That white stuff on the ground is just about the only thing holding the Prince Albert Minor Baseball Association back as they are revving to hit the field.
With registration numbers at an all-time high, PAMBA president Rod Skopyk said all that’s left to do now is wait for the snow to clear the ballparks as they hope to get things going on April 27.
“It’s just exploded,” Skopyk said of the 2014 minor baseball registration numbers. ““For the younger kids, it’s more than we’ve ever had.”
In fact, 2014 registration numbers are so high that the PAMBA is looking to secure extra diamonds in addition to their regular venues of Mair Baseball Park, Lew Hobson Field and Andy Zwack Field.
Skopyk said that the PAMBA is currently in talks with the city to secure those diamonds.
“There are a limited number of diamonds and a lot of users,” he explained. “We are just working with the city to understand each user group’s requirements.”
With five different age divisions, Skopyk added that the high registration numbers have allowed the PAMBA to field at least one team in each, with some hosting multiple clubs.
The PAMBA is made up of bantam, midget, mosquito, pee-wee and rally cap age divisions, giving kids as young as eight and as old as 18 a place to play ball.
Registration for most PAMBA programs remains open and Skopyk is optimistic that all divisions will be competitive this year. In particular, Skopyk has high hopes for the midget group competing in the North East Division against teams from Tisdale, Melfort and Nipawin, among others.
Skopyk also boasted the PAMBA’s rally cap program.
Open to youngsters born in 2006 and later, rally cap is an introductory program for those new to the game. Structured by Baseball Canada, rally cap teaches newcomers the basic elements of baseball, gearing them up for the mosquito division.
As PAMBA teams are currently training indoors at the Margo Fournier Centre, Skopyk said he has been thoroughly impressed with the showing thus far.
“The skill level I have witnessed over the last month has been incredible,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with the high quality of our structures here.”
While they’ve had no issues securing players, PAMBA is always on the lookout for umpires, Skopyk said.
On April 26, PAMBA will host a umpire clinic at the Lakeland Building where those interested can obtain Level I certification.
“It’s a great thing for anyone 14-years-old and older that wants to make some good money over the spring and summer,” Skopyk said of becoming a PAMBA ump.
As he looks ahead to the upcoming season, Skopyk said that his organization’s ultimate goal is to keep kids coming back.
“It’s a short season and we hope ever kid enjoys the time they have with baseball,” he said. “We want to make sure they enjoy it enough that they come back. Almost 90 per cent of kids who graduated from one division to the next have returned and that judges how well we’ve as an association delivered the sport.”
Those interested in attending the April 26 umpire clinic are encouraged to contact Terry at 306-764-0608. For more information on Prince Albert Minor Baseball, visit paminorbaseball.ca, or contact Skopyk at 306-763-4769.