The Brookfield Elks Senior ‘A’ Softball team realized a long sought-after dream in 1980 when they became the first team east of Ontario to capture the national crown. The year marked their fourth straight Nova Scotia Championship and their fourth straight trip to Nationals.
While they dominated the N.S. scene beating Shubenacadie three games to one in Provincials, they were a dark-horse entering national competition.
Up against power-house clubs like Camrose, Winnipeg and the home-team Saskatoon and without big-named stars like other clubs, they weren’t about to be stopped.
Their underdog reputation began to change when they finished the first round in a six-way tie for first. They battled through their first play-off game beating Manitoba 1-0. The Elks defensive style continued to show in the second play-off game when they allowed only two hits in their win against British Columbia.
They moved to the finals and faced the tournament favourite, Saskatoon. The Elks got the offence out of the way early making the score 4-2 in the third inning. Saskatoon managed one more run in the fifth (4-3) but that’s as close as they would come. Brookfield laid the defence on thick shutting down their opponents and becoming national champions.
The underdog reputation was long gone. Brookfield was the definition of team effort with a different hero each game. They allowed only five runs and had the best record in the tournament at 6-1(five of those wins being shut-outs). “We don’t have a bunch of long-ball hitters, just a bunch of scrappers. All my guys are top-notch defensive stars and they all have the same attitude towards the game,” said Coach Terry Henderson.
The Elks added seven players from across the country to play the World Series of Softball. Despite injuries to two key players they proudly brought home the bronze medal.
Just like their return from Nationals, they were greeted by many cheering fans who had realized the potential of the small-town boys all along.