-up that was a serious hitting challenge for any pitcher.

Joe Politano, co-owner of the Gorge Hotel and co-sponsor of the team, was also the team's number one fan. He made sure there was always a place to celebrate team victories with a burger and a beer.

SPONSORED BY MANN, MOULSON & COMPANY

Gail Archibald, the Strike Out Queen!!

Known fondly as the Strikeout Queen for the way her windmill pitching style and pinpoint accuracy stymied batters, Gail Archibald was truly a women's softball pioneer.

The girls' game in the late 1950s was a high-scoring affair, but the keen young Vic High student, also busy competing in basketball and track, was a fast learner. Pitching for the Victoria junior Polyettes, later the Vicettes, Archibald and her mates racked up provincial championships almost as fast as the K's filled her game-sheets.

Senior B titles came from 1959 to 1963 - the Vicettes captured a Western Canadian title in '63 thanks to a shutout from workhorse Archibald in an extra-inning final. They won two B.C. Senior A titles led by their fireballing ace, and reached the Canadian final in 1965.

Archibald shifted to the Vancouver Texacos then the Eldorados for her final four seasons of senior ball, garnering more top pitcher awards but falling just short of the elusive Canadian championship.

SPONSORED BY HOWE & GRAMLICH WEALTH MANAGEMENT

saveonABOUT THE GREATER VICTORIA
SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Victoria enjoys a stellar sports history and we celebrate the many athletes, teams and builders who have contributed to that history.  Our displays are seen at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre (1925 Blanshard St.)  through Gate Three.

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