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Despite nasty weather, Minor Ball Day highlights Canora players

On June 8, local minor ball players filled the diamonds with a total of 10 games to celebrate Canora Minor Ball Day.

CANORA — It was a cold day with a bone-chilling northwest wind that made if feel more like hockey weather than baseball weather, but on June 8, local minor ball players filled the diamonds with a total of 10 games to celebrate Canora Minor Ball Day. As the day progressed, it became apparent that the majority of complaints about the weather were coming from the spectators, as there were many smiles among the ballplayers and the quality of play was generally high.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to display their skills for Canora ball fans, age groups on the diamonds ranged from Junior Rally Cap (players born in 2018-19) all the way up to U17 girls softball and U18 baseball.

Junior Rally Cap baseball

Canora Reds Junior Rally Cap Team 1 is coached by Darcie Faith. They played against Team 2 during Minor Ball Day. No scores are kept in this age group, where the players hit the ball off a T.

“The season is going well,” said Faith. Less rainy and windy days would be nice. And maybe a couple of games on minor ball day would have been nice, too. But all-in-all, we are having fun.”

For Junior Rally Cap Team 2, the coach is Blare Stewart.

Senior Rally Cap baseball

Parker Rice is the coach of Senior Rally Cap Team 1, one of three local teams in this age group (born in 2015-17). The assistant coach is Lauren Mentanko.

“Minor Bally Day was a blast for the kids, we had two games. One against each of the other Canora Sr Rally Cap teams,” said Rice.

“The kids have progressed a lot this season. Some kids started off hitting off a T and we have already put the T away and everyone is hitting off the coach who is pitching. We have also learned positions and are consistently making plays at first base.

“It is great to see how much kids love to compete and are willing to put in the work to get better every year!”

Senior Rally Camp Team 2 is coached by Brigitte Herriges, assisted by Jodie Kowalyshyn and Aaron Herriges.

“Minor Ball Day went well, despite the cooler weather,” said Brigitte. “Our players have all made significant progress and I think they had fun playing another Canora team.”

She said Team 2 has had a good season so far. In addition to Canora opposition, they have also played against Kamsack, Norquay and Preeceville. "All of these games have gone well with each player showing progress each time. I believe the players are enjoying the season and we try to make sure each practice and game is fun!”

Senior Rally Cap Team 3 is coached by Derek Friesen along with Assistant Coach Curtis Baillie.

U11 girls softball

Valérie Caza coaches the U11 girls softball team, aided by Assistant Coach Brigitte Herriges.

Caza said their game against Yorkton was tight right to the end and marked a significant milestone.

“It was the first game the girls were allowed to steal bases, which they were really excited about and it made for a very exciting game,” she said. “They were swinging the bats a lot, and made some great plays. It was a very close game, and I believe the final score was 7-6 for Yorkton.”

She said the season has been going well as the players develop their skills.

“On the U11 softball team, we have a good mix of players who are new to the sport and some who have played for a couple years now. The girls are growing in their softball skills every game. I'm always impressed by their grit and willingness to learn. The girls are eager to try new positions, and a few are keen on pitching, which I think is really important at this age.”

U13 girls softball

The U13 girls softball team is managed by Lindsay Peters. The assistant coaches are Lauren Mentanko and Chris Simon, with Terry Wilson looking after the head coaching duties. Wilson said the team had a good game on Minor Ball Day, “against a formidable Esterhazy squad. It was a back-and-forth affair with the Esterhazy team pulling ahead in the later innings. The final score was 19-13 for the visitors.”

Wilson said the Canora team has been working hard this season on several aspects of the game.

“Batting has been consistently solid while pitching and defence has improved as the season has progressed.”

Wilson said Minor Ball day is a very important community event for Canora.

“It showcases the ever-expanding minor ball program we have in town. It’s great to see so many youth participating and learning the benefit of team sport.”

13U baseball

This season, Canora has a pair of 13U baseball teams. Lindsey Propp is the manager of Team 1, coached by Tyler Craig along with assistant coach Curtis Chabun.

“We had a great minor ball day!” said Craig. “We played the other Canora 13U team which was a lot of fun. Our team enjoyed competing against their friends. They had a good lead on us for the first three innings but by the fourth we were able to turn the game around in our favour for a final score of 20-17.

"Our season so far has been a successful one. I’d like to thank Curtis Chabun and Lindsey Propp (manager) for their hard work for our team.”

Team 2 is coached by Dayne Babchishin and assistant coach Corey Heshka, with Shannon Unick handling managerial duties.

15U baseball

The Canora Reds 15U baseball team is coached by Kerry Trask; who is aided by assistant coaches Logan Wolkowski, Matt Thompson and Darcy Rewakowsky.

Amanda Zbitniff, manager, said the team is undefeated so far this season, including a 21-3 win over Invermay on Minor Bally Day.

“We have such a great group of kids and coaches who work really well together on the field,” said Zbitniff. “It’s so rewarding to hear them encourage one other after overcoming a challenging inning or two and watch them come together. It’s a little sad that our season is so short when everyone is enjoying themselves so much.”

Zbitniff believes Minor Ball Day is an excellent way to bring the community together.

“Minor ball day creates an atmosphere of fun and excitement for our town. If you’re a baseball fan, or even if you’re not, seeing our ball diamonds full of players and spectators draws a warming and welcoming feeling. It really is a day meant for the whole family.”

According to information provided by Jill Craig, Canora Minor Ball registrar, this year there are 58 girls softball players and 106 baseball players. Forty-two of those baseball players are in Junior and Senior Rally Cap, so Canora baseball fans can expect plenty of excitement on local diamonds in the years to come.

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