By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Former Minnesota Twins minor leaguers Adam Hawes and Ryan Spataro lead the York Blue Sox into the World Police and Fire Games, in Fairfax, Va. which begin Saturday and conclude Canada Day.
Both outfielder Spataro, 32, and right-hander Hawes, 32 are still playing with the Barrie Baycats of the Intercounty League.
Hawes (Victoria Harbor, Ont.) pitched for the Ontario Blue Jays before attending Connors State and being drafted by the Twins, first in 2002 in the 17th round and again in the 40th round the next June.
Hawes broke in at rookie-class Elizabethton, then moved along the ladder to class-A Beloit and class-A Fort Myers going 13-12 with a 3.82 ERA in 70 games making 36 starts in three seasons in the Twins system.
Then, in 2008 he was 4-13 with a 6.94 ERA in 19 starts for the Ottawa Rapidz of the independent Can-Am League.
Now a constable with the Midland police service he spends his spare time as guest pitching coach with the Ontario Blue Jays.
Spataro (Peterborough, Ont.) was selected in the 41st round of the 2001 draft. He spent time with the Rookie-class Gulf Coast Twins, class-A Elizabethton and class-A Quad Cities hitting .263 in four seasons with 17 doubles, five triples, four homers, 64 RBIs and 38 steals in 209 games. He’s with the Barrie fire department.
On Saturday the York Blue Sox face the NYPD in the opener and then the Washington Federals in the second game of the day. And on Sunday they meet the Fairfax County Stars and the Philadelphia Blue Sox.
York also will rely on Geoff Allen, 37, of Niagara Falls, who currently plays for the Niagara Falls Expos in Niagara Senior League. Allen played 10 years for Hamilton Cardinals/Thunderbirds and four years for Brantford Red Sox in Intercounty baseball league winning four championships with the Red Sox. Allen caught two years at Taft College before returning home to play for Oshawa’s Durham College Lords and coaching legend Sam Dempster. Now employed by the Niagara Falls Fire Department for the past eight years he is currently the director of player development for Greater Niagara Baseball Association.
Another York arm to count on is Tyler Wilson 35, who pitched for the Douglas College Royals in New Westminster BC. He also pitched for the Vancouver Pharoahs of the Pacific Metro League and currently the Poco Podgers in the Poco League winners of six of the last seven championships. This will is Wilson’s third World Police and Fire Games.
Chris Tibbles, 35, played Whalley Little League and then with the Whalley Chiefs from 16 to 18. After that he was with the Surrey Red Sox and Langley Blaze in the Pacific Metro/Pacific International. He’s a firefighter for Maple Ridge fire rescue.
Established in 2011 and primarily made up of Police Officers from the York Regional Police Service. The Blue Sox play charity games and tournaments across Ontario and the United States.
With shift work being one of the greatest hurdles in fielding teams, the Blue Sox have supplemented the roster by adding members of Police, Corrections and Fire agencies from all across Canada for the upcoming games.
They also played in the annual Garrett Styles Memorial Tournament was held just two months following the officer’s death in 2011 with the goal of bringing the community together for a weekend of fun, sportsmanship and charity. York Regional Police Constable Styles #1405 was killed when he was dragged by a car following a traffic stop in East Gwillimbury. The seven-year police veteran left behind his loving wife Melissa and their two young children.
The York Blue Sox have assisted in the organization and running the tournament in York Region with over $50,000 raised since 2011 for our charities Jays Care and Jumpstart.
You can follow the team on Twitter (@yorkbluesox) and watch as they try to bring home a title.