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This Year in Baseball: Newfoundland & Labrador

This Year in Baseball is a regular feature on that will preview the year ahead in baseball from the 10 Provincial organizations. In the final installment of This Year in Baseball for 2011, we take an in-depth look at Baseball Newfoundland.

The late start to the baseball season doesn’t stop Baseball Newfoundland and its long-time Executive Director, Ken Dawe from taking a proactive approach to enhancing and improving the game on ‘the rock’.

“This year, we've placed an emphasis on coaching and umpiring,” said Dawe. “We’ve had a lot of coaching and umpiring-related activities take place already this year.

Some of the coaching and umpiring activities include: The hiring of a Technical Director (Bill Taggart) on a seasonal basis to handle the NCCP coaching program, bringing in Wayne Parro from Ontario to do training sessions as NCCP Learning Facilitator (Provincial and Regional level) and Evaluator Training, holding NCCP Learning Facilitator Training at the Initiation Level, conducting a series of NCCP Regional and Provincial module workshops during the month of May, while also having a series of indoor umpiring clinics in the St. John's Metro region and outdoor and indoor umpiring clinics in the eastern and central areas of the province.

Promotion of baseball is always a priority for Provincial Sport Organization’s (PSO’s) in Canada. This year, Baseball Newfoundland took full advantage of Sport Newfoundland’s 1st Annual SportsFest, held in St. John’s this past May.

“Over 3500 people visited the SportsFest and stopped at various sports booths, including baseball,” explained Dawe. “Students and adults were able to hit whiffle balls off a batting tee and have their pitches timed on a radar gun. Students also received baseball caps, Women's National Team baseball cards, MLB Fan Guides, Rally Cap information, and registration information.”

Baseball was on full display in late May and early June at various elementary and high school baseball tournaments that occur in collaboration with some local minor baseball associations. According to Dawe, the great thing about these tournaments is the fact that they expose kids to the game of baseball who might not otherwise have the opportunity to play the sport.

“Those tournaments give exposure to a number of students who haven't registered for baseball but who may do just that after playing in one of the tournaments,” he said.

At the grassroots level, Winterball was again used in many schools across the province through Baseball Newfoundland and a government grant that made the program available to even more schools.

In one case, a local association decided to use a kit to promote the game of baseball to young females in the province.

“The St. John's Minor Association used one of the kits for a girl’s baseball program during the winter,” noted Dawe. “Girls baseball will be one of the activities taking place during the Festival of Baseball at the end of July.”

This time of year also means that various Selects and high performance teams will be gearing up for various National Championships.

The Selects team that will head to Moncton and the Baseball Canada Cup in August has already been chosen, while preparations are already underway for the team that will represent Newfoundland & Labrador at the 2013 Canada Summer Games.

“The 2013 Canada Games team has held tryout camps and will hold others before 18 players are selected,” said Dawe. These 18 players will compose the team that will compete in the Bantam Boys National Championships in Vaughan this summer.”

Baseball Newfoundland’s Provincial Championships begin the weekend of July 23rd with various events taking place through the month of August.  

Upper Island Cove, NL will play host the Mosquito AA Atlantic Championship during this time.

For more information on Baseball Newfoundland, visit: . You can also follow Baseball Newfoundland on Twitter (@BaseballNL).