1995/1996 Prince Albert Northern Buslines Midget Selects – Team
For a three-year stretch the Prince Albert Northern Buslines Midget Selects were a well-oiled machine and it all came together with back to-back national championships in 1995 and 1996.
The Selects were runners-up in the provincial finals each of those two years, but they were unstoppable when they got to the national tournament. In 1995, they gained the second provincial berth when the defending champions were from Saskatchewan and in 1996 they were both the host team and defending champions and therefore guaranteed a spot in the national tournament despite once again finishing second in the province.
There was a core of players who were with the team for both of those championship seasons. They were: Scott Reed, Derek Smith, Robby Boisson, Darryl Isbister, Brady Loewen, Christian Hudon, Chris Thompson, Clayton Debray, Jesse Bergen and Darcy Byrne. For 1995, other players included Devin Kennard, Bret McKay, Tyler Kerr and Cory Boisson while in 1996 the new faces were Travis Strube, Warren Ferguson, Darren Schnarr and Chris Schlosser. The coaching staff remained constant for both championships with Gord Byrne, Garry Smith and Kim Dryka making the calls.
The team’s success didn’t just end at the national level. The Selects also captured the International Softball Congress Under-19 Western Championship which was played in Mt. Vernon, Washington, and they followed that up with the I.S.C. World Youth title which was played in Kimberley, Wisconsin.
While the team titles were being amassed, so were a number of individual awards. At the 1995 National Tournament in Winnipeg, Derek Smith and Scott Reed were named to the all-star team as the pitcher and catcher, respectively. Clayton Debray also claimed the batting championship at the national event. In 1996, Darcy Byrne was the lone all-star from Prince Albert as his pitching performance was brilliant. Byrne was also named the Softball Saskatchewan Male Athlete of the Year – an honor which had been bestowed upon Derek Smith the previous season. Gordon Byrne picked up the Softball Saskatchewan Coach of the Year honors and the team was runner-up for the Sask Sport Team of the Year title.
Back home, two players from the club were recognized for their achievements as Smith claimed the Prince Albert Athlete of the Year distinction in 1995 and Darcy Byrne laid rest to the honor one year later. Therefore, it is only fitting that the final glory to bestow on these champions is a place in the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame and it is with sincere pride that they are welcomed into the team category.
Inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.