By Darren Lum
It’s been close to five years since Wilbeforce had a baseball league, but Wilberforce Elementary School alumnus Ally French is ready to take a swing at changing that with the Wilberforce Minor League Baseball League. With her partner Daniel Kay, the Wilbermere Lake residents, who both graduated from HHSS, wanted to re-start a league for their three and four year-old boys, Sawyer and Hudson, but also the entire community.
French remembers playing baseball as a young girl, starting at eight and playing until adolescence.
She has great memories from when she played, which was an inclusive and community building event each week.
“It really was a night everyone looked forward to to come together. Parents and children, you know, and not have to travel essentially. So it was all in the heart of the town,” she said.
Baseball was chosen because both organizers know the game, and the children, who will register will have a variety of skill levels represented. Players will be welcomed for the instruction-based evening sessions, with team underhand pitching and a game to finish.
French welcomes teenagers to volunteer and gain hours towards fulfilling their requirements towards earning their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
All games (will technically include the larger softball than the palm-sized hardball, which is used in the Major Leagues) will be held Thursday nights from June 16 to Aug. 25 at the Wilberforce Baseball Diamond, located across the road from the Foodland on Essonville Line. There are three age groups four to seven, starting at 5:30 p.m., eight to 12 starting at 6:30 p.m., and 12 to 15 starting at 7:30 p.m. Currently, the goldest age group needs more players to be able to hold games. French said she welcomes parents/guardians to help with team pitching or bat catching duties during games. The registration fee is $45 per player and includes a T-shirt and team pictures. However, the registration cost can be waived for special circumstances. She hopes to have everyone registered by May 23 to set teams.
She welcomes players.
“We will be more than happy to have you come and play in our league,” she said.
French said this league will be open to all children, who want to play regardless of income.
“So we wanted to provide and offer a sport, baseball for the kids in that area and to make it affordable as well. Very accessible and affordable,” she said.
The league is looking for sponsors to help with the purchase of bases and baseball bats for all ages playing. The season will be celebrated with a barbecue.
Contact Ally at 705-457-5725 by phone or text for more information and registration forms.