By Tim Kalinowski on June 8, 2021.
The grass is perfectly groomed, the lines are painted in, the mounds are prepared, and the base pads have been installed, but Softball Valley is still looking for more teams and players to get its league action up and running again this summer, likely by June 20.
According to Softball Valley facility manager Hank Stoffer only about 25 teams have signed up so far for mixed league baseball this summer; that’s far short of the usual 70 teams.
“We opened for practices as of Sunday and we are still under Alberta Health Services guidelines which allow 10 players on the field at a time,” Stoffer explains. “That’s how we are setting up for practices right now. We are looking forward to either June 10 or June 14 when they are going to open up restrictions even further, and at that point we are planning to open our leagues on June 20.”
Given the ongoing uncertainties around COVID-19, Stoffer is hoping to at least get about 50 per cent of teams back in action this year after a write-off season in 2020.
“It has been pretty rough,” he admits. “The worst part is we have had to maintain the diamonds, keep the grass cut and everything, otherwise it would have turned into a pasture pretty quickly. So the diamonds look all good, and nobody comes down to play: that has been heartbreaking for us.
“We have been working hard, and we finally got a grounds crew in. The bases are in, and everything is ready to go. So we are just waiting for some players.”
Stoffer says he hears there are players out there wanting to play, but they are perhaps lacking organizers among them to bring things together.
“We sent out emails to all the team contacts we had last year, but I guess our concern is what we have found in the past is when the organizers decide they don’t want to run the team anymore it just kind of goes away even though there are lots of players who want to play,” he says. “We are hoping to get some of these people to come back or have somebody else step up to run the team if the old one has left.”
Those wanting to know more about signing up for baseball at Softball Valley this summer can visit softballvalley.com. The deadline to get a team together is tentatively set for June 14.
Stoffer says he is also looking for volunteers to come down and help get Softball Valley’s beach volleyball courts prepped for summer. Contact Softball Valley for more details.
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