One province that keeps ascending the national ranks is Saskatchewan. The 2007 season was a huge success for the province and the association is looking to keep the momentum for 2008.
At the Baseball Canada Fall Convention last November, Saskatchewan was awarded the Province of the Year award and was ranked first in the governance category.
The province was also ranked fourth in the player registration category and Sask Baseball Executive Director Mike Ramage says that the numbers should be better again this year.
“In terms of registration, we had our first increase in 12 years, two years ago and those numbers were stable last year which has been great.”
Ramage gives credit to the Winterball and Rally Cap programs for the increase in membership the last few years. The association has focused its attention to the rural areas of the province and the response has been extraordinary. In fact, the demand for these programs has been somewhat overwhelming.
“We just pitched it to a few school districts around the province and they’re all over it,” explains Ramage. “It’s like candy for them.”
Another category where the province ranked well was with the National Championships. Despite not winning a medal last year, the province ranked fifth.
A reason for the high ranking is the increase in high level competition. For example, the association sends their Canada Games team’s prospect to the United States to play some exhibition games against some American clubs, with encouraging results.
“It was a good trip for them and they did really well down there,” says Ramage. “We were able to get some good evaluations done and get an idea of what we’re looking at for the games in 2009.”
The coaching the players receive can point to the improvement in results for the provincial teams as well. The number of coaches who register with NCCP continues to increase in the province, while in the case of the Canada Games and the Baseball Canada Cup teams, they have the Baseball Canada Coach of the Year at the helm, Roger Anholt.
If the 2008 season becomes a mirror image of the 2007 season for Saskatchewan in term of governance and National Championships, then the province will enjoy an enviable year.