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Northern Shootout to return to Orillia diamonds this summer

More than 80 teams set to compete in slo-pitch tourney; 'This is one of the main tournaments players look forward to every year,' organizer says
Borelli5
Mike Borelli is the driving force behind the Northern Shootout Slo-pitch tournament. Tyler Evans/OrilliaMatters File Photo

One of Canada’s largest slo-pitch tournaments is returning to Orillia this summer.

The Northern Shootout is back for its 13th year after being sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two summers. The event takes place on diamonds all around town June 24-26.

The tournament will crown slo-pitch national champions in both the ladies’ A division and men’s A division and will serve as an Ontario qualifier for local teams. More than 80 teams will compete in Orillia during the weekend-long celebration of slo-pitch.

Tournament organizer Mike Borrelli says the Northern Shootout is always a marquee event for slo-pitch teams from all over Canada.

“People love coming to Orillia for this tournament,” he said. “This is one of the main tournaments players look forward to every year.”

Borrelli says the tournament’s atmosphere is unmatched because players from places as far as Quebec, Windsor, London and Toronto compete.

“Tourism Ontario and the City of Orillia benefit from the money generated from this tournament,” he said. “The players stay here, they eat in our restaurants, and then they go out to the casino.”

Orillia is an ideal spot for a major tournament, he says, and it goes beyond amenities.

“We have some of the best umpires in Ontario here in Orillia,” he said. “Our local teams always support this event. Not only do they play, but they come out to watch, too.”

The main event of the weekend is the home run derby, when 16 sluggers compete for a wrestling-style championship belt.

“A few of them can put the ball off the curling club,” Borrelli said. “One of the crowd favourites is Chad Robinson, who is from Oro-Medonte. He is a high-calibre ball player.”

Up to 1,200 local slo-pitch players and fans have attended the home run derby in the past. Borrelli expects the demand for the event to be high again this year.

“People love watching the long ball and home runs,” he said. “These guys can hit them 400, 450 or even ... 500 feet.”

The home run derby takes place Saturday, June 25 at 8 p.m. Those who want to enter a team in the tournament can call Borrelli at 705-795-9388.