It is hard to believe the regular season is now behind us. At the end of June we celebrated the end of our regular season with a fabulous year end BBQ and coaches’ game as well as a league night out at the Vancouver Canadians. It has been a year for firsts and a year of tradition. Most of all – it has been a season of successes.
As this was the first season of the North Shore Baseball Association (NSBA), when registration opened in late fall, no one really knew what to expect. By January, all expectations had been exceeded when we established ourselves as the largest baseball league on the North Shore. For the first time, older kids were coming back to the North Shore and staying to play at various levels of ball under the new association with BC (Minor) Baseball with over 650 players from the ages of 4 to 25. There are now more options than ever before for baseball in our community at every level of play in every age group.
We want you to know we also continued our traditions with the Robbie Biddlecombe Memorial Award, the Nigel Moore Baseball Scholarship and the Michael MacLeod Memorial Award, to honour deserving recipients and the memory of past players and coaches.
Thanks to our new affiliation with BC (Minor) Baseball, we were provided an all new winter program as well as the Coaches’ Caravan at Parkgate in the early spring. As the season rolled-out we also provided our coaches with new opportunities for training and NCCP certification as part of the new program.
At the 5U (Blast Ball) and 7U (T-Ball) divisions, our players were exposed to the fun elements of the great games of baseball and ended their season with a fantastic year-end Jamboree including pizza, games and even a dunk tank for the coaches.
At the 9U (Tadpole) division, teams experienced “real” baseball and even competed through the playoffs. Congratulations to the NSBA Pirates for their victory in their final game at Sowden Park.
At the 11U (Mosquito) division, teams were one of our most competitive in all of the divisions. With so many teams and players, we were able to play all our regular games on the North Shore. Some of our stronger players had the opportunity to travel to Kamloops and play in a select tournament and found tremendous success. At the end of the regular season, the Braves proved victorious and took home the trophy in the finals.
At the 13U (PeeWee) division, it was the first division with “tiered” play. NSBA fielded two “AA” teams who competed at a higher level with games across the Lower Mainland. In addition to this our “A” teams played games on the North Shore, Burnaby, Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast and the 13U A White Sox placed in the top pool for the playoffs while the 13U A Mariners took home trophies in the second pool.
At the 15U (Bantam) division, our “single season” “AA” and “AAA” will continue to play through to the beginning of August and are both representing the NSBA well. The NSBA 15U A Yankees were the top team in the Western Lower Mainland Interlock and have a trophy to prove it.
At the 18U (Midget) division, our “AAA” team started strong and are now back on track after a bit of a slump. Like the 15U, the 18U AA Expos took the win at Latrace Park in Richmond and were declared Western Lower Mainland Interlock champions.
At the 25U (Junior Men) division, our players have a solid record and will continue play until August now that most of the players are back from university and other winter commitments. Next year we hope to be able to field two teams at this level.
We could not have done any of this without our tremendous volunteer base of coaches, assistants, managers, age group and event coordinators, board members, umpires and supportive parents who made this season possible. The support we receive from our sponsors was also deeply appreciated. Our sincere thanks to Neptune Terminal, Rogers, Heritage Law, Scott Dempster Real Estate Sales, Allwest Insurance, Altenburg Painting, Blake Burgon Developments, Pacific West Property Management, Taylormotive and Prostock.
Our Summer Ball program is now underway and the numbers remain strong. There is clearly a desire for more inclusive summer options in baseball. To those playing over the summer, we wish you the best for success on the field and fun all around. To those off for a break, we look forward to seeing you next season, as we apply what we have learned from your feedback and the player satisfaction survey. Watch for our upcoming AGM in October as well as exciting Fall and Winter Ball opportunities in many divisions.
On behalf of the North Shore Baseball Association, we thank you all for your support and your commitment to change. We look forward to providing more baseball, for more kids, to have more fun on the North Shore for many years to come.
Jacquie Griffiths and Ken Palko
North Shore Baseball Association