It’s been a long wait for baseball players in Prince Albert, but the 2020 campaign is about to get underway.
With Phase 4.2 of the Government of Saskatchewan’s Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan taking effect on Monday, Prince Albert Minor is getting ready for the start of their season on Monday, July 6.
“The kids have just been chomping at the bit to get back out there and we’ve been waiting week after week for the return to play announcement to come,” Prince Albert Minor Baseball president Duane Krip said on Thursday. “It finally came in yesterday and everyone’s really excited.
“We’ve received a lot of calls from parents who would love to have their kids participate in something, but they haven’t been able to take part in any activities (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and they want to know if their kids can still play. I’ve been telling everyone that it’s a fun sport to learn and it doesn’t matter what your regular sport might be. These six weeks will be a great opportunity for everyone to experience what baseball is all about.”
Registration for the new season is open through Monday on the Prince Albert Minor Baseball website at www.paminorbaseball.com.
Among the leagues offered are Jr. Rally Cap (for those born between 2012 and 2015, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and a men’s league for those 18 years of age or older.
“The men’s league is brand new for this year and it will be taking place on Monday nights,” Krip said.
“We had started our registration process back in January and our numbers were really decent for the first couple of months, but then everything went flat around the middle of March when the pandemic hit. Since we started talking about reopening things here over the last month, our numbers have started to pick up again and we’re doing one last push here before the deadline on Monday.”
The league will also be welcoming U13 and U15 programs from Melfort for the first time.
“They were in the same boat as us when it came to registration and they were in need of a place to play,” Krip said.
“They started talking with us a little while ago and we were more and willing to bring them in. Not only does is it give them (the Melfort teams) somewhere to play, but it will give our kids more experience against different teams. It’s great for everyone.”
There will be some noticeable changes to the game, with no sharing of water bottles, food, personal helmets, catcher’s masks or any other equipment and only a handful of players being allowed in a dugout at any given time.
In terms of tournament play, there will be no provincial championships this year as Baseball Saskatchewan cancelled those events earlier this month.
“Even if things start to become more relaxed here in the coming weeks, it would just be impossible to do any planning for those types of big events,” Krip said.
“We might see some communities host some smaller tournaments, but I think that’s going to be doubtful.”
The Prince Albert Royals U18 program will be competing in the Saskatchewan Premier AA Baseball League this summer and will have doubleheaders taking place here over the next two months.
Their schedule was still being finalized as of Thursday afternoon.