It may have gotten off to a late start, but baseball of all kinds is officially back in the west central region. Some minor ball associations had their players out of practice and in uniform as early as one day after the news was announced, in attempt to make up a player’s lost time this season. With all of the kids already practicing for weeks now, a quick progression into games was always on the table.
Even though some senior teams had taken the opportunity to practice as well, putting together a season did take some work. In Kindersley, the work to get a league together was quick according to Derek Semple.
“We started talking about it as soon as it opened. Then Kim Tuffs (Royals) phoned me up asking if we wanted lineups and games, then I talked to Curtis and Jarret (Cubs) and they both wanted to get games going,” said the member of the Kindersley Oldtimers team, “It was maybe 4 days and we had it going.”
The all Kindersley league will consist of classic FVBL members in the Raiders, Oldtimers, Cubs and Eatonia Wheat Kings. The league has also been home to U18 aged players for some time now as well, and that won’t be changing this year as two teams are expected to play this season as Royals.
“The Grade 12’s are on one team with a couple Grade 11’s sprinkled in, and then the Grade 10’s are on a team with a few Grade 11’s spread onto that one as well,” commented U18 coach Kim Tuffs.
The midget-aged team is not often regarded as a contender, but the last complete season played in the FVBL resulted in a Royal’s league championship. Those teams in 2019 were split into similar age groupings as this year, and the younger team used some top-end talent to work their way to a series win over the Elrose Aces.
As someone who has watched those players grow, Semple with the Oldtimers’ says he wouldn’t be surprised if this years young squad of returning players were considered the favourites.
“They are going to be pretty much unbeatable.”
Semple reiterated how the Royals have basically the same roster as the year they won, plus two good pickups from the Fiske area. He believes the team could be twice as strong as they were when they won league. When it comes to the younger version of the team, both Semple and Tuffs believe they have what it takes to hang with the other more experienced teams and even stack up nicely against their Royals counterparts.
That’s how baseball is looking for the northern Fertile Valley Baseball league teams, and the leagues southern teams have just as much potential with their season set-up. Elrose, Beechy, Outlook, Rosetown, Dinsmore, Riverhurst, as well as Kyle and a regional U18 team are all set to play each-other.
The Rosetown Angels were a late addition, but getting some action in this season after not playing last year was always on the teams radar according to Ryan Wickett.
“I would be optimistic that we join provincials,” explained Wickett, “but I think as for organizing the senior league and the timeline we have, the response I have got from most of the teams is that we are just going to play an exhibition season.
Wickett is still the FVBL commissioner and says the league fully intends all of its teams to return next season, and finally keep going with the senior baseball landscape being built in west central Saskatchewan.
One local team in the Kindersley Stallions are in a legit league again this year, attempting to win the North Saskatchewan River Baseball League title in their first full campaign after a short season last year.
The Stallions played two exhibitions last week against Unity and the aforementioned Royals, and officially open their season tonight at 7:30 on the road against the Battlefords Trappers.