The dog bone (centre) and LVP helmet are two of the cultural quirks that the Yard Dogs fastpitch team has developed during nearly two decades of playing together. They're seeking a Western Canadian Senior B Championship this week (Aug. 16-19) at Abbotsford's Exhibition Park.

The dog bone (centre) and LVP helmet are two of the cultural quirks that the Yard Dogs fastpitch team has developed during nearly two decades of playing together. They're seeking a Western Canadian Senior B Championship this week (Aug. 16-19) at Abbotsford's Exhibition Park.

Yard Dogs chase Western Canadian fastpitch title at home

When a group of people spends extended time together, a unique culture – complete with its own relics and rituals – can develop.

When a group of people spends an extended amount of time together, a unique culture – complete with its own relics and rituals – can develop.

Such is the case with the Yard Dogs, an Abbotsford men’s fastpitch team with a core membership that dates back almost two decades.

Six players on the squad – Brad Avery, Geoff Dodson, Eric Reisinger, Tim Folster, Josh Wiens and John Perlinger – have been teammates since peewee ball back when they were 12 years old. Bob Avery, Brad’s dad, has been the coach almost the whole way along.

Over the years, the team has developed a few quirky traditions which seem to indicate a deep bond. But, as is often the case with boys, these protocols basically amount to an institutionalized form of chops-busting.

First, there’s the dog bone – a three-foot-long piece of wood carved in the shape of Fido’s favourite treat. It sits in the dugout during every Yard Dogs game, and after the last out is made, the players and coaching staff retreat to a local pub to assess fines accrued during the game. Each player’s fine total is tracked on the dog bone, written in black marker.

Fines are earned for all manner of miscues, both athletic and social. Drop a fly ball, you owe a buck. Commit “Dog on Dog” violence – being overly abrasive towards a teammate – and it’s another buck. Striking out three times in a game, known as a Golden Sombrero, will cost you five bucks.

“And rookies aren’t allowed to touch the bone – that’s also a fine,” Folster said with a chuckle. “We’ll set it up behind them and try to do stupid stuff to get them to touch it. Guys will try to push them into it, and as soon as he touches it, everyone goes crazy.”

Also floating around the Yard Dogs dugout is a pink batting helmet and wristbands, given to the team’s LVP after each game. And yes, that stands for Least Valuable Player. The “winner” must wear the cap to the ballpark for the next game and wear the wristbands for at least one inning.

It’s all in good fun – the fines, for instance, fund a year-end party.

“More than anything, we just have a special culture,” Brad Avery said. “We’ve been together for so long, it just becomes kind of easy to play together. It’s really comfortable and everybody falls into their role, and we have a good dynamic that way. It’s great.”

Whether its because of, or in spite of, all their shenanigans, the Yard Dogs are an accomplished team. They’ve won the last three Fraser Valley Men’s Fastball League titles, and they were victorious at B.C. provincials last month.

They’re looking to add a Western Canadian Senior B Championship to that list, and they have a chance to do it at home this week. Exhibition Park’s four ball diamonds will play host to the tournament Aug. 16-19, bringing together eight men’s and eight women’s teams from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.

“We’ve said from the beginning that we had three to win – the Fraser Valley, the provincials and Westerns,” Folster noted. “We’re two-for-two so far, and we’re looking for one more.”

Star pitcher Tyson Barkman is ineligible for Westerns because he’s signed to play senior A ball in Ontario, but the Yard Dogs have picked up a pair of pitcher/catcher duos who happen to be twin brothers: Travis and Trent Kunz of Kelowna, and Shawn and Darren Koster of Victoria.

“They seem to know what the other is thinking,” Bob Avery marveled. “They think on the same brain.”

“We’re really deep in throwing and we’ve always been a good hitting team, so our expectations are high,” Brad Avery said. “Our goal is to go in and win it. It’s going to be easier said than done, but with the lineup we have, I believe we can.”

Each team plays a six-game modified round robin, culminating with the men’s and women’s finals at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The Yard Dogs, the lone local squad on either side of the draw, play their round robin games at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday; at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday; and at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

For a full schedule, visit

Just Posted

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

A program of the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation enables patients to thank their health-care workers.
Fraser Valley program enables patients to say thanks to their health-care workers

Philip Harris Grateful Patient Program offered through health care foundation

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Emergency services were on the scene of an apparent stabbing Friday afternoon (June 11) in the 2400 block of Countess Street in Abbotsford. (Photo: Kaytlin Harrison)
Two suspects arrested after apparent stabbing in Abbotsford

Incident occurs Friday afternoon in 2400 block of Countess Street

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read