A number of South Surrey and White Rock’s most talented young baseball players will celebrate Canada Day on the ball diamond, at the annual Henri Lorieau Memorial Tournament.
The three-day event – which will be held at White Rock’s Centennial Park (14600 North Bluff Rd.) – is set for June 29-July 1, and which features Mini-8 division teams from not just the Semiahmoo Peninsula, but across the Lower Mainland, including Langley, Whalley, New Westminster, as well as various Vancouver-area associations.
The first teams on the field, at 9 a.m. Saturday, will be Langley and Whalley, and official opening ceremonies will be held at 12:30 p.m. White Rock’s first game is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Saturday against North Vancouver’s Mount Seymour Little League.
Playoff-round games will be played Monday, with the gold-medal tilt scheduled for 5:45 p.m. that day.
Saturday’s opening ceremonies will include the introduction of teams, welcoming speeches from South Surrey-White Rock MP Gordie Hogg – who will serve as the event’s official MC – and White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, as well as a remembrance of Lorieau, who was a longtime executive member with the White Rock-South Surrey Baseball Association, and served as president from 1998 until 2005.
He passed away in November 2015, at age 62, after a battle with cancer.
Prior to his illness, Lorieau was a fixture at the Mini-8 tournament – which had been staged by the association for years prior to being renamed in his honour. Each year at the event, Lorieau, wearing his trademark Hawaiian shirt, was a fixture high about the Centennial Park concession stand, where he would simultaneously serve as game announcer, play music, keep score and hand out nicknames to the tournament’s players.
“For so many children, participating in the annual WRSSBA Mini 8s tournament was the highlight of their baseball lives,” a news release said.
Lorieau, the release notes, was also instrumental in the planning and construction of the South Surrey Baseball Training Centre, which which is located at South Surrey Athletic Park, just south of 20 Avenue. He was also a support of the Challenger baseball program, which gives children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball.