Highway 3 Baseball League hoping for successful 2024 campaign

Photo from Highway 3 Baseball League Facebook Page. The Birch Hills Brewers were Highway 3 Baseball League champions in 2023.

The countdown is on for the senior baseball season in Northeastern Saskatchewan.

The Highway 3 Baseball League is set to begin late next week and the excitement in the air is palpable.

The Highway 3 Baseball League consists of two divisions with the East Division featuring Prince Albert, Birch Hills, Humboldt and Nipawin. The West Division has teams from Porcupine Plain, Hudson Bay, Tisdale and Pasquia. The league remains identical to last season with the exception of Nipawin and Tisdale swapping divisions

Adam Morrison is a board member for the Highway 3 Baseball League and spoke to the Daily Herald in an interview on Tuesday. He says it is a promising sign to have all the teams return from last year.

“It’s good. I think it shows that the want for senior baseball is still strong in the Northeast, and we got a pretty good range. From Nipawin to Humboldt, and Prince Albert, Hudson Bay covers a big stand, so it’s nice to see all those teams come back this year and expect to see a lot of parity in the league this year as well. I think all the teams are going to be pretty evenly matched for the most part.”

Each team will play a total of eight regular season games ahead of playoffs. The league will also feature two showcase weeks in Birch Hills and Pasquia.

The concept of showcase weekends was first implemented by the league last season and Morrison says it was a fantastic way to reduce travel for teams while also allowing communities to see more baseball up close and personal.

“We did it last year for the first time. At the end of the day, it’s still a working man’s league. When you got such a big distance between communities, it’s tough to get there on weeknights, so we kind of thought the easier way to do it would be when you play two teams in the other division in one day to knock out a bit of travel and get some games in. That way you kind of get to see some different teams throughout the year and it’s kind of nice for different communities to come out and see some different teams every now and then as well.”

While the league currently operates well with eight teams, Morrison says there is an interest in expanding the league long-term.

“There are a few communities where it’d be nice to get a team in the mix. Melfort has got a great minor ball program. It would be awesome to get a team there and it’d be nice to see another team around the Humboldt area cut down on their travel a little bit. For now, I think everyone’s pretty happy with eight teams and it does cut down on travel when you go to divisions. So that’s kind nice for guys that are working.”

Nipawin hosts Birch Hills in the first game of the season on Thursday, May 30. Prince Albert opens Highway 3 Baseball League play on Wednesday, June 5 when they welcome Birch Hills.

Prince Albert will also host Humboldt in a doubleheader on Saturday, June 8, and Nipawin on Monday, June 17.