Bruno Merchants VS. Denmark
June 24, 2015
On June 24, 2015 the Bruno Merchants hosted Team Denmark to play some fastball. It was a great honour for the Merchants to host an internation fastball team and get to play in front of all of their great fastball fans. Blake Huber, the MC did a couple presentations and said, "I think its pretty amazing that we have a fastball team who has travelled around the world and is here in our small prairie town playing a bunch of small town fastball players. It is pretty awesome to have would class ball players come to our quiet community".
Blake also gave the crowd some quick history on fastball in Bruno:
The Merchants were formed in the mid 70’s and competed around the surrounding area competing in sportsdays and in league play. Eventually the Merchants would move to the top division of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Assocation, the same league that the Merchant's compete in today. The Merchant's are currently the longest standing team in the league. The Merchant’s achieved great success in the 70’s winning not only league titles, but provincial titles and competed in the Western Canadian championships. Through the competition in Kelowna that Bruno was able to put themselves on the map as a fastball community. This was not only for the talent that was put on the field but also from the support from the community as two planes were chartered one for the players and one for the fans.
Fastball in Bruno continued in the 80’s under the name Bruno Concrete thanks in large to annual sponsorship of Bruno Concrete and their owner’s Allen and Myrna Krentz. It was in 1988 that international fastball came to Bruno for the first time as we welcomed team Denmark to our community.
Above is a picture of the members of the fastball team the night Team Denmark came to Bruno in the 1988. From Right to Left: Gordon Bender (Bruno), Dennis Dauvin (Peterson), Morris Tarnowski (Humboldt), Brian Weiman (Bruno), Ricky Bendig (Bruno), Doug Thoms (Viscount), Bernie Huber (Bruno), and Norman McWillie (Carmel/Humboldt).
Also a part of the team was their bat boys Lee Huber and Justin Dauvin who are playing tonight for the Merchants. From that game Lee and I received an autographed ball from the Denmark team Lee still has the ball. Unfortunately the only two names that were legible were Eric Roche and Hans Nielsen.
In the early 1990's, the Concrete name changed back to the Merchants and they continued to compete in the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Associations top division. The current core of the team lead by Ray Bender came together in 2005 and since then we have won 8 provincial championships three western Canadian titles three silver medals and two bronze at the western championships. This year we will be travelling to Warsaw Indiana to keep in the NAFA championships.
Dennis Dauvin and Bernie Huber threw the first pitch of the game in memory of the many winning pitches and catches they had together. For those of you that are not aware, Dennis is considered as one of the most dominant pitchers in Saskatchewan of his era. And Bernie was a competitor with the Merchants from its inaugural season.
Thank you to the following for making these games, past games, and this team a success:
- Team Denmark, thanks for giving us an opportunity to play against such a quality team
- The umpires
- The Bruno Lions Club for helping with the booth and beer gardens and your day to day support of all community projects
- The Community of Bruno and the surrounding farms, villages and towns
- And most importantly, to Ray Bender and Audrey Bender for all you do for the Merchant organization.
Thank-you to Blake Huber for sharing this story. Photos courtesy of Tania Dauvin-Frank and Jenna Hale.
Three generations of ball players: Dennis Dauvin and his son Justin Dauvin and all of Dennis' grandchildren. Dennis' daughter Tania Dauvin-Frank is taking the picture. Thank-you Tania for sharing this special picture.