Alfred John (Jack) Ovens spent most of his life on a farm three miles from the village of Gallivan. The school he attended boasted in itís history of all kinds of sports including baseball. Early in his life, Ovens developed a great love of sports, especially baseball.
During the 1930s, life on the farm was tough. Ovens grew up a rugged farm boy helping his father with all the farm work.
He honed his baseball skills pitching at a pail stuffed with a sack attached to the barn door. His father encouraged him all the way and as these skills developed so did his determination to succeed as a pitcher.
In 1948, at 18 years of age, Ovens was pitching for the senior Cut Knife Tigers team playing in the Battle River League, with teams from Neilburg, Lashburn, Lloydminster and Maidstone.
Cut Knife fared well in this league due mainly to Ovenís pitching and his intensity. He was a fireballer with great accuracy, able to throw his curve in and or out with great velocity. He was a good batter as well.
He pitched for Cut Knife in this league from 1948 to1956 until the league disbanded.
He went on to join the Prairie Baseball League that included teams from Battleford, Drummond Creek, Narrow Lake, Rockhaven and Cut Knife.
The most demanding engagements were the many ball tournaments including Wilkie and Unity where he faced hall of famers. There was always a shortage of pitchers at these tournaments and Ovens often pitched more than his fair share.
By 1970 he was married with a family and a farm to operate and although he did not play ball, he continued to support baseball in Cut Knife.
Ovens died in 2008, after a long battle with cancer, but his memory will live on as he is inducted into the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame Aug. 18.