By Melissa Verge
Canadian Baseball Network
WINNIPEG, Man. _ It’s a Manitoba Saturday evening and the grandstands at Shaw Park are scattered with fans ready to take in the baseball game.
Two strange yellow beasts are among the fans in the crowd. “Goldie” and “Goldette,” the team’s mascots. They have yellow bodies with long matching snouts.
A man sits with a red Goldeyes bandana wound around his head, chewing on sunflower seeds and waiting for the game to start. His sunflower seed eating is unfazed by the sight of Goldie or Goldette. Every so often he pulls the pieces of shell out of his mouth with his fingers, and throws them on to the ground.
The sun is still shining brightly as the Winnipeg Goldeyes take the field in their white and red uniforms, looking very Canadian against the Kansas City T-Bones.
Although not all of them are, Wes Darvill standing at third base with “Darvill” and the No. “10” written across his back in red letters is, hailing from Langley, British Columbia.
Darvill is focused, in the zone. He has probably just eaten his pre-game snack, a peanut butter, jelly, honey, and banana sandwich that he says is his No. 1 go to.
He says he enjoys being a Canadian playing for a Canadian team, an experience not everyone gets to have.
“It’s cool, there’s not too many Canadian (pro) teams so its nice to be a part of it,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun, Canadians are so nice, it’s a really good experience.”
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The 25-year old is having a great season so far hitting .361 with 29 RBIs after going 1-for-5 with a pair of walks as the Goldeyes edged the T-Bones 12-11 in 14 innings before 4,413 fans.
The game took five hours and 25 minutes and those who stuck it out saw history ... the game broke the American Association record for longest game with he previous record a Wichita Wingnuts-El Paso Diablos game which took five hours and 22 minutes May 20th, 2011 at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.
With the game squared 11-11 in the 14th inning, Kansas City right-handed pitcher Matt Sergey entered throwing left-handed. Sergey had thrown seven innings in a start two days before at Fargo-Moorhead. After Shawn Pleffner and David Bergin opened with back-to-back walks, Darvill laid down a sacrifice bunt, the T-Bones decided to walk Mason Katz intentionally.
The second pitch, Sergey threw the ball out of the reach of catcher Leo Rojas and allowing Pleffner to score the winning run. The American Association requires teams to throw live pitches when issuing an intentional walk.
Lefty Evan Rutckyj (Windsor, Ont.) retired the two men he faced maintaining Winnipeg’s two-run lead.
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Darvill says his main goal has nothing to do with individual stats but with helping his team win.
“I’m happy with just contributing any way I can,” says Darvill. “We’ve been winning lately so its been awesome.”
Right now, the Goldeyes are half a game back in the North Division of the St. Paul Saints for first place.
Darvill will represent the team along with three other Goldeyes at the American Association/Can-Am League All-Star Game in Ottawa July 25th. The Canadian says he’s never been to Ottawa before and is excited for the opportunity, especially since Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday.
“I’d rather be playing more baseball in the all-star break than having days off,” he says. “It should be a lot of fun.”
As well as playing for the Goldeyes, Darvill is a business student at the University of Fraser Valley in his home province of British Columbia.
He coaches the ball team there which he says helps give him a new perspective on the game.
“Everyone thinks through the game differently, it's interesting to talk to kids to see what they think, and see what they see,” he says.
And, although he’s focused on his current role with the Winnipeg Goldeyes, for his long-term goal with baseball, Darvill hopes to make it to the show.
“The goal since you’re a kid is the Major Leagues,” he says. “As long as you have a jersey on your back you still have a chance.”