Tucker Gust swinging at the ball during an U12 game against Williams Lake last June. File photo

100 Mile House Minor Softball Association calling kids up to the plate

First games start on April 30

Everyone knows it’s baseball season when springtime comes and for the 100 Mile House Minor Softball Association the season starts on April 30.

So far, 90 kids have signed up to try and become the Jose Bautista or Josh Donaldson of 100 Mile House.

“That’s pretty close to where we have in the last couple of years,” said Pat Findlay, the first-time president of the association. “We are a long way from where it used to be years ago but 90 is a good number.”

According to Findlay, the largest group is the Under 10 division with 30 players signed up. The Under six to Under eight groups are also good for numbers, but the Under 12 and 14 is fairly small.

“I don’t know, I think you see it in most sports around these days and as older kids get jobs and they can’t commit to a couple nights a week,” he said. “It’s puzzling for sure.”

Findlay said he is excited about the season nevertheless and is looking forward to bring the under 12 and under 14 to provincial tournament in Smithers sometime in early-July.

A local tournament is also in the works and could be happening in mid-June but might not be set-in-stone until later on. Findlay said he is still trying to get the word out to other associations.

It’s been a while since a tournament has been hosted locally. Teams will also play some other out-of-town tournaments, where Findlay said he intends to talk to other coaches and officials and try to bring them on board.

“It’s always great watching the kids progress, learn skills and develop into little ball players,”

The Minor Softball Association is still looking for more players to join in and focuses on coaches getting really involved, said Findlay. With the coaching being more hands-on, the hope is that the children will have more fun and tell their friends about it and they will decide to pick up a bat next season.

Findlay added he hoped some of them will stick with it, as it is a lifelong sport and when they age out of Under 14’s they transition to fastball or keep on playing until they are in their 50s.

The association has also enlisted the help of some kids to umpire the games, sending them to an umpiring clinic through Softball BC.

The association is still looking for parents to volunteer their time to assist in coaching, Findlay said with 10 to 12 kids in the field, one coach might not be enough.

“Most parents come to the ballpark and they sit in the stands and watch their kids play ball and I always encourage them to come out and help,” said Findlay. “Lots of parents aren’t into that but if they have any skills in baseball I encourage them to come out and help.”

Even though registration is over, Findlay said he won’t turn kids away and will allow them to join in if they show up last-minute, they just might not get a shirt or hat like the kids who registered on time.

“We’ll accommodate as many kids as we possibly can,” he said, though adding preferably only during the first week of the season.

Parents interested in enrolling their kids or volunteering their time can contact Findlay at games or through his phone number at 250-395-6027.

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