CANORA - After a long and cold winter, ballplayers in Canora and the surrounding areas are looking forward to warmer weather and getting back on the diamonds to play baseball and softball.
For mixed baseball, there are six age groups looking for players: Junior Rally Cap (8U), Senior Rally Cap (8U), 11U, 13U, 15U and 18U.
After a successful launch in 2022, girls’ softball will once again be on the diamond, with teams in the U11, U13, U15 and U17 categories.
U17 softball is new this year to provide the opportunity to continue playing for a number of local female players who have moved up to this age category.
According to Brigitte Herriges, secretary and webmaster, registration opened on Feb. 21 at canoraminorball.com.
“The early registration deadline is April 1, with late fees applying afterwards at $50 per registration,” said Herriges. “Registration closes on April 15. We will not be taking any more registrations after April 15 unless approved/confirmed by the board and the head coach.
“There will be no refunds after April 1, unless a medical note is provided. These changes have been implemented in an attempt to get registrations in sooner to assist us with planning for the ball season with scheduling, obtaining volunteers, ordering equipment/uniforms, and so on.
“Parkland Minor Ball requested this due to many communities not being ready for the annual scheduling/coaches meeting typically held mid-April for age categories 11U and older. Coaches for softball and rally cap will have time to schedule games before the season starts, which also helps us with planning and/or scheduling parents for fundraising duties if needed.”
Herriges went on to add that Canora Minor Baseball “was incredibly pleased with how the 2022 baseball/softball season went. It was a bit hectic getting the season started especially with offering softball for the first time in years as well as starting up our website, but overall the season went smoothly with over 140 registrations between baseball and softball. It was a big transition for many families to register through the RAMP portal, but already this year, things are going smoother and there has been less confusion.”
New jerseys are being ordered for the 6U and 11U baseball teams, since the old ones are worn out. Depending on the financial picture as the season progresses, more uniforms and/or equipment will also be purchased.
“With having registrations in sooner this season, we will also be able to start indoor training for the older age categories as well as offer some clinics,” said Herriges. “At this point, no clinics have been scheduled; however, we are strongly considering offering a baseball umpire clinic if there is enough interest. If interested, email us at email@example.com. Those interested in being an umpire for softball can register for the clinic in Melville through the Softball Sask Website or complete the online modules.”
Vern Schick has also offered to do in-person training with anyone who completes an umpire course this year to prepare them for on-field situations.
Herriges said they are looking into softball and baseball player and coaching clinics with the hope to have these offered indoors mid-to-end-of-April or outdoors at the beginning of the season.
Players dedicated to working at and improving their hitting and pitching skills could soon have new equipment available.
“We are in the planning stages of building a batting cage this season with the possibility of also purchasing a pitching machine,” said Herriges. “These are two bigger expenses where fundraising and sponsorship will be extra important this season.
“Our fundraising committee will be discussing fundraising options for this season. At this point, we are exploring proceeding with the concession as our primary fundraiser and/or raffle draws. Further details will be emailed to parents with regards to their fundraising duties by early to mid-April.”
Herriges said they have done some work to streamline communication for the coming season.
“We have purchased a Team APP through RAMP which will ensure all teams are using the same form of communication. This was indicated as a need from last year, particularly for parents with children in different age categories. This allows them to focus on using just one app versus three or four different apps.”
The Canora Minor Ball annual general meeting was held on March 7, with 26 persons in attendance.
The executive for the coming year was put in place, including three new members:
Kelly McTavish, president (since 2019); Travis Mentanko, vice-president (since 2022); Amanda Zbitniff, treasurer (since 2021); Herriges, secretary/webmaster (since 2019/2022); Jill Craig, registrar (since 2019); Jodie Kowalyshyn, baseball equipment manager (since 2019); Christopher Simon, softball equipment manager, (since 2022); Carmen Wolkowski, fundraiser co-ordinator (since 2022); Amy Nordin and Lizemari Menton, fundraiser committee (new), and Brandi Zavislak, picture co-ordinator (new).
Herriges said they are still looking for an umpire co-ordinator, “to obtain the list of umpires from Parkland Baseball/Softball; recruit new umpires and possibly host an umpire clinic in Canora. As well, they would pass the umpire list to managers who are responsible for booking/canceling umpires for games.”
The response from parents and community members to fill coaching positions has been encouraging to this point.
“This is a huge change from previous years where we have had to recruit volunteers to coach, but this year, people are coming to us. Having coaches already lined up will assist us with focusing more on providing clinics and early training than searching for volunteers.”
However, there is still a need for team managers in all age groups, as well as umpires for both baseball and softball. Anyone interested in volunteering, is encouraged to please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual Canora Minor Ball Day has been scheduled for Saturday, June 2.
“We are excited for the 2023 ball season as we offer both baseball and softball for the second year in a row,” said Herriges. “We anticipate approximately the same number of registrations as last season and hope to continue to build our program more each year."