Prince Albert Minor Softball enjoying busy and successful season

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Rhyan Amundson of the Prince Albert Aces prepares to make a move off of first base during a game against the Spirit Softball Under-16 team from Melfort on Saturday afternoon at Rotary Field.

With a busy parking lot and all of the diamonds being used throughout Prime Ministers Park over the weekend for the first annual Shaye Amundson Memorial Tournament, it felt like old times for those involved in the softball community.

“We had lots of comments from the parents and the coaches this weekend telling us that ‘this feels normal,’” Prince Albert Minor Softball technical director Kalen Kovitch said.

“To have three great days where Mother Nature cooperated and there was great ball being played by teams in Prince Albert was awesome to see.”

The Shaye Amundson Memorial Tournament, which is named after the former Aces player who passed away in 2016, was originally slated to be held last summer but was pushed back a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s a number of tournaments for our men’s and boys’ softball teams, but we wanted to have an event here for our girls’ teams,” Kovitch said. “Our executive was thrilled that we were able to make it happen this year and that it went off without a hitch.

“We ended up moving it to July this year as a result of the regulations that were in place at the time, but we would like to hold this tournament from mid to late June going forward so that they can happen right before the provincial championships in July.”
The winning teams at this weekend’s tournament were the Moose Jaw Under-12 Ice, the Spirit Softball Under-14 squad from Melfort and the Saskatoon Under-16 Raiders.

The last month-and-a-half has also marked a return to competitive action for Prince Albert Minor Softball, which began to hold games in June once outdoor COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

“Our executive did a fantastic job of being prepared for what could happen with multiple scenarios being put in place,” Kovitch said. “We had been anticipating that we would be allowed to have competitive games again in mid-June, but we got thrown for a little bit of a curveball so to speak when they lifted things a couple weeks early.

“I know a lot of people think about the Aces or the Astros teams when it comes to softball in Prince Albert, but we had almost 250 kids playing house league ball this year, which ranges in age from four to 10. That was huge for us. They didn’t have anywhere to play last year so we wanted to make sure that we had some sort of season for them this year, which we were able to do by having a plan in place and making sure that all of the health guidelines were being followed.”

The next major events for Prince Albert Minor Softball will be a trifecta of provincial tournaments that will be held here in the coming weeks.

The Under-12 Girls ‘A’ and Open North championships will take place from July 23-25, while the Under-16 Boys Open tournament will be held from Aug. 6-8.

“We’re committed to host at least one provincial championship a year going forward, especially with the facilities we have at Prime Ministers Park and our secondary facility at Crescent Acres,” Kovitch said.

“We’re starting to work towards hopefully a Canadian championship in the future, especially a national female championship tournament as we’ve never had one here in Prince Albert, in addition to the bid that’s currently ongoing for the 2025 WBSC Senior Men’s World Cup.”