Baseball fans are in for a wild time in the last week of August.
The Victoria Wildcats are set to welcome 10 provincial champions from across the country to the Coast Capital Savings Baseball Canada Peewee AAA national championship to be held at Carnarvon and Lambrick Park Aug. 24-27.
The country's top 12 and 13-year-olds will battle for the title in what is the first Baseball Canada championship ever played on Vancouver Island.
"We are thrilled to death to be hosting this great event and we think baseball fans are in for a treat," said tournament chairman Tony Casey, whose organizing committee is busy putting on the finishing touches to the two ball parks and finalizing travel details for the teams.
"And this is a true national championship with every province being represented."
While the Wildcats have known for two years they would be taking part in the event, as hosts, the rest of the field was finalized last weekend with respective provincial tournaments. Newton, from the Surrey area, won their provincial title on Sunday and will represent B.C. And B.C. is the defending champion as Coquitlam won the 2005 peewee title.
There will be 32 games played over the four days, beginning with the host Wildcats taking on Manitoba champ Brandon at 9:30 a.m. on August 24. It wraps up on the 27th with the final at 5 p.m. Twenty-seven games will be played at Carnarvan, while five games will be held at Lambrick Park.
"We have converted the one bantam diamond at Carnarvon to peewee dimensions so we now have two great peewee diamonds there, and our volunteers are busy now converting one of the diamonds at Lambrick Park to the proper peewee dimensions."
The peewee age group is the first time Baseball Canada players are allowed to lead off and the basepaths are 70 feet long instead of the usual 60 feet for the mosquito aged players. Games are also seven innings instead of six for the first time.
"The players just love it because it's like real baseball to them," Casey said. "And it makes it more exciting for the fans."
Casey says the first-class tournament is also a tribute to the volunteers. All the teams will be housed at UVic residences.
"We thought it would be great to have all the teams in the one area instead of billeting them and they will be close to the parks, too."
The Wildcats have spent this season playing various tournaments and exhibition games, including a two-game set last weekend with the Bainbridge Island Hurricanes from Seattle. Victoria swept the double-header 7-2 and 10-4. The Wildcats will have their final pre-tournament games on Saturday when they welcome Newton to Carnarvon for a pair of games (noon, 3 p.m.).