A successful summer
Plenty of activity on the diamonds for Bay Roberts minor program
It has been a great season for the Bay Roberts Minor Softball Association.
The association sent more teams to tournaments then in recent years.
From all indications, there is the makings of a thriving girls’ program growing and officials see the building blocks of a successful program blossoming.
This season some 120 young ball players took to various fields in the Bay Roberts area under the watchful eyes of their coaches.
Executive member Glenn Mercer admitted those numbers are down from last season, but he is no less optimistic about where softball is headed in the town.
“Overall, the program is still going strong,” he said.
This year an emphasis was put on getting teams across all levels to tournaments. That emphasis is important to keep building the program from the bottom up. It allows players to use what they have learned in practice.
More importantly, playing in tournaments and games, it keeps the players interested and engaged.
“The mites group didn’t attend any tournaments last year, and this year they went to two,” said Mercer. “Going forward, I think that’s most important.”
Building from the bottom up
One of the problem areas for the association has been keeping players in the game at the older levels. Normally, the numbers have dropped off and the association has struggled because of it.
To rectify that, the association has to focus both on building the game not only at the higher level, but also at the lower level. That is why having age groups like mite going to tournaments is important.
“That group, from year to year, is usually the highest enrolment,” said Mercer. “So, we need to get that group interested, going to tournaments, knowing what it’s all about and get them going up to the next group.”
As those mite players grow and develop, they will move up the ranks and infuse the rest of the association with interested athletes.
It also helps that the next level up, squirt, featured both a boys and girls team. It’s a sign that things are headed in the right division for the association.
While in peewee and bantam, there are nights it was a struggle to bring 18 players to the field out of both divisions. It is a stark contrast from three years ago, when there were three house league teams in bantam.
“This is the challenge, keeping those mites interested, moving them up to squirt and then trying to keep all of the squirts to keep them playing ball going forward,” said Mercer.
A thriving female program
A highlight of the Bay Roberts program is the involvement of young female athletes. Again, the association has a strong female foundation in the lower levels.
In the squirt division, there were enough female players to have a separate team. It was the same in mite.
“There will be a girls’ team in peewee next year,” said Mercer.
A big need in the Bay Roberts association is pitching. Like baseball, teams will struggle if their pitching is weak.
The plan is to try and develop an off-season pitching program intended to develop the arms in the system and teach them how to pitch. Another plan involves getting fresh faces on the field as coaches and on the executive.
“That’s a goal going forward,” said Mercer
Outfielder Caleb Curtis gets the ball into the infield quickly, while Julia Mercer looks on. Both took part in the Bay Roberts minor softball program this past summer.
Jonathan Bradbury delivers a strike to an opposing batter during the last practice of the season for Bay Roberts minor softball.