Minor softball returns to the North Shore
Late in 2010 when people in Western Bay found out that I was moving back to Western Bay to live the wheels were put in motion for getting minor softball started up in the area again. I had once been very involved in softball in the area and now used my past contacts to get the ball rolling again. Talking to parents in the area I found out that there was enough interest to give it a try.
I was faced with two major issues. One was having no equipment and the other was the poor condition of the surface of the existing field in Western Bay. There was no money to take care of either issue.
I knew where to get some money if there were enough children involved. So early in 2012, I decided to survey the children in the three schools serving the children from Kingston to Caplin Cove from ages five to 14. Approximately 50 children were interested.
A $1,500 grant from First Pitch Program was applied for and approved. Now we had the money for equipment. More money was raised through our registration in late May and committees were set up to look after things for the upcoming season. A toll gate during the Canada Day weekend raised approximately $940 in two-and-a-half hours.
Parents and children went to the field on a number of occasions with tools to repair the surface. Our regional development association donation a tandem load of sand for our infield and we spent some of our money — $1,100 — to purchase two more tandem loads of sand.
This allowed us to start our co-ed softball program on July 4 with three groups: five to seven year-olds, eight to 10 year-olds, and 11 to 14 year-olds. Each group practiced twice per week. This would not have been possible without the many people who volunteered as coaches.
Skills came along slowly until they started to play games against parents late in July. It didn’t take long to see a big improvement in their play. But still we weren’t ready for tournaments.
Butlerville invited us to play games against them during their official field opening ceremonies. We were encouraged by the play of our three groups and then contacted Winterton to see if we could visit them for a double-header. They agreed and late in August our oldest group easily won both games. However, when they visited us in late September Winterton was a much improved team, but our group narrowly won both games again.
Parents are well deserving of a big thanks for their support, both as fans and for their efforts in fundraising.
For next year, we are looking at adding ages 15, 16, and 17 and possibly including children from the communities of Old Perlican, Bay de Verde, Perry’s Cove, Salmon Cove, and Victoria. We are also hoping to add more children from our own communities.
Over the winter, we plan to get our coaches and umpires certified through clinics. We also have committees in place to plan field area improvements and to raise money to carry out these improvements. Our teams are known as the North Shore Minor Softball Association Wreckers.
Submitted by Ed Fahey
Players, coaches and special guests gather for a photo following a season-ending ceremony for the North Shore Minor Softball Association on Sept. 19. Pictured here are: Front (l-r) — Laura Whalen, Bryanna Hogan, Mya Cole, Patrick Bartlett, Nicholas Bartlett and Jacob Brookings; second row — Morgan Slade, Cassie Hogan, Kendra Walsh, Shyann Rose, Noah Howell, Zachary Bursey, Deven Cull, Brandon Cannings, Nathan Bursey, Diego Rose and Isabella Pittman; third row — Georgia Slade, Hailey Kennedy, Cameron Reid, Kyle Parsons, Morgan Oliver, Alyssa Halliday, Liam Button and Tristen Whalen; fourth row — Lucas Scott, Timmy Sellars, Charlene Johnson (MHA), Amanda Preston, Hilary Whalen and Chelsea Walsh; back — Ed Fahey (coach), Jade Oliver (coach), Christopher Brookings, Cody Sellars, Mitchell Preston and Andrew Parsons (coach). Missing from photo — Alexander Pittman, Tatum Delaney, Tyson Traverse, Caden Delaney, Shane Delaney and Kyle Bursey These young softball players from the North Shore and Winterton
were photographed in Western Bay following a pair of exhibition games
late last month.