Baseball season has begun. After several weeks of practice indoors, one bantam, one peewee and possibly four mosquito baseball teams have begun practice and will soon have games on the diamonds.
Unity Minor Ball hosted a one-day "Inside Pitch" camp led by Morgan Reiter at the diamonds on May 2. The morning session for eight- to 15-year-olds was for power pitching and mechanics, and was well attended. The afternoon, for ages six to 14, was on hitting and skills, and hosted approximately 30 kids.
The program director, as well as current former college players, were instructing this one-day course.
May 15, in conjunction with Minor Ball Day, the annual Greg Morrison Camp will be held for players from mosquito to midget divisions. Unity is fortunate to secure camps like this locally as there are huge numbers in mosquito baseball this year, with 53 kids registered for this division. Half of them are first year, bringing the possibility of three to four teams to accommodate these numbers. Camps such as these encourage and enlighten new and existing players, and as a result, build on strong programs such as that of Unity Minor Ball, baseball division.
A local bantam player, Rhett Feser, who told me Unity hosts a fantastic baseball program. I asked him for an inside view of baseball in Unity. Rhett is a 14-year-old Grade 9 student who tells me he didn't always like baseball as he didn't enjoy his first year. However, through a relative who took him and played catch with him and a dad who loves the game, his passion for the sport grew. Last year, he was invited and chosen to play Saskatoon fall baseball, which resulted in a tournament in Las Vegas, Nev. in October. This year his hopes lie with tryouts for Team Saskatchewan to earn a spot on the team for Western Canada Summer Games in Kamloops in August.
Rhett, determined to improve in his game, tells me he works in the off season indoors. This is in addition to his busy hockey schedule. He can also be seen at the diamonds on off nights practising his batting and pitching. Besides mentoring younger siblings, his action on the diamonds spurs younger kids to question him on baseball, and he is happy to pass on any tips.
He mentions the advantages of practising individually for self-development. He tells me his best year was winning the provincial title as a peewee two years ago right in Unity. He did remind me that although softball numbers are strong and that brings out the fans, baseball has a lot to offer the spectator, as well as the player, in excitement value.
The Bantams begin their games this week and are in a league with Kindersley, Lloydminster, Luseland, Macklin and Kitscoty.