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BC Minor Baseball

Coaching conference goes virtual with impressive lineup of speakers

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Since its inception in the early 1990s, the B.C. Minor Baseball Coaches Conference has been one of the most anticipated events of the year on the provincial baseball calendar.

COVID-19 isn’t stopping it.

The conference normally happens live and in person each February. This year, organizers weren’t able to facilitate a traditional gathering because of restrictions related to the pandemic. Instead of cancelling the conference, they decided to hold it in a virtual format.

“We talked to a video guy, so we’ve videotaped everything for the convention and it’s all done now,” said chairman and co-founder Mike Kelly. “We put a lot of work into it and we’re pretty happy with our product.”

The three-day conference will be hosted by HQ Enterprise and will be streamed via the B.C. Minor Baseball Association website (www.bcminorbaseball.org). A session with Anthony Pluta on baserunning kicks off the event at 6:10 p.m. on Friday, March 26. The conference will resume on March 27 at 9 a.m. with a presentation by Wayne Parro (An Overview of the New NCCP Baseball Canada). The final day, March 28, will begin at 9 a.m. with Rick Johnston and his talk, Hitting Warm-up and Progression Drills.

In total, the conference features 23 informative sessions. Speakers include former MLB players Aaron Myette and Kevin Nicholson, both of whom were born in B.C. and spent their formative baseball years playing out of the Lower Mainland. Myette was a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds from 1999 to 2004, while Nicholson was an infielder for the San Diego Padres in 2000.

Former outfielder Reggie Smith also brings MLB credentials to the conference. Smith made his big league debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1966 and went on to play for the St. Louis Cardinals, his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. After his final MLB season in 1982, he headed for Japan and a two-year stint with the Yomiuri Giants.

For the conference, Myette joins 2016 Toronto Blue Jays draft pick Brayden Bouchey for a session called Pitching Grips and Lower Body Development for Pitchers (2:35 p.m. on March 27). A little earlier the same day, at 1 p.m., Nicholson will speak on a topic called How to Develop Your Middle Infield. As for Smith, he will offer up a session called Empower Our Youth Athletes for Success, which will start at 12:20 p.m. on March 28.

As part of the conference lineup, Kelly is also excited to have the contributions of Emily and Stacy Fournier, who will hold a discussion called Playing and Coaching in the Girls Baseball Program and Promotion of Girls Grassroots Programming (3:20 p.m. on March 27). Also on March 27, at 10:05 a.m., Marty van-der Loos will present Coaching Girls/Boys Separate and Together.

“We’re really pushing girls baseball because that’s going to be the next big sport in Canada,” Kelly said.

The conference is intended for coaches with all ranges of experience, from beginner to veteran.

“Coaching is a big commitment,” said conference co-founder Ray Carter, a former president of Baseball Canada, Baseball B.C. and B.C. Minor Baseball. “It takes many hours of your time and it is important to remember that what you say and do will be remembered by these young people forever. Therefore, it is incumbent for us to give you the tools you need.”

To register for the B.C. Minor Baseball Coaches Conference, please click here. Cost is $50.

Jason Peters is a freelance writer and editor based in Prince George, British Columbia. Visit his website at www.frontpagepublications.net/.

 

 

Baseball BC

Rhonda Pauls recognized with 2021 Baseball Canada Umpire Developer Award

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The Baseball Canada Umpire Developer Award is handed out annually to an individual who has demonstrated commitment and excellency in the delivery of umpire education as part of the National Umpires Certification Program.

An accomplished umpire on the field whose resume includes numerous provincial, national, and international events, it was her off-field work that stood out in 2021 as she put in tremendous efforts in developing and growing the next generation of umpires.

As such, Baseball Canada is pleased to announce that British Columbia’s Rhonda Pauls is the winner of the Baseball Canada Umpire Developer Award for 2021.

With Covid-19 still impacting the way in which umpires are traditionally trained and developed, Rhonda’s work to create online educational resources ensured that information and development tools were provided to young umpires in BC and across Canada.

Rhonda created on online platform for the BC Baseball Umpires Association in addition to producing multi-hour, virtual training sessions for umpires in BC. Her teaching materials including lesson plans, instructional videos, quizzes, and presentations as part of her workshops and clinics.

A former winner of the Dick Willis Memorial Award for Baseball Canada Umpire of the Year (2014), Rhonda is a role model for aspiring female umpires and spent time in 2021 engaging female umpires across the country through a unique virtual series.

She has also used her platform to raise awareness around mental health in researching and developing materials for an interactive workshop.

Her efforts around mental health support and awareness did not stop there as she created a team of individuals in BC who serve as peer counsellors for mental health awareness. This is the only team of this nature in baseball in Canada.

Rhonda was also active in many of her off-field umpiring roles in 2021 including the planning and execution of the Super clinic as part of a group effort while also serving as President of the BC Baseball Umpire Association.

She was elected as a board member for Baseball BC where she participated actively in several committees including Strategic Planning and sat as a member of the Baseball Canada instructor development portfolio where she’s been instrumental in the re-design of the Senior Course Conductor Portfolio.

Umpire Developer Award recipients have included:

2020-Ed Quinlan & Chris Wilhelm (ON)

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Baseball BC

Butler Park to get new lights before 2022 season

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City council votes to install lighting and netting to Trail baseball park

By Jim Bailey – Trail Times
From an article on August, 26, 2021

City staff laid the groundwork to complete the lighting and netting additions to Butler Park before the start of the next baseball season.

After stadium light standards were deemed to be unsafe, the city removed the poles and netting this past year, and made way for a new installation.

At an Aug. 16 Governance and Operations Committee meeting, a staff report recommended four options for installing new stadium lighting and netting at the Trail baseball park.

“(Engineering technician) Kyle McCormick has worked diligently with engineers and vendors to come up with what we feel is a practical recommendation moving forward,” said public works director, Chris McIsaac.

Because the soil below Butler has low cohesion, engineers decided on the installation of drilled and cast-in-place concrete piles.

Also, the upgrades to the stadium lighting will reduce the number of standards needed from eight to six along with the number of LED stadium luminaries, and 15-gauge Dyneema netting will be strung along the first and third-base lines.

“This proposed Butler Park installation is a significant addition to the fiscal 2021 capital projects,” wrote Interim Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Rino Merlo. “To proceed in 2021 requires a substantial amount of non-budgeted cash.

“However, should council authorize this Report’s recommendations, the city has the funding to proceed in 2021.”

Merlo offered that funding could come from various sources including the city’s deferred amount within the UBCM Community Building Fund of $1.25M, the Capital Works Reserve Fund $236,000 and Surplus about $100,000.

“However, this significant draw down of capital resources reduces the city’s financial flexibility.”

Parks and Rec director Trisha Davison also confirmed that there is grant funding of about $235,000 pending.

The immediate costs were a concern for Mayor Lisa Pasin who said, when considering last year’s total capital budget, a $1.5M expenditure would amount to 55 per cent of the total budget allocated for capital.

To spend 55 per cent of a total budget on one project is significant for the city, she later clarified.

“And this should be evaluated within the context of all priority projects.”

Of the four options, Option 1 was the least expensive at $1.586M with all work being completed in 2021.

However, in a 5-2 vote, council chose Option 2, which will see pole foundations, underground electrical, and stadium lighting installed in phase 1, and completed with the netting put up in the spring of 2022.

The cost for Option 2 is estimated at $1.642M, more than Option 1, but less than Option 3 and 4 at $1.655M, whose estimated completion dates were by the end of 2022.

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U18 Trail Orioles earn playoff berth with weekend sweep

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Orioles shortstop Nathan Dann knocked in the winning runs with a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning in a thrilling 8-7 victory over the Penticton Tigers on Sunday at Butler Park. Photo: Jim Bailey

The U18 Orioles cracked the top 8 and are off to Burnaby for the BCMBA College Prep playoffs

By Jim Bailey – Trail Times

August 4, 2021 – The Trail U18 Orioles secured a playoff spot after a sensational end to their first season in the College Prep Division of the BC Minor Baseball Association.

The Orioles wrapped up their regular season by sweeping a doubleheader against Ridge Meadows Royals on Saturday and another head-to-head match up against the Penticton Tigers at Butler Park Sunday.

The Orioles needed those wins, after losing four of their last five games, they were one game up on the Tigers for the final playoff spot heading into the final weekend.

Trail beat Ridge Meadows 4-2 in the opener, with Jesse Boyer pitching going the distance in the win.

The Orioles took a 3-2 lead in the first, and Jake Maniago’s base hit in the fifth scored Sam McLaren for the 4-2 final.

In Game 2, the Orioles kept rolling and scored four in the first and two more in the sixth on their way to a 6-2 victory.

Logan Bradford pitched 6 2/3 innings for the win in his longest outing of the year.

“Bradford struck out 10 and saved our bullpen for Sunday, which was huge,” said coach Jim Maniago. “Six different guys had hits that game, it was a good team win.”

The wins were crucial after hearing that Penticton swept South Fraser, setting up a must-win scenario for the final match ups Sunday.

“That set up the showdown Sunday,” said Maniago. “They needed to sweep us, we needed one win.”

The Tigers came out swinging and plated a home run off Jake Maniago in the first. But the Orioles stormed back, scoring two runs in the bottom half. It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth when the Orioles scored three more.

“It was a nailbiter with some great pitching and defence, especially Landon Uzeloc and Chance Fisher on the infield.”

Connor stainer and Jake had two hits each, and seniors, Jesco Knelsen and Brayden DeWitt, had crucial two-out RBI hits in the 5-2 victory.

Jake pitched a complete game five hitter to earn the Orioles’ a berth in the 2021 playoffs.

In the final match, the Tigers fielded nine senior players and headed into the bottom of six with a 7-3 lead.

But the Os scored two on a Nathan Dann home run to cut the lead to 7-5. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, Dann doubled cashing in two more runs for a walk-off 8-7 victory.

Stainer smacked two doubles, Bradford had two hits and Dann went 3 for 4 with four RBIs. Reid Gerrand picked up the win in relief, improving the O’s record to 12-12.

“We’re off to Provincials as the seventh seed,” said Maniago. “We told the kids we’re pretty proud of them.

“All told, we draw from maybe 20,000 people and we’re competing and beating these teams from big centres with paid coaching staffs that have more kids trying out than we have in our whole system.”

The U18 Orioles had a lot of reasons to roll over, said Maniago, but battled through injuries, players that opted out, and a tough travel schedule to make it into the top-8.

“The kids stuck with it and kept picking up wins and then to roll off five in a row to end the year and finish at 12-12 was pretty impressive.”

In round-1 of the BCMBA playoffs, the Orioles are in Group B with #2 seed North Fraser, #4 Kamloops and #5 Cloverdale. Trail’s first game goes in Burnaby at noon Friday, Aug. 6 vs North Fraser, a team they split their series with this season. Game 2 goes against Kamloops Saturday at noon, and Sunday versus Cloverdale at 3 p.m.

“We’re gonna be in tough,” added Maniago. “But we are a team no one wants to play.”

Note: The Trail U15 Orioles were poised to play in a wind-up tournament in Kelowna on the weekend but the league cancelled the tournament early Saturday morning due to wildfire smoke.

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