It has been a long time since a slider, sinker or change-up has been thrown in competitive baseball in Whitehorse. However, Baseball Yukon is hoping that is about to change.
If all goes according to plan, slopitch won’t be the only action seen on Whitehorse diamonds this summer as organizers are working towards getting a fastpitch league started this weekend.
“We wanted to keep baseball competitive,” said league organizer Greg Cowman. “It’s not going to be a beer league.”
With about 32 players having confirmed intentions of playing, plus promises from a handful of other potential players, organizers are hoping to draft three or four teams on Sunday and start swinging bats the following weekend.
“What we want to get out is that this is for real,” said organizer Dan Johnson. “We have sponsors, we have umps, we have the field secured at the (Pepsi Centre) on Sunday nights, including the beer garden and all that good stuff.
“Everything is set up for four teams, but if we don’t get four teams we’re ready to go with three. What we need is a commitment from the players.”
If the league makes it onto base, so to speak, there will be games every Sunday evening at the Pepsi Centre. The regular season will run for nine weeks followed by a two-weekend playoff finale, wrapping up at the start of August, the weekend before the Discovery Days tournament in Dawson City.
Every year, two fastpitch teams from Whitehorse go up to Dawson City to compete in a tournament, which gives the league a headstart, said Johnson.
“We have two core teams of guys and what we’re looking to do is add two more teams to that and get a Sunday night league going,” said Johnson.
Organizers want more than simply hitting a few balls and running a few bases. They want to revive the sport in the territory and provide kids with an avenue to hone their skills at a higher level.
“We’re looking to the future and drumming up some interest for the younger kids,” said Cowman. “If we can get families and younger kids out to watch and see what competitive baseball is like, then we’re hoping that’ll raise interest.”
“It’s a really good growth-path for kids in minor softball as well,” said Johnson. “Right now, they have nowhere to go except straight to co-ed slopitch and I think there’s a missing part there.”
Those who are interested in joining a team can go to the Pepsi Centre on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. or register at the Sport Yukon office. The cost for the season is $100.
“(On Sunday) it’s going to be an assessment process and a draft because we are going to try to make the four teams equal,” said Cowman. “We don’t want one team to be overloaded with the three best pitchers in town.”
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