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Skills clinic kicks off busy new season for Canora Minor Ball

With new local teams being formed for girls’ softball, the 2022 ball season opened with a Softball Skills Clinic put on by Canora Minor Ball at the Canora Civic Centre from April 26-28.

CANORA — With new teams being formed for girls’ softball, and exploding interest in baseball, Canora Minor Baseball Association volunteers have reason to be exciting for the upcoming season.

The 2022 ball season unofficially kicked off with a Softball Skills Clinic put on by Canora Minor Ball at the Canora Civic Centre from April 26-28.

Brigitte Herriges, Canora Minor Ball secretary, said in recent years there has been a noticeable increase in interest regarding girls’ softball.

“We are blown away by the interest we have received for softball, which became apparent when we conducted a survey on our Facebook page in March,” reported Herriges. “We have softball players coming from Sturgis, Norquay, and locally to make three, almost four softball teams in Canora!”

The skills clinic was led by Kody Faubert, a successful fastball player from Wadena. Faubert said he enjoys running clinics like the one in Canora, since many of the players are taking up softball for the first time.

“It’s exciting to work with them when they’re just starting out,” he explained. “At this stage, they have no bad habits to break and lots of room for improvement.”

The clinic covered all the basic skills, including catching, fielding, hitting, and pitching.

“We are probably seeing the most improvement in pitching during the clinic,” shared Faubert. “We kind of go about it backwards; starting with how to grip the ball, then the release, then we work on the windup in stages, and finally put it all together.”

“Thank you to the coaches and parent volunteers to help make these clinics a success!” added Herriges. “We are very pleased with how this clinic turned out and it was a good start to our first softball season in Canora in many years.”

A total of 44 players have so far registered for girls’ softball in Canora this season.

In the U11 age group, there are 18 players registered, and they are looking for at least four more in order to create two full teams:

  • Team No. 1 will be coached by Terry Wilson of Canora. A female assistant coach and a team manager are still needed.
  • Chris Simon of Kamsack will be the head coach of Team No. 2, assisted by Lauren Mentanko. They are also looking for a team manager.

There are 14 players registered for the U13 team with Travis Mentanko as the head coach. Nathan Dutchak is the assistant coach and Carmen Wolkowski is the Team Manager.

The U15 age group has 12 players registered. Aimee Ruf is the head coach, assisted by Morgan Homeniuk and Valerie Caze. Sheri Roebuck is the team manager.

In minor baseball, there are 92 players registered so far.

“We are extremely pleased with our registration numbers as we have more than doubled our registrations in 2019 and 2021,” said Herriges.

Junior Rally Cap (6U) initially had 23 players registered, but three have been moved up to Senior Rally Cap (8U).  Junior Rally Cap has been divided into two teams:

  • Team No. 1 is the three-year-old team with a total of eight players and has Brent Warren as the head coach. Gillian Rice is the assistant coach, while all parents are encouraged to help where they can with this age group.
  • Derek Friesen is the head coach of Team No. 2, which has 12 players in the 4 to 6-year-old age group. Aaron Herriges and Amy Nordin are the assistant coaches. Parents are encouraged to help with this age group as well.

Senior Rally Cap (8U) had 16 players registered, but as noted above, three players were moved up from 6U. One player was then moved down from 11U to create 20 players and two teams:

  • Team No. 1 will be coached by Parker Rice. The search is on for volunteers to help as assistant coaches.
  • Brigitte Herriges is the head coach of Team No. 2, with Jodie Kowalyshyn serving as the assistant coach.

The 11U age group has 22 players registered; two teams with 11 players each:

  • Amanda Hall is the head coach of Team No. 1. Curtis Chabun and Laura Blender are assistant coaches, with Stacey Vangen as the team manager.
  • Team No. 2 will be coached by Shannon Unick, with Richard Unick and Sheryl Toffan as the assistant coaches. Crystal Reine is the team manager.

In the 13U age group, there were only nine registrations, which include two girls from U13 softball. Kerry Trask is the head coach. Travis Mentanko is the assistant coach, and Amanda Zbitniff is the team manager. “We are looking for two to four more registrations or we will be pulling players up from 11U teams for games,” explained Herriges.

The U15 age group has 13 players registered. Dayne Babchishin is the head coach, assisted by. Kelly Beblow. Lesley Parnetta will serve as the team manager.

There are nine registered players so far for U18. Graham Lamb will be the head coach. The assistant coaches are Kelly McTavish and Grady Wolkowski. Jodie Kowalyshyn is the team manager.

Canora Minor Baseball/Softball Association was set to start indoor practices in early May. Baseball teams for 11U to 18U will be practicing on Monday and Wednesday at the Canora Civic Center and all four softball teams will be practicing on Tuesday and Thursday.

Outdoor practices for all divisions will hopefully start the week of May 9, pending the weather and dryness of the baseball diamonds. Baseball games for 11U and older are scheduled to start the week of May 16. Softball teams are planning to schedule games for the end of May or the beginning of June.

Canora Minor Ball day is scheduled for Saturday, June 4.

“The 18U Baseball Team is planning to enter a team in provincials,” stated Herriges. “Canora Minor Baseball is encouraging other age categories to consider putting in a provincial team as well.”

All teams and game/practice schedules will be posted online at www.canoraminorball.com.

“We are also in desperate need of umpires for both baseball and softball. If anyone is interested in helping out, clinics can be found on Baseball Sask and Softball Sask websites or they can reach out to us at canoraminorball@gmail.com to explore other options.

“For fundraising, parents will be scheduled for shifts to work the concession booth at the Sports Grounds on practice and game nights, including Canora Supers games. Any further sponsorship is greatly appreciated to help our growing organization as our numbers have more than doubled since 2021!” concluded Herriges.

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