An upstart baseball little league for kids and teens is offering the possibility of a faster game on diamonds around Whitehorse.
This is the first season for the four-team league administered by the Yukon Little League Society but more than 50 players registered for the inaugural season.
Ages for little league this year were 11 to 17 but expansion of the age range is planned for coming seasons.
According to league organizers things got started early with drop-in skills sessions for interested players over the winter at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse. The league is working to get some former pros here for pitching, hitting and skills clinics over the coming winter.
The league received assistance from the government’s community development fund to help it buy $27,000 worth of equipment.
Organizers said there was also lots of support from Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwachan Council in getting field space. Some recent games against a visiting team from Haines, Alaska were played on the field across from the Kwanlin Dün First Nation administration building.
Clark Skelton, one of the new league’s coaches, said the games against the older and more experienced team from Haines were a good learning experience for the Yukon players.
The Yukon little league has four teams, two for 13-to-16-year-old players and two for 10-to-12-year-olds. Skelton said some players were drawn from all four for the games against Haines.
Although many of the Yukon players had played softball before, Skelton said a back-to-basics approach was required for the early practices. He said the speed of the game is the biggest difference for the players who are new to it but players seemed to be enjoying the challenge and the overhand pitching.
“You could tell those Haines kids, they’ve been playing since they were like five or six,” Skelton said.
“Our goal is to get the kids just, you know, competitive and then, that could be a regular season game with teams like that.”
Skelton said he thinks there’s room for the league to grow and eventually play regularly against teams in other Yukon communities and in Alaska.
The little league’s season wraps Aug. 6. Skelton said the best way both current and prospective little league players can get ready for next year is to watch the Toronto Blue Jays and the rest of the major leagues until the end of the season.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com