BY ZACHARY CORMIER
Spring is here and the Lacombe Minor Baseball Association has been busy preparing for the 2016 season.
“Everybody was right ready to go. The snow’s kind of knocked us back a little bit, but that’s okay,” said Kevin Bresee, acoach with the Lacombe Dodgers Bantam AA team and spokesperson for the league.
Registration for the LMBA’s competitive and community divisions has been in full swing for a couple of months now, with competitive registration wrapping up early last week and the deadline to register for the minor teams coming up on April15th.
According to Bresee, the league has seen a high rate of return from last year for players in the competitive divisions.
“Most of our kids came back this year, which is good,” he said, adding that the response has been so favourable that the league decided to expand its AA program for the upcoming season.
“Most of our kids that played Bantam last year, now they’re forming a Midget team, so we’ll have a Midget AA team in Lacombe this year.”
Last season, the Lacombe Dodgers fielded teams in the Bantam AA and Pee Wee AA divisions of the Central Alberta BaseballLeague, with the Bantam team finishing third in the Province in Tier 1 and the Pee Wee team competed fairly well at the Tier1 level as well, finishing middle of the pack.
“It’s always so hard to tell, year to year, what happens (with a team). It depends how all the kids mesh together. Most of thekids we’ve been with in this before, we’ve always finished in Tier 1 and played for Tier 1 provincials and I hope that’s whatwe’ll do again,” Bresee said.
“As a coaching staff, I think we just try to win every game and then let everything shake out the way it is.”
Bresee said the Dodgers are looking forward to a good season with the group of kids that they have registered.
“We’ve got a good group of kids in all of the divisions that have played a lot of ball before, not just the AA but in the single-A program too. The single-A was real competitive last year.”
Evaluations for the 2016 AA begin in early April, with the first evaluation night set for April 3rd.
Although registration is technically closed for competitive, Bresee said there may still be a chance for any parents who want to register their kids last minute.
“You have to set a date, or else it would be open forever. But until the teams have been picked, if some young guy or girl somehow missed it, I’m sure that they could get ahold of our registrar and we can do something about it.”
In addition to the Dodgers AA teams, the league is currently accepting registration for their community divisions. The LMBAhas programs available for players of all ages from Rally Cap (U6) to Midget (U18).
“It builds good character in the kids because it’s a team sport that you do completely alone. Every play, it’s so dependent onjust that kid,” Bresee said, noting although baseball is a team sport, players stand in the batter’s box on their own and it issolely up to them to catch a pop-fly.
“It’s good for the kids and it’s a game that is a slower pace and more thought out. There’s a lot of camaraderie on the bench and the kids seem to get along pretty well. It’s a couple of hours and a lot of fun for the kids.”
Anyone who would like more information or to register their kids in spring baseball can visit the LMBA web site atwww.lacombeminorbaseball.com.