Hyas baseball team to be inducted into Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame

The Hyas Baseball Team will be inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in the team category on August 17 in Battleford.

The first Hyas Baseball Team photograph was of a 1920’s team wearing knitted uniforms, according to a release. Apparently each player was obligated to knit their own uniform. The original photograph has not been located.

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For years there was a rivalry between the Stenen Baseball Team and the Hyas Baseball Team, said the release. This rivalry was strongest during the 1930 season when Hyas had a group of baseball players that were so overwhelmingly strong that no baseball team in the league or area was able to overcome them.

Hyas won the North East Saskatchewan Baseball League (NESBL) championship hands down in the 1930 season. The squad would also enter and win most of the tournaments in the area.

Players that made up the core nucleus of the team included: Allen Yewell, coach/manager; Anton Belous, pitcher; Eric Quist, catcher; Matty Gibney, first base; Eskil Quist, second base; Russell Johnson, third base; Steve Yurkiw, shortstop; Jim Lisoway, left field; Ted Fiala, center field; Andrew Bellows, right field and Al Hansen served as batboy.

Following the 1930 season, when Hyas won the NESBL championship, the Stenen team captured the next four consecutive season NESBL championships. Then in 1935, Canora stole the league championship from the dominant Stenen and Hyas teams.

Again in 1936, Hyas dominated baseball in the area and was unbeatable in claiming the NESBL championship.

The key to the Hyas success was the balance in all areas of the game, according to the release.

Allen Yewell provided strong leadership and pitching along with solid catching from Eric Quist. A stout defense was provided by two outstanding outfielders, Jim Lisoway and Ted Fiala. Lisoway would grab anything and everything that came into his domain, making impossible catches running between parked cars.

Fiala could pick off runners coming home, firing the ball like a bullet from center field.

Anton Belous’ touch on the ball was like magic. His powerful left-handed pitching baffled his opponents. He could join the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded and effortlessly strike out three batters in a row. The Hyas team always did well when Anton was the pitcher. It was commonly known throughout the area that if he was pitching, the game was already won. His skill far surpassed that of the professional ball players his teammates had seen play the game. If he wanted riches and fame, all he had to do was reach out and take them. But he was a man with a family and had more important things in life to do than chase a dream.

The NESBL folded during the war, from 1938 to ‘45, which probably would have been the “Hyas Years of Champions.”

We will never know.