This Year in Baseball is a regular feature on Baseball.ca that will preview the year ahead in baseball from the 10 Provincial organizations. Today we take an in-depth look at Saskatchewan Baseball.
Saskatchewan Baseball is continuing to be a leader at the grassroots level, in particular with the Rally Cap and Winterball programs.
“We’ve had some great success-especially with Winterball,” said Mike Ramage, Executive Director of Saskatchewan Baseball. “The demand has been pretty impressive again this year.”
“We’ve gone across the province this year and got some new schools involved,” continued Ramage. “Hopefully that will generate some interest in baseball and increase membership.”
Exciting things are also happening in the province with the Rally Cap program where a pilot project is being launched this season that will hopefully enhance the program for participants.
“The idea is to incorporate three teams into a session and have the kids participate in various drills and stations to keep them moving,” explained Ramage. “We’ll get some results (from the pilot) at the end of the summer and from there we’ll be able to develop it further.”
Girl’s baseball is a potential area for growth in Saskatchewan, in particular at the Senior age level. Baseball Saskatchewan has sent teams to the Bantam Girls National Championships recently and would like to see this continue at the Senior level. According to Ramage, the only roadblock for running a Senior program is finding an individual to take control of the program.”
“We’re looking for someone to come forward to take the reins and guide the Midget and Senior age groups. The interest is there from the girls themselves, but until someone steps up there is not much we can do.”
On the National Championships stage, Regina will be hosting the Midget National Championship in the latter part of August. The Optimist Baseball League which falls under Regina Baseball brings and extensive hosting background to the championship that will see the top Midget clubs in the country participate.
At the High performance level, Team Saskatchewan won’t have home field advantage this year, as the Baseball Canada Cup will move east to Moncton after two years in Kindersley. High Performance Director Greg Brons is busy preparing for identification camps that will culminate in the selection of the Provincial team that will compete in Moncton.
Also on the horizon, will be the selection of a Bantam-aged Provincial Team that will compete at the Western Canada Games in Kamloops, BC.
In April, Brons accompanied a group of Bantam and Midget players to Arizona to train and compete in a series of exhibition games.
“We’ve done this camp for the last three years,” said Ramage. “It gives us an early look at players that will compete for spots on the (Canada) Cup team and Western Canada Games team in the years to come.
The province has recently had some snow storms that have delayed the start of baseball season (particularly in the north). Once the snow clears, look for a great season of baseball from the prairie province!
For more information on Baseball Saskatchewan, visit their website: www.saskbaseball.ca