CANORA- Canora Minor Ball recently completed its first season with no COVID-19 restrictions since before the pandemic.
“It was at times stressful, but amazing!” said Brigitte Herriges, Canora Minor Ball secretary.
“It is incredible to see the growing interest for baseball and softball in Canora and surrounding communities. I would also like to note how grateful and happy the girls and their families are for having softball started this year. We were pleasantly surprised and pleased with the interest we had as well as the sportsmanship and positive team morale these players displayed throughout the season. The same goes for our baseball teams and the bonds each team made. Speaking from a coach’s perspective, it is amazing to watch players grow individually, but it’s even more exciting to see players bonding and encouraging one another to grow and improve throughout the season.”
Canora Minor Ball reported double the number of registrations for minor baseball this year, in addition to having softball for 10 to 15-year-old girls available for the first time in recent memory.
“This created increased work for our executive members,” Herriges explained, “particularly with regards to finding volunteers to coach and manage the teams, ordering and dispersing jerseys and equipment, arranging workers and supplies for the concession, treasurer duties, and so much more.”
Herriges noted that many executive members also assisted with coaching and/or being team managers.
“With registrations for more than 140 players this season, we anticipate this number to grow next year and in the years to come, particularly in softball. In saying this, we will need to add to our executive, particularly to assist with recruiting more umpires, managing the concession and workers, and arranging clinics for coaches and players. If anyone is interested in joining our board, please reach out to us prior to next season so we can hit the ground running.
“We want to thank those who umpired for our 11U and older age categories for both baseball and softball, particularly our local umpires including: Logan Wolkowski, Kris Currie, Lucas Latham, and our veteran umpire, Vern Schick. We are incredibly thankful for Vern who has been busy trying to recruit new umpires and offering in-person training for all new umpires.”
For next season, more local umpires are needed in order to reduce the need to bring in umpires from other communities.
“If anyone is interested in becoming an umpire, please reach out to us at email@example.com and we will cover the costs for training and travel as needed,” offered Herriges.
Each team from 6U to 18U showed significant growth and progress throughout Canora Minor Ball’s first season post-COVID, according to information from the teams.
“We want to thank all of our coaches and team managers who stepped up to make this season a success. Without parents and community members stepping forward to coach, umpire, and manage these teams, these kids would not be able to play the sport they love,” continued Herriges.
“Next year, we hope to offer coaching and player clinics so that both, coaches and players, are well prepared for the 2023 season. We will be connecting with Baseball Sask and Softball Sask by January to arrange for these clinics to occur in the early spring so please stay tuned.”
The primary fundraiser for Canora Minor Ball this season was the concession booth.
“It was an extremely busy season trying to operate the concession as we attempted to have it open four or more nights per week to ensure players, coaches, family members, and fans could grab food before, during, or after practices and games. A huge thank you to our kitchen co-ordinator, Candace Doogan, who ensured the kitchen was well stocked with supplies as well as to our fundraiser co-ordinator, Carmen Wolkowski, who had never-ending changes to the schedule due to rain-outs and other cancellations.
“Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we experienced significant difficulties with the same commitment from families fulfilling their fundraising duties for our concession. As an executive, we will be exploring alternative options to help run the concession more smoothly due to several families not showing for their scheduled shifts. It was rather disappointing as this lack of commitment meant our girls 15U softball team missed out on their year-end burger and drink, as no one showed up for their shift. We hope to come up with some solutions or alternatives to minimize this issue in the future, which may mean decreased concession nights or potentially increased fees to ensure we have enough funds to cover the costs of jerseys, equipment, umpires, and diamond rentals.”
Herriges sees continued growth for Canora Minor Ball through the 2023 season.
“Our goal is to offer baseball for 6U to 18U and softball for 11U to 19U, pending registration numbers. We encourage all athletes to go to the Baseball Sask and Softball Sask websites to be up-to-date on any camps and clinics being offered throughout the winter months to improve their skills in the off season. We also hope to host some tournaments for both baseball and softball categories, and eventually host provincials in Canora in the near future. These potential opportunities will not only help our organization, but our entire community as a whole.”
The season continues for members of the Canora Reds 18U baseball team, as they are once again headed to provincials
“This group of young athletes has been entering a provincial team since they were in the 11U age category and are led again this year by head coach, Graham Lamb, and assistant coaches, Kelly McTavish and Kevin Ebert. Best of luck to these boys while they attend the 18U AA Tier 4 Provincials in Moose Jaw on July 22-24. Canora Minor Ball wants to encourage other age categories to strongly consider entering a provincial team in the future and we will do our best to support them moving forward,” concluded Herriges.