Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Play Ball! Local group working on bringing Baseball back to the North Coast

It's been a long time since youngsters in Prince Rupert and area have had the chance to play organized baseball.

The once popular sport in the area lost ground to soccer a number of years ago, with the baseball scene for the most part surrendered to the recreational softball groups for those of older ages.

That it seems is about to change though, with a local group having formed the North Coast Minor Baseball Association, a start up league that is accepting registration for this season starting today.

The new sports option for the community will see three levels of play created as they prepare to bring the game back, featuring baseball for youngsters Ages 4-5, 6-7 and 8-9.

The youngest group will be playing a starter version of the game called Blastball making use of the Crestview field for this first year.

The 6-7 Age group will be playing the more familiar Tee ball, while youngsters ages 8 and 9 will be participating in a full Baseball program, though primarily with the coaches doing the pitching.

Both of those divisions will be using a field provide by the District of Port Edward at McKeown Park.

The need to make the short drive out to Port Edward would seem to suggest that there is a shortage of available space in Prince Rupert.

That was an issue that Councillor Niesh raised In January at Council when he first noted that there were plans in motion to start up the Association, highlighting how one field at the Civic Centre has been turned over dog walkers, something which Council may wish to review in order to give the baseball organizers some assistance in developing the sport.

While the City seems to have other
plans for the Mckay Stree/Kootenay field
it would seem to be a logical location
for a new baseball league in the city
Another option that might be considered is the currently unused baseball field located at McKay Street.

A location that the City seems determined to make use of for one of its place making projects, having outlined some ideas for that space at a recent conference in the community.

That might be a proposal that the City might wish to review as well, perhaps finding an alternative spot for its place making plans, returning the McKay Street baseball field to a purpose it was originally designed for, located as it is in a large residential area on the west side of the city.

While the generosity of the District of Port Edward is a welcome bit of community building on the North Coast, for a number of Prince Rupert's young people, the ability to get out to Port Edward might prove to be a issue when it comes to registration.

The advantage of baseball is that of the many sports available for youth to play, it's relatively inexpensive, with the cost of a glove for the most part the only required piece of equipment.

For those on a limited income, the idea of baseball in the community could provide for a sport that is accessible to all, something that the City of Prince Rupert should be looking to encourage.

As for the action on the field for the season ahead, once they have a better idea as to their registration numbers, the North Coast Baseball season will be a short one. With sessions taking place through May and June, organizers hope to schedule times as best they can to avoid conflicts with Minor Soccer in the community.

There is also a Minor Softball program being set up in the region that will focus on youngsters over the age of eight, adding to the options for youth in the community.

You can find out more about the rebirth of baseball from the Website and Facebook Page .

As the plans come together and the season gets underway we'll archive more information on the launch of the Association on our archive page here.

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